Recently in being healthy Category

in being healthy |

Am I still going to Paris marathon next April? France has extended its state of emergency for 3 months, and Belgium is on lockdown. Germany, Holland, the UK, Spain and all European cities are on high alert.

If I’m still going, training starts next week. 18 weeks isn’t a long time for the state of alert to die down. Then again, if we give in to our fears, then the terrorists have won. I’m going to go on the basis that I will be there, unless the organisers and/or the French government say otherwise. Last year’s race went ahead 2 months after Charlie Hebdo, so I think they will try to keep business as usual as much as possible.

Flights are still expensive, they’re mainly booking for Christmas now so I’ll look later. There are plenty of options on where to fly into. Aside from Paris itself, London, Barcelona, Geneva, Brussels, Amstersdam are all reachable by train. The problem is, it’s the week after Easter so I have to be careful of blackout periods.


What’s more pressing is finding somewhere to stay for the weekend, starting from expo to at least the day after the race. I started looking in the area close to the start and end of the course. The race starts on Champs, just down from Arc de Triomphe (blue circle centre right of map) and ends on Avenue Foch, near Port Dauphine (red checkered circle left of map). All the red blobs are hotels that are fully booked, and of the blue ones left many are expensive.

The good thing about making hotel reservations is I can hold it till nearer the time and keep searching. I made 2 reservations, on the basis that mum will be travelling with me. One is within walking distance of both start and end (white label)—perfect location but €240 per night, yikes. I’m only holding onto this one in case there is nothing else. The other is €150 per night, one stop NW of the map on line 1. I’ll keep looking, and at first glance on airbnb there may be something more affordable.

in all about people , being healthy |


5.25km 40.51min 7.47min/km

The news that our friend Sandra was diagnosed with an aggresive form of cancer, stage IV was so unexpected, so utterly devastating. I had no words. I met Sandra at her first conference and like everyone I know, became a huge fan of her writing, her cheerfulness, her wisdom and simply everything about her.

Our community immediately rallied around her in support. #moranstrong was established. Then the Moran Mayhem Plan (alternatively titled “Laughter is the Best Medicine”) was hatched:

  • monday: #moraning blurry pet and animal pics
  • tuesday: pie charts, pies
  • wednesday: it’s in the syllabus
  • thursday: neon day
  • friday: gross food (it started with Sandra posting pics of pork rinds, which is equivalent to pork scratchings)
  • saturday: #flatsandra out and about (we started that, on our drive to Portland)
  • sundey: bad hair / no comb day

The first Moran Mayhem day calls for wearing the most outrageous neon. I don’t have my brightest running shirts with me, but I do have the bright blue #runlightstand shirt. Plus my vizio orange sauconys. So I went out for a 5k around the field, my first run since the marathon. I hope it’s fitting, since Sandra is a runner too.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |


42.2km 6.35.15hr 9.22min/km

overall: 36785 / 46033
gender: 16841 / 16955
age division: 1029 / 1041

Set alarm at 5am but woke up at 4am. Tea, a couple of waffles, a banana and a cereal bar for breakfast. Superfriend Carleen dropped me off and I joined thousands of people walking towards the start line. Found a quiet spot to watch the sunrise then joined the horrendous line for the portaloo. After half an hour in the cold wind the line hadn’t moved much but then someone came over and told us about other portaloos with shorter lines.

The corral was crowded. Wave 2 start was 8am, I crosssed the start line at around 8.11am. I felt great and happy. The crowds were fantastic and pushed me on, soon I found myself at LaSalle and 5k already. Lots of fun signs from spectators urging us on.

chimarathon049theatre chimarathon063drums

Things haven’t changed from 2010 and 2011: I stopped for the traditional pic outside the chicago theatre, there was warm support at Moody’s church, music at boystown, Japanese drummers at mile 10, the lasalle church opening their toilets up for us at mile 11. The roar of the crowds really did help.


I also caught up with a runner holding an American flag at lincoln park, same as 2011 but different guy. Saw a fireman in full gear too. And a man in his 70s with “50th marathon” on his shirt. I spent quite a bit high-fiving kids and grinning.

Around mile 10 was when it started going pear shaped. First I got a nasty side stitch, which I hardly ever do. Then my left knee started hurting, which affected my calf and then moved to my right leg and finally my back. Basically anything that could hurt, was hurting. So disappointing, the wall came early. Even the biofreeze and tylenol at mile 12 wasn’t much help.

chimarathon071beer chimarathon077turbo

It’s always good to reach halfway, located just behind the old office. HM was at almost exactly 3hrs. I was pretty behind schedule at that point. After mile 13, the crowds thinned out and there wasn’t much shade. I started slowing down significantly and walked a lot. From mile 14 onwards it was boring and tough. Mile 19 was good, loud crowds through Pilsen. Lots of music and drums. Still a lot of walking. When first the 5.10 then 5.25 and finally 5.45 pace groups caught up with me, I tried my best to follow them for as long as I could.

After mile 22 from chinatown to sox park it was awful. Walking and walking. Turning into IIT and back north on michigan was more walking. I was keeping track of my time and I knew I was perilously close to the 6.30 cut off time. At mile 25 it was the final push. I picked up the pace and ran the last mile. It seemed forever before I saw the screen and the right turn up the hill. 400m, 200m and then it was finally the finish line. My iphone registered 6.33. I think they pushed the cut off time because of the hot weather.

chimarathon092finish chimarathon096medal

I collected my medal, a couple of bottles of water and a banana. There was a beer truck right at the finish, but unfortunately the beer was warm. The best thing was a cool, wet towel they gave us. Had my pic taken with the medal, couldn’t be bothered to go to the other side of the park for the tents. The exit closest to me was nearest the train station so that was where I headed.

I had more than 30mins to wait for the train. Felt a little dizzy and realised I hadn’t had much to eat for 7 hours apart from gu, bloks and gatorade. Fished through the goodie bag and found chocolate, and chocolate milk. That helped.

Carleen picked me up at the train station and we had pizza for dinner. I was more tired than hungry, and my feet were hurting. I came back to the house with the news that my fb friends had been tracking my progress online and there were dozens of comments and well-wishes. So moving. I posted a thank you status plus a pic of the medal and there were even more well-wishes. My fb friends are so wonderful. I didn’t even meet my most basic goal (beat 6.30) but the overwhelming support from the organisers, volunteers, fellow runners and my friends more than made up for the disappointment. Looking on the positive side, I finished. And that’s the most important accomplishment.

I didn’t take my camera with me, just used the iphone: uploaded to flickr.

p.s. this also counts as #99 of 101.1001 because I found a race, and I trained for it

in being healthy |

Caught the train to the city and walked about 15mins to the Hilton to catch the shuttlebus to the marathon expo. The queue for the bus was long, I had to wait for bus #4 before it was my turn to board. Took about 15mins to get to McCormick Place. The expo started at 9am this morning and I got there around 10.30am. The place was big enough that it didn’t feel crowded.


Got my confirmation scanned, got my bib, got my shirt. Nice shirt colour this year, a deep red, more maroon than the bright red of 2010. I made it a point to systematically visit every stall. I had on my shopping list the race cap and a few gu packets. I bought the cap ($30!!!) and resisted the t-shirt ($45). Bought a combination of gu and bloks. Sampled many cereal bars, bloks and gatorade. Bought a set of 3 bondi bands since the ones I have are getting grubby. Looked into socks but decided the pair I brought is good enough and I’d buy socks when I get back.

There were also tons of freebies. Encouragement signs, cowbells (sponsored by ML so in ML blue), a poster, space blanket, shoe bag and lots of leaflets in the official bag. Got a 30 second massage on my ITB at the free massage stand. Chatted with people at other marathon desks. Osaka marathon in October (though I’m wary of autumn marathons now) and Dusseldorf marathon in April. The lady at the Dusseldorf desk was super nice, it’s just a shame that it clashes with Paris.


By the time I was finished it was 12.30pm. The bus back downtown was less crowded and I walked around the corner to go to Lou Malnati’s. It’s been a while, and I had a craving for deep dish. The wait was around 15mins for a table, during which we were encouraged to put our order in to shorten the wait for food. I ordered the lunch special — small pizza with salad and a drink for $8.95. The pizza was smaller than expected, very tasty especially the crust and the sausage. It appeared that many people had the same idea for carb-loading, I saw many people with the marathon bags or marathon t-shirts in the restaurant.


Train back and it was time to empty the bag and sort out my gear. Less than 2 days to go, it’s getting closer.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


12km 1.30.10hr 7.31min/km

Went out to the end of bowen road and back, 12km went by quite quickly. Since it’s a public holiday, there were tons and tons of people out walking and hiking. Glad it was only out and back once for me.

On the way back I stopped at the supermarket and bought some chicken drumsticks. Grabbed a butternut squash and was horrified at the price tag at the till, so had to exchange for another type of pumpkin at a more reasonable price. Cooked it all with okra and israeli couscous. Found a small tin of olives that dated from chicago, so added to the roasting tray for flavour. There are leftovers, which ended up proving problematic as I have no fridge. Had to leave the aircon and wrap the food tightly in a box then foil.

Met mm for drinks then dinner. Many places were closed so we just went to a nearby pub and then a small diner. We’ll meet again tomorrow for lunch, so nice.

in being healthy |


6.5km 51.13min 7.53min/km

Rested for 2 whole days, what a luxury. It’s still ridiculously hot and oppressively humid, but I felt good running on relatively fresh legs. I also strongly believe it’s mental—I know it’s only 6km today so I allowed myself to go out faster.

Someone on runnit asked why marathon training plans top out at 20 miles when the race is 26.2 miles. What I’ve always been told is that race day adrenaline and (hopefully) crowd support will get us through the last 10k. There’s also the fact that it takes a few days to recover from a long run; during training we’re going into weekend long runs tired from all the running during the week and we need too many days to recover from 26 miles to fully follow a 4-5 times a week training program. If we taper correctly, we’ll be starting the race having rested and recovered by doing shorter runs.

Marathon season is in full swing. Berlin last weekend. Brussels, Cologne, Kuala Lumpur, Portland (Maine and Oregon), Minneapolis/St Paul this coming weekend. As I run Chicago, others will be participating in Budapest, Munich, Buenos Aires, Ottawa, Lake Tahoe, Albany and my family’s hometown of Newport RI. Then in the coming weeks it’s the MCM in DC, NYC, Niagara Falls, Snowdonia, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Seoul, Jo’burg and the Antarctic Ice marathon on 19 November. Plus many many more, too many to list.

What will all of these marathons have in common? A winner, probably from Kenya or Ethiopia. And someone who finishes dead last. Just in time for marathon season is Nike’s newest ad, in which they salute the last place finisher. It’s so realistic. To the sound of Every Little Bit Hurts by Aretha Franklin, the stragglers slowly trudge through on a carpet of paper cups and dodging the cleaning crew and the pedestrians who’ve already begun to reclaim the road. The voiceover (Rooney Mara!) is guaranteed to bring tears to any runner’s eye:

You are not a runner.
You are especially not a marathon runner.
But at the end of this, you will be.

The ad promotes the nike+ running, and even though I don’t use it any more, I started with nike+ and it’s a place where runners of every ability can find inspiration and motivation.

Okay, enough running posts. Only a couple more weeks to go then I’ll stop the incessant posting.

in being healthy |

20.25km 2.57.42hr 8.47min/km

The last >10mile long run before the race, next weekend’s scheduled run is 8 miles. Sigh, it’s end of September and still 33ºC and 90%+ humidity. No breeze at all. I could feel sweat dripping down my back and it’s quite uncomfortable running in clothes that are completely soaked, even though they are made from dry-fit material.

At my last stop, one of the people who were cleaning at the park said that it’ll start raining soon. That’s it, it felt exactly like the oppressive heat that comes before a thunderstorm. True enough, it started raining after lunch.

I’m very relieved that it’s the start of the taper. Feeling tired both physically and mentally. I know I only got up to 20 miles once, and today I was supposed to go up to 15 miles / 25km but I simply was wiped out. Just hoping the training is enough and fingers crossed for better weather conditions at the race. Cold (10ºC will be perfect), dry and a little wind.


On the topic of marathon training, someone posted a screenshot on runnit, of someone’s job application. The question was “Describe a time when you had to set and achieve an ambitious personal goal.” The applicant went into a detailed account of how he trainied for the portland marathon in 2.5 months, getting to 15-20 miles two to three times a week and exactly 26 miles at least once. He claimed he finished his first marathon in around 2hrs.

When I posted on fb, all of the friends who answered spotted the lie. The marathon world record is 2.03, and portland’s record is 2.17 so there’s no way this first timer with 10 weeks’ training could finish in around 2hrs. The training he described was improbable too. Seemed like someone downloaded a few training plans and pretended to have followed them.

It takes a lot of training and talent to be so close to 2hrs. People don’t realise how fast the elites really run. This was a few years ago on the NYC subway, when people were challenged to beat Ryan Hall over a short distance. Even Ryan himself showed up. Have to remember that he runs at that pace for 26.2 miles.

in being healthy |


It’s starting to sink in. Three weeks till the marathon. The participant guide arrived via email, the hardcopy would have been sent by post. I need the hardcopy to claim my bib and packet at the expo. No escaping anymore.

With the guide also comes confirmation of my start corral. I’m in corral G, wave 2 8am start. I also have a map to see where my gear check is, and where the corral will be located. It’s quite a way down, almost to Buckingham Fountain. The guide has lots of information about the expo, start line and also where aid stations are. Even what is available at each aid station in addition to water and gatorade (chews at mile 12.5, powergel at mile 18, bananas from mile 20 onwards).

There are pace teams for 4.40, 4.55, 5.00, 5.10, 5.25 and 5.45. I haven’t seen pace teams go this much down the order. I’m tempted to sign up with them. In years past I followed them, but was never part of the group. I’ll chat the pacer at the expo to see.

What I don’t see is anything about a BoA customer tent. It was really useful in 2011 but it’s been 4 years. I have been tempted to sign up for either the official hospitality tent or the CARA VIP experience. Not sure if it’s worth $40 for private gear check, lounge, food & beer. They’re at the Radisson Blu, which is little bit of a walk to the start. I’ll probably just hang out like the other 40,000 people in the park.

in being healthy |

7.0km 53.09min 7.36min/km

Whilst Chicago people are doing the ready to run 20 miler this weekend, I tested my race readiness by running a local 7k night race. It’s the first time I’ve participated in a night race.

Not a big race, around 1000 people. The race itself is along a dam then into a park. Took over 1.5hrs to get to the starting point, via train then bus.


There were 2 races. The kids race started at 6pm, a shorter 1.5km distance. Those kids were fast. The winner of the age 6-8 category ran the distance in something like 6mins, which I can’t even do. What’s great was the top 10 in each category got prizes, and that probably covered every single kid in the race.


The adult race started at 7pm and by then it was dark. They gave us temporary tattoos and the shirt was a little flourescent too. Some people were prepared with headlamps or made bracelets from glowsticks. Since it was along a dam and into parkland there were no streetlights at all. A couple of volunteers with glowsticks stood next to the various sleeping policemen along the way telling us to be careful. I couldn’t really see where I was going, I tried to follow people with lights as much as I could.

There were also a group of visually impaired runners with their guides. They were fast too. The guides had lights and shouted warnings when they approached. I always get a warm feeling when I encounter disadvantaged athletes.

My time was…okay. Faster than normal training runs, and conditions were similar. Even though it was night, it was still hot and humid. I hung around for a little bit to watch prizes given out. The top male runner finished in 23mins; the top runner in my division finished in 37mins.

in being healthy |


32.04km 4.56.47hr 9.16min/km

I moved the 20-mile training run up one week because: a) I had the time; b) I have a race next weekend and c) I was worried about it so wanted to just get it over with. So I set off for bowen road armed with a 1l bottle of flavoured water and 4 gu packets. I planned my breaks so they were all at the second water fountain. It was fine to leave the water bottle there too, lots of people do that.

Started off not too badly, it was hot but there was a little breeze. Many people hiking and running but by and large they knew how to share the path. No stupid mainland tourist groups. Pretty boring, running up and down one path. Pace was slow and the last 5km had a lot of walking. I did it though, so it’s one training goal finished.

The last 20-mile training run was 4 times around Hyde Park and with a much more respectable pace of 7.24min/km. I’m still hoping I’m so slow now because of the hot weather.

After that 20-miler in London I treated myself to a big huge 24oz bone-in rib-eye, which I couldn’t finish. This time round, I don’t have the luxury of getting lovely steak from Whole Foods. I debated whether to go out or to stay in. My calves were hurting so on the way back home I stopped at the supermarket and bought chicken legs which I baked. Lots of foam rollering and I kept my legs elevated, feeling tired but not injured tired.

in being healthy |

8.0km 1.11.07hr 8.53min/km

Humidity is marginally lower, but speed is still not here. Whatever.

I try to think back to why I started running. What I posted 4 years ago is still relevant. I hadn’t made much progress in 4 years, due to lethargy and lack of interest in participating in the local running scene.

Anyway, another reason for starting running was the cost, or supposed lack of cost. I don’t like joining gyms, I hate group classes. I love racket sports but have no one to play with. I love basketball but haven’t played in 20 years.

So yeah, cheapest sport. Everyone should have t-shirt, shorts or loose clothing. Most people will have sneakers or comfortable shoes. Tell the time using a watch, or check the clock on the way out and way in. Check distance by measuring on a map or run around a track. So in theory it costs nothing, but of course it doesn’t work that way. Gear creep starts with shoes, then it’s tech shirts, then GPS, then wearables, then all the various and sundry accessories.

Shoes come first for me. Initially I went to the running store to get the latest models but I quickly learned how to seek out good running shoes for under $100. One pair can last something like 500 miles, so it is worth the investment, unlike cheap $16 walmart shoes that are so terrible they aren’t even worth paying for.

I used to have a nike+, then a polar HRM, then a garmin. I just use the iphone nowadays. Zombies run is free, although I did pay $9.99 for a full version before they messed up the pricing and update. It was worth the money, especially since legacy pro users came out ahead after the mess.

Other gear I’ve bought include a very useful spibelt, water bottle belt, earphones, knee braces, KT tape, foam rollers and compression socks. I don’t think I’ve been that indulgent. Many of the gear is from 4-5 years ago and I’ll keep on using them until they need to be replaced. I run in tech shirts from races, cheap shorts from the market, ordinary socks and a towel, the sort we get from the market to use around home.

I guess if I wanted to, I can splash out a lot for clothing. But I won’t. I’m certainly not going to pay $89, or $99, or $129 full price for this ridiculously named PHYSICLO x RXACTIVE: Activewear series of shorts and leggings with

custom power mesh panels that push your leg muscles to work harder, resulting in increased muscle tone and caloric burn


The claims are equally impressive outlandish: 23% more muscle activity, 14% more calories burned, 8% increase in heart rate. What’s amazing is over 850 people have bought into the indiegogo campaign. Hive mindset or people with too much money or people wanting to get in on the lastes, coolest, gear?

in being healthy |


I was clicking around marathon websites over the weekend (don’t ask) and realised I missed the registration for Tokyo. Then I spotted that Paris registration opens at 8am on 08-sep. I mean, it’s Paris. The course map above is small, but the route is clear. Start at Champs Élysées, run across the city past landmarks—Concorde, Louvre, Bastille, Notre Dame, Eiffel, along the Seine, finish within sight of Arc de Triomphe. It’s not a World Marathon Major event, but in terms of attractiveness of venue, is hard to beat.

The one thought I had going through my head during the last few weeks of Chicago training was: “why am I doing this? I’m never running a marathon again.” I hadn’t deliberately remembered Paris registration time until I looked at the clock, then checked the world clock: it was 7.55am Paris time. I found myself on the website, then to the registration site, then entering my details. I couldn’t even be bothered to switch to english, forms asking for name, DOB, address, t-shirt size are similar whatever the language.

The final step was to pay. It took me to a page that said redirecting and it will take some time. If I were just messing around, it was my opportunity to close the tab. But I left it, thinking if I get in, then it’s fate. If the page refreshes to quota full, then it’s also fate.


I went back to what I was doing, reading a book and surfing through feedly. Occasionally I’d glance at the redirect page, only to see it’s still waiting. More than 30mins later, it changed to give me the payment form. No going back now. €99 is a lot of money but at US$110 equivalent it’s 2/3 the price of Chicago and half the price of NYC. We get an image of our bib and race number immediately. Hopefully I’ll combine it with a trip to London and/or Amsterdam and/or elsewhere in Europe. Yikes, mm is going to kill me.

So, provided I finish Chicago next month, marathon #5 will be Paris. Or #6. London lottery results come out in october, wouldn’t it be just my luck if I got in? I can’t possibly run 2 marathons three weeks apart so I’ll have to defer one. Well, no sense thinking about that now. Back to Chicago training.

in being healthy |


27.06km 4.12.33hr 9.20min/km

Long run this week according to higdon is 19 miles, according to the one-year plan is 18 miles. Since I’m only up to 13 miles, I didn’t want such a big step up so aimed at 16/17 miles (26/27km). Not much to report, aside from the sheer mind-numbingness of running for 4hrs up and down a stretch of 4km running path. Not too many people, and I recognise a couple from last week. Everyone was faster than me. Had a couple of breaks, at 12km then 8km. Progressively slower, the last 7km was pretty much walking.

Completely knackered. Cooked mushroom pasta (with a whole can of cream of mushroom soup) for lunch. Didn’t have energy or appetite for big dinner. Even with my usual unhappiness about the slow pace—9.20min/km is 15min/mi and just about makes the 6.30hr cut off point for the marathon—I’m a bit more encouraged, that I have this long run under my belt.

in being healthy |


8.22km 1.06.59hr 8.09min/km

Nike had a fastest mile virtual event on the 30th. It was a rest day for me, so I thought I’d go out to the track today and see what my mile time is. The weather is still not good for running, but it was only 29ºC, so better than before. Thunderstorms and rain means high humidity though.

I’ve never gone out and deliberately run one mile. My best mile time was at the 2010 corporate challenge when I finished the 3.5 mile course in 33.24min, meaning a mile pace of 9.13min. I was at my fastest during early 2010, getting my first sub-30 5k at ravenswood, before I got injured. I’ve never been able to get back to that pace.

Today I did a 3km warmup run to the track, then ran 4 times around to get to 1.6km. Instead of using a stopwatch I used the supply run part of zombies run. The app registered 10 even for 1.61km, I know that at 1.6km / 1 mile it was 9.54min.

Obviously not my fastest mile, although I’m okay about the pace. I did another mile at a slower 12.30 pace. To beat 5hr in the marathon, I have to average under 11.30, so I have a little ways to go yet.


Anyway, today’s run brought me to a total of 170.63km for the month of august, or 106.02 miles. I’ve had months where run/walk/bike total was over 100 but it’s been a while since I’ve had a 100 mile running month, I think it’s during the last marathon training round in 2012.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


21.1km 3.13.59hr 9.14min/km

It’s imperative, 6 weeks to the marathon, to get to minimum HM distance in my long runs. Actually longer, but one step at a time. Try for 17 miles / 27km next weekend.

Went out early in the morning, plotted the course along bowen road. Ate oatmeal for breakfast, took 3 gu packets with me as well as energy drink. Planned stopping points too, I realised that just stopping, resting and refueling for a few minutes is better than stubbornly plodding on. Can probably recoup those few minutes via the overall faster pace.

I read that the kfc double down has finally arrived, so I thought I’d go and try it out. The doubledown started as an april’s fool day press release in 2010, it’s a chicken sandwich with 2 pieces of chicken acting as the bread and bacon & cheese filling. It achieved some sort of geeky legendary status via social media. Everyone wanted to try it when it came out.

Only the fried version was available, I would have preferred the grilled. It came with nachos and runny cheese sauce as the side, I would have preferred a choice of fries or coleslaw or corn. The doubledown itself was smaller than expected. I couldn’t tell whether it was white or dark meat, probably breast, looking at the size and shape. The chicken was pretty okay, standard kfc taste. The bacon and cheese had no taste whatsoever. The whole thing had a boring soggy texture.

The one criticism aimed at the doubledown from day one was salt content. Absolutely right. Very salty and without the normal bread to soak up the saltiness. I won’t have it again, but I’m glad I tried it.


More normal dinner of noodles, fish and veg at parents’ place, plus watermelon afterwards. Even with the monstrous doubledown meal, I’m at negative calories for the day.

in being healthy |


16.01km 2.33.25hr 9.35min/km

tl;dr: wanted to do 17 miles, couldn’t even manage 17km

Long runs need to get longer, and yet I don’t have the endurance. Ran up to the desolate housing estate, then to a new park a little further away. It’s divided into 4 sections, with oddly-communist sounding names: Morse Park no. 1, Morse Park no. 2 and so on, divided by roads. The largest one is no. 3, which has several football pitches, basketball courts, a swimming pool and an indoor sports centre. About 1km to run totally around the park. It’s surrounded by the nearby housing estates so is busy with runners, walkers and people taking a shortcut. It’s nice. The problem was, there seemed to be only one water fountain and it was out of order, ugh. I’d brought a bottle of energy drink with me, but it wasn’t enough. Managed 8km up to that point.

Crossed the road to no. 1, which is quite small so I just did one circuit. No. 4 was better, medium sized with a garden, tennis courts, children playground and even a skateboarding section. And a working water fountain. Got another 5km in.

The route home was through another park, quite small and very crowded due to its proximity to a shopping centre and station. By then I was barely able to put one foot in front of the other so I struggled to do a couple of circuits then headed back. 3km home.

16km is 10 miles, so at least I got to that milestone. Aim for HM distance next long run.

Anyway, this was a circular rainbow mum spotted the other day. Enhanced via instagram.

in 101.1001 , being healthy , challenges |


Task #40 of 101.1001 is to complete the walk to mordor challenge of 1779 miles / 2863km.

Today I reached milestone 3: from lothlorien down the anduin to rauros falls at 1309 miles / 2106km. According to people who keep track of such things, this part of the journey took 11 days and was mostly paddling on the river. From then on the fellowship breaks up and continue independently: frodo and sam 470 miles to mt doom; merry and pippin 355 miles to isengard; aragorn, legolas and gimli takes a longer route of 484 miles to isengard.

There are only 470 miles left on the task, I will be able to complete this. A goal is by the end of the year; B goal is by the end of Q1 next year. I’ll probably do the back part of there and back again: after being rescued by giant eagles there is the 1625 miles from minas tirith back to bag end.

in being healthy |


11.02km 1.43.31hr 9.24min/km

8 miles on the schedule. If I were still at home I’d go out around 5pm, but it’s more difficult at parents’ place. 3.30pm at 33ºC is not an ideal time. The sun was blazing down fiercely. There were more people running at the park towards the end of the run, this is when I get envious of men, because most of them were shirtless. Sigh.

I took breaks every 4km, stopped at the water fountain for 2-3mins. Split conveniently into 3 missions. The first half was at a decent pace, then slower and slower and slower. The last km was walking. Summer training is brutal.

in being healthy |

8.15km 1.05.40hr 8.03min/km

Is it possible to train for a marathon in 11 weeks? Essentially, no. But I’m going to try anyway and hope that I’ve retained some residual fitness from before. I only managed a few 5k and 10k runs in July, the longest was 12k. If I’d followed the plan, I should be doing 15 miles or 24k weekend runs by now. So I’m woefully behind and to all intents and purposes, starting from scratch. Well, not exactly from week 1, I’m going to follow the plan as if the July blip hadn’t happened. Week 9 starts with 4 miles, which in theory should be fine.

Except for jetlag, plus cough, plus it’s 32ºC. Excuses excuses.

I did drag myself out in the afternoon. All the way to the second water fountain and back, except the second water fountain was out of order. Have to remember that, and bring water next time. I got home and drank a whole litre of herbal water afterwards.


The problem is, I know what it takes to train for a marathon. I even know what I need to do if I want to PR. At this rate, I’m hoping I don’t go slower than my slowest. I mean, 5.38 is ridulously slow. Any slower is almost dead last. There are all sorts of encouraging quotes around, that dead last is better than not finishing or starting; or a slow runner is lapping all those on the couch. In other words

DL > DNF > DNS > couch

I take a small amount of solace from that.

in being healthy |


I’m still smarting over the truncated slow run yesterday. It’s less than 100 days until the marathon and I don’t have my training act together. It’s frustrating.

A little encouragement from lifehacker, that it’s okay to be slow. Then again the article is by a runner who wins age-group medals so I’ll take what she says with a large grain of salt. Her article is based on one by a running coach Jeff Gaudette who talked about people reluctant or too embarrassed to join a running group because they are slow:

chances are there is always going to be someone faster than you, fast is relative

He also says that runners are one of the most welcoming group of people, which I guess is true. Whenever I meet someone who runs, we can always find topics in common. An interesting question from Coach Gaudette:

No runner I know has a problem slowing down to run with a friend. Think about it. Would you enjoy a run with a friend, even if you had to slow down considerably for them to keep up? I bet you would.

Again, true. Occasionally an idiot on /r/running will humblebrag about his 15min 5k and not wanting to slow down for his friend, but posts like these are always downvoted.

Still, I wish I had the motivation to: a) lose a stone so I’m faster; b) run more so I’m faster; run smarter so I’m faster.

in being healthy |


12.09km 1.52.52hr 9.20min/km

Some days I know, within 5 minutes, whether the day’s run will be good or not. Today’s run…wasn’t. The training plan called for 12 miles (20km) and I knew I wasn’t ready for it—I’m undertrained and it was around 27ºC with the sun beating down. My goal was 2hrs, hoping that I can get at least 8-9 miles. At the beginning of the run I reached the end of the block and felt sluggish and heavy, my mind went, “uh oh.”

I ran around the field opposite the church, and included part of the church car park and some leafy streets around the area. Started okay, but simply couldn’t get moving. Struggled to 6k, then to 10k and had to really push the last 2k, I was more at walking pace.

To make matters worse, I think I’ve gained weight. My jeans don’t fit as well. Been eating heavier food than normal. Yesterday before theatre we went to moody’s pub in edgewater and had a really great cheeseburger and a dark beer. It’s not the food really, we haven’t been over indulging; it’s my own fault for not running enough and skipping training. If I want to PR at the marathon, I must do better.

in being healthy |


6.0km 44.48min 7.28min/km

A couple of running accessories arrived today. A small foam roller that is sort of portable—it comes with a carrying bag afterall. The foam roller I have at home is a 36” high density model, it’s very essential. This one is 12” with ridges and a smaller lower density one that slips perfectly inside the outer one. They work great, although I had to get used to the smaller width.

The other item is another set of headphones. I have something like 4-5 headphones I use regularly for running. I don’t find earbuds useful—they slip out, no matter what size—so I’m always on the lookout for headphones that will work for my ears. These are newer models of my favourite ones, and even these are discontinued so I don’t know how much longer I can still get them.

Went out for a faster run today, managed 6k outside. Still too slow for my liking. 7.28 is a 5.15 marathon; if I were to break 5hrs I need to go below 7.07. And training isn’t going as well as I would like. Sigh.

in being healthy |


18.19km (11 miles) 2.49.47hr 9.20min/km

The training schedule for this weekend is 6 miles, for next weekend is 11 miles. I switched the 2 weekends because I’m travelling and unlikely to have time for 11 miles next weekend. It’s a band-aid solution, because in 2 weeks it’s 13 miles and I’ll be in Chicago. I wonder how I can run a HM on the treadmill.

Anyway, it was a tough run. It started okay, I had oatmeal breakfast so I felt fueled up. It was very hot though, I was dripping and thoroughly wet quickly. So much so that my t-shirt and shorts were totally soaked.

Ran to the end of Bowen Road (6km), back to the first water fountain, then back to the end. I’m lucky that there are 2 water fountains, so I didn’t need to bring water. I split the run into different missions on zombies run, because that’s how ZR4 missions work now. There was a 5min rest period in the middle. Towards the end, I was pretty knackered so it was a lot of walking. Went to the supermarket to pick up some quick stuff and I could feel my calves beginning to tighten, but I walked it off.

It was so hot and I was so tired I didn’t have much of an appetite. Ham & egg sandwich for lunch, and I couldn’t finish the sandwich. Fish and salad for dinner. Definitely lots of calories left over for the day.

in being healthy |

I didn’t tell my parents about my back pain; I did the stretching exercises in my room, and went about my business as usual, albeit a little bit slowly. I did that for my own sanity. I know that their first reaction will be one or more of: take medicine, put on medicated rub, see doctor. They are so convinced that the only solution to medical problems is to medicate, and seeing a doctor is the only course of action. It’s come to a point where I daren’t sniff, cough or even rotate my shoulders in front of my mum.


I don’t know if it’s a generational thing, or an age thing. I definitely hope not the latter; I can’t stand thinking that I’d become them, counting out half a dozen pills every day and going to the doctor’s at the drop of a hat. May be it’s the elephant in the room, the fear of dying. As we grow older, we are more aware and afraid of every little pain or discomfort, because it may signal or turn into something more sinister. My parents are lucky in that their medical care is free, may be if they needed to pay (like I have to get insurance myself), they’d behave differently. I really don’t know.

I find that I’m not the only one with a different attitude towards healthcare than my parents:

Doctors and medicines - my mother’s belief was that these and only these could ever have a positive impact on health.

I applied to study medicine at university before being rejected and switching to chemistry. While I’m satisfied at the way my career worked out, sometimes when I’m watching a medical documentary or a program like ER I wonder if I would have been a good doctor. The reality is the medicine is all about business nowadays, to the detriment of its fundamental operating principle, helping people.

It seems though, that the world has turned into lose-lose propositions for both doctors and patients. Atul Gawande talked about overkill and the proliferation of no-value care: a study of 1 million medicare patients found that 25-42% received at least one of 26 tests and treatments determined to have no benefit or to be outright harmful. The problem is, health services are paid based on treatment provided, not illness prevented. An interesting analogy:

Why would doctors and nurses want to help people look after themselves? It is tantamount to a top restaurant learning that their new task is going to be - in addition to serving splendid food in a smart environment - teaching people to cook at home. Why undermine the business by running cookery classes?

Scrap that. There is a big winner in all of this. Pharmaceutical companies enjoy profit margins of almost 20%. Yes, I know R&D costs are high, risks are high and once a drug comes out of patent the company can no longer make money. But these companies don’t seem to be suffering. It’s an endless cycle—patients expect drugs, doctors prescribe drugs, pharmaceutical companies charge more and more for the drugs. It’s an endless cycle.

When I was in my teens and twenties, I had a great GP. His prescription to most of my illnesses, especially when it was flu-like, was rest and a few paracetamols if I want to. I’m probably at the extreme of the spectrum. I don’t like going to see the doctor, not because I’m afraid of going to the clinic or hospital, but because I don’t think a course of antibiotics is the solution. Rest, healthy eating and exercise will help strengthen our bodies against common infections. The only exception, I take anti-histammines for my allergy, that can’t be helped.

I think it’s called taking responsibility for my own health.

One of the discovery channels has just started showing The Food Hospital, where nutrition is used to target medical conditions and symptoms such as diabetes, acid reflux and skin allergies. It’s fascinating viewing. Food isn’t the cure for in every case, but if it can help cancer, it can’t be dismissed out of hand.

I recently met a lady in her 70s who look barely older than me, who had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago. She is now the picture of health after changing her diet to a healthier one, and taking up meditation and taichi. She teaches a class every saturday at 9.30am, I need to get off my arse and go to one of those. And drag Mum along too.


Should we reach for the pill bottle every time we feel under the weather? Probably not. Should we abandon medicine for alternative or nutritional therapies? Probably not. The answer is somewhere in between. Eat sensibly, exercise often, go to the doctor when necessary. Figure out what works for ourselves. We only have one body each, and one lifetime each, if we don’t take responsibility for it, no one else will.

in being healthy |


All of a sudden yesterday night my lower back started to really hurt. I get back pain sometimes after a run, which is why I rely so heavily on my foam roller. I’m at parents’ so no roller or alternative, and this time it’s especially painful and stiff. I googled and found quite a lot of stretches aimed at reliefing lower back tension. Put the images together in one place for easy reference.

Wow, I didn’t realise how stiff my hips and hamstrings are. I could feel the strain when I do these exercises. Not quite cured of back pain but feeling a bit looser in places. Plus, improving hip extension is good for running.

I especially like this hamstring stretch. I use a resistance band and a small pillow in place of the yoga gear.

in being healthy |


5.0km 40.22min 8.04min/km

A rare beautiful blue sky day without visible pollution. Going out during the day was impossible so I made dinner early and went out at around 7.30pm. Still a little bit of light out in the beginning. The park was probably lit and still open, but since it’s just a 5k scheduled today, I ran up and down the street. Gentle hills, not a lot of foot traffic and definitely not stiflingly hot.

When I started running, I used to run after dinner, well into the evening. I remember chatting with Car (on yahoo messenger!) and she was so worried because it was almost 11pm. Yes, need to be careful, but it’s pretty safe. The downside of night running was that I drank a lot of water afterwards and I normally avoid drinking so much water too late into the night. Then again, it’s replacing water not storing. I think it’s worth going for the short runs at night, makes a change and I can do some speedwork.

in being healthy |


5.01km 45.20min 9.04min/km #running hills 32ºC

18 weeks till Chicago Marathon marks the beginning of proper marathon training. Following Higdon novice 2, like last time.

According to the program, today is a rest day actually. But I changed his plan a little—switched all his tuesday runs to monday. I’m also not going to find a HM race, or any race, in August so that’s a bust.

I went for the first run of 5k (3 miles) around the neighbourhood. This means up and down hills. Not required, but I’ll try to add more intensity if I can. Running through Central London with a backpack for my midweek run last time helped with the weekend long runs. The heat will also help build my endurance.

in being healthy |

The problem with entering a race in October is the bulk of the training takes place during the summer months. If the weather regularly reaches over 30ºC and 90% humidity, it’s very unpleasant for being outdoors, let alone trying to run. I’m still not back at pre-holiday form, and add on the weather, recent outdoor runs have been poor:

  • 09-may: 9.5km 1.23.45hr 8.49min/km
  • 18-may: 10.02km 1.40.00hr 9.59min/km
  • 21-may: 5.01km 39.40min 7.55min/km
  • 25-may: 8.0km 1.16.45hr 9.36min/km *
  • 27-may: 6.36km 49.13min 7.44min/km

*wanted to do 10k, had to cut short because it was so hot, barely any shade.

It’s common sense, that heat and humidity affects performance. The explanation is fairly scientific too: when it’s hot, body temperature rises. Sweating is a mechanism for the body to cool down (thermodynamics: energy is required to convert liquid to gas, the energy in this case comes from body heat). When it’s humid, sweat can’t evaporate into the saturated atmosphere and stays on the body. Body temperature continues to rise causing heartrate to increase. The body compensates by diverting blood and oxygen from muscles to skin capillaries for cooling, and the body slows down.


The best condition for running is cold (around 10-12ºC) with a breeze and preferably with lots of shade or cloud cover. Running coach Jeff Galloway has a chart that correlates pace with temperature (I converted to ºC). It’s not scientific, but based on his and other runners’ experiences. It makes sense.


The folks at runontexas (via) has a table that shows the change with heat and humidity. This is in seconds per mile and assumes humid conditions means over 60%. It’s not hard to project that the effect when it’s over 90% will be even more pronounced.


As always, plotting data out in a chart makes it even easier to understand. The decrease in pace is exponential, once it gets to 30ºC and humid, expect to add 3 minutes per mile, that’s 2 mins per km.


Translating that to my own running. If I optimistically assume a base pace of 6.40min/km (10.45min/mi), then with current conditions, um, first of all it’s not recommended. If I did go running, then it’s a minimum of 8.32 pace. Since I’m nowhere near my base pace, I should expect to go even slower. This puts my recent runs into perspective, I haven’t been doing too badly on the shorter runs, need to build up endurance for longer runs. Wear a hat, find shade, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The latest run was decent, I stuck to shaded paths and drank about 1.5l of sports drink during the run, and more afterwards.

So this is all kinda depressing, but looking on the bright side, there is a silver lining:

when cooler weather returns you will be surprised at how you are in better condition and can run faster than you expect - often coinciding just in time for your goal fall race

I can only hope.

in being healthy , objects of desire |

nikefree201501 Saucony Kinvara 4 Running Shoes
nike frees are mine, kinvaras courtesy sprogz

Always on the lookout for running shoes and related news. Gear Patrol has 25 best running shoes of 2015, and the trend is the blurring of lines between the traditional neutral, stability and minimal labels. Looking at the road (vs trail) selection, there are the usual brooks, mizuno, nike, new balance (ugh) as well as the more unfamiliar skora, karhu and APL. I’m surprised there are no sauconys or asics, I adore my kinvaras especially since they are in orange.

They’re all expensive, US$100 or more; the nike lunar 3 are $200. Eeep, eeep and double eeep.

I think anything over $120 is excessive, my preferred price point is $50-80. There’s an argument that even $50 is too expensive. Supermarkets and high street shops offer way cheaper models. Saw that someone reviewed $16 walmart running shoes. They do look pretty good, probably because they’re a copy of nike free 3.0s. But that’s where the positive ends. The foam at the bottom comes off, there is no grip, the material is even more inflexible than a regular leather shoe. The takeaway lesson: $16 walmart running shoes are really bad. Save up, look out for prior years’ models or watch out for runningwarehouse specials. For instance, mizuno waves are $55 and kinvara 5s are $60. These don’t cause blisters and last for thousands of miles.

Talking about sneaker reviews, here’s a hilarious one via digg of a seriously monotone review of air jordans including an incredibly detailed description of every.single.side of the box:

on this side of the box there is the color black

Anyway, once we get our new running shoes, we need to learn how to lace and tie them properly. There are so many methods of lacing for different purposes. Sometimes I get nagging pain at the top of my foot so the hotspot method may work. The runners’ tie that loops around the top eyelet is well known and a good tip.


I’ve also been taught to lace my sneakers so the laces end up on the inside at the top. Securely tie and the knot stays in place to make it easy to slip off and put on the shoes. There’s this way of lacing so that the laces are hidden inside the shoes and don’t get tangled up, may be I’ll try this out too.

in being healthy , techtalk |

Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way first. I love the zombies, run app; I paid for the all access pass, it’s my most expensive purchase in the app store; if Six to Start claims there are 1 million users then I’m one of a million.

So I should be all over the new version, right? Existing players instantly get seasons 1-3 plus interval training plus race missions. Prettier interface, recaps of prior missions, autoplay next mission, spotify support, adjustable chases, integration with healthkit. All sounds fabulous.

zombiesrun401 zombiesrun402 zombiesrun403

I expected great things when I opened the updated app, and it did look pretty. But I was quickly disappointed. Many many issues, and from fb / twitter it seems like I’m not alone (phew, I guess). Here’s a quick summary:

the good

  • brilliant graphics — the old app was pretty, the graphics on v4.0 really popped
  • time based missions — big improvement on before when the duration of a mission was a) based on the normal or long setting; b) a guessing game on exactly how long. Now I can see that a mission is 40mins, and I can set the intervals of the clips (announcements) to fit a mission into my run
  • most of the other functionalities seem to be there, plus some new ones
  • my township hasn’t changed, although the old-styled graphics aren’t up to par with the new design


the bad
  • space hog — its easily the app that uses up the most storage on my iphone, aside from music and photos. I remember i had to delete apps and mp3s from my old iphone 4 because I was running out of storage space
  • pay-to-play — a legacy runner would have paid around US$25 if they’d purchased each module at full price; an all access pass up to season 3 was $18 full price or $10 if we were lucky enough to get it during one of the sales. The new pay-to-play costs $20 a year (or $8 for legacy runners) and includes all modules up to season 4. This means a dedicated user, having spent $25 already, will need to pay an extra $8 a year. A new player only needs to spend $20 this year. Doesn’t seem very fair to legacy users. That said, the other option is to not get sucked into the subscription model and wait for each mission to be rolled out. I’m only at season 2, so I’m perfectly happy to wait it out, by the time I reach season 4, most if not all the missions would have been rolled out
  • missions reset — this was the biggest shock and frustration in the new version, to see that I’ve been reset to s1m01. The odd thing is, my run log shows my runs so it means the data is there somewhere and they haven’t ported it to the new version. Why they would do that, it’s puzzling
  • all settings lost — had to redo settings like units, not unusual when there are new features but not good from a customer experience point of view
  • had to redownload all missions — I think it’s related to the data migration, I have to download all missions from scratch, it’s very annoying
  • missions after May missing — more data migration issues, the zombielink webpage is down, and they say it’ll be back soon. Again, it means the upgrade to v4.0 was not seamless and actually was a backwards step
  • many report of crashes — the first few days over the weekend the fb page was full of reports of the app not opening or crashing. Fingers crossed I don’t have that issue, I feel sorry for the people experiencing the problems
  • music cut off for mission clips — this is supposed to be an improvement, but it’s proving to be a bad user experience. There I was, happily listening to music while running when it suddenly stops and I hear silence for 5 seconds, then the story clip plays. At the end of the clip, there’s again silence before music plays again. In prior versions, clips played after a song finishes, not in the middle of a song, it’s jarring and very annoying, especially the silence. Music fades when we pick up a supply or material, why can’t clips play with the music faded in the background?
  • story clips not audible — the volume is set too low or something, I can’t hear the clip properly, I want to listen to Sam and Janine and everyone
  • radio abel — doesn’t play after mission is completed
  • new players get 3 materials per mission vs 1 for legacy players — small gripe, typical of new versions of games, new players always have it easy
  • fewer chases — in prior versions, there were about 2-3 chases every 30mins, now there’s a good 30-45min gap between each one. I don’t always use chases, because I may be stuck at a traffic light when a chase is on, but it can be an issue
  • automatically continues to next mission, no radio abel — this is what I read on fb, I don’t know if turning off automatic continuation will solve this

the ugly

  • lack of response on issues, FAQ not updated — aside from a few lame “sorry about that, please log in again” replies, the devs have not responded to the majority of fb and twitter comments, the FAQ has a known issues section, which hasn’t been updated. Most of us are used to updates and glitches in software, where a company succeeds is when they are upfront about the glitches and at the very least acknowledge that there are issues and they are working on it
  • product rolled out without proper testing — seems to be a classic case of a product rolled out without adequate testing. Whether or not it’s due to commercial pressure or what, we don’t know. I’ve been involved in implementing new software, upgrading software or introducing new features into software, and the number one most important thing before approving a rollout is that the product has been tested to death. Rolling out a snazzy looking new version that forgets a user’s progress, especially in something like running training, is a fatal error. Are the devs runners themselves? Do they use the app? Did they take it out for a run during UAT? The issues like crashes and progress reset would have been blindingly obvious if they’d beta tested properly. Remember all these bad software updates? Yep, people still remember them

It’s the worst thing, when data is migrated properly everybody starts where they left off and all is good. If they are still working on data migration now, what will happen to runs and missions while the migration is taking place? Will new missions be merged or overwritten? I didn’t want to randomly select a mission, or even pick up where I left off in season 2, so I did a supply run. Worst case scenario, I lose the supplies I picked up. Again, it’s okay for a running app, imagine it’s people’s finances or a company’s HR roster. If a bank rolled out a new version where people’s bank accounts are reset to zero balance, they would be out of business by the end of the week.

If all this sounds negative, it’s not really. It’s one person’s account of experiencing an update. My app works, I have a workaround and it’s not the end of the world if I have to restart from s1 or hold off building my township for a while. I’m okay about waiting till data is ported over. Like one fb poster who put it succinctly:

just embracing the chaos

in arts and media , being healthy |

London Marathon on Sunday. 35th anniversary of the first one, how time flies. And I remember the two winners at the end crossing the finishing line together holding hands, even though I can’t remember their names. I’m annoyed that it, like most major races, has been hijacked by charities. I recognise the need for charitable giving but forcing people to cough up or raise thousands of pounds as a condition of entry is ridiculous.

I didn’t watch the livestream, so I’m browsing around people’s home videos and interviews. The biggest moments for me are those of Paula Radcliffe. Starting with club runners, the first female club finisher at 2:36:55. No one cared that much about her time. The story of how a running store ran out of women’s running shoes after her world record in 2003 is one example of how she inspired so many to run.

I hope against hope that marathons don’t become over-commercialised and too focused on charities. The argument is I could race in lower profile races. That’s true. I do still want to experience the crowd and buzz of London one day.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |

boxinggloves boxingring

Task #45 of 101.1001 is to take a tai chi, yoga or martial arts class. This is one of the ones carried over from the 2007 challenge. This time I was determined to sign up and attend at least one class. The opportunity came when Sis said to come with her to kickboxing class. That counts as a martial arts, right?

The gym looked pretty serious, with separate men’s and women’s sections separated by the reception area. There is a small changing room with showers. Sis had spare gloves for me but I had to get wrapping bandages for my hands and ankle protectors. The class was definitely a beginners’ class and it was more like using kickboxing moves in a cardio routine. Punching with or without gloves, kicking in the air or against the punchbag, squats, pushups, and combinations. The first part of the class was easy enough, and then the instructor started giving us more complex routines. Burpees combined with punching and kicking; crouching (as if to avoid an opponent) and crunches.

All in all, an intense workout. I got tired towards the end. Not sure if I’ll go again, perhaps. Some people like class exercises, I don’t. I prefer running and doing weights at home so I don’t need to be in the company of other people. Plus, I don’t see the point of paying so much for gym or kickboxing studio membership and class fees.

in being healthy |


5.0km 41.02min 8.12min/km

Went over to Sis’ to use the treadmill. Back to square one in terms of speed. Sigh. Looking back through my notes, the last run was on 16 March and I did 5k in 33.30min (6.41min/km). Argh.

Even though the second half of March was all walking, there was a lot of it and I ran a lot the first half. I managed to clock 95 miles for March. April, yuck. So dismal. I’ll be lucky to hit 40. Not a lot of time left, proper training starts in June and I have to get back in form during May.

in being healthy , going places |


Checked out of hotel and were on our way at 10.30am. The destination was Tullamore D.E.W. distillery visitor centre. When we were at heathrow, we met a lady at the whisky tasting counter who had lots of whisky stories and suggested that we visited the visitor centre. She also gave us a note to give to their brand ambassador. Tullamore is 1hr west of Dublin and was a detour from our planned route, so we had high expectations.


We know better now to skip the tour, especially since it was an exhibition rather than actual working distillery. Enquired about the expressions that would be part of the tasting afterwards, and as usual were not impressed by the selection. The very nice lady at the cash desk gave us 3 even better expressions to sample, free of charge. Generous tasting portions too—12 yr sherry cask, 10 yr four casks, special reserve. First time we tried this whiskey. We were most taken with the 10 year single malt that had been matured in 4 different casks: bourbon, oloroso sherry, port and madeira.

Had lunch at the restaurant, just sandwiches and shared a rhubarb crumble. Sandwiches were good, the crumble was more like crumble pie. Finished with more whiskey tastings—bonded warehouse (available at the visitor centre only) and Phoenix (retail bottles sold out). Still liking the 10yr four casks.

Even though we didn’t take the tour, we enjoyed our visit to the visitor centre. The shop had cool stuff, the tasting samples were generous and the food was fine. Great location next to a canal, so peaceful on a sunny day. I’d recommend this to anyone visiting Dublin, it’s only about 1hr’s drive.


When we got back to Dublin we hit a bit of rush hour traffic. Luckily we were booked in the same hotel as before so we knew the way. Checked in and were back out quickly. Strolled to Trinity College for pictures, then made our way to an early dinner at Bear. I’d read that this restaurant offered less popular cuts of steak like onglet, bavette and flank so we were keen to try it out. We were not disappointed. A huge (900g-1kg) bavette, chargrilled rare, arrived at our table together with the 2 sides we ordered—crispy kale and cauliflower cheese. Delicious and definitely different from the usual sirloin and rib-eye. We would definitely come again.

Still enough time before sunset to walk to St Patrick’s and Christchurch cathedrals then to Tesco before returning to our room.

in being healthy |

2015bananarace01start 2015bananarace04medal

5k (GPS=4.83km) 34.48min 7.12min/km

I ran the beat the banana race in London a few years ago. The idea is to run after a guy dressed as a banana. Definitely a fun run, organised by the World Cancer Research Fund.

Today’s race had around the same people, the course was along the harbourfront. The 5k was billed as an “elite” race; there was nothing elite about it, it was the only 5k during the event. The other races were 3k fun run and 1k kid’s race. There weren’t any people dressed as bananas on the 5k, just on the other two shorter races, which was disappointing.

No chip, and the organisers obviously put more emphasis on fun, family and charity aspect. The course measured 4.83km on my GPS. There were volunteers telling us we’d reached 2km when it was just over 1km. The halfway mark was labelled 3k on the course map. Not “elite” but still sort of fun.

A grotty, foggy, muggy, humid, cloudy morning. I ran the bulk of the race with steam on my glasses, it was that humid. Then at somewhere between 3-4k my knee gave out on me. Sigh. Managed to get to the end. Grabbed the goodie bag, the sponsored banana, a couple of bottles of water and hopped on the bus. Home by 9.30am.

in being healthy |



I ran 10 miles yesterday and felt fine. Drank 500ml of energy drink, munched on a few biscuits, took a shower and I was okay. Slept a bit earlier so it helped.

Walked a mile to the local market today to run some errands and I’m knackered. My knee hurts, my back hurts, my thighs feel like I’d played a whole game of basketball (or ran 10 miles), I sat at my desk and fell asleep.

I guess it’s not the mile-long walk, it’s recovery from the long run. That said, I’m quite happy with training progress. Slow and steady with, touch wood, no major injuries. Knee pain and back pain are to be expected, and at the moment they are both manageable. I’m a little worried about the month-long holiday, I definitely will not get the chance to follow the training program.

in being healthy |


I have a small 10-12 day window in July between my arrival and our trip to NOLA for a Chicago race. The CARA race calendar is surprisingly disappointing, nothing in July except a few in the suburbs.

Another race site is more useful, listing races that were held in 2014 with the expectation that they will be held again in 2015, useful for reference:

  • stars and stripes 5k tinley park on 04-jul — fun run, probably full of families and kids
  • bastille day 5k/8k 10-jul-2014 at lincoln park — this is the most promising in terms of date and location
  • chicago challenge 11-jul-2014 — it’s a scavenger race for teams of at least two, so unless I can find someone to team up with, this won’t work
  • chinatown 5k 12-jul-2014 — chinatown is mile 21 on the marathon, the last stretch where there are crowds before the long stretch home, the location is pretty good for a race

Confirmed 2015 races:
  • bubblepalooza 18-jul-2015 — this looks so fun! Running through bubbles. The biggest downside, it’s at libertyville, more than 50 miles from where I will be staying, sigh
  • rock n roll half 19-jul-2015 — would have been perfect except a) we are probably starting our trip to NOLA that day and b) I missed the one day coupon code because I wasn’t paying attention to my twitter feed, RNR races are expensive and a discount code is definitely needed

tl;dr: as of today, I have no Chicago race in the summer.

in being healthy |


14.29km 2.04.08hr 8.41min/km

It’s taken 20 weeks for the first major injury, so I guess it’s not too bad. This week’s long run is the furthest in the program so far, 9 miles = 14.5km so I set a 15km target. Uphill and around to a new park, then across to the usual park.

The discomfort in my knee is always there, so I try to ignore it until it suddenly gives out when I’m running or walking or going up stairs. It’s currently manageable.

About halfway through the run, I started getting an acute pain at the top of my foot, near the ankle joint. Felt like a sprain. It’s my right foot and with pain in my left knee, it was impossible to limp. I plodded my way through the second half.

There are a lot of articles about ITBS and plantar fasciitis but fewer people seem to be suffering from top of foot pain. From what I can gather, it may be due to tying shoelaces too tightly (not likely, if anything I tie them too loosely) or pressure on ligaments and tendons rom barefoot or minimalist running (again not likely, the lunar racers today have seen at least one marathon and a few hundred miles). I just have to monitor the pain and hope it doesn’t turn out to be a stress fracture.

Stupid headphones gave out on me towards the end. I was close enough to my target to stop and walk the remaining 1km home. I was really knackered and hungry and thirsty for the rest of the day. Definitely staying in and doing very little tomorrow.

in being healthy |


I went over to the massage place to have a body massage—I haven’t been for probably 1-2 years and there’s still credit on my account.

It’s not one of those soothing massage that makes you go ahhhh and fall asleep. This one hurt. The therapist focused on my problem areas—lower back, arms and calves. He hit the pressure points way too well, some spots were really painful. But I know it’s for the good.

Even though I roller my back all the time, there’s still a lot of stiffness and soreness all around because of modern living, posture and running. I wish I can remember to go more often, if only to get my lower legs and especially the IT band loosened occasionally. The left arm and wrist, well they won’t get better so quickly or readily unfortunately.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


I figured out that I probably came down with stomach upset after eating peanuts. It’s strange, because I’m not allergic to them. I can eat peanut butter by the spoonful. I snack on peanut butter and apples during marathon training—fast energy, easy to digest, great flavour combination.

These were really nice peanuts in the shell too. A little salty, crunchy with a good mouth feel. I ate some a week ago and had stomach upset too, but I didn’t think much of it then. Two weeks in a row, and both after eating peanuts? A bit of a coincidence.

My niece apparently developed peanut allergy last year. Sis, being the helicoptor / snowplough parent that she is, immediately bought a ton of stuff including an epi-pen (I guess that’s prescribed by the doctor), a practice epi-pen, badges and circulated literature on allergies. She even gave me her nutmeg because she didn’t want to chance my niece’s nut allergy. I know allergies can be extreme, but I can’t help feeling that parents overblow things like this.

I was watching a travel & food program and remember seeing the presenter trying street noodles in Vietnam. He expressed concern after seeing the street vendor liberally sprinkle the noodles with peanuts. His guide, a Westerner who has lived in SE Asia for a long time, replied tellingly,

there are no food allergies in the third world

I don’t think the guide was trying to say anything bad about the developing world. He was probably just saying that when you don’t know where and when your next meal may come from, you simply don’t reject food, any food.

Severe food allergy on a massive scale seem to be a first world problem. Studies suggested that food allergies have risen 50% in children since 1997; with occurrence of peanut allergy tripling between 1997 and 2008. That’s staggering. Some of the increase may stem from better awareness, but a lot has to do with external factors.

Why are we allergic to naturally occurring material like nuts, seafood and pollen? There are several theories that on initial examination seem to be contradictory but on reflection may be cumulative:

  1. clean air, better sewage treatment and fewer bacteria means our immune system has nothing to attack, so it mistakes harmless allergens (food proteins, cat hair, pollen etc) for something invasive that has to be attacked — this is the popular hygiene theory and partially explains why allergies are mainly first world problems
  2. too much exposure to antibiotics means our bodies’ natural immune system have either been destroyed or have become overly dependent on medication, therefore unable to handle the stimulation when exposed to allergens
  3. we spend too much time indoors and vitamin D deficiency correlates to increases in allergies

This doesn’t explain why I all of a sudden reacted to a handful of peanuts. I don’t think I’m allergic per se, may be a mild intolerance to this particular batch, or the stomach upset is due to something else. I should eat them in moderation and check for stomach symptoms afterwards.

In the meantime, as spring approaches, I’m mentally preparing myself for another miserable year of allergies. I know I’m badly allergic to dust and pollution. There were days last year when I needed 3 antihistammines a day, when the normal dosage is one a day. I need to move to a country where the air is better.

in being healthy |


Yay, I broke 100 miles of run/walk/bike in january. Actual total 103 miles, of which 60 miles was running. That works out to be 15 miles a week, so there’s a long way to go in terms of marathon training—I need to get to 25-30 miles a week by the time the proper 18-week training program begins. Most of the walking was at the end of a run, when I go to the market near the parks and walk back after grabbing some fruit & veg or coke zero. So-called biking is on mum’s stationary bike.

I know it’s only the 30th and I could go tomorrow for an easy 4km to get to 100km running total. It doesn’t matter, I’ll get to 100km running soon enough, long runs in february are ramping up to 8miles/13km.

edit: did a couple miles walking on the 31st, bringing the monthly total to 105 miles / 169 km.

in being healthy |


I like training with weights and TRX, but to mix it up a little, I played with mum’s resistance band for a bit. Lots of exercises available online, articles and youtube. Tried front chest press, bentover row, lunge with twist and pilé squat. Easy to use, and even more perfect for travelling than the TRX.

in being healthy |

Organic Wall
flickr / steve oliver

I called the YMCA about their indoor climbing wall. For anyone to use it, they must show that they are competent by being a member of a climbing club, or having gotten a certification from the YMCA themselves. The introductory course is on tuesday evening or saturday afternoon, for 3 hours, and very reasonably priced.

When I was very young, I loved climbing on rocks and stuff. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at wall climbing. I hope I have enough upper body strength for it, but apparently it’s leg strength and coordination. I’m okay with leg strength—at least what I’ve built up whilst running. My only reservation is the current state of my wrist; my left wrist has always been problematic and it’s been swollen with sudden sharp pain for a couple of weeks. The pain manifests in certain situations and positions like taking the laundry from the washing machine, or doing bentover rows. Seems to be fine when gripping.

Anyway, I have the details now.

in being healthy |


I’m trying to compile a list of marathons I’d like to try. There are a lot of marathons: at least one every weekend somewhere in the world. I’m sorting by the date registrations open, but sometimes the websites are coy about it, either it’s not the right time of year or they want people to sign up for their email newsletters. We all know it’s not the newsletter but the email address that matters.

So, my wishlist. Mostly I like bigger marathons because of organisation and crucial crowd support. Otherwise the route has to be an attraction by itself.

    world marathon majors:
  • chicago — I’ve done chicago and it’ll always be my home race
  • london — I try, and I try, and I try the lottery, I’ll get in one of these days; I’d love to call london my home race but I can’t do that until I’ve actually run it at least once
  • new york — registration opened this week and I got as far as the final page before realising they charge $11 just to enter the lottery and the race fee for 2015 is $255. Can I just say, daylight robbery? Yes, I am aware of the enormous amount of resources needed to organise a major marathon; I’m also aware that the NYC marathon is worth $340million and the NYRR reports $55million in revenue. So, the $11+$255 price tag? They charge it because they can, ugh
  • tokyo — I’ve heard great things about tokyo, in terms of organisation (no surprise) and the fantastic crowd support, may be I’ll try the lottery for 2016
  • I’m less keen on berlin, because it’s more important to get into london
  • I’ll never get into boston so I won’t even think about it

  • city marathons:
  • uk — brighton which I’m glad has shaken off the London consolation price image; stratford-upon-avon, windermere and others with scenic route; islay single malt marathon (whisky, yay!); may be not perhaps more boring locations like milton keynes, sorry
  • europe — amsterdam; copenhagen; paris because of the route; vienna; zurich—any major city will be great; smaller places like seville and malta could be great to combine with a trip
  • americas — big sur, MCM, niagara—mostly for the scenic routes, there are way too many marathons in us and canada, my eyes glazed over the list
  • asia — any japan marathon like osaka, kyoto, hokkaido; not singapore or hong kong because of weather, inferior organisation and terrible routes through empty highways, tunnels and car parks—outside of japan there will be very little crowd or organisational support so it’s not worth considering
  • ANZ — melbourne great ocean road, sydney, rotorua

  • destination marathons:
  • easter island — just imagine
  • arctic circle in finland or midnight sun in norway
  • marathon du médoc — oh the wine
  • tarawera — it’s actually a 50k ultra, but it combines stunning new zealand features like geysers, waterfalls with cream tea, that’s worth the extra training to get to 50k

That was just marathons. The list for half marathons is even bigger.

in arts and media , being healthy |

It’s January. People make resolutions which inevitably include losing weight and exercising more. Newspapers and magazines are full of articles about the 10 ways to start running or 5 foods to eat instead of cake. The intentions are noble and grand; the tone of these articles at times seem condescending, but if it inspires someone, then it’s all for the good.

Except, apparently, women in the UK aged 14-40 are not exercising. Sport England conducted extensive research to find out that 2 million fewer women than men regularly participate in sports. Worryingly, there doesn’t seem to be such a big disparity in other European countries. They heard that one of the main reasons is that of body image and fear of judgement. With that in mind, they launched a campaign called this girl can:

to inspire women to wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome

The campaign includes videos showing real women of all ages, shapes and sizes exercising and enjoying the exercise. The beat of Missy Eliott’s Get Ur Freak On is combined with catchy inspiration quotes like “I jiggle, therefore I am” and “hot and not bothered” to get the inactive off their couches.

There are criticisms for the campaign. The ads have been described as clumsy and and having some of the worst typographic design you’ve seen in ages. The Guardian is disappointed that the campaign still plays into the norms of objectifying female flesh by referring to women of all ages as girls and using the familiar video formula

where highly mobile, athletic female bodies are performing for a male audience

I think that any campaign that gets people exercising and watching their health is a good thing. Healthcare shouldn’t be just about curing illness; it should also focus on improving health to prevent illness. Not enough money, resources or focus goes to the latter. With binge drinking in women increasing at an alarming rate, any effort to get them from the pub to the gym is worthwhile.


Will the campaign succeed? Let’s hope so. It needs more positive images and messages. I guess they had to use innuendos like “I kick balls” to grab attention when they should have focused on the friendship and camaderie of participating in a team sports. I like the one of the cyclist lapping everyone on the couch. I also like the one where a mum exercises in the living room with her kids [youtube]. There should be more emphasis on the benefits of exercise besides looks.

Will it change people’s attitude towards body image? That’s a longer battle to fight. I never understand the issues behind body image concern, although I know plenty of people who are worried about how other people see and judge them. I’m puzzled at why, for instance, mum spends so much money on eye gel, goes for dubious skin treatments and stands in front of the mirror for what seems like hours before going out. I try to tell her that no one on the street will give a damn about how her, and why on earth is she bothered about what the shop assistant thinks. I’ve come to the conclusion that people believe certain things and act in certain ways because they themselves are like that—people who are afraid of being judged on how they look are the ones who are guilty of judging others. This type of attitude is what needs to change.

Anyway, I have 6 miles to run this weekend. In my tatty t-shirt and cheap shorts. I will end up covered in sweat with my hair like a rat’s nest underneath my cap. I won’t look at anyone and I don’t think anyone will look at me.

in being healthy |


9.51km 1.12.09hr 7.35min/km

Opened a new pair of running shoes and braved the crowded weekend route. A little surprised at the discipline of the people running and walking there today; the majority were able to keep to one side of the path and share happily with other users. Except one idiot dog owner who was playing catch ball with her two medium-sized dogs on a narrow path thatbarely accommodates 3 people abreast. What did I expect? It’s a dog owner, dog owners are the shits.

The new shoes are nike frees that I bought either at an outlet or as a running warehouse special. Can’t remember: I’ve had them a while. They are v3.0, and even though the newest versions are already 5.0, I’m happy with these older versions. Most of the time, it’s worth buying one generation back because they are a lot cheaper. They feel a bit long, fit comfortably and definitely light. I like lightweight neutral shoes and these are exactly what I want.

in being healthy |


8.22km 69.50min 8.30min/km

If I’m at home I run along Bowen Road, which is a 12km round trip if I go all the way to the end and back. At parents’ place I run at two different parks. Shorter runs I go to a small park nearby (which I’ll call park A) which has a small football field, 2 basketball courts and a jogging path. It’s not even a running path because it’s only 265m around and usually overrun with old people. One circuit of the jogging path together with 2 circuits around the football-and-basketball area just about makes it to 1km.

For longer runs I go to a larger park (park B) that has several full-sized football pitches, a swimming pool, tennis courts and an athletics track. For odd reasons they close the track at weekends, but there is a marked running path that goes all the way around the athletics arena that measures 600m. The trail (pic above) that surrounds the various playing fields in the central area is 1km so between the 2 routes, it’s already 1.6km (1 mile).

Parks A and B are next to each other on the map, separated by the famous checkboard hill, that was where airplanes made the 47° right hand turn before landing at the old airport. As an aside, watch the video, it shows how planes used to make that spectacular (and dangerous) landing in the middle of a crowded city onto a runway that has notorious crosswinds.

Anyway, I tried to look on google map and street view to see if the two parks are connected. Couldn’t really tell, but it seemed like there is a narrow path that goes up the hill and back down. So I went exploring today. The answer is, yes, the two parks are connected. As expected, from park B it’s a steep, narrow path partially hidden by trees that leads to about 100 steps on one side of the hill, then a steep and winding road down the other side that ends up at park A.


What was utterly charming are two discoveries at the top of the hill. The first is a lookout point, now partially blocked by trees. I guess that’s where plane-spotters used to go to look at planes landing at the old airport. The second discovery is an enclosed field with a big open grass/dirt area in front and a few benches at the back. Only one entrance which is gated. The sign says something like water department recreational park (can’t remember exact name, forgot to take a pic) and it’s right next to a few buildings with water department signs on the outside. What a discovery. The pic makes it look bigger, I’d say it’s about the size of a football pitch. Hard to get to, with steep access up and down, there were only about a dozen people there. I’ll try to go there again next long run.

in being healthy |


5.04km 38.37min 7.39min/km

May be it’s the longer distance weekend runs, or may be it’s the modified strides I did the other day. I finally managed a sub-40 5k at week 12 of the 52-week marathon training program.

I guess I should be cautiously pleased, at the beginning of the program my pace was abysmal, sometimes struggling to reach 9min/km. I can’t be complacent though, I need to shave another min/km to get to my baseline of 6.40min/km and I have to do it in less than 12 weeks. The real challenge is then to take 20 seconds off. A 4:30 marathon is 6.24min/km.

in being healthy |


9.02km 1.18.34hr 8.42min/km

This is the longest I’ve run since I started the 52 week marathon training program. End of week 8 already. I haven’t followed the plan exactly. I’ve run fewer days but longer distance each run. Week 8 weekend run is 4 miles (6.5km) and total for the week 12 miles over 4 runs. I did 15 miles (24 km) over 3 days this week.

I’m trying not to get too unhappy about the speed, or utter lack of it. My baseline is 6.42 and I’m two whole minutes slower. I have only myself to blame for losing my fitness level, so I’ll have to get over it. The good thing is, I ran all 9km. The only stopping breaks were at traffic lights to cross the road and a couple of stops at the water fountain. So if I don’t have my speed back, at least I’m working towards getting my endurance back.

There’s a long way to go yet. I should get started on hills or strides soon. I’m using the zombies run app so there is an element of intervals. It really is a very good app, I paid $9.99 for an all access pass when the offer was on, and it’s money well spent.

in being healthy |

#‎weights‬ 3x8: db bench 20, bbell squat w/curl 30, goblet squat w/twist 10, woodchopper lunge 10, pushup, crunch

Trying to get back into training. After more than 2 years, sigh. Running and weights. For weights I’m adding movements to bodyweight exercises. Squats with twist or curls, woodchopper lunges. Hope they do me good. I’m still not very good at pushups, will keep at it.

in 101.1001 , being healthy , challenges |


Task #39 of 101.1001 is to run/walk/bike 1001 km/miles. It started off as 1001 km, but then I changed to 1001 miles, since I was going for the 1779 mile walk to mordor (task #40) anyway.

Of course there’s a spreadsheet, keeping track of actual km/miles as well as progress needed to complete the 3 goals of 1001 km, 1001 miles and 1779 miles in 1001 days. I count running, walking, cycling and swimming too.


I’ve tried to follow the mordor target (green line), so the actual (red line) fairly mimics it. Today’s run of 5km brought me past the 1001km mark. Almost 1 year, from 01-dec-2013. More walking and stationary bike during the summer months, more running to come with winter and marathon training.

in being healthy |

running man

Surreal past few days, with acute allergy attack and medicine that made me extremely drowsy. Will probably take the last of the piriton tonight, get lots of sleep and then try to get back on track tomorrow. Or rest another day then start week 2 on monday. Luckily it’s the beginning of the training and missing a week is insignificant. I still can’t figure out what caused the allergy attack. I’m a little scared of eating shellfish or nuts or even wheat that past few days, although I’ve never had any food allergies. Most likely it was an airborne allergen or I got bitten by something.

in being healthy |

Slept almost 12hrs, with itchiness throughout the night. The angriest red patches have gone, just lighter patches remain. The redness and itchiness are moving to the extremities — both hands are swollen, both feet very red and even the scalp is irritated. I guess it’s like poison moving away so it dissolves. One would hope.

in being healthy |


Really bad day. Rash has spread everywhere, feels hot and itchy. So much so that I sat in the bathtub with cold water to cool down. Then after dinner I may have developed a fever, so time to break out the cold towel. Going to bed early, piriton makes me drowsy.

in being healthy |


All of a sudden I’m itchy all over and I have red splotches everywhere, like multiple mosquito bites. Allergy attack but I can’t think of a trigger. Food? I was sitting on mum’s armchair, may be got bitten? Went to the outpatient’s clinic and got some medicine. They gave me a piriton shot too. Feeling miserable.

in being healthy |


New article 4 actionable ways to start improving your running. Makes sense.

1. strides

run at an easy pace, and then gradually get faster until you’re at about 95% of your maximum effort. Hold that for about 2-3 seconds, and then gradually slow to a stop

Another type of intervals, a bit like sprints. The advice is to start with 4 strides, then increase to 6-8.

2. balanced strength training

There are 3 types of workouts: front & back, lateral, and rotational. Running is front & back, so to balance, do exercises that are lateral and rotational like side lunges and hay bales. Hay bales are like goblet squats with rotation.

3. negative splits are good

Some trainers say negative split means not enough effort has been put in the first half of a race. This advice says it improves endurance.

4. different long runs

Accepting that long runs are boring, it’s good to add some variety and fun. Hills, farteks, progressions.

in being healthy |


The 52 week marathon training program I found calls itself couch to marathon. I’m not a big fan of the name couch-to-[distance] but I guess I have to accept that this is exactly what it is. It doesn’t make any fancy claims:

You won’t break any records by following this plan, but it will get you to the point where you can finish a marathon with periodic walking breaks in a year’s time

It starts off really easy, and builds up distance. There are a lot of walk and rest breaks. For example week 10 mid-week 3 miles come with the instruction to run 1 mile, rest 3 mins then repeat. By the time we get to week 40 mid-week 8 miles, it’s run 4 miles then rest for 3 mins. The weekend long runs, which get up to 24 miles in week 49, tells us to run 1 mile then rest for 1 min. Honestly week 49 is the last week before taper and I should think that by then I can run more than 1 mile before resting.

I think I will follow the plan with variation, the 4-times a week schedule I like, the distance progression makes sense too. I’ll use the plan as minimum and try to do more, better. For the mid-week runs the breaks can be used as interval training; for the long runs I will let myself walk or rest more. I think that in the past I’ve done too much boring useless steady-state running as opposed to intervals.

Every training plan tells us to cross train. I have at my weights, TRX and found a bunch of interestingly named bodyweight workouts. With names like mulan, hold my beer and sherlock workout, I’m sure I’ll find a fun one.

So today is week 01 day 01. The instruction is to jog (not run) 1 mile then walk 1 mile for a total of 2 miles. That’s it. And so I did my usual 5k run except I just ran around the flat instead of bothering to go outside.

in being healthy , sports active , techtalk |


Four years ago today on 10-10-10, I ran my first marathon, Chicago, in 5:38. This coming Sunday, 45,000 people will race the course over 19 neighbourhoods. Next year, I hope to join them. I deferred my 2014 place so I basically have a guaranteed entry for 2015.

I’m both scared and excited. I have not been running as much for the past year or so. I found a 52 week training plan which includes runwalking and allows short breaks during longer runs. Towards the last 18 weeks, it puts in more mileage than the Higdon novice 2 plan and gets up to 24miles (vs 20 for Higdon). Sounds good.

Technology and theories have changed since 2010, the market is flooded with wearables and fitness trackers. I retired my garmin, because it’s too bulky, too limited, and takes too long to find a satellite signal. Saw a new sock sensor that does real-time analysis of foot-striking position and stride and gives feedback via an app. Not sure I want a voice shouting “you’re heel striking!” in my ears when I’m struggling in the middle of a run though.


Ah, heel striking. That’s me, 2011 chimarathon. Note the knee brace, the KT tape, the orange sauconys and the heel striking. I have repeatedly been told that heel striking is bad, it increases the chances of injury and all that. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to change to fore- or mid-foot striking, and whenever I manage it, I feel quicker. When I’m tired, I lapse back to my natural heel striking form.

Turns out, heel striking isn’t the enemy of good running form. Changing footstrike may reduce knee injuries, but it may also lead to other types of injuries. My takeaway from the article is, it’s okay to heel strike at slower paces, it seems that both stride and strike will change with faster speeds. Since I’m aiming for a 12:00/mile, it probably doesn’t matter that much.

in being healthy , challenges |

in being healthy , challenges |

I wanted to go running but it was a) 35°C b) so muggy I could see the pollution and then c) thunderstorms came. A day to stay indoors and work on weights.

in being healthy , challenges |

Task #8 of 30in30 is to do mindfulness meditation for 20mins.

I’ve been diligently doing sb&t daily and although I’m not sure I’m seeing results, it’s a nice way to close my eyes and slow down for 10mins. I particularly enjoy the body scan meditations, which is just slowly becoming aware of parts of our body moving through head, neck, shoulders, back, arms and legs.

I found this 20min guided mindfulness exercise that is 100% body scan. It took me a few beats to get used to a new voice — this one is a British guy vs the usual American woman on sb&t. Once I got past that, I was able to follow the meditation.

I even tried a few steps of mindful walking when I was walking to the bus stop. May be I’ll download something to the iphone to listen to next time I’m out and about.

in being healthy , challenges |

Task #6 of 30in30 is to do 3 sets of 12 weights or TRX.

Lots to do tonight: sort out some spreadsheets, update apps, buy the all-season pass for run zombies (on sale for $9.99), defrost my fridge (again) and other stuff at home. In between I found time to get a TRX workout in, because: a) it’s one of 30in30 and b) I haven’t done TRX for a while.

I don’t usually do so many TRX reps. Two sets of 10 or 12 is what I usually do, so 3 sets of 12 was a little more strenuous. And it was great! My shoulder and triceps are already telling me they got a workout. The TRX is one of the best things sis ever gave me.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |


Task #3 of 30in30 is to do more than 50 squats in one set. Task #44 of 101.1001 is to do 101 squats in one set.

I’d originally aimed for the set of 50, seeing that I haven’t been working out as rigorously as I used to. I got to 50 and felt fine, so I carried on. A little tight at 80, at which point it was worth pushing on to finish at 101.

Slow squats, on form, trying to keep a 90 degree angle at the bottom of each motion.

in 101.1001 , being healthy , challenges |


Task #40 of 101 in 1001 is to complete the walk to mordor challenge, following Frodo and Sam’s journey from Hobbiton to Mt Doom. It’s a total of 1779 miles.

No, I haven’t gone that far yet, though I’m determined to finish this task by the end of 101.1001. I’m happy to say that I’ve reached a milestone: 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell.

This was from a combination of walking, running and cycling (both real bikes and stationary bike). Didn’t keep details of how many miles by each method, I think at the end of the day it’ll balance out.

Next milestone is 462 miles away. This is where Frodo and Sam set out with the Fellowship from Rivendell, through Moria, to Lothlorien to get to 920 miles total.


So it’s taken me 265 days to complete 459 miles. I’ve used up 26.4% of my time allocation to achieve 25.8% of my goal, so I’m very slightly behind. I have 736 days to cover the remaining 1320 miles, at just over 1.79 miles per day. So far I’ve averaged 1.73 miles per day so I just have to ramp it up a notch and I’ll be back on track.

in being healthy |


4.0km 39.56min 9.59min/km (16.03min/mi)

While my niece was at the track with her long jump coach, I ran around the track 10 times. Very, very, very slowly. I felt heavy and far too hot to go any quicker. It’s no more than walking pace, really. I guess I have to reconcile to not getting my speed back, and just be glad that even slow running reduces the risk of heart disease. I’m kinda looking forward to cooler and less polluted days when I can run a bit more. The past week I’m so dependent on antihistamines it’s not funny. A couple of times I had to take 2 tablets to make the allergy symptoms go away or even to get to sleep. Annoying.

Anyway, it was nice to be able to run on a track again. Short of scenic routes like the lake or Hyde Park, a track, any track, is better than along polluted and traffic-heavy roads.

in 101.1001 , being healthy , challenges |


Task #100 of 101 in 1001 is to try meditation.

Most people will agree on the benefits of meditation. There are many different types and practices of meditation, some relating to religious practices. I didn’t want to get into religious meditation, and didn’t want anything too fancy or new age-y or deep. A free app is perfect for trying. Stop, breathe and think is

a friendly, simple tool to guide people of all ages and backgrounds through meditations for mindfulness and compassion

I’ve used the app daily for a week now. It’s a simple process — check in, note physical, mental and emotional status and the app will present a few meditations to follow. For a few minutes, it tells me to close my eyes and be aware of my breathing, then it tells me to think about happiness and compassion and noticing what is around me. It may tell me to think about my current position, then expand to the room, the city and then the whole world.

Before I started reading up on the app, I thought meditation was basically sitting there with your eyes closed and not thinking. As usual, that’s over-simplification. The SB&T app teaches mindfulness, which a fellow user aptly describes as a non-judgmental, neutral state of mind:

mindfulness is all about acceptance. Feeling shitty? Want to rip your hair out? Waiting for Tylenol to kick in? Super jealous of your friend’s new car? Want to punch that guy in the face? Well, ok then. Just feel that for now

I like the just let it be part of the teaching. If I had to state a goal for trying meditation (aside from checking off another 101.1001), it’s to temper my constant anger towards people, because they exist. Whenever I have to venture outside, I look at all the people around me and I wish they could be exterminated. The other extreme is I completely don’t care about anything or anybody. I think I need to find some middle ground that acknowledges that, like it or not, other people exist in this world and I have to tolerate them. May be mindfulness meditation can help.

It’s only been a week, too early to tell if it works. I try to focus and follow the app, but i must admit I still get distracted sometimes. Instead of getting uptight about it, I allow myself to be distracted while the rest of the meditation plays and I can usually get back to it. If I don’t want to follow the recommended meditation I can go to the main menu and select another one. There are longer meditations available as IAP but for the time being I’m sticking with the free ones.

There are loads of mediation apps, including best selling mindfulness meditation and headspace. I already have apps that play relaxing melodies or white noise. Lots of resources.

in arts and media , being healthy , sports active , techtalk |

via giz

Imogen Heap is awesome. Not only is she a great musician, she is also working on an app called Run Time that customises a run. It takes ambient sounds like breathing, footsteps, traffic and even birds and layers them with a pre-recorded electronic track. The best thing is that the runner can adjust the tempo of the music according to stages of a run: slow warm up, walking, running, acceleration and deceleration. She demonstrates this perfectly in her video.

Run-time, the song is based on the app. The album Sparks will be released on 19 August.

The app is still in development. Depending on how much it is, I will likely get it. Although, I won’t lope around NYC like a crazy person the way she did.

in being healthy |


5.11km 39.54min 7.48min/km (12.33min/mi)

I hate this stupid weather, so hot and humid that I’m sweating buckets even though I have the air-con on and even the curtains closed so the sun doesn’t get in. Went over to sis’ place to use the gym. They keep the room pretty cold but I was completely soaked after a while.

Task #39 of 101 in 1001 is to run/walk/bike 1001 miles. Task #40 is to walk 1779 miles to mordor. I’ve been tracking progress and so far I’ve done 413 miles in 8 months. The average of 51.6 miles sounds good, except that most were earlier this year. June was 39.5 miles and July was a horrible 31 miles that caused me to fall behind the 1779 target.


In order to keep up I need to average 25 miles per month to meet the 1001 target and 57 to meet the 1779 target. At the back of my mind, I know that once I start training for Chicago marathon 2015 the miles will pile on, but I shouldn’t be complacent.

I just need the weather to cooperate and be less hot. Hate it here. Hate hate hate.

in being healthy |

sundowner02start sundowner03firedept

Sundowner 5k at Joliet. Carleen kindly drove me there and waited till I finished. I was early, so I picked up my packet, pinned my number and checked the rest of the gear. There was time to wander around and queue up for the massage table. Only about 5mins of massage, but it was very good, the therapist found my problem spot on the left right away. A little hungry but there was no food so I drank a couple of small cups of gatorade.

There was a kids’ race before the adult race. 200 yard dash in groups of 3, 4, 5 and 6 year olds. So cute.

The adult race started at 7.15pm and by then it was getting dark (hence, sundowner). The course was through a park, the path was uneven and narrow. The majority of people were courteous and aware of others, just one or two runners pushing through the field unnecessarily rudely, we always get those at the start of the race: young men (almost always young men) who were late and trying to sprint up.

Markers were in miles. I got to mile 1 around 12-something and mile 2 around 24-something. I was a little slower in mile 3 and crossed the line when the clock as at 37-something.

sundowner04bug sundowner05loot

This is the first race I’ve participated in that had mosquito repellent, may be because it was through a trail-like course in a park. Queued up for food and drink afterwards: water, beer, doritos, banana, sandwich and cookies. The sandwich was soggy so I threw it away, and I only had about 1/3 cup of beer. They even gave us a small medal.

in 101.1001 , being healthy , eating and drinking , going places |

sd121winery sd127winery

Task #63 of 101 in 1001 is to go to a wine/beer/whisky tasting. This was at prairie berry winery located between deadwood and custer in south dakota.

The first sign for the winery was a large poster of a red donkey, words that said “red ass rhubarb wine” and encouragements to turn here. The large main room served as a combination of shop, caf&233; and two long bars facilitated tasting. By no means a sit down tasting, each visitor could taste 5 small samples free of charge.


I was given a form to indicate my choice of 5. There were three main types and the prices were also helpfully included:

  • crab apple — semi-dry white with a tart aftertaste, good clean finish
  • gold digger — made from 100% pear, quite sweet like riesling or gewurtztraminer I bought one as a gift and was lucky enough to taste it when she opened it
  • buffaloberry fusion — dry white, like chenin blanc, my least favourite
  • chokeberry medley — red, from chokeberry with some elderflower to combat the bitterness, but I could still taste the fruit’s skin
  • red ass rhubarb — 90% rhubarb with 10% raspberry, the winery’s most popular wine and it isn’t just because of the catchy name, it really is very good, I bought a bottle to try with mm

in being healthy |


5.0k 39.52min 7.58min/km (12.49min/mi)
overall: 539/702
gender: 225/351
age gender: 20/35

This is my first race in over a year. After I booked my Chicago flight, I started looking into races during the time I’m in town and I found proud to run the day after I arrive. Everyone I talked to was unanimous in saying I was crazy to run a race the day after I arrive on a 15hr flight. But, well, I registered anyway. This was the 33rd annual PTR race, which is awfully impressive. There were a combination of regular racers and LGBT folks, the event was held during pride weekend. The organisers described the race as:

an annual 10K run & 5K run/walk focused on celebrating pride in a healthy way and raising funds to support the greater Chicago area LGBTQI&A community

I was very tired on Friday when I arrived and I was very, very tempted to DNS. I didn’t sleep very well either, but I woke up with the alarm at 5.15am so I thought since I was up, I’d go anyway.

I deliberately arrived early so I can find parking and do pack pick up. Parking was easy, I parked 5mins’ walk away at beautiful Montrose Harbor and I was one of the first to pick up my stuff. This meant I had loads of time before the official race start. I did a mile of warm up around the harbor, pier and flagpole area, went back to sit in my car, queued up for the portaloo, got water and generally hung around until it was time to start.

Official race start was 8.15am and they were prompt to the dot. I kept up a steady slow pace and didn’t significantly speed up when I got overtaken by what seemed to be the entire field. The course went north towards Foster and it was just like I was back on my home course again. Man, I have sooooo missed running along the lake. Sigh.

I got to the 1 mile marker just over 12mins and the 2 mile marker around 25mins. Mile 3 was tougher as it got hot, there was a point when I felt I was becoming overheated, a little dehydrated and my left knee started tingling. But I didn’t stop or walk, I kept trudging on. As the finish line came into sight I watched the clock tick close to 40mins but when I crossed it had gone past 40mins. Obviously official time I just beat 40. Considering I was jetlagged, not trained and still carrying an injury, I’m reasonably happy with the result. No, it’s a long way from my sub-30 PR, but it’ll be a while before I can hope to PR in any race.

I’m glad I made the effort to go. I have missed racing and especially racing in Chicago. They were giving away boxes of cereal bars so I got a bunch for Mum so it paid for itself.

in being healthy |

How Long is a Marathon?

I’m woefully unprepared for the 5k race on Saturday. I keep saying to myself, it’s only 5k. We’ll see.

Saw this on rock’n’roll marathon’stwitter feed, an interesting infographic on how long is a marathon. Using their average finish time of 4:25hr, I learn that only 2,750 calories burned during the race. For some reason I thought it’s more—we always overestimate calories used during exercise. 2,750 calories is only around 2 burger-and-fries meals. But on the other hand, to get the same amount of calorie burn, we’d have to watch our favourite 30-min tv program 98 times. No favourite is worth sitting through 98 times.

Going to send this to the next person who says “5k marathon” — more useful than strangling them.

in being healthy |


I got into Chicago marathon 2014 through the lottery. But I’m not running. Scheduling, fitness level and not psychologically prepared for it. I kinda knew it when I entered the lottery, but I went ahead because I knew I could defer.

So today I filled in the form to defer my entry to 2015. I can’t defer to 2016 so I have to make myself do it.

In other running news, running isn’t happening. I felt a strange twinge in my left leg on the plane and it’s now developed into this awful stabbing pain that originates from this point below and behind my knee. Tough spot to roller, sigh.

in being healthy , challenges |

This is the actual post on medium, I figured I should have a copy over here. As of about 20hrs after publication I have 3 views, so there is no danger of my invisibility being compromised.



The Challenge is a Fresh Challenge

I started taking part in fitness challenges back when it wasn’t awkward to hang around the livestrong website. Do x number of crunches, run y miles, track z calories. It was fun and, like most goal-driven tasks, gave me a sense of achievement when I was able to give myself a pat on the back when I completed the challenge. Go me!

The internet caters to many tastes and personalities and “people who like making lists and following them” are particularly well served. Bucket lists, wishlists and a proliferation of challenges abound. We can lose weight, take photographs, read books, design quilts—if you do it, someone will do it with you in the world wide web.

Or so it appears.

Initially the motivation for doing a challenge was for personal improvement and, as mentioned, a sense of achievement. I was happy operating in my cozy personal challenge bubble. Often my immediate family and friends only have a vague idea of what I was doing. Like an alcoholic or someone with a comic book addiction I hid my challenge activities in plain sight around daily routines.

Then came social media.

Nowadays it seems that nothing happens in life without it being broadcast on social media. Unfortunately I too have succumbed. It’s not enough to self-participate in a challenge, it has to be done with my facebook friends and every minute detail tweeted to my twitter followers. I cry silent tears if no one likes my status updates, and there is an unspoken competition with fellow challenge-takers—challengers?, challengemongers?—for the most original, the most fun, the most popular, the most challenging…challenge.

I run. I run alone. I do not like running in groups. So stop obsessing about impressing people who you’ve never met or only see occasionally and go back to basics. Stop labeling it. Give myself a set of goals for my own benefit, because ultimately I am the only one who matters.

in about me , being healthy , outside interests |

The challenge is a fresh challenge

I thought I’d give medium a go. Medium has impressive pedigree, founded by @ev and @biz from twitter. I check out posts there a few times a week, and there seems to be a common theme, at least the articles I enjoyed—tight writing on a variety of popular topics by a tech-savvy group of contributors. The Atlantic summarised it as:

a place to read articles on the Internet. Medium is a blogging platform, like Wordpress or Blogger. Medium is the new project from the guys who brought you Twitter. Medium is chaotically, arrhythmically produced by a combination of top-notch editors, paid writers, PR flacks, startup bros, and hacks.

Certainly, it feels somewhat like early blogger (before it was google-ized), or even harking back to the wild, wild days of early livejournal (before it got bought for no good reason by sixapart and is now russian-ized). All packaged in an astoundingly clean and oh-so-easy to use interface.

The design and the way articles are grouped in collections means that writing at medium has a different feel to writing on my own website, on tumblr or on facebook. Here on the website, I write whatever I like, and I indulge in topics that may only be interesting to me. Yes, it means I jump from topic to topic and despite it being in existence for 10 years, it’s virtually unmarketable. I don’t do much on tumblr and facebook/twitter updates are as throwaway as yesterday’s lunch leftovers.

Writing on medium is one step up, I guess. Although its referral system works much like reddit, which means my post will likely languish at or near the bottom, I still have a responsibility to write a coherent post, in case it does get some attention. I don’t want to have a popular or even viral post with typos, for instance.


I’m not at a point where I can write about tech, or food, or travel, or current affairs. So I picked a topic that is on my mind and allows me some room for musing. So, well, here’s the post: The Challenge is a Fresh Challenge, took me about half an hour to write.

It’s not clear to me whether the post will be published immediately or whether it needs to go through a review process. I like the discipline. Find a suitable title, write a tagline, write the article. I agree with Slate’s prognosis:

If I didn’t care about getting paid or having a job and just wanted to write something, Medium is the tool I would use.

in being healthy , challenges |

First time attempting level 3, it’s hard. On paper, not so much but all the exercises were complex multi-muscle group moves. Plank jumps, plank pull up with leg raise, squat clean with weights, jumping jack with weights, travelling pushups. I had to drink half a litre of water, scoff down a few biscuits and take a nap after the workout. And I was mainly following the beginner’s portion.

in being healthy , challenges |

in being healthy , challenges |

Tasks #2-4 of 30 in 30 are to do levels 1-3 of 30 day shred. I’d delayed working on these until my knee feels okay. Level 1 is fine, there was a little sporadic weakness that’s all.

in being healthy , challenges |

Task #6 in 30 in 30 is to run/walk/bike for 30 mins.

Continuing the “back to exercise” and “slowly letting the knee heal” themes, I did 30mins on mum’s stationary bike. The gears had come loose earlier but they recovered all on their own and I can go back to adjusting the tension. The electronics are still kaput so I continue to use the 1 mile per 5 minute estimate.

I’ll get back to running soon, I promise.

in being healthy , challenges |

Task #2 in 30 in 30 is to do a set of 50 crunches.

Even though it was mainly seafood, I ate more than usual on holiday and it’s time to get back to working out. I tested the knee and it was just about okay to do 10 squats, not sure about more vigorous sets or running. Crunches are fine for knees, I did 50 each of regular crunch, reverse crunch and oblique crunch, very slowly.

in being healthy , challenges |


Task #15 in 30 in 30 is no snacks in a day.

Yes, I completed the task, but under annoying circumstances. It was slippery out, I tripped and fell on my bum, didn’t hurt my bum or back but 3 hours later my left knee got very painful and swelled up like a balloon. Had to go to the hospital to get it x-rayed and checked. No broken bones, a sprain with swelling. Argh!! And two days before we’re supposed to go on holiday.

With all the fuss and loss of appetite because of the pain, all I had today was pork chop for lunch and a pear in the evening so I could eat something with the medicine. The swelling seems to have gone down and less painful now. I’m using the walking stick, don’t want to graduate to the crutches yet, I can’t actually find the purple crutches, they should be in the closet but they are not.

in being healthy , challenges |


Starting 30 in 30 from the top, although the intention isn’t to work down the list daily. Task #1 is to do more than 50 squats in one set.

Squats are not difficult, but they are not easy either, especially to keep to good form towards the end of a long set. I ended up doing 3 sets @75 reps per set. Knees are a little sore, but it’ll pass. I think I can work up to a 101 rep set soon.

in being healthy |


4.58km 34.53min 7.37min/km (12.15min/mi)

Dragged mum out to the small park so she could walk a bit while I ran for half an hour or so. Did mission 1.5 of zombies run, which gave me 4.58km. Oddly, nikeplus allege that I ran 0.35km in that time, which gave me a pace of astronomical slowness. I can crawl faster than 1hr 40min per km. Backwards. While blindfolded.


in being healthy |

5.12km 39.05min 7.33min/km (12.15min/mi

I downloaded the run, zombies app because I hadn’t been running and needed some serious motivation. The idea of the app is to run through missions (30 or 60mins) that roughly follow a post-apocalyptic story — run to pick up items, escape zombies and help a survival township. It tracks progress via GPS, there’s a radio operator to guide the runner and it plays music in between tasks from a specified playlist.

I tried it on the cruise, and it was really great. The 30mins went by extremely quickly, both when I ran on deck and at the treadmill. I had to manually enter the distance of course. The run today (mission 1.4) was the first with GPS, and I had to escape zombies by increasing my speed. The first couple of times I didn’t realise I had to run faster, but I got it when they came after me the third time. Overall speed of 7.33 is still a minute from the 6.30-6.40 baseline I’m used to when I’m marathon training but a lot better than the 8.00 I’ve been clocking (hence the demotivation).

I spent most of the flights in and out to the cruise watching the entire season 3 of the Walking Dead, and it’s telling how the app is so similar to the walking dead storyline. Gives the story even more of a context and now I can’t wait for the next run/mission. The app is also integrated with the web which gives a nice breakdown of the whole run. Lots of stats and pretty charts. I was also able to run nikeplus in the background so it’s tracked in both places.

in being healthy , challenges |

Been trying to figure out if I can fit in a race when I’m in Chicago in the summer. I like races in Chicago, they’re usually well organised and I know the paths around the lake very well. Narrowed it down to a few options:


  • 28-June: proud to run 5k/10k $35
    pro: part of pride week, my “home” course around Montrose, good value
    con: I arrive only the day before, I’ll be jetlagged

  • rnr1013turn

  • 20-July: rock’n’roll chicago Half Marathon $85
    pro: it was my first HM, so a bit of nostalgia
    con: expensive, overly commercial, expo on 18/19th, not sure if I’ll be back in chicago from portland

  • espritdeshe

  • 24-July: esprit de she 5k/10k $45/$55
    pro: date is good, easy 5 or 10k near the lake, same day packet pickup
    con: never heard of this event before, they seem to be combining a beauty treatment event with a running event, plus the free shirt is this girly purple sleeveless tank that i will never be seen dead in, ugh

  • sundowner

  • 24-July: sundowner 5k $35
    pro: date is good, easy 5k, low price
    con: in Joliet, clashes with esprit de she

Although I really would like to do a HM, I’m leaning towards either the Proud to Run or Sundowner. Pros and cons with both. Heck, I might register for both.

in being healthy |


It’s cold and very windy, I thought about going running, but decided to try something else. So I dusted off mum’s stationary bike and did a quick 20mins. It’s a really really old stationary bike, all the electronics are shot so no display of any sort. The belt still works and because it’s old and stiff, it provided effective resistance.

Normally I would just track the time, but I want distance to include in, guess what, the 101.1001 challenge. The trick is to try to convert 20mins stationary biking to equivalent in running or road cycling distance.

Naturally the actual distance covered on a stationary equipment is 0 miles. I’m aware of that.

It’s like asking does running 1 mile burn more calories than walking 1 mile. Most of the answers will be that we shouldn’t compare apples with oranges. Factors like pace, road surface, gradient, wind resistance make the activites differ. That said, there have been attempts to come up with some ratio based on calorie burnt, ie effort. Others anecdotally quote ratios ranging from 3:1 to 10:1, most commonly comparing a marathon with a century (100 miles bike).

There’s also a big difference between cycling on a road bike vs a stationary bike. Wind resistance and undulating surfaces primarily. I do find that with a road bike there’s also the momentum factor. Stop pedalling on a stationary bike and it does just that, it stops. In terms of effort, I’d say road bike requires more effort even with momentum.

Anyway on the ancient stationary bike I worked up a decent amount of sweat, my arms and thighs are stiff, so I did put in some effort. My current slow running pace is around 12min/mi so 20mins is 1.7miles. Using a very conservative 2:1 ratio and generously rounding up, I’m awarding myself 4 miles, or a mile every 5 mins. Who knows if it’s accurate, I’m sticking to it.

in being healthy , challenges , random words |


4307 words | 30935 words total

5.10km 40.47min 8.00min/km (12.52min/mi)

The 5k is going over to the small park and running around the jogging track, the football field and the basketball court. I sprinted the last 200m to try to get the pace down below 8, got it to 8min exactly, need to run faster.

The 30k is getting to the 30k mark in nano. I said I was gonna do it yesterday at 26k, and I did it. I’m using well-used nano tricks — road trip, dream sequence and talking to yourself. We’re now at the beginning of chapter 7, and they just started driving. The dream sequence, which included a nice intimate distraction, and the talking to yourself both occurred in the car. There’s the whole night and a long way to go. Who knows what will happen next.

I’m getting into the story, the MCs are growing on me. They also made me laugh in this exchange. Indy and Pete (Petra) are the MCs, Anders is Pete’s brother and Indy’s architect. When edited, the clunky language, the “she said” will all be edited out. This is nano, only wordcount matters.

“Who says I’m having a house warming party?” Indy challenged.

“Oh, you’ll want to. You’ll definitely want to. How else will you get to meet The Great Anderski,” Pete said tantalizingly.

“The Great Anderski?” Indy felt stupid, repeating what Pete said. The Great Anderski sounded like—

“The Great Anderski hails from coldest Siberia and is the greatest magician that has ever come out of the great country of Russia,” Pete said dramatically, rolling the r of Russia. “Or, well, Anders when you’ve fed him a couple of glasses of vodka.”

“That sounds like enormous fun. I’ll make sure I have a house warming party, with casserole and vodka,” Indy said. “Do you become someone after you’ve had a couple of glasses of vodka? The Great Anderski’s sexy assistant Petralicious?”

in being healthy , family first |


5.21km 41.03min 7.52min/km (12.40min/mi)

Dragged mum out to the park with the jog/walk trail for a bit of exercise. She was a trooper, she walked the entire time I ran. Together with walking to the park and back home it was almost an hour. It’s important we all remain active.

in being healthy |

So I’m trying to pitch and write a MBA case study on the economic and other impact of holding a marathon, with focus on Tokyo, since it just joined the world marathon series. Trying out an introduction and putting down thoughts for rest of the paper.


Joining the Super Elites: Economic and Other Impact of Tokyo Marathon Joining the World Marathon Series


In 2013, only 6 years after its inauguration, Tokyo became the sixth member of the prestigious World Marathon Majors (“WMM”). The other races are: Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London and New York. These are the most prestigious marathons in the world, attracing over 200,000 participants between them. The total prize money tops $1 million, shared between the 6 races.

Marathon races have become big business, with the World Marathon Major series as the top running brand in the world. Major marathons are profit-making as well as boasting millions of dollars of impact on the local economy through visitor spending, sponsorship and increased media exposure. It is also the largest source of fund raising for many charities.

Tad Hayano, the race director of the Tokyo Marathon, wanted to join the World Marathon Majors “to promote the Tokyo Marathon to the world.” The WMM previously had rules for inclusion including a large pro and mass participation, prize money, significant news coverage and a history of 25 years or more. Tokyo Marathon was able to request for, and received an exception to, consideration of the last rule.

The first WMM Tokyo Marathon was April 2013. What, if any, were the impact of WMM membership? What will future races be like? What lies ahead for other regional marathons, in Japan and in the surrounding Asia Pacific region?


  • growth in sports participation, focus on running and races — no of races, participation growing exponentially
  • economic impact of sporting events — summer olympics
  • impact of marathons — NYC, Chicago, London study + even smaller marathons
    • economic impact — visitors spending (NYC 2 million visitors), sponsors, vendors, positive marketing
    • charitable impact — millions raised for non-profits
    • community impact — local schools and clubs participation, volunteers

  • how and why tokyo joined marathon majors
  • possible and desired impact — prize money, sponsorship, revenue, visitor spending
  • runner and world reaction
  • knock on effect on other japanese marathons, other asian marathons

in being healthy |


I never learn. I’m like the alcoholic wanting just one more drink; or the celiac’s last bite of a croissant. I never have a good experience registering for this race and yet every year like a lemming, I return. In the early days, 2007-ish, the online registration website only worked with IE, but at least I could get in through my work PC and there was plenty of time to register.

Even when the website went firefox, then eventually mac-friendly, registration was always slow and the website would inevitably crash. Two years ago it crashed in the middle of me filling my my details, before I was able to pay, and by the time I got back in, I couldn’t register anymore. Last year, I was able to get my credit card details in before it crashed.

Where the hell did they hire their programmers from? A bunch of incompetents.

This year, registration was staggered for FM, HM and 10k. There was even a queuing system in place when I logged in first thing in the morning. Ha! I rejoice too early. By the time I got into the website and clicked on the race I wanted (HM race 1 — there are 3 races in total), the next page was an announcement that the marathon was full. Yes, I know that, marathon registration was last week. I had to go back into the queue, wait another half an hour. Still the screen that the FM was full.

My conclusion was, either the website crashed again or the HM was full but they were too lazy or stupid to change the wording on the notice.

I have never seen such a fiasco of a website or so much incompetence. I found out in a local runners’ forum that the FM was full in 3hrs, and the HM was full very quickly — no one knew when but it was less than 2hrs after the site opened.

Registration for the 10k opens on the 29th. I think I’m going to give the whole event a miss, this year and probably going forward. No sense supporting idiots. I saw another race happening at around the same time, a local 10k. Registration involved printing out a form and mailing it to the organisers. I mean, how stupid and how old fashioned is that? This place really needs to pull its finger out and get with the program, it’s being left behind.

in being healthy |


5.01km 41.21min 8.15min/km (13.16min/mi)
This included walking and stopping at 7-Eleven. True running was just 5k. Too slow. What’s worrying is that it didn’t feel slow. I’m over 2min/km off my baseline of around 6.40. Lack of training? Extra 10 pounds? The heat? Frustrated.

in being healthy |


According to tdp saturday was a calorie deficit day. I know trying the fast diet is one of my october challenge goals, but not a deficit. I certainly didn’t do it on purpose. I went running for 5 miles, then walked to several shops looking for cheap glass jars for lemon curd. Then I got busy making the lemon curd, which was too runny even after cooking for 30mins so I had to spend even more time fixing it. Before I knew it, it was 10pm and I didn’t feel like eating anything.

Ah well, a day of low calorie intake won’t hurt me.

in arts and media , being healthy |

Saw a Horizon documentary on the plane, Eat, Fast and Live Longer presented by Dr Michael Moseley which explores how certain scientists have used intermittently fasting as a method to slow ageing and improve health. From the extreme, where he went 3.5 days on just water, black tea and a 50 calorie packet of cup-a-soup a day; to a moderately extreme method that had him on alternate days of feeding and fasting. And finally to a 5:2 diet, where 2 days a week he restricted his calorie intake to around 500-600 calories.

Seems to be the dieting equivalent of HIIT. I don’t think I can do the extreme intermittent fasting, but it may be possible to follow the 5:2 regime. Even if it’s not as low as 500 calories, 800 or so may be less painful. A normal lunch and then fruit, veg or cereal for dinner. I just know that I haven’t been running or exercising enough and I haven’t been eating as healthily as I should either.

I have nothing in my fridge after our holiday, plus a storm is coming. So time to go to the market. Bought cabbage, tomatoes, and this silk squash that is a bit like cucumber. Also minced fish, tofu and bananas. The minced fish can be quenelled and dropped into boiling water with the green veg and tofu to make a light brothy meal. No red meat in sight. Pretty healthy, if I may say so myself.

in being healthy |

I haven’t been sleeping well. I wake up constantly during the night and get woken up at 7am by the slightest noise outside, and I can’t go back to sleep. Yes, yes I know some people have to wake up earlier than 7am to go to work and I shouldn’t be complaining. This is about quality of sleep.

Anyway, I did some research into colour noises and how pink noise helps sleep. The low hum of static noise such as coming from a fan or on an unused radio frequency appears to pacify busy parts of the brain. It’s summer so the aircon is on at night, but I thought I should supplement it since obviously it’s not sufficient.

There are white noise machines, 10 hour youtube videos, downloadable mp3s, and free streaming services. Lots of choices.

At the end, I downloaded the app from simplynoise, and placed my old iphone on my pillow so the noise was close to my ear all night. I used the brown noise option, and had it on low oscillation. Brown noise has lower frequencies and with the oscillation it sounded like gentle waves. (One minute example above.) Did it help? I managed to sleep a little later than usual, so perhaps. The iphone battery lasted all night, so it was good. Time will tell.

in being healthy |

Between doing TRX yesterday and intervals on the treadmill today, there are certain muscles I haven’t used for a long time that are hurting. Hip flexors, back and abs mainly. Those are the places I need working out most. Need to keep at it, otherwise that last 10 pounds will never shift and I’ll lose all my marathon fitness.

in being healthy |

Way too hot to run outside, so I went to Sis’ place and used the gym there. Ran intervals on the treadmill for 30mins. Got up to 8mph, should be going faster than that, like 10mph. Practice, practice, practice.

in being healthy |


7.02km 57.35min 8.12min/km (13.12min/mi) running
500m 25min swimming

After weeks of rain and heat, an overcast day meant I could venture out running. Except it was deceptive. Still extremely hot and muggy and humid. Yuck. Ran to the second water fountain and back via the supermarket. Very slow still. Not planning on doing 9 min/mile yet. Wait till it’s cooler.

I was so hot when I got home, literally dripping sweat. Went outside to the pool for a dip. Swam 50 leisurely laps, it was pretty good. Muscles felt like they had a proper workout. If only I still had my bike, could have done my version of a mini triathlon, hee.

in being healthy |

8.01km 1.12.57hr 9.06min/km (14.39min/mi)

Not much to be proud of, I don’t think I’ve run a 9min km before. Ugh. I haven’t been running for 1 month and quite honestly, I’m not enjoying running at all here. Hot, humid, pollution, too much traffic, too many ignorant people blocking the path, bad route. Yes, all excuses. But, well. I went slowly, almost shuffling. So slow that I was overtaken by a walker. Sigh. Still, 5 miles is 5 miles.

in being healthy |


I know I need to start running again, it’s been far far far too long and I’m losing my fitness. So I got gerared up, went out and…it started pouring. Cats and dogs. With thunder. Yes, a real runner cares nothing about the weather, but I’m not feeling very brave today. Went home and did some weights.

in being healthy |


Woke up at 6am to take the bus to the sports centre near mm to play badminton. It’s been a long time since we played, so long that we bought new rackets. Good game, we played casually for an hour, and managed a good number of rallies. Hadn’t forgotten how to play. Next game is next week, already looking forward to it. Must keep it up.

in being healthy |


Went to get some medical insurance information fro my financial adviser. All of them very comprehensive, but I need to do more research. At the moment, it’s probably okay to get hospitalisation only, because the difference in premium between in-patient and out-patient is more than I’d spend seeing the GP anyway. It’s always best to start thinking about getting medical insurance while I’m relatively healthy.

in being healthy |


We took advantage of the sales to buy a couple of badminton rackets at a big discount. We’re determined to do some sports together, and badminton is easy and cheap. I gave all my rackets away in London so I need to get new ones. Just as well because the styles have evolved since. We’ll move to squash next.

in being healthy , habitat |


I live literally a stone’s throw from the pool. Some people hate it when other people use literally when they mean figuratively but if I opened my living room window and threw a stone, it really would land in the pool. This pic was taken from said living room window position.

So, I have no excuse. The pool opens at weekends during May, so I went out and did 40 laps. Breaststroke and freestyle. I don’t know if it’s even a 25m pool so I have no sense of distance. Did about 25mins. Together with shower time, the whole endeavour took less than 45mins. Again, no excuse.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |

mielepots norwayrepsils

I got sick on the first day of our holiday, the first day in Copenhagen. Could have been on the plane, layover at Dubai, the train from the airport, or when walking around in the city. I knew when my throat felt so dry when I woke up after the first night. It wasn’t a sore throat, just an extremely uncomfortable dryness. I tried drinking throughout the day, and had a supply of ricola and chewing gum at hand.

By the time we got on the cruise I knew I was going to be sick. The worst day was Kiel, when my throat felt like it was on fire the whole day. Apart from that, I didn’t feel any worse than normal, no tiredness, no cough (yet) so I tried to continue with the holiday as normal.

The fiery throat abated somewhat over the next 2 days when we reached the fjords but the coughing started. Mum asked if I wanted to go to the medical centre, but I didn’t want to. By the time we reached Bergen, I had begun to run out of ricola but luckily we found a 7-eleven and bought some strepsils. Or as they call it, repsils. Big help, especially the double action ones.

What also helped was the availability of honey and lemon in the cafeteria. I took enough pots of honey at breakfast to last the whole day and there’s always sliced lemon at the tea/coffee station. Drinking 3-4 large glasses a day must have helped soothe the scratchiness in my throat. And the coughing too. If I were at home I would have added whisky (of course) but just the honey and lemon was good enough.

Plus, this time I didn’t try to run a half marathon in the middle of a flu, just slow 30mins on the treadmill in the gym, so I didn’t get more sick. Still coughing a little, just as well I still have a supply of honey.

in being healthy |


I went out walking in the afternoon, to get out of the flat. Walked to the library to return a book, then wandered around. Bought wine, coke zero, some toiletries. Total eventually was over 2hrs, wow. And then I did some weights. Gentle exercising, together with lots of vegetables, a healthy sort of day. Oh, well, I had ice cream too.

in being healthy , family first , how the day went |

Boxing Gloves

Sis dragged me to thai boxing class. I’m not very keen on classes, I’ve tried yoga, aerobics and dancing and didn’t really enjoy them. This thai boxing was quite okay, long warm up with stretching, squats, crunches and the like then it was punching, jabbing and kicking against the punching bag or the trainer. It was good, I wasn’t all that winded. But I don’t think I’ll go again.

Did some work on her book, then it was mad rush to take my niece to enopi class then taikwondo class. Grilled some fish back at Sis’ home for dinner. Quite a full day.

in being healthy |

4.56km 26.06min 5.43min/km (9.13min/mi)

The GPS was weak because of the crap weather so I did 26 mins instead of 2.62 miles. Just run, jog, walk and log your miles in support. Wear a race shirt or if you don’t have a race shirt, wear blue and yellow.

in being healthy , sports active |


5.68km 39.28min 6.56min/km (11.10min/mi)

What a difference one year makes. 15 April 2012 I ran the Brighton Marathon in 5.05, still a PR and re-reading the race report, a race I thoroughly enjoyed. 15 April 2013 I barely made it through 5k. Everyone is probably sick of reading about my running failures in the past year so I’ll stop now.

Very sad to read about the 23 year old runner who collapsed and died at Mile 16 at Brighton. I don’t know whether it’s more runners, more frequent occurrence, or the sensationalism aspect but it seems like there are far too many reports of marathon deaths lately. And with it, discussions about whether people should be exercising so intensely, even questioning why people run marathons in the first place. Not going there.

Even sadder news, that 2 bombs went off at the finish line of Boston. Shocked. Very sad. The explosions were timed for maximum carnage—at around 4hrs of a fast race there’d be lots of people finishing and lots of spectators at the side. Who does things like this? Boston, in addition to being one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in the world, is the one where everybody agrees has the best supporters. The whole city comes out to cheer on the runners. The spirit of community is out in force after the explosions as people are offering their homes for people needing a place to stay.

London is this coming weekend. Already security is being stepped up. I hope stringent security isn’t a sign of things to come and runners aren’t discouraged to enter this and other marathons. One of the reasons the marathon majors (6 now) are so prestigious is the sheer amount of support of spectators along the course. A course 26.2 miles long in the middle of a bustling city is impossible to close down in the security sense—too many buildings, parks, rubbish bins, bridges and other city stuff. Do we want to move races to walled off highways with no view, no space for spectators and where the officials seem to be more intent on getting the last runner off so they can clear the road for car users to pollute the air again? No, no and no. That’s why I have no interest in running the most soulless marathon in the world, even though it’s cheap and easy logistically.

Thoughts are with the dead and injured. Please, no more violence.

in being healthy |


6.40km 50.49min 7.56min/km (12.47min/mi)

It’s been pissing down with rain, but I was determined to go running today and managed to take advantage of a lull in the storm. Pretty slow, but it’s nice to be active again.

And as usual, I posted to twitter, which auto-posts to fb; and updated fitocracy. No action required on nikeplus, it syncs by itself. Compared to other obsessive people, I don’t think I post too much about my running or weight training or other exercise activities.

I don’t post to brag — my results aren’t good enough. I post because I want someplace to record my efforts. It’s motivating, in a way. I made sure I speeded up when my speed fell below 8min/km because I’d be embarrassed to show this slow speed on a public forum.

Seems though that perhaps others don’t share my view. Apparently, people who post about their diet and fitness progress are the worst thing about social media.

Ugh. At least I’m not an overly proud parent, ticket seller or serial commenter.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


8.25km 1.04.39hr 7.50min/km (12.37min/mi)

I need to pull my finger out and get over this lethargy. No running for 3 weeks, stuck inside for a whole week? Pitiful and lame. So I went running after lunch. 8.25km is just over 5 miles. Mostly ran slowly, with some walking at the water fountains. Just getting back to the rhythm.

And because it’s St Patrick’s Day, the reward is pork chops, roasted cauliflower and a big bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra. Yum.

p.s. that glass is an extremely heavy ML crystal glass that I got when I reached 5 years’ service, there’s a tiny bull engraving at the front. Wonder if it’s a collectors’ item now.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |

200calavo 200calsnickers
200calcelery 200calbaileys

Now that I’m sick and not running, I have to be careful of what I eat. Well, when I have the appetite, I haven’t felt like eating much anyway. My maintenance calorie target isn’t very generous; if I go out for a meal that usually is it.

It’s interesting to see what 200 calories look like. One avocado, half a bar of snickers, a huge plate (almost 1.5kg) of celery, or a tiny glass of baileys. Some quite deceptive.

in being healthy |

Not a big surprise. Couldn’t sleep. Cough, cough, cough. Non-productive (dry) so there was nothing to bring up. Mum, bless her, dragged me to the clinic and I got some cough syrup. We had a quick dinner and I went home to wallow in my misery.

in being healthy |


official time: 2:54:28 8.16min/km 13.18min/mi

The annual standard chartered race, HM this year. The question when I woke up was, should I even go. Coughing. Not enough sleep. Not enough training. But I thought I may as well try, DNF is better than DNS, right?

I guess having some race experience helped. I was going to tackle the race in 3 segments of 7k, do 3k or 5k and walk whenever I needed it. Started off okay, if a lot slow. The nikeplus went bonkers, telling me I did the first kilometer in just over a minute, clearly the GPS is being optimistic.

The first 7k was almost an hour, with lots of walking in between. Thankfully the water line was long and they also had energy drinks. With a limit of 3hrs, I needed to get a move on. I knew Sis and my niece were coming to cheer me on, and we’d agreed on a time and place. I whatsapped her that I was behind schedule. The second 7k was okay, with the dreaded western harbour tunnel consisting of running the first half and walking the second half.

It was great to see the pink flag that my niece was waving. At that point there were lots of spectators and only about 500m to go, so it was a boost. My nikeplus showed 2:53 and the official time was 2:54.

Long trek to baggage collection. Walked to SIs’ place so I could shower. Parents were there too. We all went to lunch at the bar downstairs, had steak. Went home, totally exhausted, still very very sick. Should I have gone while sick? Probably not. At least I finished.

in being healthy |


Registration opened on the 19th. I didn’t register; it’s like going to the supermarket when you’re full, I didn’t feel like signing up while sick. Anyway, this year isn’t good for a marathon so far away. So I was surprised when I read about how the registration system ground to a halt 3 hours after registration opened. Likely too many people trying to get into one of the last world class marathons that didn’t operate an impossible to get into lottery system. Registration will be closed till the 28th, with apparently 15,000 place still left. This is too painful! Just get filled up already so I’m not constantly tempted!

in being healthy |

At parents’ and I’ve got mum’s cough syrup and soup and dad’s cooking. Trying to get better by sunday. Not enough time left.

in being healthy |


I have a race on sunday, a half marathon I’ve half-heartedly trained for. I also have a really bad cough — I’ve had enough long term coughs to know it’s probably bronchitis and the cough will last months. Not confident I’ll recover in 5 days. Race or not race, I can’t decide.

in being healthy |

Last weekend before race. Should have gone out for a long run. Dammit. Sore throat and bad cough and aches and pains. Didn’t go.

in being healthy |

The annual SC marathon is next week. Went and collected my HM race pack. Interesting to see the other racers. Not the usual collection of marathoners, some were less athletic than I was expecting. Family galore at the 10k tables. The longest queue was for the HM, may be it was the timeslot for HM collection, I dunno. I have a slight sore throat, I hope I’m not coming down with something.

in being healthy |


Registration for chicago marathon starts in just over 2 weeks, at noon CST 19 February. I’m nowhere near marathon readiness, even though it’s in October and I have the whole summer to train. I also know that logically I should go for marathons nearer home, like Tokyo, which recently celebrated being added to the world marathon majors. Or Great Wall (um, no. Way too tough). Or at least VLM or Paris or Berlin.

The problem is, my heart tells me Chicago is my home marathon. I don’t have a lot of time to decide. Places will go very quickly, as it is one of the few major marathons that are still first come, first served. Sigh. I’m in so much trouble.

in being healthy |


Huh. I’ve been doing weights using the trx recently, and almost every time I’ve felt dizzy and slightly nauseous afterwards. It’s weird. I don’t feel like I’m over-exerting myself, not more than when I was using actual weights. It seems to be a mixture of new type of exercise, breathing or lack of hydration. Have to be careful going forward.

in being healthy |


13.02km 1.45.58hr 8.08min/km (13.06min/mi)

I don’t know if it’s lack of practice or that I only had a bowl of soup beforehand, today’s run was hard work. Started off fine, then around the halfway mark, I ran out of steam. Luckily I had some sports beans with me, but they only helped for a bit. At around 10k my knee started to hurt. Sigh.The last 1km was slow, and the last 400m was pretty much all walking.

in being healthy |


8.27km 1.17.53hr 9.29min/km (15.16min/mi)

There’s a route that goes uphill all the way from my home to the Peak. I hadn’t tried it before so it’s about time I did. It really was a very steep incline. The start was 1-in-7 and there were some parts that were steeper. And no barriers either. Needless to say I wasn’t able to run all the way up, there was a lot of walking involved. Once I got up to the Peak, I ran around the relatively flat circular trail before heading back the way I came. Going down was pretty tough too, lots of pressure on the calves because of the downhill motion. It’s a nice trail, a bit too quiet and isolated in places, it’s best to go during the day when there are people around.


in being healthy |

My Sis bought me a trx a while ago, but I only just got round to trying it out. They call themselves a suspension training system, which is basically a glorified name for resistance bands. Initially I couldn’t get it properly anchored at the door, they sell a couple of pieces of accessories that did the job but I don’t have them. Came across a brilliant method of using just a towel to act as anchor. Works like a charm.

The system came with a dvd and an instruction booklet. There are also tons of videos on youtube. I did a few basic exercises, to get the feel of the system. Chest press, fly, row, pushup and such like. It feels different than working out with weights. I only did 2 sets of 12, but I wasn’t breaking out in sweat so I think I can up the intensity and the number of sets.

It’s very convenient, and the exercises range from fairly easy to difficult. I like it. By just changing where I put my feet I can make an exercise harder. I need to practice getting my feet into the hoops for the floor exercises. A nice change-up to my regular weights.

in being healthy |

I do weights with my dumbbells and barbell. Bench using 2 dumbbells at 20lbs each, which wasn’t too smooth when I started the weights routine again. But as I’m getting better and my form smoother, I think that it’s time to add another plate. I’m so pleased I bought these quicklock interchangeable dumbbells, I can add in increments of 2.5 or 5lbs. This guy’s set goes up to 160lbs, my set only goes up to 75 but it’s plenty enough for me. He is also doing bench presses with 2x80=160lbs total. Yikes. Going from 40 total to 50 total is progress enough for me.

in being healthy , objects of desire |


When I’m training, I try to rotate between 3 pairs of shoes. I’ve been using just 2 for a while, so it’s quite exciting to “open” a third. Nike dual fusion I got on sale. Will it make me faster? Probably not, but it’s orangey-red and really bright.

in being healthy |


metric: total 740.08km, average 7.13min/km
imperial: total 459.86 miles, average 11.36min/mi

It started very well, training was good, I ran a good marathon in April. Then I got lazy and busy. All the more reason to set better goals in 2013.

in being healthy |

I had a 12k long run scheduled today, but I didn’t go: 1) it was raining very heavily and 2) my sis at the last minute asked if my niece can come over and play. Instead of doing nothing, I did some weights. Lunge jumps are new, I like them better than regular lunges or woodchopper lunges. And they are hard to transition smoothly. These, plus pushups, are the parts of the set that make my heartrate go up. Nice.

in being healthy |


My new filing cabinet arrived (yes, the delivery people worked Boxing Day) so I’m even better organised. It sits right next to my desk and before, I used the space for a calendar. Been thinking whether it may be a good place to display my race medals. Hmm. Anyway, these are just the more interesting medals: 3 marathons, 2 HM and the BUPA 10k.

in being healthy |


Did an easy 10k, even though I got interrupted by phone calls in the middle. According to nikeplus I’ve done exactly one full marathon in the last 30 days. Hmm. I should be doing this every week, or at most every 2 weeks. The only good stat is that I’m above average.

in being healthy |


8.40km 1.01.45hr 7.21min/km (11.49min/mi)

Back to the scene of the original crime, I suppose. I started running 4 years ago. Before all the marathon training, before all the injuries, I ran as fast as a beginner would. Faster than now anyway. Initially I just ran around the block, sometimes taking the long way round, before I discovered the Bowen Road jogging trail.

Co-incidentally, I’ve been away 4 years. During that time, I’ve ran along the lake in Chicago, along the Thames in London and along the seafront in Brighton. Today’s run was back on Bowen Road. I ran 6km on 12 Dec 2008, and I could imagine the beginner runner me of 4 years ago running along the same path. Ah, nostalgia.

in being healthy |


My next race is a half marathon on 24 Feb 2013. I’m going to follow the Higdon novice 2 plan, although I know I will miss some dates. I’m already behind, the plan started on Monday and I missed most of the week. Anyway, I did 5 miles today to sort of make it up. Very slow 5 miles (8.26k), and my ITBS flared up again. Slowly does it.

in being healthy |


10.23km 1:17:18hr 7.33min/km (12.12min/mi)
overall: 1902 / 2584
gender: 694 / 1148

For some reason I thought this race was yesterday, so I woke up at 5.30am and was almost there on the train when I noticed that there weren’t any other racers on the train. So I checked my email. Ugh, silly me. I considered not bothering today, not wanting to wake up at 5.30am again, but I did wake up before the alarm so off I went. This time, there were plenty of other racers on the train so I know I got the day right.

The race should have been on yesterday when it was cool and windy. Today, it was absolutely drenching with rain. I had a jacket but it got soaked quickly, my Chicago marathon cap started dripping right away. It was tough to run in that rain, and it was quite warm too at 20C. I needed both water stations, at 3k and 7k. Time, well, it can always be better but I did okay considering the lack of practice and the weather.

There were long queues for energy bars so I left, didn’t want to stand in the rain any longer. Got an express bus, then changed to taxi. Home by 10am, there was not a part of me that wasn’t wet.

in being healthy |


5.80km 43.13min 7.27min/km (11.59min/mi)

I dragged Mum to the park so I could run on the track there and she can play on the all-weather gym. Not a very fast run, still a ways to go to get back to fighting fitness.

What was nice, was the badge that came up on nike+. I joined 4 years ago, logged 420 runs totalling 3,473km (2,158 miles). I’ve run 3 marathons, 4 official half marathons (not including 13.1miles run during training runs) and quite a few 5/10k races. My longest run came at 5hr 45mins (first Chicago marathon, I think), my fastest mile was 5.41mins and there’s a lot more running still left in me.

in being healthy |


5.25km 41.18min 7.52min/km (12.40min/mi)

I can’t wait to be home. It’s getting tiresome, to be living on one suitcase of clothes, to have to eat at a certain time, to lose so much of my own space. Shouldn’t complain.

Finally the weather turned cooler for me to go for a run. Excuses, excuses. It was still hot, though thankfully with a breeze. Slow. Very, very slow.

in being healthy |


I ran my first marathon 2 years ago, on 10.10.10. It was a struggle due to the heat and slight undertraining. Still, I did it and no one can take it away from me. This past weekend, I followed the 2012 Chicago marathon from afar, saw that two Ethiopians won and, most importantly, a couple of my close ex-colleagues finished. I was sad that I couldn’t make it, and sadder that I haven’t kept up my running. The sooner I get my life back into normal mode, the better.

in being healthy |


Went with Mum to the park. It’s about 1 mile away, we took a taxi. There’s an athletics track, tennis courts, basketball courts, football fields and even a skating rink. The track is good, and there’s even another path outside the track for when the track is closed or there’s an event. The path is nicely marked in 100m increments, total 550m. Mum walked and I ran, by the time we met back up I’d done 2.5km.

in being healthy |

My right ear was terribly blocked, so I went to the doctor who removed the ear wax buildup using a terribly uncomfortable method of poking a thin metal rod inside. Not the gentle syringing using water, oh no, it was a probe vacuum.

But it was effective. And now I can hear much more. More ambient traffic sounds, more wind blowing outside, even my clothes rustling when I’m walking around. Sounds like the experience is not unlike the first days with a new hearing aid.

in being healthy |


5.25km 37.36min 7.09min/km (11.31min/mi)

In the realm of doing a sport that I haven’t done for a while, it’s back to running, the first time in a month or so. The track has been closed since April and has only just re-opened. The surface has been relaid and is very springy. There are new fences and a shot put area and lots of markings on the lanes. The run itself, blurgh, nothing to write home about. All the eating while mm was here means I probably put on half a stone and all of it has gone to belly fat so I desperately need to get rid of it. At least the run loosened up the sore muscle from yesterday’s tennis.

in being healthy |

The last time I played tennis was over 10 years ago. The last time I played tennis at the park was probably closer to 20 years ago. Booked for 2hrs at the synthetic court and played with CC and Mak. Rusty in the beginning, but got better. Still a little fitness left from running, stamina wasn’t a problem. There will be sore muscles tomorrow though, not used to using those particular muscle groups. Ah, I’m reminded of how much I like racket sports — tennis, squash, badminton, table tennis — I’ll take them all. Problem is, I need other people to play with me.

in being healthy |


official: 5.6km 34.46min 6.10min/km (9.56min/mi)
nike+: 35.40min 6.14min/km (10.04min/mi)

Race #6, second of the week. Corporate challenges always clash with other races, almost every year. This will be my last corporate challenge, which is a bit sad. Ah well. I had to go into the office to pick up my t-shirt and bib this morning, and I was early getting to battersea park, not sure about train times and all. It wasn’t ideal for running — yes the temperature was cool but it was sunny one minute and heavy showers the next, it’s the unpredictability that caused the problem. I wore my hot chocolate raincoat while waiting with the rest of the team — didn’t have anything to bagcheck. I don’t like wearing it on the race itself but I didn’t have much choice.

Took forever to start, despite the corrals. Really crowded too, with people running 2- or 3-abreast (these 3 women walking in the middle of the path too) and at the other end of the scale people pushing through running faster. The course being only 3.5miles I could afford to go quicker. At the straight part, I did okay, and then there was one part where everyone slowed to a walk because of the mud.

Decent time. Still waiting for the day when I can go back to my old form and complete this under 30mins. We get a finisher’s t-shirt, bananas, water and there was a voucher for a burger (i had chicken) and 2 drinks (beer of course). Socialised for a while, then headed home on the bus.

in being healthy |


official: 10.0km 1:04:58hr 6:29min/km (10:27min/mi)
nike+: 10.2km 1:05:02hr 6:22min/km (10:16min/mi)
overall placing: 13,480 / 19,716

Race #5 this year. I ran this race last year and wasn’t impressed, so I’m not entirely sure why I registered this year. I’m totally not in running mode and was pretty tired when I woke up. Briefly I thought about skipping it for a second but one does not DNS without good reason. Tired is not one of them.

It was pelting down with rain, so I got out the disposable rain poncho that my sis bought for me. That proved to be so useful, I had it on until about 5 mins from the start and it kept me dry and warm.

Ah, the start. Fiasco last year, marginally better this year. Some singer sang a song, they played all 3 verses of the national anthem and the race started 10mins late. No corrals and having people line up on Piccadilly then turn around over the underpass really doesn’t work. At least the bad weather probably deterred some of the walkers, I remember scalds of them blocking the road last year. They still blocked the road but there were fewer of them.

I’m out of practice. Started faster than I wanted, still quite slow. The rain stopped for the first part and then it started pelting down. There was no cover, kudos to all the spectators who stuck around. I didn’t feel tired and kept a fairly even pace. Even managed to sprint a little down the last 200m.

Nike was the sponsor this year, may be the extra sponsorship money was responsible for the basic things in a race like timing chip and extra water. There wasn’t enough water last year, and this year there were 3 water stations. Of course it being a rainy day not as much was needed. We also had to wear the race shirt to qualify for a free official pic. It’s a nice shirt, I just hate the small sleeves for women’s t-shirts. There was also a finishers’ shirt and I grabbed a men’s one instead.

Definitely just a fun run. And yes, great course through London passing all the important sights, which I guess is its biggest draw. There simply aren’t enough big London races — plenty of smaller ones but only this one, BUPA 10k and VLM come to mind. And this one come a very distant third behind those two great races.

in being healthy |

5.01km 35.03min 6.59min/km (11.16min/mi)

Alright, back to running. Have just under 2 weeks to get back to shape for the British 10k on 8 July and corporate challenge on 11 July. Yes, hardly any running and no races since April and 2 races in a week. Luckily they are short races.

The track is still blocked off, so it’s running around the rest of the park. Cloudy and muggy day, there were a lot of buggies and just a few dogs. The cricket pitch is fenced off, against dogs I think, a wonderful thing.

Not caring about the time, need to get stamina and energy back up to an acceptable level.

in being healthy |


10k (10.57km on nike+) 1:08:30hr 6:51min/km (11:02min/mi)
overall: 7,522 / 10,512
gender: 2,933 / 5,076
age division: 288 / 485

My 4th race this year, and absolutely no expectations: a) I’d done a grand total of 2x5k runs since the marathon and b) it was an extremely hot day.

The BUPA10k is one of London’s top races and prides itself on organisation. This year there’s the added bonus that the course is run on the Olympic marathon route this summer. May be we’re getting a taste of what the weather will be like too. Okay, 26°C is not a big deal for somewhere like New York or California or Spain, but that’s hot for here. Add on the race started at 10am and it was pretty tough going. Everyone assembled in Green Park, and the corrals were really very very well organised. Just over 10,000 people in 9 corrals. I was in #6 and it took about 8 minutes to the start line.

It is a great route. Start on the Mall, with Buckingham Palace as backdrop. Through to Trafalgar Square, the Embankment, St Paul’s and Bank before coming back, passing the Eye, hitting Big Ben, Horseguards and finishing on the Mall again. My only complaint is that there didn’t seem to be enough water stations and the promised water misters were nowhere to be found. Not a lot of shade either so I had to pace myself and drink constantly. It was a relief to turn left to see the 200m to go sign.

Time was respectable. I wonder if one of these days I’ll take a race much more seriously and leave my camera behind and not stop for pictures along the route. Or I’d train properly. Or not go into a race with only 2 5k runs over the previous 5 weeks. I always talk about goals like sub-30 for 5k; sub-60 for 10k and breaking 5hr for the marathon. The flipside is that if I get too competitive and race races, where’s the fun?

I didn’t check any bags so I just collected my goodie bag and made my way to the bus stop. Somehow ended up outside Buckingham Palace and some nice Italian people took my picture for me. The Race for Life was also taking place at Hyde Park, I watched it for about 10mins, a few participants noticed my medal and waved.

in being healthy |


‎5.0km 31.04min 6.12min/km (10.00min/mi)

Nothing remarkable about the distance or the time, but it was the first time I went running in 2 weeks. I was ready last week, but got lazy. No more excuses. The ballot for VLM opened today. I registered at 7am and I was already 126,XXX in the confirmation list. I just checked and the chance for ballot entry has already closed. Less than 24 hours. Wow.

Anyway, it’s back to running. I should find an autumn HM to train against. I don’t run well without a training plan.

in being healthy |


Well no, I didn’t run in a 5k race, I’m still knackered and I had problem running across the road. I saw this event on runnersworld UK, someone is organising a star wars fancy dress fun run to coincide with the 35th anniversary of episode 4 coming out. Only £10 and 500 participants; there’s a 1k for kids, a 2k handcycle / wheelchair race and a 5k. A bit out of the way, at Watford, I’ll need to zipcar which instantly quadruples the cost. And needless to say there will be a complete lack of chip timing or anything resembling a competitive race, they actually advertise it as a run/walk for charity.

But, the kid in me who actually watched episode 4 when it came out and who still has the original cinema ticktet is screaming, it’s Star Wars. May the Fourth be with you and all that. I can wear my Darth Maul hoodie and/or my Jedi robe and bring my lightsaber. So tempting.

in being healthy |


chip time: 5:04:54hr 7:14min/km (11:38min/mi) 7174 / 8878 overall
Pictures at flickr

Here’s the short version, I had 3 goals:

  • A goal of 5:15
  • B goal of 5:30
  • Consolation goal of just beating 5:38

I surprised myself by beating even the A goal and came very close to sub-5. Had a good race, learned more about training and pacing. The rest of this post is the long version of the race report.


I met a fellow runner as I was coming out of my room at the hotel and she kindly gave me a lift in her taxi to Preston Park station, saving me a good 15mins of walking. It was her first marathon, I hope she did well. I did bag drop and wandered around the park. Tried out the squeezable water pouch we would get along the course, picked up a bottle of powerade and generally tried to stay warm. It was a sunny morning but very cold, I wasn’t the only one with chattering teeth waiting at the start corral.

The race got underway at 9am and the corrals moved out slowly. I was in the last corral, just happened to stand next to the 4:45 pacer. He was the slowest pacer, so I was prepared for the group to pass me early on. The first mile was around the park, then we headed out to the streets. I’m not familiar with the city, we were mainly in local-ish commercial areas, with some hilly bits, then we hit the Pavillion and at mile 5 turned left into (I think it’s called) Marine Drive that ran along the coast. I felt good, at the back of my mind I wanted to try to keep to under 12min/mi which, as my pace band told me, is on time for 5:15.


mile 5-12 — Rottingdean and back
It was sunny with no cover, the wind was fairly brisk though. This bit of the course was boring, nothing much to see and the spectators had thinned out. I was keeping good pace, and feeling pretty fresh. Past Roedean and the hills started. At the U-turn between miles 8 and 9 they gave out bloks and cereal bars. I took a walk break up the hill at mile 9. It was good to turn around and start running downhill. The 15k marker was a welcome sight. Part of the course doubled back, in theory it was super easy to cheat, in reality who would do such a thing? The other thing about doubling back is that we could see faster runners coming on the opposite side of the road. These people are fast. By mile 12 we were back in town and aiming towards the pier.


mile 12-20 — centre of town
Halfway point was at the Hilton. All the way from the pier on, the crowd was thickest and there were a lot of encouragement. At my pace, I’m running mainly with charity runners. Those who had their names on their shirt received the most shouts. Now is the time to mention the runners in costume, I saw a tiger, a badger, a lion, rhino, angry birds, spongebob squarepants and fairies. There was also an army guy in full gear and backpack, and I was lucky enough to run next to a wheelchair participant at one point. Apparently £4m was raised for various charities which is wonderful. Charity running is still not my thing, but if it gets results and people enjoy it, then it’s not for me to comment.


Past mile 14 and we turned “inland” to first shops and then residential neighbourhoods. It was fantastic of people to come out of their houses to blast music or give out jelly babies or simply clap their support. I waved at the Queen and Kate (in masks) and received high fives from kids. Took a loo break at mile 16, there was somewhat of a queue and it took me about 5 minutes. More on that 5 minutes later.

Coming out to the seafront at mile 18 meant being hit by the wind. That part of the course was pretty tough with the wind and not many spectators. There were hardly any marshalls either, but the crowds seemed to be able to stay off the course.


mile 20-23 — the Wall
They even had an arch at the entrance of “the road to hell” — an apt description given its setting of an industrial estate looping around the power station. I took my second walk break just after mile 20. I was slowing down and I figured a 3 min walk will restore my energy. And it did, to an extent. There was also a gu station, someone gave me a raspberry flavoured one and I almost spit it out. Luckily there were chocolate ones scattered on another table which took the nasty berry flavour away. All through the course I had been drinking their water, grabbing bloks and I had my own blok supply too. As far as nutrition was concerned I was okay.

Coming out of the Wall area was a great feeling. The mile 23 sign flashed by and I knew I only had 5k or so left to go.


mile 23 to finish
I was thinking about another walk break at mile 24, but I skipped it. It was a long way home along the coast but at least we were running in the direction of the finish line. I found myself running, not fast but not lagging. I was passing quite a few people who were plodding or simply walking at that point. Lots of encouragement from the sparse spectators along Portslade. I even got one myself, a young girl and her father shouted “Go, lady in orange t-shirt, Go!!!” And we shared a big thumbs up. It was a great feeling.

Just keep running. Mile 24, then mile 25 and we were back along the crowded part of the course. I skipped the last water station and there it was, 400m to go, 200m to go. Past the pier and the last few meters. I took my finish line photo on the run, and then I was across the line. Another marathon done.

It was a long, over 1 mile walk back to the hotel. I had to sit for a bit on the curb before I ventured out. Initially I had to walk slowly, my calves were sore. Then halfway, it got easier, I think the walk ended up being good for relaxing my muscles. First thing after my shower was I put on compression socks, they are doing their magic now.


I knew, coming out of the Wall, that I had a good chance of beating 5:15. The strategy of staying under 12min/mi worked, apart from the walk breaks, I made a conscious effort to stick to it. I crossed the finish line with the official clock at 5:17 so I knew I’d done well. Nike+ showed 5:08, but it wasn’t until I checked on the marathon app (yes, they had an app) that I saw that I was under 5:05. Wow. Oh wow. That’s 34mins off last year’s Chicago PR.

HM time was 2:26 so a 12min positive split. Both Chicago times had HM splits in that area, so what I did right this race was I did not bonk in the second half. Is a 12min positive split good? It’s okay, but it should be lower. Am I okay about it? Yes, absolutely. Could I have tried harder in the second half, knowing that an even split would net me sub-5? I thought about it, but decided that preserving energy was more important. I was already on my way to beating my A goal, I didn’t want to jeopardize it.

At the end, it was only 5 minutes. Could I have gotten that 5min back somewhere else? The obvious points were the 2 walk breaks and the loo break. Not much I can do about the loo break; I did keep to only one, and I had to keep hydrated. I’m not a guy so sprinking the flora isn’t an option and although I did see an odd female or two doing the same, I’d rather “waste” a few minutes queuing for the portaloo. Should I have taken the walk breaks? Probably not, but I was tired at those 2 points and I needed the psychological moreso than the physical boost. More training will take care of that.

Brighton bills itself as the second biggest UK marathon. I think the organisers try their very best to promote it as a race on its own merit and not a sort of consolation for people who didn’t get into the VLM lottery and don’t want a charity place. The reality was there were a lot of “loser” VLM fleeces out there. The race has a lot going for it — location, seafront atmosphere, fairly flat course and the organisation gets high marks from me. Certainly did not feel like it’s only their 3rd time round. There was plenty of water and energy. The volunteers as usual were great. Yes, the course was boring and could do with more bands, I’m not bothered about small things like that.

I really liked the app. It’s simple, and it gave me my time almost instaneously. When I whatsapp’ed mm afterwards she already knew my time because she also downloaded the app. Much better system than the not!working text at Chicago. The biggest issue is that it only gave me my overall position, not age or gender division. Coming in the 7,000 out of almost 9,000 runners is not a result I like.

Would I do it again? It deserves it, that’s for sure. Problem is, Paris is on the same weekend, so if I’m still in Europe next year and if I’m running marathons again and if I apply and don’t get into VLM, I’ll probably go for Paris instead. Nothing against Brighton, but it’s Paris.

what next
I did Chicago in October, and now Brighton. In theory, it means I’m capable of 2 marathons a year. In practice, even though part of me is itching to do another one (marathons are addicting, just ask any marathoner), I don’t want to go through the training cycle. It’s a huge timesuck and I’d like to have a life. What did go right this training cycle was I stuck 95% to the plan. The midweek runs from work with the backpack turned out to be fantastic training tools. The long weekend runs without the backpack felt so much easier.

Here’s the dilemma. I’m so close to sub-5 I should do another one soon, within a year, to take advantage off my current fitness level and break that 5hr barrier. Asking an elite to go drom 2:04 to 1:59 is extremely tough, but for me to get to sub-5 means only going from 11:38min/mi to 11:24, it’s not inconceivable that I can take 15 seconds off each mile. I do know that in order to improve, I have to take the wheels off and move up from novice training plans. 35 miles a week will not bring 4:30; a minimum of 50 miles a week is required. Do I want to spend the time? Sigh. I don’t know. I don’t think so, not today anyway.

That said, I do like the structure of a proper training plan. I only have a couple of 10k races in the calendar so I need to find a HM to aim for. Or find a plan that focuses on speed. I’ll take some rest, then start planning for the rest of the year. I won’t stop running, it’s taken me this far, I can’t stop now.

in being healthy |


Easy, fast train journey to Brighton. Hopped onto the bus to get to the hotel, and even though I was early the room was ready so I was able to check in. The room is small, yes, but it’s okay for one person. There’s a small balcony that overlooks directly Regency Square, the sea and the derelict old pier.

First port of call was the expo, a short 5 mins walk away. A lot of charities, a few stalls selling gels and whatnot, massage, and the big Saucony (sponsors) stall. I bought a tech training shirt for £15 and a pair of compression socks for £10.

The weather turned nice and I took a long walk all the way to the pier and back. Played £1 worth of 2p pushers for old times’ sake. A pot of whelks for the same reason.

The training plan has 2 miles today, which I didn’t do but I’m thinking that walking for 2hrs is a good substitute. Got water and coke zero from the supermarket and then made my way to the Lanes to find somewhere to have dinner. Didn’t feel like the proverbial big pasta carb loading. Possibilities included venison burger, seafood, bistro or tapas. I ended up at a pub with a pint of local ale and a root vegetable pie with mash, carrots and beetroot. The pie was ok, the veg was good, the mash was rubbery. For dessert I got 1 scoops of peanut butter and blueberry gelato from an ice cream shop opposite the pub.

Seems like there’s a lot of people in town for the race. Signs are already up on Marine Drive, if the Grand is at 13 miles, then Regency Square, aka “home”, is halfway. That’s a good landmark to aim for.

Am I ready? Still hasn’t sunk in. I’ll take it one mile at a time. 6.30am start tomorrow, bed soon.

in being healthy |

Almost time for the race. I’m taking the train down tomorrow to go to the expo and explore a bit, it’s been years since I’ve visited Brighton. I’m definitely getting more nervous. Staying 2 nights I should only have a few things, but my bag is actually quite heavy because I’ve overpacked. 3 race shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, spare socks, spare everything I can think of, loads of food and even Powerade.

Can’t stop looking at the course video either. The start is in Preston Park and it looks like it winds through narrow residential streets before hitting the main stretch along the beach. The part they call The Wall starting at mile 22 looks industrial and could be tough. The weather forecast is cold (10°C) with pretty strong winds. Not liking the winds but it’s better than blazing hot sun on a course that has little or no cover.

Am I ready? I’ll know better tomorrow night.

in being healthy |


5.00km 27.59min 5.35min/km (9.00min/mi)

Holy crap that felt good. The taper must be working. Missed the weekend 8-miler (whisky holiday more important heehee). There’s only 3 runs this week, 3 miles and 2x2miles. The last time I went running was a week ago, and I am so happy I haven’t lost my fitness. I was not tired, and actually it didn’t feel like I was going especially fast. Nice splits. I’d be ecstatic if I ran a 5k race with a sub-28 time.

in being healthy |


6.0km 36.27min 6.04min/km (9.46 min/mi)

4 miles around the track. Felt good, went fast. The compression socks (or placebo effect) must have worked — no pain in calves, no tightness in ankles, just a tiny discomfort at the top of the foot. Looking good for the race, must continue to keep an eye out for injuries. Whee!

in being healthy |


20.0km 2:21:51hr 7:05min/km (11:25min/mi)

Well no, I wasn’t running with just compression socks. Running naked means no music. Easy-ish 12 miles today at Hyde Park. Good conditions, not too crowded.

The taper is going as well as can be. The pain at the top of my foot persists and is slowly spreading to the ankle and calf. Not serious enough to hinder the race I think. Hope.

I bought a pair of compression socks to test them out. I’ve seen people wearing them at races and it seems that they do work somewhat. I thought about wearing them whilst running but decided to wear them as recovery instead. So I’ve been wearing them since the end of my run and shower, all evening. They were tight to put on, which is the whole idea. Comfortable, with slight pressure at my ankle, which is what I need. May be it’s just a placebo effect, but even it it’s all mental, I’ll take any and all advantage I can.

in being healthy |


Runners are one of the biggest groups of drinkers I’ve known. At least in Chicago races, there will usually be beer at the end. Free, or cheap. The good stuff too, 312 or Goose Island. I mean, we’re not all Chris Hoy, who has Olympic gold in sight.

But too much alcohol isn’t good for marathon training. So for the next 3 weeks, I’m going to limit alcohol to weekends only. This includes the 4-day weekend that is Easter.

in being healthy |


5.20km 33.20min 6.21min/km (10.19 min/mi)

I’m so glad it’s taper time. I’m still feeling the effects of the 20 miler — top of foot is slightly swollen, calves very tight and generally achy everywhere. Instead of the scheduled 5 miles, I did 5k around the track to try to loosen the muscles. Not sure if successful, still achy everywhere. I didn’t want to completely skip the run though.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


‎32.22km (20mi) 3:58:35hr 7:24min/km (11:56 min/mi)

Second 20 miler of this training cycle; and then the taper begins. It was a hot day, luckily there was some wind. I ate a big ham & egg sandwich for breakfast and took off at 9:30am. So happy that the water fountains are back on, I was running out of liquid at one point. Refilled and immediately drank half a bottle. Managed the full 20 miles in just under 4hrs, a bit slower than the first 20 miler, pretty pleased with the pace.

I was exhausted when I got home. Didn’t have any energy to do anything but sit on my sofa with my feet up for half an hour before my calves stopped hurting so I could go shower. Then mm whatsapped me, and Mum wanted to skype. Sigh.

The upside of running 20 miles is…I can eat whatever I want. I got this bone-in rib from Whole Foods a while back, it was on sale. 700g (24oz) for £9-something. At Hawksmoor, it’s £9 per 100g, so this was bargain compared to eating out. I know, can’t compare restaurant food with home-cooked food. Instead of Hawksmoor’s extremely hot charcoal grill, I grilled mine slowly on the hob and had it with cavolo negro (black cabbage), carrots and mushroom. Tasted great. Couldn’t eat the whole thing, may be about 2/3rd.

in being healthy |


I’m not eating enough, it’s a little alarming. I eat biscuits and pizza and noodles and stuff like that so it’s not like I’m skimping. But i can’t seem to get up to 1,288 net calories, my dailyplate goal. I don’t feel hungry or deprived. I need to try a new strategy; with 3 weeks till the race, I should slowly increase my carb intake. It’s just that I’m not used to too much carbs, we had pizza at work today and it gave me pretty uncomfortable stomach upset this evening. Frustrated.

in being healthy |


5.47km (3.4mi) 29.47min 5.26min/km (8.46 min/mi)

For once in a long, long time, I managed to get some speed. Lots of it, in fact. Everything fell in place — a bit chilly, no rain, enough space to run on the track, didn’t feel tired at all and was able to open up especially down the back straight. The only blemish was, and it’s now becoming too much of a regular occurrence to be annoying, the nike+ wasn’t working. I knew that 2.5 laps = 1km, but when I checked it was showing 0.6km. Restarted, and then it showed 0.8km for the next km. Ridiculous.

The distance and time was all Garmin. At the end of the run, I reset the app and recalibrated. Walked 100m. Seems to be back working now.

in being healthy |


Only one month to go till the marathon. Unlike the other two, I have to travel to it. (Okay, last year’s Chicago marathon I flew all the way from London; but staying at Car’s house and driving to Millennium Park in my own car is a different type of travel.) It adds another layer of organisation and, well, stress.

I’m going down on Saturday, the race is on Sunday and I’m coming back on Monday. I have my train ticket £6.60, resisting the temptation to get first class, which at £25, isn’t that expensive, but for a 50min train ride, not worth the extra expense. Hotel is the boutique Artist Residence. Let’s hope the room actually looks somewhat like the picture on their website.

in being healthy |



5.01km 28.54min 5.46min/km (9.17 min/mi)

Apologies that I’m so obsessed with my running and training. Only 4.5 weeks to go, I have to be obsessive. With the iffy ankle I substituted the planned 5-miler with a simple 5k around the track.

It felt good from the get go, I wasn’t afraid to go faster because I knew I won’t run out of stamina. That’s the whole purpose of the training; having done 20 miles on Sunday, a 5k should be a doddle. Splits look good. Fastest km at 5:39 is 9:05min/mi pace. And the ankle held, I didn’t even notice it was stiff.

in being healthy |


Woke up with sore thighs, which was expected; and a left ankle that felt like it was slightly sprained. Not badly, just that range of movement was restricted. Hopefully it’ll go away in a couple of days, otherwise I’ll need to get those ankle braces that Andy Murray has been wearing.

in being healthy |


nike+ didn’t pick up first 3km: 32.2km (20mi) 3:55:28hr 7:18min/km (11.46min/mi)

It was a nice day, sunny with some winds. I was all prepared. Time for the first 20-miler of this marathon training cycle. The usual route down to Hyde Park. I had planned on coming home after 13-ish miles, replenishing water and then going over to Regent’s Park, but it turned out I was doing fine and I stayed at the park for the entire run.

Mid-week running with the backpack must be working, it felt great to be running with just the water belt. The nike+ didn’t pick up the first 3km so I was relying on the garmin. Took 3 walk breaks at 8, 13 and 17 miles. May be about 2 mins each time. Those breaks were good, I ate a banana, a gu and a cereal bar and my legs felt rested. By the time I thought about my rapidly emptying powerade bottle I was already only 4 miles from home.

Pace surprised me in the nicest way possible. I was tired the last mile, but looked at the watch and realised I was going to break 4hrs. I think it’s the first time I’ve done that for 20miles, I’m pretty chuffed.

in being healthy |


I’ve been following the training plan pretty closely and seems to have solved the problem of the mid-week run. An 8-mile day is simply running from the office; a 5-mile day is starting at Euston Square station then into Regent’s Park. One loop around inner circle followed by the anti-clockwise part of outer circle to my normal exit. One loop around the track and it’s exactly 8km.

I even have a mini-streak going, and so even too, 5 miles every day. That will end tomorrow cos it’s a rest day.

in being healthy |


February mileage was 167.5km, or 104 miles. It feels good to have done 100 miles, and in a short month too.

in being healthy |


Turned out, I missed last friday’s run to work day. Well, it wouldn’t have been practical anyway. It’s something ike 7.5-8 miles, which is on the edge of doable in the morning. Problem is, there is no shower facilities at work so, no way. I did run home for 5 miles from Euston Square station today.

in being healthy |

29.03km (18mi) 3:36:44hr 7.28min/km (12.00 min/mi)

This week’s long run is 18 miles. I tried to break it down into smaller, manageable (mentally) pieces. Ran down to Hyde Park, around the Serpentine and then back home at mile 12. Took a loo break, took off my long sleeved shirt and changed shoes. The remainder 6 miles was done around the track. I must admit, up to the HM mark it was okay, the last couple of miles were tough. I probably shouldn’t have done it around the track cos it is very boring. I had in mind around 3.30 so I wasn’t far off. Only ate one cereal bar and a bunch of chomps, plus a bottle of lucozade sports. Should probably have had a second cereal bar.


Feet hurt at the end. Not injury, just tiredness. Sat on the cushion in the living room for almost half an hour with chocolate milk until I could move again to take a shower. I did reward myself with a lamb burger and skinny chips at gbk. I wanted buffalo but they didn’t have any. Had to take an afternoon nap too.

in being healthy |


chip: 21.1km 2:24:29hr 6:51min/km (10:58 min/mi)
nike+: 21.34km 2:25:22hr 6:49min/km (10:58min/mi)

  • overall: 1013 / 1116
  • gender division: 367 / 429
  • age division: 36 / 40

Race #2 of 2012, Race Your Pace Half Marathon, held at Dorney Lake which is: a) Eton’s rowing centre and b) where the Olympics rowing events will be held this year. That was one of the reasons I signed up for the race, to see the venue. Of course, the only feasible way of getting there is by driving, so I had to zipcar it thus increasing the cost from £27 to over £100. (Did a big shop at Tesco’s afterwards, sort of justifying the zipcar cost.)

The race start time was 10am, I got there just after 8.30am, which ended up being a good thing because I was able to park pretty close to where everything was taking place. People who came later ended up parking almost 1 mile from the tents. Got a cup of tea and then hurried to the warmth and safety of the boathouse café. It was cold-ish, not too cold. But what made it really bad was how strong the wind was. The 20min before the race start (which was delayed by 15mins) was absolutely miserable, standing in the open being buffeted by the wind with teeth chattering and hands becoming frozen. Ugh.

ldnryphm001sign ldnryphm003lake

The course was 4 laps around the lake. Not very interesting, but flat and good asphalt running surface. The wind never went away, along the 2km long length of the course, it was either crosswinds from the left or crosswinds from the right. Where I got hit direct by the headwind, I could feel myself struggling to move forward.

I started with the 11min/mile pace group, at the advice of the (absolutely fantastic) pacer, I stayed just in front of the group. It was a good tactic as my aim was never to let them pass me, and that proved to be a great incentive. At times it was touch and go with the headwind. Being a multi-lap course, it was inevitable that we got lapped by the faster runners. The field was only about 1,000 people so there was never too much crowding.

Can’t remember exactly what time I had halfway, but 10k was at 1:10. I took one bathroom break, ate some chomps and took a couple of bottles of the lucozade sports. They did advertise this as a pancake flat course that was good for setting PRs. My previous best was at the Chicago Half and I had in mind to finish at 2:20 or even 2:15. I’m not trying to make excuses, but if the wind wasn’t so blasted strong, I may have had a chance. As it was, I was coming up to the last 2km stretch and I saw that I was lagging. At Mile 12 I opened up, figuring I should have enough gas left to go for it for the last mile. My last km split was 6:13min or 10min/mi, and I did finish in front of the pace group.

It’s only a 17 second PR, but I’ll take it. I learned more about pacing and more importantly, that perhaps I do have the endurance and energy level to run faster under race conditions. The trick is to get more experience and get to the point where I don’t have to hold so much back.

in being healthy |


Something went wrong with my nike+. Either the GPS wasn’t working or something. It recorded that I ran 0.03km, or 33 yards. Funny, I know I ran around the track 17 times. The Garmin showed 4.1miles, or 6.6km, at 42.45mins. Not a bad pace 6.28min/km or 10.24min/mile. Stupid nike+. The website isn’t working with firefox either. I really should switch to Garmin Connect.

in being healthy |


Wow. It only opened 6 days ago, and today registration for chicago marathon 2012 has closed already. That’s in record time. Seems like more and more people are taking up marathon racing. And with this being one of the majors that does not depend on qualification or lottery, it’s not surprising that it’s so popular.

in being healthy |


24.01km 3:06:01hr 7:45min/km

15 mile long run today in the plan. I missed 2 weeks’ of training, so I had no expectations of pace. Normally I do my long run on Sunday, and my intention was to do it tomorrow. Two things changed my mind: it was sunny, and the forecast is snow overnight. I know, I know, it’s just London snow, which is piddly. And I’ve been crazy enough to go running in the snow, rain and wind. Thing is, why unnecessarily torture yourself?

I tried out my new photochromatic glasses, the ones that darken in the sun. They were fabulous, I won’t have to worry about losing the clip-ons again.

What wasn’t so fabulous was the run itself. The first 10k was okay, and then I got tired. Had to take a couple of walk breaks, and it was slow going from 19k till the end. Lack of training and too much food when I was on vacation. I need to build my endurance back up, and probably can do with getting rid of 5 pounds or so. Conditions were great though, dry and sunny, just some parts when it got windy. It was very cold, 2°C, I had long sleeves, long pants and gloves.

After dinner, I went outside to take the rubbish out. It’s snowing. Light flurries, not sure if it will stick. Very glad I pushed myself to run today, don’t fancy having to negotiate icy pavements tomorrow.

in being healthy |


Registration for chicago marathon 2012 opened on the 1st. This year, it will have to run without me. I don’t want to go through two marathon training cycles a year, I will be very busy in August. Plus, I’m going to give marathon running a rest for a year or two to work on speed.

in being healthy |


I registered for the nikeplus virtual women’s half marathon challenge, where participants run a HM in their own time during the weekend of 14-15 Jan. For some reason, my HM never showed up in the challenge, sigh. Flagged it as a problem on their fb page and they had been very helpful, even adjusting the time of my run to fit into the criteria. Didn’t work. Just as well I hadn’t paid $40 for the souvenir finisher’s braclet.

in being healthy |


Ran around Regent’s Park on the way home from work. That takes care of the 10k mid-week run this week. And now I’m going to take a 2 week break, going on vacation from Thursday. Good timing, because my left knee is starting to act up — on Saturday’s HM, I felt it snap with about 4k left. It’s not bad ITBS, I think, just pinching at the bottom of the patella that causes a sudden loss of control. Flared up again on today’s run. Ordinarily I don’t like taking such a long break in the middle of the training cycle, but I’ve had breaks before, so hopefully it should be okay. I’m not bringing any running stuff on vacation; I suppose I could go buy some shoes if I really really feel the urge.

in being healthy |


10.03km 1:16:28hr 7.37min/km (12.15 pace)

6 miles or 10k on the training plan today. This medium run is always the problem, because it’s in the middle of the work week and I don’t exactly live next door to the office. Last marathon training cycle I ran the midweek 8-miler from work to home, so for this cycle I thought I’d do the 6-miler the same way. Instead of starting from the office, I took the tube to Great Portland Street with the intention of avoiding the heaviest traffic and running through Regent’s Park. Yikes, I should have remembered, it’s dark and there are no lights inside the park which meant it was closed. So I ended up doing 3 circuits around Inner Circle, headed home and did the last 2km on the track. I was home by 7pm, which means I saved about 45mins or more.

I had my backpack, which was a hindrance and slowed me down. The other factor was that it was very dark, and I was extremely grateful for my reflective vest. Other people who weren’t in fluorescent or light coloured clothing were pretty much completely invisible, so I can’t imagine it is safe. My time ended up being slow, but at least I got this run out of the way.

in being healthy |


It feels decadent eating cake and drinking wine while watching the biggest loser. But hey, I run a lot of miles and I try to eat healthily normally. I firmly believe in calories in vs calories out. I mean, no, I don’t stick to it every day, but over the long run I think I’ve managed to maintain. When people say “you’re so thin” I find it both offensive and hilarious. Why do you think I run? It is not a chicken and egg situation, it is very clearly: I run, therefore I am at a healthy weight.

in being healthy |


What the hell is up with stupid idiot running groups? This coach brings his teams for training on the track around the same time as I go for runs. The track has 6 lanes and these idiots think they own the entire track. They do warm ups, run in the opposite direction and STOP suddenly with no regard for other runners. The coach yells a half-hearted “look out for others” but these idiots are oblivious.

Track etiquette is common sense and easily googled:

  • run anti-clockwise — I’ve done clockwise on a long run just to break up the monotony, I ran on the outermost lane and watched out for other runners
  • the fastest lane is on the inside — omg these stupid middle-eastern women who walk three abreast on the inside lane breaks me
  • never block the track, ie stand around chatting or doing pushups or talking on the phone
  • never stop suddenly, move to the side and stop
  • no bikes, dogs (fucking dogs), skateboards, rollerblades, kids or people who are not running on the track
  • no kicking a football around or playing basketball or other sports that are inappropriate on the track
  • be aware of others

Sadly, only the very few will do this. I bought a sonic dog repeller, I so wish there is a human equivalent.

in being healthy |


Did a mediocre 5k in very strong winds around the track, then about 10mins’ worth of shooting the hoops. It was a fun and twisted sort of nightmare to keep track of the basketball while I was running — I’d stuck it underneath a bin, then in a gap in the roots of a tree, then at the corner of the gate — it insisted in escaping, cos of the wind. At one point I just carried it with me and did one lap.

Sigh, I’m so horribly out of practice. I still know how to shoot the ball, but most times it bounced off the board or the rim and I don’t get the basket. There is only one solution to this. Play more.

in being healthy |

092:365 Basketball
image courtesy flickr user GonchoA

I was at Lillywhites getting a Man U shirt for my friend’s son, and at the till there was a bunch of basketballs for £2.99. So now after more than 20 years, I am once again the proud owner of a basketball. It has been so long since I played. Wow, the days when I played for the school team. Memories. Yes, I’m short and I wear glasses and I’m no longer fast. But I still love it, hopefully I get a chance to go out to the court and mess around a little.

in being healthy |

2012serpentine10kstart 2012serpentine10kfinish

chip time: 10.03km 1:04:11hr 6:25min/km 10:19min/mile
nike+ time: 10.03km 1:03:55hr 6:22min/km 10:15min/mile

overall: 391 / 463
gender division: 141 / 194
age division: 19 / 27

Race #1 of 2012, serpentine new year’s day 10k. A very reasonable start time of 11am, and a field full of what looked like dedicated and keen runners. Lots in club shirts too, clubs are big things here. A couple wearing a Racine Ironman cap recognised my Chicago marathon cap and we chatted for a bit. Heh, I should have worn my Chicago shirt. Ah, but luckily no. No with these times.

The course started at Hyde Park, went along the outer carriage drive then to the Serpentine, crossing to Kensington Gardens. Mostly it was run there. The paths were narrow, and even with a small field of 500 runners there were parts that could only allow 2 across. There was also a loop, so at one point both the frontrunners and slower people were on the same path. (Would have been so easy to cheat, calling Kip Litton.)

We had to share the course with the public, ack. Mostly, the public were alright, but there are always idiots. Families with buggies and old people walking 3 abreast. Tourists who never know how to walk in London anyway. One stupid woman had 3 dogs (black and white things) which she had off leash and they were running across the path and into the runners. Fucking dog owners. I hate dogs.

Chip, garmin and nike+ times were by and large close. I did better than I thought. With the narrow path, the multiple turns and short walking break at the water station (they gave us bottled water with no caps, had to drink it while walking), I’m pleasantly surprised I came under 1:05. 59:xx will come, one day, I know it.

Lots of volunteers on the course, and I tried to thank as many as I could. They seemed to appreciate a “thanks for coming out” and were all in good spirits. Volunteers make a race, any race. There was a souvenir running sock at the end, but that’s it. I’m so glad I brought my own water, otherwise would have had to buy it at the snack bar opposite. The good thing about Hyde Park, aside from it being my “home” course, is the quick hop on the bus home. I also ran this as part of the nikerunning hangover challenge. Hee.

in being healthy |


Total 986.28km or 612.85 miles tracked on nike+. I knew at the beginning of this week that I’m close to 1000km, and if I did a few more runs, I would have passed it. But it doesn’t matter, I didn’t get the transmitter back till mid-Jan so I probably did go over 1000km. In terms of miles, 600 is a good milestone.

High points:

  • injury free — some small niggles with my back and knee, but those are par for the course
  • racing in London — first time doing smaller (a few hundred people) races and it was fun
  • having a track nearby, both Hyde Park and Regent’s Park within running distance
  • followed the novice 2 training plan pretty well, even got that last 20-miler done in atrocious conditions
  • another marathon done

Low points:
  • I miss the lake
  • too many pedestrians and tourists all over the place
  • racing in London —it’s different, sometimes I miss the slickness of Chicago races; the British 10k in July was a disappointment in terms of organisation and crowd, ie walkers obstructing the course, control

in being healthy |


3 sets of 8: db shoulder press 2x40, squat 20, bent over row 20, lunge 2x20, 24 pushups, 2x1min plank

I haven’t done any weights in over a year. Took me long enough to assemble the bench and I had to get SM’s help to unstuck the weights. There is way less room here, I don’t even have space to use the barbell, but I managed okay with the bench and the small space next to my bed. Wow, so out of practice. Almost couldn’t get to the last rep of the db press, and at only 40lbs. If I want to get better with my marathon training, I have to do more cross training. Those weights need to be used more.

in being healthy |


April seems so far away, especially since it’s cold, windy, grotty and it’s already dark at 3pm. But it is true. Training starts today for the brighton marathon, 18 weeks away. Since it is a week before the VLM, I expect to see people start their training next week.

Following Higdon’s novice 2 again. I wish I have the discipline to move up to Intermediate 1, but I don’t want to spend the time. It’s hard enough to train through the winter for a spring marathon anyway. Supposedly the plan starts today, and it’s a rest day. But there are work dinner functions this week, so I took advantage of a work-from-home day to do Wednesday’s 5-miler today. It’s supposed to be a pace run, although I don’t see my pace being any different from usual. Hmm.

in being healthy , how the day went |

I called up a local dentist last week for a checkup appointment. Just a random clinic I found on the NHS website. I chose it because it was nearby, it’s open on Saturdays and it has positive reviews. It’s at Harrow Road where I do my shopping, and I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed it before. It’s really just a neighbourhood sort of place, not very posh. The people were very nice though, the dentist matter of fact and did a good job. Check up, X-rays and cleaning altogether cost me £65, which, compared with the unspeakable amount I spent last year on a crown, 6 veneers, new fillings and some flashy bleaching in the US, is an absolute bargain.

in being healthy |


5.00km 30.36min 6.07min/km

The day after I finish nano is usually a bit of a let down. I don’t know what to do. It was quiet at work and I had nothing to write. I come home, watch TV, made lunch for tomorrow and there is nothing to write. Oh, I know, I know. There’s the Lamplight rewrite which has dragged on for too long and I have about 10 books planned so saying there is nothing to write is technically incorrect. There is just nothing to write today.

So, I do the next best thing. I went running. 5k around the track. Getting a little speed back. It’ll be nice if I can consistently do sub-30 5k this year. It’s a reasonable goal.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


So, the more facebook friends we have the more developed our brains are in certain regions: memory, emotional responses and social interactions. Hmm. I have almost 900 friends in my “public” account but less than 100 in my real name account. So, fail here.

Another study shows that faster walkers have higher life expectancy. Hmm. I’m not a fast walker, mm always leaves me behind. Fail again.

At least I’m not a total failure: beer contains silicon, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Yet again, it’s all about the beer.

in being healthy |


I can’t remember this happening last year. This year I can’t seem to stop snacking. Problem is of course that I’m not consuming the same number of calories as when I was training so the danger is weight gain. Ah well, another reason to get back to training soon and now I see why people fret about the downtime between training cycles.

in being healthy |


5.15km 30.26min 5.55min/km

Hal Higdon, who I saw in person at the marathon expo, says,

Generally, it takes a minimum of two to three weeks for the body to recover from the strain of running 26 miles 385 yards. Return too quickly and you increase your risk of injury. Some experts suggest resting one day for every mile you run in the marathon, thus 26 days of no hard running or racing! Others suggest one day for every kilometer, thus 42 days rest. Often the determining factor is not how quickly your body recovers, but how quickly your mind recovers, since you temporarily will have lost your main training goal.

I briefly thought about going running yesterday. Glad that I did today after work. Just a 5k, which really, after 42k, is nothing. It was a good run, I went out faster than usual, because I knew I had enough endurance. Ended up being sub-30, and I’m not tired or sore. This is the pace I should aim at achieving on all runs.

I wore the chicago marathon t-shirt, although it was too dark for anyone to notice it. Not too many people out this evening. I planned out the training for Brighton. 18 weeks start 12 December, earlier than I thought / hoped. It’s gonna be a long, cold, tough winter.

in being healthy |


Went over to Niketown on Michigan to get my marathon finisher’s shirt. Hmm, orange. They also had finisher’s cap but I’d bought one already at the expo. I shouldn’t buy so much stuff anyway, trying to downsize.

Lots of people wearing the race shirt today. Also a fair few wearing their medals. In public. On the street. While shopping. Not something I would do. I wore it to the car, and I did take it to work to show people. Each to their own, I guess. Don’t want to take away other people’s achievement.

in being healthy |

chimarathon2011005lake chimarathon2011016start

42.2km 5:38:14hr 8:01min/km | 26.2miles 5:38:14hr 12:55min/mile
overall: 29,985 / 35,558
gender division: 12,145 / 15,404
age division1,017 / 1,363

mile 0: start
It took less than 30mins to drive up to town, then 15mins to navigate around the road closures. I parked at Grant Park North, wanting to be nearby and in a car park that I know. By 6.30am I was in the Bank of America tent, which they laid on for customers. There was water, gatorade, bananas, cereal bars, bench seating and most importantly, private portaloos.

As I was walking towards the start corral, the sun came out. Lovely view of it coming up on the lake. It’s gonna be a glorious day. I had signed up with the 5:15 pace group (12mm) so I found my way there. Saw my colleague K, and we lined up together. She is injured and wasn’t going to finish the race, but I said I’d walk with her for a bit.

We were lined up so far behind that we could barely hear the national anthem and the announcements. Took about 18mins to get to the actual start. I did walk K for about 100m, then she dropped out, limping. It’s disappointing for her, to DNF on her first marathon, but at least she crossed the start line and it will be the start of a longer journey for her.

chimarathon2011020theatre chimarathon2011026flag

miles 1-3: the loop
This is the best part of the race. Legs are fresh, crowds everywhere, perfect for absorbing the atmosphere. I had my headphones but didn’t put any music on. I don’t often run without music, but I find I’m not missing it. Speedwise I was going slowly, with the sheer number of people it wasn’t feasible to run fast anyway.

Ran past all the familiar landmarks. My favourite shot from last year was in front of the Chicago theatre so I did the same shot this year.

miles 3-7: towards lincoln park
It got quieter up la salle into Lakeview. There was still lots of shade, running was comfortable. Mile 4.5 was where the supporters from the Moody Church were stationed. They had music and gave everyone a high five. I’m afraid to admit that I’m not sure which denomination the church belongs to (not Catholic, that’s all I can say) but they provided much needed encouragement at a point in the race for which I’m grateful.

Feeling strong into Lincoln Park. I remember last year I had to stop at the aid station near mile 6 to wrap up a blister. This year I stopped there again to tape up the KT tape which had fallen off. Didn’t last long. By mile 7 I’d ripped it off. It was also in Lincoln Park that I saw a guy running with an American flag. He passed me, so I sprinted past him to get the shot.

chimarathon2011035boystown chimarathon2011037japan

miles 7-12: boystown, sedgwick, back to the loop
Up towards mile 7 was by the LSD, where K cheered me on last year. I thought about her, probably back at the start watching the runners. Almost to mile 8 was the northermost point of the course where it turned back at Addision. Lots of crowd there.

And then it was fun for the next 2 miles. The atmosphere at Boystown can never be beat, lots of spectators dressed up, the ROTC troupe was there, it was like carnival. It was at that point that I lost my sunglasses attachment. I spent 10mins looking for it, but it was pretty impossible. Sad, but I had to continue.

Shady down Sedgwick, which was good. Japanese drummers provided support. The stretch down Wells was okay. I was trying to see if I was feeling ok. About 1/3 done and I felt like I had 2/3 in the tank. Sponges and something luxurious — I think it was the La Salle Street Church that had a sign out front that bathroom facilities were open to runners. Oh man!! Talk about not needing to queue up for the portaloos and having a real bathroom. I know I seem to be obsessed with bathrooms, but if you’re out for 5hrs constantly drinking, toilet breaks become strategic.

chimarathon2011041sears chimarathon2011043halfway

mile 13.1: halfway
Entering the Loop again brings back the strong crowd support, especially at the 2 cheer zones underneath Sears Tower. Cross Wacker and there was the 13.1 sign. HALFWAY!! Time was about 2:40. Slow, ah well. People were shouting “Spiderwoman!” close to me, and I turned around to see that yes, Spiderwoman was running behind me. She passed me at 13.1 and I stuck close to her until around mile 14.

miles 13-19: the hard slog
Ah. Mile 14. When there were hardly any crowds, the sun began beating down and for me, that was the toughest point. I realised that I probably didn’t have 50% in the tank and it would take some digging. Not the wall as such, but I slowed down a lot. I also finished my pack of chomps. I’ve been taking gatorade and water from every station, so energy-wise I was doing okay.

My friend M met me at between mile 17-18 where they were giving out gels. I took a couple and saw her next to a water hose. Ran through the hose, but she didn’t mind giving me a hug even though I was soaked through. I was feeling a little miserable at that point and seeing her gave me a push. Thanks, M.

chimarathon2011047pilsen chimarathon2011050mile20

miles 18-21: pilsen, halsted
Mile 18-19 was down a very hot Ashland. Most people around me were walking. Turning into 18th Street was a vast relief. The Hispanic neighbourhood of Pilsen was out in force, welcoming us. Lots of cheers, music and I got the BEST gift all race — an elderly lady at the side of the road gave me a cola-flavoured ice lolly (American: popsicle). It was absolutely delicious, thirst-quenching and gave me the energy to start running again. Thank you, Ice Lolly Lady.

And then, mile 20 came up. Instead of the wall, I got my second wind. People say a marathon is actually 2 races: a 20-miler followed by a 10k. As I reached the “second” race, I felt really positive. I can run 10k. I run 10k easy. I was going to make it.

chimarathon2011052chinatown chimarathon2011054turn

miles 21-26: chinatown, the long way home
Feeling good coming up to Chinatown. The second hardest part of the course, between miles 22-24, wasn’t too bad for me. I found the 5:30 pace group and followed them for about half a mile before dropping off. I was watching the clock and realised that I probably wasn’t going to make 5:30 so I may as well conserve some energy. Coming north on Michigan I passed a few people, then slowed down somewhat in the South Loop.

mile 26: mount roosevelt
I read somewhere that coming up to the right hand turn at Roosevelt to start kicking because of the uphill incline. I felt nice and strong and managed to pass quite a few runners. Hopefully the official photos look okay too. I tried to keep my mouth closed and to look halfway decent whenever I see a photographer.


mile 26.2: finish line
200m, 100m and there it was: the finish line. I was almost sprinting to the line, and saw on my garmin that the time was 5:38. Exactly the same as last year. The iphone battery had died at mile 22, and I didn’t have a backup on the nike+. Not bothered. I know I’ll get my time from the official site.

It was a long walk down the chute. Got a heat blanket, water, gatorade, free beer, , banana, a pack of snack and an official photo. Headed to the BoA tent for more food, drink and to use the portaloo. Lined up for 10mins for another free beer. There wasn’t a lot of food available — hot dog, chili and gyro. None of which I fancied so I ate a whole pack of mini cereal.

chimarathon2011033vol chimarathon2011036sign

volunteers, organisation, supporters
There are not enough good words in the world to describe how I feel about the volunteers. Fantastic, wonderful in every way. Every single one had a smile and a cheer for us. I stopped at every station except the last one and to see the mountain of cups with gatorade and water. And always someone clearing up. Like I said, wonderful.

The organisation too. There’s a lot of talk about moving the race back a week or two to avoid the heat. It got hot out there today, although thankfully it was dry. I’m sure the organisers will make the right decision. A race this size, there will always be someone not satisfied. For me? The organisation was flawless, from the expo, crowd control at the beginning and end, making sure there were enough supplies, aid stations were spaced out well, the results were out the same day. I have zero complaints.

The supporters. Wow. Hundreds of thousands on the street, cheering for someone they know or for complete strangers. I had a couple of friends, K and M, and it helped me a huge amount. I was told I’m really good at exercise. A complete stranger gave me an ice lolly. Kids waved at me and gave me high fives. At one point we were clapping with the music from a band at the side (can’t remember which song). This is why Chicago is one of the best marathon experiences in the world.

I finished my second marathon. Who would have thought? I don’t feel like a marathoner, but technically, I am. I think it’s because my time is so slow. Everyone I meet have been so supportive, because to finish is an achievement. I wear my finisher’s medal proudly. Tomorrow I will go to Niketown and buy a finisher’s t-shirt.

I didn’t get into London 2012 but I’m confirmed for Brighton the week before. I’ll train for that, and then I’ll have to be very disciplined and not sign up for more. It’s imperative that I focus on speedwork. Halfs are fine, but no fulls.

Finally, my thoughts go out to the family of Captain William Caviness, who collapsed and later died at the race. He raised over $2000 for charity and was a real hero. This year’s race should be dedicated to him.

in being healthy |


Getting my marathon gear ready for tomorrow. From top: spibelt, sunscreen, knee braces, garmin, small towel, headband, last year’s hat, phiten, shorts with bib, headphones, kt tape, pace tattoo, shirt, iphone, ipod, gu, cara card, sunglasses, gear check ticket, money/credit card/ID bundle.

Not in pic: keys, shoes, backpack, bank of america wristband (for getting into the special customer tent), other iphone, blackberry, spare shirt. Some of that will stay in the car.

in being healthy , in the news |


The obsession began a week or so ago, but every Chicagoan knows that it’s pointless to try to predict the weather here. But less then 36hrs from the start, I think I can officially start obsessing.

It’s been hot the past week, so it’s no surprise that the forecast is warm but not extreme. Probably better early in the day than last year, and then it will get hot towards the end. Another reason to work on speed next year rather than marathon distance races. The article, and the people on the rw forum say,

this is nothing drastically different than what they’ve been running in all summer and what they’ve been training in

Sigh. Except that some of us have been training during a


summer that is coldest in 13 years.

in being healthy |


Came home today to a soft red package inside the front door. It’s my “loser” jacket for not getting a place in the london marathon 2012 ballot. I donated my £32 entry fee to charity in case I’m unsuccessful so I got:

  • the fleece jacket
  • entry into a draw for an additional 1,000 guaranteed places
  • free draw for 1 entry into the ING NYC Marathon 2012 including travel & accommodation, or 1 week’s sporting holiday for two

There’s also a magazine that has a huge COMMISERATIONS! written across the front cover, just to rub it in. Most of the magazine consists of adverts for charity. The message is, “come run with us, we have places!! Oh, you have to raise hundreds or even thousands of pounds for us. But hey look, we have places!!”


Okay, don’t get me wrong. Running for charity is a good idea. I’ve done it myself. But something clicked when I came to the UK and started looking into races. Almost all are driven by charities. The focus isn’t on running but on getting as much money from donors as possible. I’ve had a couple of people (non-runners) offering to sponsor me when I say I’m running a marathon and surprised that I said I’m not in a charity group. They thought it was a requirement.

I’m not alone in feeling the charity fatigue. People are tired of the incessant hounding. It is telling though, that one of the people in the article said,

I hate that every marathon or burst of activity has to be sponsored - for goodness sake, just get off your backside and go for a run if you want to

The problem, I think, is that the only way the person’s friend could get into the marathon or burst of activity was to “pay” the charity entrance fee (pay as in paid by their friends, family and colleagues). I understand that in these times charities are hard hit, and the majority are good causes. But there is a fine line between the noble cause of doing something for charity and blatant guilt trip to the verge of blackmail. My question is, do the charities think that the hard-sell method used by their chuggers, or the hoarding of popular race slots, really work? I guess the former mostly turns people off but the latter does work, because I’m sure the VLM will be at capacity next year.

Back to the VLM. I’m not that bothered that I didn’t get in. If I’m still in London I’ll probably go watch. And besides, I’m confirmed for the Brighton marathon a few weeks before.

in being healthy |


As part of registering with the local surgery I get a free NHS health check. Went for my blood test ages ago and only got the return appointment last week for this morning. It was mainly the clinician asking me questions and him trying to figure out where to put the answers on his computer. Snerk.

Non-smoker, moderate drinker, regular exercise — all good. Glucose level ok. BP was high, and cholesterol tiny bit high too. Nothing I didn’t know before. The overall test was to assess CVD, or cardiovascular disease risk in the next 10 years. Apparently my score ws 1.9, but he couldn’t quite tell me what it means or what the range is, only that they will start getting worried for scores at 20. So I guess I’m fine. Found some online calculators that puts me in the green zone anyway.

Then again, you hear of otherwise fit people having heart attacks in the middle of running or doing sports, so even a risk factor of 0.00001 is still a risk. The clinician’s advice was pretty standard: exercise, low salt, low oil. And I really do have to watch the BP.

in being healthy |


nikeplus: 31.08km (19.3miles) 4:10:38hr 8.04min/km
garmin: 32.2km (20miles) 4:10:38hr 7.47min/km

The second 20-miler in the training program. Regardless of whether it was 19 or 20 miles, it was long enough. Did the usual loops around Hyde Park, switching walk breaks to speakers’ corner because of the crowds. Felt pretty decent until around mile 17 when I got really tired. It’s funny (funny strange, not funny haha), I did the CARA ready-to-run 20-miler last year in 4:16 and I thought it was a disaster. The same distance this year in 4:10 and I think it’s a good result. I can’t deny that truth, that I’m slower this year, probably due to weight gain and worse diet. Doesn’t matter, I feel less exhausted after today’s run and ultimately I think that’s an important gauge of success. So, taper start.

in being healthy |

running20110910 running20110911

Trivial and inconsequential. Over the weekend I did 20k on Saturday and 5k on Sunday. Around halfway during Sunday’s run I logged 2,500km on the nikeplus and got moved to the next level. It’s another 2,497km to the level after that so I’ll probably be purple for a couple of years at least. Of course not all runs were logged, and there was a duplicate or two. 99% of those were actual, proper (albeit slow) running.

in being healthy , in the news |

Hurry Home
pic courtesy flickr user LaN_Luis

Should have known. Took a train forever to arrive, we were told there was a signal failure at baker street. Then at farringdon it was “all change please” and no prospect of continuing the journey westbound. What I should have done: walked to chancery lane or holborn, caught the central line. What I ended up doing: walked all the way home. I don’t believe in recording anything but runs on the nike+ but I thought it’d be informative: 7km+ 1hr 20mins 11.27min/km.

Lots of tube delays lately. How will they cope next year?

in being healthy |


32.02km (20miles) 4:14:30hr 7.57min/km

So Higdon’s Novice 2 gets up to the 20-miler one week after the smartcoach plan I was following last year. I don’t feel particularly well prepared or trained this year, but I’ll persevere. Went out at noon, figuring it’ll take me 4 hours. Normal route down to Hyde Park then 4 times around the 6k loop. It was cloudly and slightly drizzly when I started, but then it started raining.


For 2 hours.

It was miserable. I was so soaked through the water was dripping from my cap, and my shirt so waterlogged I had to wring it out. Blech. I thought about giving up constantly, but couldn’t because I need this training run. I did have walk breaks often though, every time at Hyde Park Corner, and then a short one to refill the water bottle. Also took one loo break.

The last 2-3k was a struggle physically. By then the rain had stopped and parts of me didn’t feel like a drowned rat. Time is slow due to the conditions and the frequent stops. At this rate, I’ll be close to my 26.2 time last year, which isn’t what I want.

The nikerunning site has been a pita lately. Can’t log in, white screen, and need to use other browsers. Once I got in, I noticed that I’m only 1 marathon away from the next level, purple, on nikeplus. That’s next week.

in being healthy |


25.76km 3:15:16hr 7.35min/km #running

I willingly and happily missed a whole week of training. Last weekend’s long run should have been 18 miles, and this week 13 miles. So I did 16 miles. The carnival was still on, so I avoided that whole area and ran down to Hyde Park via the canal. Three loops, walk breaks at Hype Park Corner, and a short break to refill the water bottle. Pretty sore. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself up to this. I was explaining to mm that long runs carve out 4-5 hours at weekends, but she said she can practice the piano for that long, if she wanted to get to diploma level. We like it that we have our own hobbies.

in being healthy |


28.00km (17.4miles) 3:35:48hr 7:42min/km

It’s one days like this that I miss the lake so much. Running like an idiot 3 times around Hyde Park absolutely cannot compare with running along the lake. Last year’s 18-miler was a nice run down the lake to the boat and back. Today I had to battle narrow streets just to get to hyde park, and there was zero view and not a lot of breeze. Crowded as usual, and I had a couple of close calls, but in general I was able to dodge people. I had wished for showers but I got sun, at least most of the route was under tree cover.

Took a packet of pocari powder, which meant I only needed 1 water bottle. Was able to refill and make the drink using the water fountain. Brought 3 cereal bars, which I took at the hourly mark.

Time is slow, still. I wonder if I’ll ever get faster. All this talk about running more —> getting faster is…well, I should be happy, I can run sub-30 5k on a good day. Next week is supposed to be 18-miles but I’ll miss it cos I’ll be on holiday with mm.

in being healthy |


Ms M, one of my fb commenters:

Tell us about this running. Why, when did it start? I mean, did you just wake up one morning and say to yourself, “I think i’ll run a hundred miles a month.”

So I think I’ll try to tell my running story. [Warning: possibly long-winded, definitely self-indulgent.]

I was a fairly active child. Despite being short, I played netball and basketball at school; basketball, tennis and squash at university. Then, as it happens to millions of people, I stopped when I started working. My fitness quickly declined and my weight steadily grew.

From 2003 onwards, I was travelling a lot. I was on a plane, in a hotel something like once every 1-2 months. It got to the point when I did 113,000 miles in 2008. With travelling came unhealthy eating and all of a sudden I looked at my shadow (not even a mirror reflection, it was a shadow on my bedroom wall cast from my bedside table) and I saw 2 disgusting lumps in my mid-section. It was HORRIBLE.

I entered a 10k race in March 2007. With zero training and my shoes falling apart after halfway through, I hobbled home in 1:39. Did the same race a year later, shoes kept the shape but I still struggled to finish in 1:36.

I never thought of myself as a runner, it seemed so boring. But I had to do something about that dreadful gut. So I ran around my neighbourhood. I remember those first runs, I could barely make half a mile without walking. A couple of weeks in, and knowing how I’m a goal and gadget oriented type, I got a nano and a nike+. My first run logged on nike+ was 27-Oct-2008: 10.59km 1:15:22hr 7:07min/km. I probably went out too fast, or it wasn’t calibrated properly. Still, big difference from that first 10k race.

And that was it. The goal initially was 80% weight-loss and 20% fitness. Between running, counting calories and moving I lost 25 pounds between Oct 2008 and Feb 2009.

I moved to Chicago Jan 2009 and lived in a corporate apartment for 5 months. The best thing about that apartment was the free gym, so I got to know the treadmills very well. When it got warmer, in April, I ventured out to the small track. I kept up the running when I moved to my own place, thankful that I was so near the lake. I also started entering into a few races. Mostly 5k, and I was doing pretty well.

Beginning of 2010, I was reading about the Chicago marathon 10-10-10. With such an auspicious date I had to participate. Marathon training plans are tough, so I picked one that was pretty low mileage and seemed doable.

Then I got injured.

Too much, too soon, and I ended up with ITBS. It slowed me down, even to this date. But I got a foam roller, trained more, gritted my teeth and managed to finish the marathon in a disappointing time of 5:38. Should I have done it? Probably too ambitious, given that I didn’t have enough of a base. Not sorry I did it though. Thing about running and marathons and races is that they are like addictions. Once bitten, it’s very hard to shake the bug. I try to run in races regularly, and have on schedule:

  • Chicago marathon Oct-2011
  • Brighton marathon Apr-2012
  • Virgin London marathon (applied for) Apr-2012
  • BUPA 10k May-2012
  • British 10k Jul-2012
  • Really Big Free marathon Las Vegas Nov-2012

Running is easy, just put on some shoes and go. Running consistently and towards goal races takes a lot more time, energy and dedication. I run initially because I looked terrible — that stubborn mid-section pouch is smaller but still there. Now I run because it took me this much effort to get to the shape I’m in now and I owe it to myself to maintain it. I try to build my weekly and monthly mileage because I’m determined to train better and smarter so I have better race experiences. Somedays I feel utter lazy and think why do I have to set aside 4 hours on a weekend. Then I watch the chicago 10-10-10 highlight video and I whisper to myself “I was there.”

Okay, that sounded way too serious. How many people read this far? How many of you are so moved/inspired/motivated that you’ll start running? [beat] Exactly. How about this: why run? Running burns around 300 calories per 5k. An average pint of beer is 250 calories. Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is 200 calories. IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE BEER.

in being healthy , challenges |


This month’s focus on Marathon Training was a success, I was able to complete all tasks.

  • 100k total // done 137.75k (85.6 miles) — the next milestone will be 100-mile month
  • at least 3 runs a week // done — 4 runs a week for week 1-2; 3 runs a week for week 3-4
  • 20k (12miles) long run // done twice — 21k and 23k weekend long runs
  • sub-30min 5k// done 29:20min — I got down to 6:09min/km for a while on one of the 6k runs, getting sub-6min/km should get easier

in being healthy |


23.31km (14.5miles) 3:04:28hr 7:55min/km

Long run this week is 15miles (24k) which I thought would take me about 3 hrs. I didn’t want to run 3 times around Hyde Park so I did a route through 4 parks — my local park for warm up, then to Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park. Hyde Park was busy, but manageable and actually quite nice. Green Park was nice too, not too crowded except the bit around the tube station. St James’s Park was the pits — full of tourists and groups of idiotic foreign kids who were noisy, blocked the path and had zero sense to move over even when someone yells “excuse me”. I hate to be judgmental but it’s always Spanish and Italian and Middle Eastern people. I wonder what they teach in their schools, they don’t behave like they even have schools.

Planned 3 walk breaks, ended up taking 4. Had a couple of cereal bars for the breaks, and it was good that Hyde Park has a water fountain so I could refill my bottle. Pace of 7:55min/km is around 12:45m/m, which is acceptable. Didn’t fully complete the 15 miles cos I was in a hurry to get home to skype with Mum, I don’t think the extra 700m matters.

Less tired than after the long run last week, so hopefully this means I’m gaining some endurance. Cut back week next week, then the push towards the first 20-miler of the training plan.

in being healthy |

The idea behind homerun is simple — reserve a place, show up, dump your bag, RUN, collect your bag, go home. They transport the running group’s bags by bike to a pre-arranged destination and an agreed time. A great way of combining the work-home commute with running.

They only have one route right now, from Charing Cross to Clapham Common (4miles) but there’s a few proposed ones on the website they say they will consider putting on if enough people vote for them. The only one that is vaguely suitable for me is Oxford Circus to Sheperd’s Bush and even that one is a stretch. I’ll wait for them to be more established, but the idea is a good one.

in being healthy |


21.01km 2:48:09hr 8:00min/km

The training plan had a 14-miler this weekend, but I deliberately only went out for 13 miles because that’s the half marathon distance. Ran down to Hyde Park, did 2 circuits then back home. It was tough — the weather decided to turn sunny and I couldn’t count on there being any water fountains. I took one gu, a cereal bar, one bottle of water and one of gatorade. Finished them all except the cereal bar. May be on one of the later walk breaks, I should have ate it, probably why I was so slow and exhausted for the last 2-3km.

in being healthy |


11.15km 1:13:49hr 6:37min/km

Missed yesterday’s run already so even though I did not feel like it, I reluctantly made myself go running after work today. One of the trepidations was that the plan says 7 miles (11k) and I haven’t gone on runs more than 5k during the week for a while. The first thing that went right was the nike+ GPS, which had acted up the last 2 runs, decided to fix itself. The second, and main thing, that went well was it was a good run. Not fast, but at 4k I felt like I had more in the tank than 2/3 and at halfway it was the same. Conditions were good — cool, cloudy and a steady drizzle throughout. Because of the rain, the track was free of the casual people who normally gets in the way and annoy me. Ultimately I decided the reason behind the relatively good run is…thick, cushiony socks.

in being healthy |


14.5km 1:43:29hr 7:08min/km

Trying to keep to the training plan — 9 miles long run this weekend. First time I tried running down to Hyde Park, it was a decent enough run, even in the heavy rain. If only the nike+ hadn’t decided to malfunction and overestimated how fast and far I was running — it claimed I’d done 17.5km at under 6min/km, hahaha. The GPS didn’t record the run at all, this was self-plotted on the nikerunning site. Good thing I had the garmin, so I could keep track and stop when I hit 9 miles. That’s another problem with running in London, I don’t have enough sense of how far I’ve run, unlike on the lake where I know it’s 3km to the roundabout and 11km to the totem pole. Sigh.

in being healthy |

uk10k022bigben uk10k028finish

nike+: 10.4km 1:06:39hr 6.24min/km
chip time: 10k 1:05:57hr 6.41min/km

Race #5 this year, the british 10k. There’s a lot wrong with it, but it benefited from its major trump card: location location location. The route took 25,000 runners through hyde park corner, trafalgar square, st paul’s, embankment (across from the london eye), westminster bridge, parliament square, westminster abbey, and finished on whitehall. Considering I was forever stopping to take pictures — 24 in the set — I think I did pretty okay. My garmin lost its signal in the tunnels, the nike+ registered 10.4km, so even better.

So that was the pro, how about the cons:

  • no corrals, and I was lucky in the free-for-all scrum to be near the front with a view of the start line
  • the 9.35am start was delayed 10mins. From what I can see, it was because they had to set up the camera to interview the Mayor of Westminster, who was the official starter, and there were lots of dithering. Was it respectful to the 25,000 runners to be running late because of this? Probably not
  • they played all 3 verses of the national anthem and the elites were getting ready at the end of verse 1 and then had to stop, pretty embarrassing
  • funnel start caused lots of congestion
  • did I mention no corrals?
  • not even 300m from the start, still on Piccadilly, and we had to dodge past these idiotic women (and they’re almost always women) who were walking 4 abreast, I’m not kidding
  • should be rebranded as a fun run, it was good that there were so many charity runners, but so many of them were clueless about racing etiquette. Nothing in the program to tell them that walking is fine, at the back of the pack and in single file, jeez no common sense
  • only water available on the route — yes it’s only a 10k, but considering the number of charity runners and the hot weather, would have been nice to have gatorade and wet sponge
  • gatorade was available at the end, but nothing else, no fruit, no banana, no cereal bar, zilch
  • start and finish line too far away from bag check and meeting point
  • not enough portaloos
  • badly designed finisher’s t-shirt (in thin cotton), it’s going straight to the charity bin
  • apparently they ran out of medals (!)
  • (minor gripe) whoever designed the website must have been a myspace reject — framed, flashing graphics, poor font, not much content, difficult to find actual information, results not downloadable
  • chip time took far too long to be posted, and then it’s only a time with no indication of classification


The reviews on runner’s world had similar sentiments to mine. The route was one of the best I’ve run on. Can’t beat Central London with all its glory. Supporters and spectators all along the route, atmosphere was good. Luckily I had a brainwave and stuffed one of those small collapsible shopping bags in my pocket and didn’t need to bag check. By the time I got on the tube and home it was almost noon.

Despite all the shortcomings I signed up for next year’s race, because only 2 weeks from the start of the Olympics and the the atmosphere in London will be sports-crazy then. Not sure about subsequent years though. Results:

  • overall — 4715/6520 (that’s the number of people who paid for chip timing)
  • gender — 852/2623 (ditto) — actually this was pretty good, to emphasize the charity fun run nature

in being healthy |


chip time: 5.63km (3.5miles) 34.28min 6.07min/km

My third corporate challenge, my first in London. It was a big affair, the only JPMC CC location where the race is spread over 2 days. I’ll save my complaints about how the London office totally lags behind the Chicago office in terms of race organisation and participation. Suffice it to say that there were 200 people in Chicago last year (300 including supporters and family) and we had a tent, catering, a prize draw and a great time. In London we struggled to get 50 runners and we congregated at the signpost that said “meeting point G to O” — no tent, no supporters, can’t even find the group at times. At least we got a t-shirt and the same picnic chair gift. Oh, and there was a voucher for 2 drinks and a burger from the organisers. Big deal.

A field of 13,000 people and it was a corral start for the first time this year. I’d never run in Battersea Park before so it was always going to be a new experience. It was a meandering route on both concrete walking path and grass. I didn’t see many of my team mates, it was just like running on my own. I started out fast, 9mm, tucked in behind a couple of ladies. Lost them after a while, the field never thinned out. Did pretty well, considering I haven’t been training and I’m not at my fittest. Yes, 5mins slower than last year is a big difference. Ah well.

I queued up to retrieve my backpack, queued up for the burger and beer and sat down in the sun to scoff it all down. Found remnants of my group and stayed for a chat for 10mins but I was eager to get home. Results:

  • overall: 7,445/10,090
  • gender: 1,747/3,377

in being healthy |


I couldn’t even run 10k today. It was probably too optimistic given that I’ve been sick and barely able to breathe normally the past 2 weeks. I got as far as 4k, then had to take numerous walk breaks; the last 2k was almost all walking. Now I’m 3 weeks behind training schedule, sigh. So, the plan is:

  • get better
  • short runs
  • try to get back on track

in being healthy |


Had a blood test on Tuesday, and there’s still a residual bruise on my arm. I’m pretty relaxed when I get my blood drawn, although usually there’s not this much bruising. Ah well, it’ll go away eventually, I’m not overly bothered.

in being healthy |

I guess it’s the drugs, but the pain in the ribs was under control for a bit. I even went running yesterday. Thing is, I must have picked up some germs from the surgery cos now I have bronchitis. My entire breathing system feels like an inferno and when I cough it pulls the rib muscles so they hurt all over again. Argh.

in being healthy |

Remember when I had the altercation with the pedestrian crossing pole almost 2 weeks ago. Well, my chest started hurting last weekend, towards the end of the trip, and has gotten steadily worse the last few days. There’s a sharp pain if I take a deep breath, get up from the chair, or move about too strenously. Oh, and if I run too. So I finally got myself registered with a NHS GP and apparently it’s inflammation of the rib muscles. Nothing to be done, apart from taking painkillers.

And while he was at it, the doc sent me for a health check and made me set up appointments with the nurse. Gonna be going back to the surgery frequently in the next few weeks.

in being healthy |


For most of the trip my left ear was blocked and I couldn’t hear very well. Sometimes it’d pop for a bit, and then it blocks up again. I didn’t mind. What I needed to hear, I managed. The rest, it’s all noise.

in being healthy |


I know now that there’s only 18 weeks till the Chicago marathon, why? Because marathon training starts today!! I’m trying to follow Higdon’s Intermediate I this year, but I suspect I’ll end up somewhere between Intemediate I and Beginner. The beginner program maxes out at 36 miles and Intermediate at 43, the only difference being that there’s an extra weekend run for Intermediate.

The program starts today by cross-training. Um, does 20mins of walking to and from the station count? And I know the next 2 weeks will be difficult cos I’m at GCLS. See, I’m not following already, sigh.

in being healthy |

video link:

So I was running yesterday and this idiot and his stupid backpack left 2 inches for me to sqeeze past so naturally I clipped against it. Caused me to spin around and I ended up colliding with a pedestrian crossing pole. The button box was just the height of my collarbone and now there’s a nasty scratch there as well as possible brusing. Bloody pedestrians.

Running injuries are par for the course. This is a funny and very realistic video of the day after the London marathon in the days when it was still sponsored by Flora.

in being healthy |


5.11km 33.29min 6.33min/km

I guess the “national” in national running day means the US, but whatever. I did a second consecutive 5k at the park after work. Run more.

in being healthy |


I brought another pair of shoes into rotation today, these Saucony Kinvaras in what they call vizi orange. The Vomeros are about 2 years old and I got the LunarRacers about a year ago. I didn’t bring the previous pair of Motos from Chicago and I’m careful with the Racers. This means the bulk of my running this year has been with the Vomeros so it’s time to share the burden a little.

This is the first non-Nike sneakers I’ve had for a long long time. Actually I can’t think of when I’ve not worn Nikes. The Kinvaras have had overwhelmingly excellent reviews, that it’s a minimalist-styled shoe that is extremely light (7.7oz) with enough cushioning that distinguishes it from the likes of five fingers. I wanted to try them out.

Oh boy. Just one longish run (12.35km today) and I’m a convert. They’re light with more support than the LunarRacers and most importantly, they felt comfortable. Normally running shoes need to be broken in, but these were great from the get go. I’ll probably order another pair next time I’m in the US.

They come in the usual white and black and blue (and pink for women, ugh). I couldn’t not the orange, they look so cool. No, I wasn’t self-conscious running about in bright orange shoes, in fact I was quite proud. If only I was running at speeds that match their image.

in being healthy |

So nike+ is 5 years old. I’ve had my fair share of nike+ devices over the past 2.5 years of running. They are offering the nike+ gps app free, I can’t remember if I ever paid for mine, hmm. There’s also a challenge, every 5km logged in nike running will be entered into a lucky draw. The prize is fantastic: 2 bibs at either Chicago 2012 or Nike Women’s marathon in SF, both in 2012. Although the chances are pretty slim, I never have any luck in lotteries or prize draws.

in being healthy , challenges |


5.01km 29.44min 5.56min/km

It’s frustrating. Routinely going sub-30 for a 5k should not be this difficult. I know the solution is to run more. Does it really help?

I had a conference today that I didn’t need to be at till 10am, so I had an hour. I thought I’d try running in the morning. Did some sort of fartlek on the home straight of the track — 300m normal speed, 100m faster speed. In reality it was more like 250m normal speed, 75m faster speed, 75m snail’s pace.

in being healthy , challenges |


garmin: 4.68km 28.05min 6.00min/km

Race #3, I did end up registering for the beat the banana race.

It was held at Hyde Park at 6pm, so I left the office at 4.30pm to get there to pick up my bib. Received the t-shirt in the mail earlier this week. I’m glad it wasn’t that hot, and it’s a short distance. It was a nice cotton (sigh) t-shirt, but cotton and racing are incompatible. But, this is a fun run, so can’t expect more. About 500 people, and one guy dressed as a banana. No chip, so I had to time myself. The distance was advertised at 5k, but the garmin said 2.91miles (4.68km), which seems right. I wasn’t going particularly fast and 28min for 5k didn’t feel right. Pace was exacly 6.00min/km so I would have just made it to the 30min mark.

The race is supposed to beat the banana guy, who had about 20 seconds headstart. But when I rounded the last corner towards the finish line, he was coming down the course, running with some people for a few meters and encouraging the rest. I got a high five. Such a nice gesture, he either finished or didn’t cross the finish line until after the last person was done.

This was a charity run. I had a low profile campaign, raised a modest £125 for the world cancer research fund. I got a medal and a goodie bag — water, banana, and a few WCRF booklets on healthy living and healthy recipes. Got a bus home, and was showered and having a curry dinner by 7.45pm.

in being healthy |


Several times a year, I get hit by rotator cuff pain. The first time it happened was about 10 years ago while on holiday in Australia with mm, it was bad because I couldn’t lift my arm or push it back without being in excrutiating pain, and I had to shift gears while driving. That was the first time that pushed me to find a chiropractor.

This time, it was after the run on Friday. I woke up Saturday and it was tough to get dressed. The whole left shoulder hurt, the right side of my neck hurt (it’s all connected), I couldn’t lift my arm and the most simple action had to be done by moving the whole body. Luckily it’s on the left, I’ve never been so glad to be right-handed. Wasn’t helped by going to the food show and buying a huge amount of stuff that I had to carry in my backpack. Sunday’s run was also pretty painful. I don’t know if running causes the injury or not, it predates my running days and I thought that exercising helped all the aches and pains I’ve had over the years.

I don’t have a chiro or PT here, so I had to figure out something to help myself. Thank goodness for the foam roller. There are a bunch of exercises on youtube and I followed a couple of them. Helped a tiny amount. Then last night I slept without a pillow keeping my neck straight and it seems to be a little better. Range of motion has increased, although it still crack loudly and in certain positions I feel twinges. I went running today with the aim of loosening up. Fingers crossed.

in being healthy |


5.01km 31.19min 6.14min/km

I thought I’d go do a fast 5k after work. It was sunny, the track was crowded. Sigh. Not fast at all, it ended up being as mediocre as all my runs.

What is fast? Read this on a rw thread:

  • real world fast = you are the quickest runner in your office
  • age group fast = you occasionally get a ribbon
  • actually fast = you are in the top five of a race
  • really fast = you have an actual medal from national or international competition, or you wear a bib # that is a single digit
  • astoundingly fast = your bib simply has your first name

I’m not even at #1, there are a couple of twentysomethings at work who must be faster, and definitely the guy who does 4-5 runs a week, 22min 5ks, who are faster. Double sigh.

in being healthy |


5.01km 29.29min 5.53min/km

Sub-30 5k. Neat. Of course, I’d have to run sub-25 to have any chance of coming in the top 10, and sub-20 to be in the top 3 in my AG in races. I just have to settle for just under 30 consistently.

Talking about sub-30 makes me sad. It’s the ravenswood 5k this weekend. Last year I ran 29.53, which is still my 5k PR (Corporate Challenge was faster, but it was 3.5miles). I think that if I were to run again this year, I could beat that. The Ravenswood is a fast course, and because it’s so close by I don’t have the stress of travelling all the way downtown. Big sigh. I can just imagine cycling down to the start, running the race and cycling home.

Final running news today. I registered for the 2012 london marathon ballot. I’m hopeful, but trying not to get over-excited. I was entry #122,000+ this morning, and there will inevitably be a huge demand. People who don’t get in through the ballot can donate their £32 entry fee to charity and get: a) a “loser” running jacket and b) a NYCM ballot entry. I already registered for the 2012 brighton marathon, as a fallback. It would be great to run london in london olympic year though.

in being healthy |


10.80km 1:11:54hr 6.39min/km

I rarely run in the morning, except when there is a race. Given a choide I’d never do a morning run during the work week because I can’t imagine waking up so early. Very occasionally at the weekends. The track was pretty crowded at 9am, but I’d planned on heading towards Regent’s Park anyway. Ended up doing more than 10k. Much higher mileage than last week, definitely more than 10% increase, but it’s relatively small distances so it shouldn’t matter.

Skyped with Sis and Mum, then spent the rest of the day reading, writing and playing mw. Didn’t go out at all. In lieu of easter eggs, I had a few candy cane frangos that I’d brought over with me.

in being healthy |


A lot of people say, it’s easy to start running. All you need is a pair of sneakers. But that’s not strictly true. Very appropriately, gizmodo combined the love of running with the love of gadgets and came up with 10 tools for runners. I won’t go as far as calling them tools, and some I disagree with.

  1. running shoes — they specified particularly a reebok, when every self-respecting runner will know that shoes are very personal and it’s highly recommended to get fitted. Ii do think that the trend for too much specialisation is marketing, but I absolutely think that it’s up to the individual to find shoes that work for them
  2. compression shorts — I guess they are useful, I’m not seeing a need for them for me
  3. nike+ gps watch — this is one of the most looked forward to products in running circles. I’m a big nike+ fan, but I’ll stick with the iphone app and garmin for the time being
  4. sennheiser PMX680 headphones — yes!!
  5. foot spa — nice to have, but doesn’t have a place in a top 10. Ice bath and a foam roller may be
  6. massage mat — see above, a foam roller does the job much better
  7. iTreadmill — I wonder why they picked this app, sponsorship? Runkeeper and the nike+ apps are better
  8. Tech shirt — run in enough races and there’s no need to buy tech shirts, in the US anyway
  9. ipod shuffle — if they are saying at the iTreadmill on the iphone, then there’s no need to take the shuffle as well for music
  10. pedometer — feels redundant, with all the apps that they’re suggesting

I would combine a few of them, and substitute the foam roller for the massaging tools. I’d also say a garmin is better than the nike+ watch. And they missed a couple of very important runners’ tools — bodyglide and spibelt. Still, not a bad list.

in being healthy , challenges |


nike+ time: 9.82km 1.03.11hr 6.26min/km
chip time: 10k 1.02.45hr 6.16min/km

My first UK race, miles for missing people 10k at regent’s park. Differences between this race and chicago races:

  1. bib was mailed to me, there was no packet pickup
  2. t-shirt given out at the race itself, cotton not tech
  3. 10.30am start
  4. only 600 runners (I think they ended up with 650)
  5. no corrals — in fact the 10k, 2k fun run and walkers all started together
  6. rudimentary chip, which had my number handwritten with a felt tip pen and was attached to the shoe using disposal wire ties
  7. no idea if I’ll get the results, I can’t find even a link that talks about results on the website

All in all, less slick professional organisation, but in the typical “amateur” british way, it was endearing and worked well. I got a zipcar for the whole day (brent cross and tesco in the afternoon) and by sheer luck parked at the right entrance, only 5mins walk from where the race tents were.

I guess they couldn’t have more than 600 people, the start was a narrow gate that led out to a path that must be only 10ft wide. They had 3 events — 10k, 3k fun run and a walk. See #5 above, everyone started at the same time. This meant the first 1k I ran faster than I usually do, to get some room for myself. I faded towards the middle, and got passed by a ton of people. Doesn’t matter. I don’t know if I’ll get the results by mail or email, there’s nothing on their website.

What I really enjoyed was rock choir singing before and after the race. Some of them took part in the fun run and walk too. I’ll have to explore a little more about them.

Overall, it was a good race. The fastest finishers were all sub-40, and they had wine and chocolate as prizes. Sue Cook was there to present the prizes, now that’s a name I recognise.

ETA: I got the results via email in a spreadsheet. Had to do my own calculation for placing:

  • overall: 333/505
  • gender division: 126/262
  • age division: 13/22

in being healthy , challenges |


Very tempted to register for this, the beat the banana 5k fun run at Hyde Park on May 12th. The idea is to try to outrun the human banana, it’s that simple. Sounds silly, but I’m all for themed races. And it is becoming more and more obvious to me that races in the UK are very charity-driven. I think that with a “beat the banana” hook, it may be fun to get sponsorship.

in being healthy |


Was reading Christopher McDougall article in the NYT about trail running. Not just any old trail run or race, but Fat Ass races, which are trail races with:

no fees, no awards, no whining. Distances are typically 50 kilometers or 50 miles, but vary according to a race director’s whims or ability to borrow his buddy’s GPS device. There are no lotteries, no expos, no qualifying times, no triple-digit entry fees subsidizing multimillion-dollar “running clubs.” No one will urinate on you from the upper span of the Verrazano Bridge, and you won’t shiver for hours in a corral before the starting gun

Needless to say, these are relaxed races, where aid stations may consist of a volunteer pouring out water from a jug from home, or giving out candy from a large jar. Sounds quite attractive to me, especially the camaraderie, and evoking spirit of early racing. I’ve yet to do one trail run, but the movement seems to attract a lot of participants.

The other discovery this week is the really big free marathon that will be held November 2012 in Las Vegas. It’s both a full and half marathon, and there will be the usual medals, tech shirts and goodie bag. The organisers are working on the premise that the estimated $300,000 to put up a marathon will be borne solely by sponsors. So the trade-off for the zero registration fee is that racers will expect to have their personal information sold to sponsors and marketers. Ugh. There is a refundable $50 deposit, which is fine by me, but it’s the being the target of marketing that makes me uncomfortable. Plus, I may want to do London and Berlin (or Chicago round 3) next year, and I’m not sure I’m experienced enough for a third marathon. Anyway, registration opens March 24, I might just put my name down for the hell of it.

in arts and media , being healthy |

video link:

Talking about commercialism, this feels propaganda-y and cliché-y, and they have a less than stellar reputation but I’m a nike fanboi anyway. This ad was “recycled” from old ads, and is part of the nike better world campaign. If we can get the world to a fitter place, or if we can help a potential athlete achieve their dream, then it doesn’t matter how and what is the ultimate motive as long as it harms none, right?

When I was migrating to the mba, I looked at some pics of me just 3-4 years ago and I was appalled at how unhealthy I was. Running played, and continues to play, a big part in making myself better. If I can help just one person do more sports, I’d like to believe I’m earning my keep in the world.

in being healthy |


5.01km 30.35min 6.06min/km

Almost sub-30. It was a good run, a bit chilly and I was feeling loose. I should keep at it and hopefully by the time I start marathon training I can hit this small achievement milestone that is surprisingly very important to me.

I’ve also begun to register for races. There are a couple of 5k fun runs this weekend, but I’m going to skip them. I did register for the Miles for Missing People 10k in April. The biggest draw for me is that it’s in Regent’s Park, I can walk or bike there on the day.

It will be very strange, a field of only 600 runners. And a race that starts at 10.30am rather than first thing in the morning. I have no idea what the racing culture in London is like. I see a lot of runners around, both in the park and on the road, so it must be popular. After all, athletics is pretty big in the UK. The races seem to be focused on charity rather than just racing. I guess that’s good, cos you’d get away from the blatantly commercialism of something like the rock’n’roll series.

Why race? Why not just build base and then follow the training plan? I can say that for me, racing is addictive. I’ll never be a triathlete, but the last page of the March issue of Triathlete magazine has an article about why the author loves racing and this is the last point:

If there is a Camelot in my life, it’s a finish line…any finish line. The sponsors are happy, the race directors are happy, the volunteers are happy, the announcers are happy and, of course, the athletes are ecstatic. Everyone is cheering and there is a feeling of accomplishment that hangs in the air no matter how long or tough the race. Then you get to savor the rest of the day and that great finish line-induced adrenaline high. Of course, we all know that amazing feeling won’t last forever. Which is why you need to hurry home and figure out where you’ll be racing next weekend.

The plan is 8 races this year, and to apply for next year’s London marathon. Wish me luck.

in being healthy |


8.09km 52.10min 6.27min/km

Perfect running weather today. A little bit sunny, gentle breeze, around 15°C. I wore my Shamrock Shuffle shirt for St Patrick’s Day, no need for long sleeves, shorts were good. Ran round the track, twice around the park, and back to the track again. Lots of people out with their kids and strollers, so it was better on the track. Despite the good conditions, my time stays the same as usual, can’t seem to break 10min/mile.

in being healthy |

hk383standchart2011hm hk386standchart2011hm

official result: 21.1km 2.28.22 (chip time) 2.27.39 (gun time)
nike+ time: 22.51km (13.99 miles, half marathon) 2.29.03hr 6.37min/km

flickr set: here

I’ve been running in the standard chartered marathon races since 2007, previously all in the 10k, this was my first half marathon.

I didn’t expect a good result, it’s been cold and wet, and I just got off the plane less than 48hrs ago. But once I was at the start line, I was fine even though it was 1am London time. The beginning was a scrum, it took at least 5k for the field to spread out so it didn’t feel like a cattle herd. It wasn’t that people weren’t fast, there was simply not enough room, at most 2 lanes of the highway.

Other than the lack of space, the organisation was impeccable. Aid stations every 5k with water, sports drink and wet sponges at every station, medical staff everywhere, officials who cheered us all on. There wasn’t much of a crowd until the last 1km, and then they were loud. I’d texted my sis about 3km in to tell her I’m 20mins away, and I slowed down at the end to look out for them but she couldn’t get through traffic. We met up after the finish line and my niece had made me a fantastic banner. So happy to see them!

We had lunch at the yacht club then she drove me home. Showered and chatted the afternoon away. Results come out in a couple of days’ time, not immediately. Ah well. I’ll edit the post when I see it.

ETA official results:
overall: 3194/4797
gender: 433/868

in being healthy |


Didn’t get into the Great North Run. Ah well, might be a good thing, I was a bit iffy on having to trek all the way up north for that. Although, I’m trekking all the way to Chicago…that’s different (I try desperately to convince myself). I’m thinking of entering into the 2012 London marathon ballot, hope that I get luckier.

in being healthy |


17.89km (11.11 miles) 2:02:29hr 6.51min/km

Had to put in a 10-miler before the HM next week. It was cold and dreary and drizzled throughout the entire run, but I went ahead anyway. Warmed up at the park, then ran down to the Regent’s canal, through Paddington and then to Regent’s Park. I just followed the road, there wasn’t much planning. Regent’s Park is nice to run in, so for long runs I’ll probably head over there.

I think I ran less than 11 miles. There’s a discrepancy between the nike+ and the garmin. 11 miles is nike+ distance, garmin shows around 10. Judging by my speed, I’d say the garmin is more accurate. My hands were so cold at the end I had difficulty opening the zipper of the spibelt. I bought some chocolate milk but didn’t like the taste, only drank half. I did get a cider though, and had it with my calves’ liver dinner.

in being healthy |

5.16km 32.42min 6.20min/km

Middle of February and I finally got a run up on nikerunning. I left the sensor in the shipment so the (very few) runs I did for the first 6 weeks of the year were in the garmin, but not on nike+. The run last weekend couldn’t get uploaded because of my crappy connection and the huge amount of crappy flash on the nike site.

So now I can get going with peeling away the 687km I need to get to purple level. 426 miles. Hmm. Not impossible for this year, if I focus and not get lazy or sidetracked. Chicago is once again the goal. I registered already.

in being healthy |


10.3km 1:09:25hr 6.48min/km

It’s not the lake or even the Embankment, but 30 seconds from my front door is the park and the running track. I can’t complain. The track is a standard 400m, I remember years and years and years ago I tried running around it and managed 200m. Snerk. I alternated between the track and doing a circuit around the park. The park circuit is just over 1km, so it gave some variety. There were dogs around but thankfully they were well behaved. I don’t know if it’s true, are British dogs trained to ignore people.

Between running without any knee support (I forgot the knee braces) and the unpacking, my lower back is absolutely killing me. Had to roller it very gently. So glad I unpacked my sports stuff.

p.s. this actually is a pic of the track. one of these days I’ll go take my own picture.

in being healthy |


The great north run HM is one of the biggest events in the UK. 54,000 runners make it one of the largest HMs in the world. It takes place in Gateshead in Sept and entry is by ballot. Last week, there was an advanced ballot by the Mirror, and now I get the notification that my ballot entry wasn’t successful. However it’s automatically entered into the general ballot, so wish me luck.

in being healthy |


8.05km 1:00:00hr exactly 7.27min/km

I got up early, and it wasn’t raining. So to start 2011 on a positive, motivational manner, I went running. Went over and across City bridges — Tower, London, Millennium and Blackfriars. Quite a nice route, came across about a dozen other runners.

This is garmin time. It took the 305 about 3mins to lock onto a satellite, which is okay except it made my average speed even slower than I was. I can’t wait till I get an iphone plan or my shipment so I can get it all recorded on the nike+. I suppose I should upload it to the garmin site.

in being healthy |


I’ll let the stats speak for themselves. I left the nike+ transmitter in the shipment so nothing registered for December. 969km is 602 miles.

High points:

  • shamrock shuffle 8k, which wasn’t my longest distance but it was a good start to the season
  • breaking 6min/km consistently at the beginning of the season
  • generally, the privilege of running along the lake
  • marathon, marathon, marathon

Low points:

  • getting injured, I’m still not back to my ideal speed
  • that dismal ready-to-run 20miler
  • post-marathon slump, followed by moving to London and needing to settle into a routine

in being healthy |


8.05km 55.15min 6.56min/km

I made myself go out running today. It’s so easy to be lethargic and stay home, but I’m glad I did. Looked online for some routes and decided on the one along the Thames — past all the bridges, turning around at Westminster Bridge and back via the Southbank. Except it wasn’t such a good decision, I’d forgotten it’s Sunday afternoon and the area around Westminster and the South Bank was full of tourists. I literally had to push my way through, the pavement was full of people. Argh.

The run itself was slow, and the weather was good. Once I got past Embankment there were fewer people and I could enjoy it again. Next time I’ll run east instead of west. It isn’t logged on nike+ because silly me I left the shoe sensor in the shipment. I might go buy a replacement one. I can’t use the gps app because it’ll be extremely expensive and I can’t justify using roaming for running! The garmin is brilliant though.

in being healthy |


8k 47.46min 5.58min/km

Race #12, the 33rd annual turkey trot.

This was my last race of the year, and likely my last race in Chicago for a while. Sigh. Very very sad. I had a great year of running, and will take away several PRs and tons of great memories.

The race was at Lincoln Park, starting at the zoo, heading a little north then looping south till North Avenue beach before turning north as far as Belmont Harbor and ending at the same spot as the start line. It had been cold all week, and yesterday it was raining cats and dogs. We caught a break, the sky was overcast but no rain. It was actually less cold than at the Hot Chocolate. May be it’s because I drove, so I was in a better frame of mind. And then I had a free bagel and hot chocolate, which warmed me up. I also lined up in the chute early and did some shuffling and stretching.

There were no corrals, we were asked to seed ourselves and judging from some of the people at the start line they have no clue what pace they were at. Can’t blame them, it looks like a lot of them are casual runners. So to be on the safe side, I stood fairly near the start. There were about 7000 runners, so it wasn’t as big a race as the others, but still large enough. I was happily waiting when this couple, the woman obnoxiously in a Boston jacket, pushed through and stood right in front of me. I glared at her but she was too much of a thick-skinned idiot to notice. I mean, Boston jacket, srsly?

Anyway, I went out faster than I normally would at other races, because it was only 8k. I also had my new garmin 305 with me, so I could tell my pace. I think I’m in love with my garmin. I still had the nike app open on my iphone, but I can see why now people swear by their garmins. Anyway, I was able to keep to under 9mm for the first 3-4k, before slowed down after half way. Had enough left in the tank to speed up at 7k. Could have been faster if I hadn’t walked through the water stations. Had to drive down to Car’s for thanksgiving so I didn’t linger at the finish, grabbed bananas, water and went straight to my car. Had to call mm back, cos she rang when I was at about 6.5k, so we talked for a bit. I’m thinking I placed better because of the number of casual runners and walkers, but it could also be I was consciously running faster. Results:

  • overall — 2092 / 5683
  • gender — 855 / 3275
  • age division — 35 / 166

in being healthy |

I wanted to go to Fleet Feet Piper’s Alley to register for Thursday’s Turkey Trot 8k, they were doing registration and packet pickup in the store, so it saved me even registering online. Piper’s Alley is down in Uptown where the Saturday market is. The normal mode of transport would have been drive or get the #22 bus. Then I thought, it’s a good distance to bike — I run all the way to the boat when I was training, so it shouldn’t be a problem to take my bike. And it wasn’t. Except for parts where it got windy, it was a nice ride down and back home. Total 13.2 miles, according to google maps.

in being healthy |


15k 1:36:02hr 6.24min/km

Race #11, the hot chocolate 15k.

After last year’s experience, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this race this year. The course wasn’t that great, the chocolate fondue and drink post-race were not impressive at all, and it’s expensive at $55 for the 15k. But like many, I got caught up post-marathon and wanted to run another race soon, so there I was. Of course since the marathon I’d done a grand total of 8k — not good, not good.

There were many improvements from last year. The first was that packet pickup wasn’t somewhere in the UIC campus, but Union Station. How much more convenient can it get? I mean, I work right next door. The second improvement was the course moved from crowded Montrose to South Lake Shore — start at Grant Park, then south to museum campus and LSD, following the RNR route. The third improvement was a very nice and soft jacket.

They couldn’t do anything about the weather. It was dry but cold. They still had 2 separate starts for the 5k and 15k; and it got crowded with both groups in the area. The 5k racers were back when we were lining up in the start chute, I made my way to the barrier and saw them come back in. This meant the 15k racers were standing around for almost 30mins freezing our butts off. I was one of the few people in shorts. Not capris, normal shorts. And on top was the long sleeved marathon shirt, having gear checked the jacket. If the race started 5 mins later, I would have been shivering and chattering.

This meant it took me like 3-4k just to not feel cold, and more to warm up. The summer of training helped, even after taking almost 4 weeks off. At no point was I winded, and my knees held up. Because of the slow, cold start and wanting to conserve energy, I wasn’t aiming for any particular time. I did kick in a little with 5k to go, only to get side stitch at the last kilometer. But I ignored the pain, because that’s what i should do.

There was more food at the fondue — 3-4 slices of apple, half a banana, pretzel sticks, cereal bar and cake. All dipped in chocolate, this time provided by Ghiradelli’s. I dropped my drink ticket but they still gave me a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Lingered a bit, walking around to look at the park again. It’s my last race there this year. Got sentimental for a minute. Placing:

  • overall — 7689 / 12368
  • gender — 4432 / 8150
  • age division — 259 / 523

in arts and media , being healthy |

I’m still thinking about Sunday’s race so indulge me for another marathon post please. If I hadn’t been running, I would probably have been watching the whole race on TV. And watched in wonder at the final 1k battle between Sammy Wanjiru and Tsegaye Kebede. Wow!! The way they ran, it looks like they’re sprinting and not having run 41km. Sammy’s kick at the end…I’m awestruck now.

On another topic, I met a guy today who’s run Chicago, NYC, London, Paris, Rome, and a Swiss marathon (Zurich? Jungfrau? I have to look it up). And he came in at 5.17 on Sunday. I feel I didn’t do too badly.

Learned a new phrase today on the forums — redemption marathon. While we’re still at good fitness form, go run another marathon soon after this one, especially if the performance wasn’t ideal. For example NYC on 7 Nov is a perfect opportunity to redeem for Chicago. Hmm.

in being healthy |


Official results came in quickly yesterday, official photos are still being sorted — they must have taken hundreds of thousands of pics, and all have to be tagged. I saw a few already on the site, and I’m very tempted to buy a couple.

The official results came with splits. It’s easy to see how I started at a reasonable pace then slowed right down at the end. 35k is mile 21, just past Chinatown and into the barren, shadeless lands of Wentworth and Michigan.

I still think I did okay in terms of pacing. Could I have pushed harder? Probably, but it may have caused injury and the wheels really coming off. People always say don’t worry about the time for the first marathon, because it’s all about gaining experience. I can’t agree more. Next time, I’ll need to get even more miles in during training, and seriously ramp it up. If there is a next time.

in being healthy |


42km (26.2miles) 5:38:53hr 8.04min/km

Race #10. The Big One. I went to bed at 9pm, but wasn’t able to fall asleep right away. Woke up at 1am, tossed and turned again. Alarm went off at 4.30am. Had a big breakfast of cereal and cream cheese bagel. A banana at the BoA tent when I got to Grant Park. That was very nice, having a quiet area to sit down and no-queue portaloos.

At first I lined up with the 5.30 pace group, then decided psychologically I’d rather run with a faster group and get overtaken by slower ones than never being able to catch up with a group. So I moved up to the 4.30 group. It was warm already, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a fast day for me.

I was less than 15mins behind the gun, so kudos for organisation. The interesting sight was sweatshirts and t-shirts being flung to the sides as the race got going. The early parts — Columbus, Grand, Rush, State were all familiar territory. I was doing pretty well, conserving energy and enjoying the crowd support along the way. When we turned up La Salle and to Old Town and Lincoln Park the crowds got scarcer but I was going fine. I stopped at the medical tent at mile 5-6 for a band-aid to patch up a toe that was threatening to blister. By then the sun was beating down pretty hard and I took gatorade and water at every station.

My friend Karen was at Sheridan at mile 7, it was great to see her and she took a few pics of me. The turning point was at Addison and wow! the crowds there was phenomenal, Boystown really did us proud today. I ran behind Batman and Batgirl for a while, there weren’t that many people in costumes today, the ones who were got a rousing cheer. I was feeling good all the way back downtown and into the loop. More wonderful crowds all the way to the halfway point just past Sears Tower (almost immediately behind the office actually). I hit 13.1 at 2.35, was I feeling like I have 50% left? Yep.

I took a portaloo break at mile 14, and by then I was getting a little tired. Walked through each aid station but ran between them. My colleague Michelle was supposed to be at mile 19-20 but I couldn’t see her. I did see Eiffel Tower guy, boy that must be heavy. And then I got past 20 miles without hitting the wall, PR yay! Chinatown was another nice part, with crowds. Miles 21-23 down Wentworth was tough, with not a lot of cover.


Then it was miles 23-24 and the lonely run up Michigan. The event alert system had been upgraded to Red for a few miles now. Had to dig deep and keep moving. My knees were starting to hurt, which I ignored. The numbers got smaller and smaller and all of a sudden there was only 1 mile to go. By then I knew I’d miss 5.30, but it was okay. The end of Michigan and the right hand turn into “Mount” Roosevelt and 600m to go. Had enough legs to run up, and then it was the left hand turn into the home stretch. It is very moving, to see the finish line.

I got my beer, rested a little at the tent, then took the “L” home. Had a little scare with getting dizzy and had to get off at Sheridan for fresh air. The walk home from the station was long, long, long. Ice bath, chocolate milk, reheat pizza from yesterday. Exhausted. Knees hurt like hell. Blisters on right foot. But it’s all good.

So I did it. ! finished a marathon. Results:

  • overall: 29959 / 49586
  • gender: 12459 / 16186
  • age division: 1112 / 1437

Flickr set: here

Thanks to: Karen, Michelle, everyone at work who were so encouraging; Janet for tracking my progress all the way in London; mm who says she’s keeping me under surveillance; Debra for the daily support. And most of all, every single volunteer along the route.

October 10th, A most auspicious day

in being healthy |


This is almost everything I’m taking with me to the marathon tomorrow. The only things missing are the camera (well, cos I was using it to take the pic) and my shorts. This is a lot of stuff! Although, I’ll be wearing or carrying the majority. From top left:

  • gatorade
  • water belt
  • sunscreen
  • cap
  • spare t-shirt
  • titanium necklace
  • sunglasses
  • race shoes with D-tag already in place, plus socks — I’m racing in these very light nike lunar racer 2
  • knee straps
  • chapstick
  • bodyglide
  • bondi band that says 26.2
  • race t-shirt
  • course map and paperwork
  • nike+ badge — I got this at the expo and it apparently gives free gifts or discounts or something
  • KT tape — which I will apply on my knees and shins before bed tonight
  • wet towel in ziploc bag, this will be gear checked and used post-race
  • small hand towel that fits in my pocket
  • ID, ICE card, credit card, CARA membership card, CTA pass
  • keys, money
  • ricola
  • bloks — tequila and cola flavours
  • gu — blueberry and chocolate
  • nutrigrain bars — the only reason I take these is because they are soft and chewy
  • bagel — in the morning I will fill it with cream cheese and chop into 4 bite-sized pieces, nutrition for mid-race
  • Bank of America customer upgrade gold wristband — allows access into BoA tent with water, bananas, toilets and seating
  • number bib with gear check and 312 beer tag
  • Polar HRM and strap
  • iphone
  • ipod
  • headset

in being healthy |


It’s 10 days till 10.10.10. How do I feel? Not as prepared as I’d like. Looking forward and dreading it. Signs have been up in the Loop for a while, this is on La Salle.

in being healthy |


Run scheduled today is 19k, just under a half-marathon. I’ve been slow and in discomfort since last week, but all I need to do is not fall apart for 2 weeks.

The beginning of the run was completely ruined by a stupid dog walking event where fucking dog owners and their idiotic dogs took up a 2 mile procession of the entire lakefront path. Naturally, given that they are dog owners after all, they know nothing about sharing the path with other people. Selfish fuckers. All dogs need to die. Dog owners too. With as maximum suffering.

I had to detour and find a different route. Eventually found the inner bike path which took me all the way down to Lincoln Park and over the pedestrian bridge to North Ave Beach. The way back along the beach was really tough, between 10-13k the headwind was so strong that it took all my energy to inch forward. Once I got back to Belmont, it was shielded and not too bad. But I was already sapped.

Anyway, I got home and immediately got on the foam roller to fix my back, ITB and knees. Other than that I was feeling okay. No need for ice bath, and not tired. I’m dreading the marathon to be honest. I don’t think I want to go through another training cycle again — if there is a next time I’ll have to increase my mpw, may be follow pfitz 18/55, which is even more of a time suck.


So here’s the state of my knees today. All taped up. Like I said, just need to hang in there for 2 more weeks.

in being healthy |

There was a fair bit of attention on beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh in the 2008 Beijng Olympics. Not only because of how she and her partner dominated the event, or the attractiveness of their uniform; she had a strange criss-cross of tape across her shoulder. It prompted a lot of curiosity and it turned out that it was for a shoulder injury. Since 2008 the tape has been seen on the likes of David Beckham and Serena Williams as well as countless professional and amateur sportspeople.

The tape is called kinesio tape, it’s a stretchable athletic tape made of cotton that is applied over the target area in specific patterns to provide support, improve circulation and assist in lymphatic drainage. There are now several brands in the market and they come in different colours, even pretty patterns.

I knew when I had ITBS pain that I should get a roll. It’s not until after yesterday’s terrible 20-miler, and being achy and stiff all afternoon that I decided to try it. I followed the directions on the pack and taped around both knees. There was a small difference immediately. Today I feel less pain and not limping as much as after my previous long runs. Whether it really is due to the tape, or the ice-bath, or the fact that I went to bed at 9.30pm last night, or a combination thereof, I don’t really care. I’ll do whatever it takes to reduce the pain.

in being healthy |


32.36km 4:16:35hr 8.08min/km

Second 20-miler of the training cycle today, and I joined the cara ready to run 20miler training run. The attractions were: pace groups, fully supported, starts at Foster and bus back.

Long story short, I bonked. The chart shows it perfectly where it happened — 23k / mile 14. I had nothing in my legs and had to walk. Never recovered, and was reduced to shuffling and walking the rest of the way. At least I finished. I can make up lots of excuses, but instead I’m focusing on the lessons learned:

  1. keep warm at the start line — I was standing around for an hour and by the time it was my wave my teeth were chattering. Didn’t help that the sun came out and the latter part of the course had no shade
  2. do NOT start out too quickly — one of the volunteers shouted out at mile 6 how fresh we all looked; I was thinking I feel okay, yes, but it felt like halfway and not just 30%
  3. walk breaks — I was running too hard the first half and didn’t take a walk break till 2:15, when I should have taken a break each hour


On the bus back, someone commented on how far we’d run, so it was an achievement. We started at 5200N and ended at 7100S. I was glad I could bike home. Had an ice bath and 2 showers. Feeling exhausted, disappointed and everywhere hurts. My knees, calves, shins and back all hurt. I’m having to k-tape my knees and legs.

in being healthy , techtalk |


My nike+ sensor conked out, which is very annoying cos it’s less than a year old and already the battery is gone? So instead of getting a new $20 sensor, I spent $1.99 on the new nike+ gps app. I’m going for a 20-miler tomorrow, so I took it out for a test run today.

It doesn’t need the sensor, and set up was a breeze. The gps signal picked up quickly and I was on my way. At the end of the run, it synced to my nike+ account automatically without needing to go through itunes. The stats were all there, as well as my route. It’s well worth the price, and then some.

Apparently the gps is quite a drain on the battery so I’m worried about the iphone lasting the whole marathon. Let’s see how it shapes up on the 20-miler tomorrow.

in being healthy |

10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication:

  1. lose weight
  2. exercise regularly
  3. healthy diet
  4. reduce sodium
  5. limit alcohol
  6. no smoking (includes second hand smoke)
  7. limit caffeine
  8. reduce stres
  9. monitor bp, get checked up regularly
  10. get support from family and friends

See what I mean? I’m doing most of these already! So I’ve come up with my own list of how to reduce my bp:

  1. give me some quiet, me time…regularly
  2. just focus on work, ignore toxic people, rise above politics
  3. kill all dogs
  4. invent a volume control button for the universe
  5. see a smoker, cross the road
  6. less emphasis on weight, more on body fat and composition
  7. eat healthy but don’t undereat
  8. stop obsessing about my bp


in being healthy |

I’m extremely annoyed. My bp is not in a good place. I thought I’d avoided it by running and eating relatively healthily. Genetics is catching up with me, I don’t know how much I can escape it. Must watch salt intake and reduce alcohol. It’d also help if I can get rid of work stress.


in being healthy |

chihm004lake chihm009finish

21km 2:24:46hr 6.54min/km

When I did this year’s race planning I wasn’t going to run the chicago half marathon because: a) I wanted to run the rock and roll and b) it takes place at the south lake shore, which is unfamiliar territory. It was my colleagues EH and KC who persuaded me to register. I was still uncomfortable cos of the transportation issue. They had shuttles from town and special trains, but to get to the shuttles and train station was already a hassle. So I drove.

A Bears home game meant the start time was push back to 7am. I had to get up at 4.30am, eat breakfast, get all my gear ready and leave by 5.15am. Like most people who drove, I parked at the museum of science and industry and boy was there a long queue to exit lake shore drive and into the car park. Plus a long walk to the start line. After gear check and going to the loo there wasn’t much hanging around time before the start.

15,000 runners, and credit to the organisers the start was fast, I was only 8 mins out. Conditions were good — it was sunny but luckily also breezy. The scenery was outstanding, I think even better than the north lakeshore. They closed lake shore drive so we were running on there for most of the way, unlike the rock and roll where we were running on the bike path next to LSD. What a difference a 3-lane highway makes.

I felt pretty strong. For some reason the nike+ decided to report progress in miles instead of the usual km so it threw me a bit. The miles flew by pretty consistently. I walked at the water stops, total about 10mins for the whole race. No other walking break.

By halfway I realised I was going too slowly if I wanted to break 2:30, so I picked up the pace a bit. Kicked it up at mile 11 and was very happy and impressed I had quite a lot left in the tank. I think if I hadn’t started so slowly and stopped to take pictures (ie if I focused on racing) I could have come close to 2:15. One of these days.

We all got finisher’s medals at the end, together with water, bananas, cookies and cereal bar. There was also deep dish pizza sponsored by Lou Malnati’s. Now that is already a good reason to come back next year. I think I prefer this race to the rock and roll. Granted I’ve had more training and the weather was nicer, but I really like the course. The only disadvantage was the long walk back to the car, it took me a good hour to get home. Results:

  • overall: 10020/13541
  • gender: 5280/7892
  • age division: 279/455

in being healthy |


I’ve been looking forward to this all week. My first “official” cycling cross-training session. I’m still very cautious about riding on the streets, but once I got to the lake it was fine. It occurred to me how easy it was, didn’t have to take all the paraphernalia associated with going out for a run, didn’t even change out of work clothes.

A leisurely 25mins to Diversey Harbor. Running would have taken me almost 1.5hrs to get to that point. I read somewhere that bike:run effort ratio is between 3:1 to 4:1, so I guess cycling 50mins is like running 5k. Livestrong tells me that 45mins cycling at leisurely pace = 461 calories, when my rule of thumb for running is 30min = 220-230 calories. Something doesn’t track here. I think the cycling calories burned is too generous.

Anyway, I was able to measure the ride on google maps, but it made me realise how useful a garmin would be. The nike+ only functions for running whereas the garmin does running and cycling. Argh! Another gadget want.

in being healthy |


The first race I ever ran was a 10k in Jan-2007. I was unfit and had zero training. I had to walk the part under the western harbour tunnel and I lost the soles of my totally unsuitable sneakers near the end of the course. My time of 1:39 was not impressive at all.

Fast forward 3 years to the same 10k race. With a year’s racing experience behind me, in horrid 91% humidity, I managed 1:14.

Hard to believe if anyone asked me when I started that in Sep-2010, I’d think about a 10k as an easy run, almost a jog. It’s much cooler now, may be 21°C when I went out, and although it was very windy the conditions were good. I wasn’t winded or tired when I finished.

I’ve been lethargic about running the last week or so. I’m thinking can we get to October already so I can get the marathon over and done with. Training has become kinda boring. Although once I get going and warmed up I was enjoying myself. Took me about 3k to completely warm up and I didn’t hit my stride till about 6-7k. That’s a good reminder for this sunday’s HM, start slow and warm up.

One of these days I’ll clock under 1hr. May be the goals for next year is to see about setting some PRs.

in being healthy |


I was window shopping on Clark yesterday, walked south till there were no more interesting shops, then walked north. Not looking for anything in particular. The only thing I bought was an ice cream at george’s.

The final destination was the produce place to get eggs and veg. The local bike store next to the produce place had 20-odd bikes out on the pavement, all refurbished and on sale. And remembering how nice it was to rent a bike a couple of weeks ago, I looked to see if they had something cheap. There was one for $100 I liked, but I wasn’t tall enough. They had a similar one at the back that they were still working on, but if I could come back in an hour they would have it ready. So I did. And I thought it was a pretty nice bike. I mean, it’s nothing fancy, but it suits my needs. Even if I go out on it 4 times, it’d be cheaper than renting. (Although, I forgot I had to buy a helmet and lights and a lock, so 4 times is probably more like 8.)

Took it out to the lake and rode as far as the totem pole. It will come in handy for training — the days I’m not running I should be cross-training and I haven’t done it so far. No more excuses.

in being healthy |


Because of the bleaching, I can only have white or clear food for 24hrs cos any colour (natural or artificial) will get absorbed into the still fragile enamel. This means no tea, no coke zero. Argh!!! As a result I have a caffeine headache the entire day. No amount of painkillers have been able to get rid of it and I think I’ll have to retire to bed soon.

I have salmon and summer squash in the fridge, but they’re out till tomorrow. Lunch today was scallop pasta that I had leftover. I figured the tiny amount of pesto will be okay. Dinner was instant oatmeal with an apple diced in. Sprite zero and soda water satisfied my need for fizz but not caffeine. Can’t wait for that first cup of tea tomorrow morning.

in being healthy |

Supposed to be an easy 3km run today, which shouldn’t take more than 20mins including getting ready. But I’m on strike. Knees still hurt and I’m feeling bleh. I’ll make it up later this week.

in being healthy | | comments (1)


32.00km 3:46:02hr 7.03min/km

Most marathon training programs get up to 20miles (32km) 2-3 times and then starts tapering 2 weeks before the race. The idea is that race day adrenaline and training will push us the additional 6 miles. This way, we’re not training so hard that we risk injury or burn-out.

So today was the day for the first 20-miler. It’s only 2 more miles compared with the 18-miler last week, but I was feeling more pressure. Milestones have a habit of doing that. It’s still very hot, when I went out at 3pm the sun was beating down pretty hard. I took 2 bottles of gatorade, a cereal bar, gu and chomps with me. I went out slow. Very slow. Tried to conserve energy and stay hydrated.

Ran all the way to the boat again, a longer route than last week. Took 3 walking breaks, total around 10mins. Ended up making a mistake in estimating distances and finished over 1km from home. Yikes. It was a long and painful walk from basically the 147 Berwyn stop. My knees, calves and feet were so tight I didn’t know which leg to limp on. I’d read somewhere that walking is a good way of cooling down, and true enough, by the time I’d shuffled home the stiffness had abated enough for me to be able to climb the stairs fairly normally.

I had a tepid ice bath, part of the RICE recovery program. Sat in the bathtub, ran cold water and added the tray of ice from the freezer. I admire anyone who can climb into an ice bath. The effect lasted about a hour, tops. Still needed major foam roller and additional ice pack treatment. And hopefully a good night’s sleep tonight.

Do I feel like I can run the full marathon? Not today, not tomorrow. Not without major pain. Then again, it’s part of the training plan, there’s 6 weeks to go. Will I be able to run the extra 10k by October? I think so.

in being healthy , evidence of my insanity |

chibike008belmont chibike007softball

What I should have done: 3-5k recovery run.

What I did: biked 15 miles down to Navy Pier.

Too gorgeous a day, even though I was a little sore from yesterday. I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me to rent a bike, now I’m sorry I didn’t start doing it earlier in the summer.

The rental place is at Foster, I run past it every time. $30 for half a day and $35 for a whole day. I did just half a day. Smooth ride all the way down the lakefront, past Montrose and Belmont Harbors. Stopped for a bit at North Ave beach, which psychologically is a “turn around” point. But this time I went further south, ended up at Navy Pier.

Left the bike at the top of the pier and walked to the biergarten, wanting a beer. Wow, I paid attention to prices along the way, and it gets more expensive towards the end of the pier. Bud light for $5 at the biergarten, but there was one place near the entrance that had them for $3.75. So I went back and just sat on a bench in the shade, people watching. Lunch was beer and an orange creamsicle ice that was oh so delicious.

Nice ride back, I returned the bike early. I’m very tempted to buy a second hand bike, but it’s probably too late in the year for it. And besides, I always have to remember I’m only here temporarily.

Had a nap in the afternoon, then a quiet rest of the day. I’m the darkest I’ve ever been, cos of all the sun this summer.

in being healthy |


29km 3:21:43hr 6.56min/km

The problem with long runs is the amount of time and planning needed. I figured it’ll take 3.5hrs for the planned training run today. Add on getting ready and showering that’s a good 4-hr chunk of the day. I didn’t want to run in the morning cos I know I need food beforehand, so I had to work backwards to make sure I’m home before it gets dark. Lunch was a large slice of deep dish sausage pizza that was leftover from work yesterday, it’s perfect for carb-loading.

A 3pm start is not ideal, it was sunny enough to warrant sunscreen. I went out with 2 drinks bottles filled with gatorade, when the hand-held bottle emptied I filled it up with water from the water fountains. Total 1.5l on the run. Took 2 walking breaks at the hour marks, about 3mins each time, to take in gu and cereal bar.

The lake is very, very hard to beat for a great running experience. I ran all the way down to the boat, and made sure I touched it to turn around. That was 16km. HM time was 2:26, which gives me lots of hope for the upcoming Chicago Half. Some parts of the path was crowded and I was constantly passed by other runners. But I feel fine. Going slow was good for my knees and well-being, my heart rate never went above 157 and I don’t feel as tired as the 11km lame tempo run on Thursday.

Some people can think when they run, my mind just goes blank. I tried to think about the upcoming holiday with mm, work, and what I’m planning for nano this year. Couldn’t hold a thought for more than a few minutes. It’s quite exhilarating, to be able to give my brain a rest. Somewhere on the way back though, I kinda decided that I might not do another marathon after chicago, cos of the amount of time needed for training. I’m pretty sure I can go the distance, and if I continue, to improve my time. But I’m actually looking forward to the week of 11th Oct when I plan to do absolutely no running. Famous last words, I’m sure I’ll be forced to eat my hat.

According to my HRM, I spent 1570 calories. This means…STEAK and wine!!! Yay! I have this huge 14oz rib-eye I bought this morning, which I grilled together with some baby asparagus. I also opened a bottle of châteauneuf-du-pape. Nice reward, eh? Now I’m completely stuffed and wanting ice cream.

20-miler next week. That’s gonna be a big milestone.

in being healthy |


26.08km 3:01:06hr 6.57min/km

The plan called a long run of 26km this week. That’s 16miles. Another 3 miles on top of the half marathon I did last week. Eeeek.

I guess I’m lucky I had that big ice cream last night, cos I was still full when I woke up. I had cheerios for breakfast, then got ready and set out at 8.45am. The weather was nice, overcast with a little breeze. The first 1/3 was strong, ran my normal route at the lake to the steps. The susan komen 3 day 60 miles walkers were also on the course, it was a nice inspiration that pushed me a little.

Took a 3 min walking break at 10k to eat a cereal bar, and again at 20k for a shoelace break and to eat some chomps. Ran almost to the boat at north avenue beach, 16k (10miles). I got to 21k (half marathon) at 2:26hr, beating my time last week. It’s definitely the weather. On the way back, it started drizzling, then rained pretty steadily and only stopped when I was almost home.

The end of the run was just past broadway, so i had all 4 streets to walk. My knees and calves were so tight, I was barely able to walk. Had to ice both legs pretty seriously when I got home. Still, it’s the longest distance I’ve run. All easy 10k next week, then a push to get to 32k (20miles) in 2 weeks’ time.

in being healthy |

A substantial chunk of a lower molar came off the other day. I wasn’t even eating anything hard, but I could feel the missing part. I called the dentist yesterday and got an appointment today.

Not surprisingly, considering the amount of tooth that is gone, I have to get a crown. The dentist and her assistant were both very nice and got the mould done with the minimum of pain. Well, I did have a local. They also complimented me on being a good patient — no complaints, no screaming, not too nervous. I have to go back in 2 weeks to get the crown fitted.

My mouth was numb for hours, so I couldn’t eat anything solid. I nibbled on a few slices of ham and drank a whole bottle of muscle milk that I’d grabbed at a race. If I still felt hungry I probably would have attacked the title=”gu”>GU jar. Who says running has only limited benefits?

in being healthy |

No, not without clothes. Without gadgets.

Easy 3k recovery run today. Not even far enough to go out to the lake, I just did the streets up and down. Didn’t use the polar, no music. I did bring the nano cos of the nike+, but I didn’t take earphones so there was no music.

It was fine, didn’t need the music. What I did miss was the voice telling me how far I’d gone, it was fiddly to take the nano out of the spibelt whenever I wanted to check distance.

in being healthy |


Race #7. Rock and Roll Chicago half marathon. My first time moving up to the half. Very daunting cos it’s a big distance, a big race and I’m only just getting back on the training plan.

A 6.30am start meant I had to get up at 4am. I made oatmeal yesterday so it was only a matter of microwaving it, adding yogurt and blueberries. One lesson I’d learned is to have enough food before a long run / race.

The red line was completely full by Fullerton, people couldn’t get on. Must have shocked the regular early morning travellers. I dropped my (empty) gear check bag at the CARA tent and went in search of the portaloos and water. They even had bananas before the race, impressive. The start was long, but much better organised than the shamrock shuffle. We were all allocated corals according to our bib numbers, and there were at least 28 corals. Each coral was separated by a rope and they released each group in 1-2 minute intervals. Yes, it meant it was past 7am by the time I got to the start line, but it wasn’t a scrum and for a few hundred meters I was running on an empty road cos I was right in the front of the pack.

There were bands at every mile, and loads of water and cytomax stations. I took my camera and managed to get a few pics. I was slower than usual at 5k, probably cos of camera breaks, but feeling strong. The crowds along Adams and Michigan were amazing and I wished I had someone cheering for me or waiting at the finish. Sigh. I tucked in behind the 2.30 pace group at Michigan and followed them to the south shore. Got hungry at mile 8 and was glad I brought my own GU. The south shore part of the course was tougher than the loop part — fewer spectators, hardly any cover from the sun, and tiredness. People say the wall hits at 10miles, I got tired at 11 and fell behind the pace group. Picked up a bit with 1k to go.

It was fantastic to run around the last turn and into the home stretch. Had enough to finish strong. My watch time was 2:33:47hrs, chip time was 2:33:51. Missed my target of 2:30, but I’m not bothered. It’s a good time and experience. There were bananas, oranges, energy bars, ice lollies and a cold wet towel in addition to water and cytomax at the finish. Also free beer and free concert by Five for Fighting. I only stayed for the beer, didn’t fancy sitting in the sun with soaked clothing for the band.

I was so hungry and tired when I got home. I did reward myself with a big steak, and the cheesecake I bought on friday. Went to bed almost immediately after lunch and slept for an hour or so. I hadn’t registered for the chicago half in september. Now I’m seriously thinking about it.


  • overall: 12,798/18,555
  • gender: 7,375/11,757
  • age division: 434/778

This was the rocker balloon at 15k, the southermost point of the race where we turned back. Other pics: flickr set

in being healthy |


The last time I increased distance (the first time I got to 10miles) I ended up with stiff leg muscles and it was awful going downstairs. After yesterday’s long run I was determined to do better, so I stuck with the tried and tested RICE method, which treats and mitigates sports injuries.

RICE stands for: rest, ice, compression, elevation. I went to bed at 10pm; I iced both knees after showering; I wore an it band strap; and I added a large square cushion to the knee cushion I already use for sleeping so everywhere below my knees are elevated and supported.

Still a little stiff going down the stairs, but otherwise I felt fine today. I’m happy at how simple things work.

in being healthy |

10.02km 1:06:53hr 6.40min/km

I missed the first 4 weeks of training and it’s becoming very important that I get back on track. I thought about re-doing another plan, for 12 weeks, but decided against it. I’m following week 5 of the plan, pretend weeks 1-4 were completed. Supposed to be easy 3k run on Monday, I did 5k yesterday. Supposed to be 10k tempo today, and I did. Couldn’t stick to the 6.19min/km for the middle 6k though — was okay for 3k, then got tired. I’m okay about that. LR this weekend, this will be the big test for half readiness.

in being healthy |

10k 1:04:28hr 6.27min/km

Race #6, fleet feet 5k/10k women’s festival.

I was stressed cos I need to take my parents to the airport this morning and I only had a short window to get home and shower. Plus horribly out of practice, with only 1 run in the last few weeks. I would have DNS’ed, or changed to the 5k. But I didn’t. And I’m glad I ran the 10k portion.

Because of the time pressure I drove, otherwise I would have taken the bus or even walked. One of the reasons I wanted this race is cos it’s on home turf — start at Montrose, up to Foster and back south, turning around at the totem pole. Finish line at the Montrose beach house. Yep, definitely home turf.

Both 5k and 10k started at the same time, with the 10k group breaking south once we got back to Montrose. It’s been so hot, and what I learned from last race is to keep hydrated. So I brought my own pocari and picked up water and gatorade along the way.

I wanted to break 1:05, and I did that, helped by a tiny bit of sprint at the end. But still slow, barely making the top half in my AG is disappointing. Time to build up the miles. Two weeks to train for the half. Gulp. Placing:

  • overall: 756/1469
  • age group: 42/92

in being healthy |


I’m using the very simple smartcoach program at for my marathon training. You enter a recent race time, desired training intensity and long run day. It then gives you a schedule that brings you up to race day, together with predicted time.

According to the plan I should have started last week, and had a 13km run on Saturday. Yeah right. All I did was the 8k on saturday and the 5k race on sunday. Missed today’s 5k easy run too. Sigh. Not good.

in being healthy |


5.0km 31.13min 6.28min/km

Race #5. Humana Race to Taste, as part of the Taste of Chicago event. I only registered on Tuesday when I realised I had time, and I needed a June race.

Packet pickup on the day was no problem. I pinned my number, gear checked and was out at the start line early. I knew I wasn’t going to have a fantastic race — 2+ weeks without running and the 8k I did yesterday caused some stiffness all over. I set out at a good pace, the first mile was just over 9min. But couldn’t keep it up. Fatigue, dehydration, heat and humidity got the better of me. Didn’t have any kick at the finish, I was panting by then.

The organisers set up a mobile sprinkler and it was much needed. I gobbled up a banana, half a bagel and downed lots of cups of water before I felt better. There were 3 free tickets to try out from 5 Taste stands, I had gazpacho, crab cake nugget and turkey sausage pizza. Stuck around for the raffle (didn’t win), got caught in the rain a little, was home at around10am. Placing:

  • overall: 630/1358
  • gender overall: 274/800
  • gender age group: 16/54

in being healthy |


5.84km 33.24min 5.43min/km

Race #4. JPMC corporate challenge. I drove in (sidebar, battery died had to get roadside assistance to jumpstart) to help transport some of the set up materials. We had a big tent, something like 200 people — participants, volunteers, family members. Nice atmosphere.

Big, big crowd at the start. There were 19,865 participants from 557 companies, no wonder. I could only get to the 9min/mile corral, knowing that people in front will be slower. How true! Took 4mins to get to the start line, luckily this year it’s B-tag chip timing, and the results are already online. It happens every race, slow people and walkers really should learn to start at the back.

Felt more comfortable than last year — experience and cooler weather helped. Time was okay, works out to be 9.30min/mile. It should be 1-2mins faster if not for the slow start and short walking break at the water station. Ah well, I’m not complaining. I had a good time. There were beer and burgers afterwards. Surprisingly, my knees feel perfectly fine. May be I should try going faster. Placing:

  • gender overall: 1936/7195
  • gender within team: 7/49


in being healthy |

I haven’t weighed myself in 10 weeks. It’s not about losing weight anymore. Fitness, bf%, clothing size have taken over as health indicators. I’m deliberately not being numerical and analytic about this. I’m not in the “smash the scale” camp, so I did weigh myself for reference over the weekend.

I gained 4 pounds in 10 weeks.

I know I shouldn’t be too concerned cos I’m doing more running and my tightest pair of jeans now fit. I can’t help being disappointed though, sigh.

I’m still kinda watching what I ate, and counting calories. Come to think of it, I think the weight gain has to do with not eating enough some days. I’m not convinced it’s wholly due to starvation mode. It may be a factor, so I’ll be more careful with my diet.

Truthfully, my goals are more like 27min 5k, 1.59 half and 4.30 full marathon. At the back of my mind, sure I’d like to lose half a stone, but I’m sure as I ramp up the training, it’ll be fine.

in arts and media , being healthy |

On the livestrong forums is a thread on top 5 running songs. Till I Collapse by Eminem seems to be a favourite, but I find it too loud and hard to run to the beat. Doesn’t mean I don’t like rap, I run to 8 miles and Lose Yourself, which would make my top 10. So, top 5, in no particular order:

  • mgmt — kids
  • ben lee — afterlife
  • killers — read my mind (or human, I can’t decide)
  • uh huh her — common reaction
  • muse — uprising

Honourable mentions: chris rea — auberge, lindsey buckingham — did you miss me, lady gaga — poker face, fort minor — where’d you go (or remember the name).

in being healthy |

One of the reasons I don’t like running in a group is that they occupy the whole pavement and don’t allow enough space for other people. Hog the water fountains too. I was doing a nice 8k and this group (fleet feet? cara?) was having a briefing in a big circle and, yes, spread themselves out on the entire corner. I ran smack in the middle of their circle, I didn’t care.

Related, dogs and dog owners need to disappear off the face of the earth. They are the pits in terms of occupying useless space. Hate, hate, hate.

in being healthy |


13.53km 1:31:01hr 6.43min/km

That’s just over 8 miles. Lots of people out at the lake, including many who are starting their marathon training, cos they were showing off their shirt from last year.

Ran into bark in the park at Montrose. By that time it was too late to turn back or find another route. People and their dogs doing a 5k. Dogs everywhere. Fucking dogs. Hate. Hate. Hate.

Apart from that the run was pretty comfortable. And, looking at the nike+, very steady pace throughout. Had a gel at around the 60min mark, though I didn’t really need it. It was a hammer gel I got last week, wanted to try out the flavour. I need to find the locations of water fountains south of Montrose.

in being healthy |

On the one extreme, a recent poster in a forum I read sometimes was saying how they were proud to be size 20+. I had to look it up, US size 20 = UK size 24.

On the other hand, people (mainly newbie) join fitness forums and says things like they don’t want to do weight training because they don’t want to become bulky…all they want to do is tone their muscles.

[Insert screaming and face plant here.]

Then on running forums there’s the feeling that, yeah okay, do weights but runners run. I think I’m in danger of falling into this camp of thinking, so I’m gonna make sure I continue to do some weight training.

Talk of weight training always bring up the bulking up vs toning crap. It’s impossible to accidentally bulk up, like you wake up one morning and hey presto, muscles!! I’ve been doing weights for a year and there is a tiny bit of definition, that’s it. Perhaps the best article I’ve read on the subject comes from Leigh Peele who wisely advocates training for the body type that best suit us because,

the only people that look like that lift or train aggressively are those who lift and train aggressively

What’s this got to do with the size 20+ person? I think it’s admirable that a person is proud of their body shape. But potentially ignoring the fact that size 20+ is dangerously unhealthy to the extent of not doing anything about it? Worries me. I’m still trying to unwind 15, 20 years of not eating, not exercising and I was by no means fat. We all have to take responsibility for our health.

in being healthy |


Sigh. I guess it’s inevitable that I’d get pain somewhere in my body due to running. It’s also likely that it’d be my knees. Surprising that it’s the left and not the previously injured right. It’s stiff either side of the kneecap, and there was a point during today’s run, at 12km, that it threatened to give out. Felt a lot like when I had the ski accident and couldn’t put any weight on my leg. There’s no swelling, which suggests to me that’s it’s IT band. What can I do about it:

Patience. This one takes a while. Give yourself plenty of rest, reduce your miles and ice frequently. You can keep running, but cut your run short as soon as you begin to feel any pain. Cut way back on hill work, and be sure to run on even surfaces.

Hmm. I’m building base. This week I’ll hit 33km/20miles. That’s peanuts. I have to build up to 60-70km (over 40miles) to properly prepare for the marathon. And I’ve got the Ravenswood 5k on Sunday. I still haven’t gone a full 10miles in one run. Patience I have very little.

in being healthy |


This is a little worrying. I’m not hitting my calorie goals. I already have a low calorie target (1288 calories) because of my height, weight and age. The problem with the last few days is that I’ve done more running than usual, and I’ve been finishing up the cauliflower cheese and pea & ham soup I made over the weekend. Both are filling and nutritious, but aren’t heavy hitters in terms of calories. I have strawberries & yogurt or apple & peanut butter after dinner and I find myself at 9pm already full but needing to eat more. I’ll take the decision not to stuff myself.

Here’s the plan. On big running days I should plan to eat more, like have a decent breakfast and some snacks during the day. I don’t want to get into starvation mode, then I’ll never get rid of the stupid tummy fat.

in being healthy |


6.01km 38.59min 6.29min/km

I got promoted to blue level on the nike+ site, meaning I reached 1000km. About 95% of my runs were successfully tracked so it’s a good representation.

Took 17 months. Next level is purple at 2500km. I’m hoping I get the 1500km needed in less than that time.

in being healthy |

5.01km 31.22min 6.15min/km

Probably the best 5k time I’ve had for a while. I guess the 13k worked. I registered for the Ravenswood at the end. Soft target is to break 30mins.

in being healthy |

13.01km 1:29:28hr 6.52min

That’s 8.08 miles at 11min/mile. Not fast by any stretch of imagination but the idea today wasn’t fast but distance. This is the longest distance I’ve ever run. Ran all the way to Montrose beach then up to the roundabout and back. I wanted to see if I can do 8 miles comfortably and then think about which race to enter in April: CARA lakefront 10mile, Wrigley 5k or Ravenswood 5k. What I learned today:

As for which race, I’ll probably stick with the Ravenswood. Build endurance slowly, don’t get too ambitious.

in being healthy , in the news | | comments (1)

This is the title of a thread on the runner’s world forum.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Associated Press

FREDERICK, Md. — A driver who fatally struck a jogger from Zelienople who was running in the road near Emmitsburg has been fined $500 under a plea agreement.

Twenty-nine-year-old Joshua Cool pleaded guilty Monday in Frederick to failing to exercise care to avoid a pedestrian. In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped charges of negligent driving and other offenses.

Mr. Cool was charged in the death last April of 22-year-old Elizabeth DiNunzio. She was a Spanish major at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg.

Defense attorney Kate English says her client was devastated by the accident.

Mr. Cool’s parents were fined $200 each earlier this month for letting their son drive the uninsured pickup truck that hit DiNunzio.

I don’t know the circumstances of this case. On the thread there are opposing thoughts — that the punishment was not severe enough vs it was an accident. There’s some information that suggest to me that the driver did indeed get away with it. Although he wasn’t drunk or anything like that, he was driving a truck that he wasn’t covered in the insurance. In fact, he was specifically excluded in the policy. It also matters to me whether he showed remorse, and what, if anything, he will do to show he has learned his lesson. From some of the comments, it seems that he hasn’t. So, yes, I’m going to condemn this person and wish that he suffers from the thought of having killed an innocent 22-year old all his life.

In memory of Ms DiNunzio, there’s going to be a 5k run /1 mile walk at Zelienople PA on 24 April. If it didn’t take 8 hours to drive there, I’d go there in a minute. I started my running career on the road. Now I run by the lake, but I have to run on the street and across a couple of main roads to get there. Traffic is thick. Cars come out of alleys and make turns with very little regard for pedestrians. I’m ramping up this year, this is important to me.

in being healthy |


My second race this year — shamrock shuffle 8k

There was still a little snow on the ground when I left, and it was chilly windy. I get to experience the first advantage to being a cara member — gear check at the congress plaza hotel. Plus waiting inside out of the cold. It was cold to be standing out there waiting for the start. Not having participated before, I was in the open corral. It took me over 28mins to get to the start line after the gun. To give some perspective, the winner came in at 23-ish mins, which means he was back when the rest of us were still standing around at the start.

There were a good 25,000 runners. I tucked in behind the crowd at an easy pace. I got passed, but I managed to pass quite a few too. It was very nice to run through the city streets and not have to stop at traffic lights. I see what people mean about the finish at the chicago marathon — the last incline into grant park sapped energy. I must make a note to have some in reserve.

Finished in 55.23mins at 6.28min/km. Big crowd at the end too, gotta be aware of that for the marathon. Got my backpack from the hotel and went back to the park for after-race beer. I can’t remember who asked me, and was surprised that there is a fee for races. It’s for the organisation, volunteers, swag and of course the beer.

ETA: official results are in. I managed 53.50min, better than my own time. Overall 18204/25559. There’s no age category, gender classification 8640/14045.

in being healthy |

5.03km 33.53min 6.44min/km

The sun was out when I drove home mid-afternoon. It was very pleasant and I knew I had no excuse. I must have had a brain freeze cos I started making beef stew, and suddenly realised it needs to be cooked for 3 hrs.

I took the risk. Once it was in the oven and stabilised, I quickly got ready to go running outside. Of course by that time clouds have moved in, but I was still in sunny mode. Ran outside in just a t-shirt. I was cold, especially my hands weren’t happy being attacked by the wind. Warmed up at 2k, and the rest was at usual pace.

in being healthy |


6.26km 41.38min 6.39min/km

The sun was out today, about time I went for a run. It has been a while. My legs felt heavy and sore, so the time is only average. Time to start training.

Standchart results are in. As expected my time was 1:14:59. Within my class I came in 132/243. Overall for the 10k challenge I was 3914/5144. The winner of my class completed in 38.37, very impressive. Like I said, time to start training. I’m now confirmed for the rock and roll half in August.

in being healthy |


I set the alarm for 4.15am but I was up before then. Excitement. I didn’t wake mm up, got all my running gear and was out of the door at around 4.40am.

It’s marathon day. Okay, I’m only on the 10k challenge, may be next year I’ll do the half. It was dark when I started, I stupidly signed up for the first race at 5.15am. In hindsight, it turned out to be a good decision. 91% humidity made for terrible running conditions. I had my camera with me, so I took my time. I’d wanted to try to break 1hr, and in those conditions I didn’t even try. I think my time was around 1:15, it doesn’t matter.

The later races were still going on when I got back to mm’s. Because of the traffic, she didn’t make it to mass, and we stole an hour or so more together time. I tried hard not to cry when we said goodbye. We’ve spent a lot of time in different countries throughout our relationship, it’s nothing new. I just don’t know what to do with our future.

Met parents, sis and niece for lunch. While parents went off to do their own things, I went ice skating with sis and niece. I was pretty out of practice, there were too many kids, I was done after half an hour. Tired from the running anyway.

I really didn’t want to go out for dinner, so home food it was. Thanks, Mum.

in being healthy |

The weather was nice so I went skiing again. I know wilmot well now. Got there just before noon, got my boots and skis and was on the slopes in no time. Systematically worked my way left to right, alternating between State Line and Fanny Hill (blue and black) before lunch and then Exhibition and Snow Bowl after lunch. I think Snow Bowl is the most difficult, it gets fast and steep in places.

Begun to get tired by 3pm. This time I feel my arms and legs getting a good workout, I was working harder today, going faster and trying very hard to stick to parallel. Now I’m sad cos I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to go again this season. :(

in being healthy |


Registration opened on Monday but it took me until today to summon up enough courage to register. I hesitated because originally my plan was to move up to the half this year, and not the full. But I thought about it, what’s the worst case scenario? I forfeit the $135 fee. No big deal.

Reasons for doing it:

  • a worthwhile goal, personal milestone kind of thing
  • it takes place on 10.10.10 — a date to remember
  • I live here, people come from all over the world to participate, I don’t have to worry about hotels and stuff
  • (related) I know most of the course, it will help

Reasons for not doing it:

  • none, aside from not enough training —> unable to finish

Yes, it’s crowded, and some runners complain of being hindered by slower runners. I don’t think I’ll have that problem. It’s also a nice course in terms of elevation. On the runner’s world forum there was a discussion about elevation profile and someone summed it up nicely:


with the little bump at the end a small incline to the finish line. It’s so flat that no one has bothered to plot out the profile on various running sites. Someone else said,

The only marathon flatter than Chicago would be run on a treadmill

Come to think of it, that’s true. I haven’t even noticed, running around here and out to the lake, it’s completely flat. One more reason to run this one.

Haven’t thought about training. I’ll probably follow the Higdon 18-week program, with some adjustments. What I do plan on is one race a month. I’m already registered for:

April will either be another 10-miler, or an easy 5k like the ravenswood or wrigley. Corporate challenge in May is 2 days before the soldier field, so it will be a busy week. A few options in June and July, then the rock and roll half marathon in August.

It’s gonna be a BIG running year.

in being healthy |


My last 5 runs have all been 5k at the treadmill. The times have been oddly consistent:

  • 28:12min
  • 28:56min
  • 28:56min
  • 28:37min
  • 28:33min

Now if I can a) do the same outside and b) translate that to a sub-60min 10k.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |


omg, I’m turning into a health nut or at least a health nut wannabe. I started eating oatmeal! I mean, for most of my adult life I only had 2-3 cups of tea for breakfast. The past year or so I started to have cereal, but more often than not I’m not eating anything. I’ve always equated oatmeal with breakfast porridge, ie stodgy gummy tasteless stuff that only appeal to militant vegetarian yoga health fanatics.

Then last week I got some instant oatmeal with apple and found that it tasted nice and was great at staving off my morning hunger. Today I cooked up a pot of steel cut oats (30mins of simmering and stirring), mixed in a small pot of greek yogurt with honey, and finally a handful of blueberries. It was rather good and filling. I deliberately cooked 5 portions, and divided it up into small containers so I can reheat at work.

Crikey. What next? Meditation, chanting? I hope I don’t start talking about supplements and ginko jujube whatever. I take 1 multi-vitamin tablet and 1 vitamin C drink a day if I remember, that’s it.

in 101.1001 , being healthy , how the day went |


I woke up to a brilliant sunny morning. Perfect for skiing. It was so nice out that I didn’t go to four lakes, instead I ventured a little further to wilmot mountain in wisconsin. I figured it’d be a nice drive, and I can go to four lakes next time I want to ski and the weather (and therefore drive) isn’t as nice.

The weather report there actually showed fog when I left. It’s under 1.5hrs drive, and I got there at around 1pm just as the sun came out. It turned out to be a glorious afternoon and I got in plenty of skiing.

Yes, yes, I know. Compared with everywhere I’d skied, this is a tiny hill with artificial snow. But it was still fun. To get back to pre-accident proficiency I’d have to go back to live in Switzerland, or move to a place with real mountains, and that isn’t going to happen soon. Anyway, back to wilmot. It’s very well organised, with something like 10 chairlifts going up various slopes. The runs are mostly greens and blues, with some blacks — well, the blacks are easy reds IMO. I tried almost all of them, except the baby slopes, the ones at the far side and the mogul run.

Of course I picked one of the busiest weekends of the year to go, so there was a queue for rental and everything else. The queues for the lifts were manageable — there are so many, and they are pretty close together that it’s less than 5 mins to slide to the next one if the queue is too long.

I pretty much skied non-stop for 2-2.5hrs, taking a small break to get a drink from the car. Another thing — the carpark is right next to the mountain, well convenient. By 4pm I was getting tired, the sun had gone and the fog started to roll back in. The place opens till 11pm for night skiing, but I was done for the day. Left at 5pm and was home, showered and eating dinner by 7pm.

in being healthy |


This is the house this morning. I’d wanted to take a picture with the snow for the last 3 days, but I leave too early and come back too late for there to be any decent light. It doesn’t look too bad, because people have been diligently shovelling.

It was also a nice sunny day, so I took the chance to run outside. It was too cold for the ice to be slippery, and most of the pavement was clear. The only bit was at the end of Foster before reaching the lake that was still full of snow. Had to walk through that. I was slower and more careful, so 6.53min/km is not a good pace.

in being healthy |

Had to run inside cos it’s snowing like crazy today. While I was on the treadmill I got to thinking about how my exercise routine / goals / experience would have been different if I had taken the elliptical and gym machine route instead of running.

Several years ago when I was going through a “must exercise” phase I got on an elliptical machine and continued for a few months. The elliptical is easier to use for beginners, and supposedly not as tough on the knees. So when I started this healthy thing again, I tried the elliptical again. Yes, it was easy to use, and I could have continued.

Then I got the nike+. The thing about me is, I love the discipline of having to keep track of data and setting goals. I could have kept track of elliptical workouts on a spreadsheet, but the beauty of the nike+ was the analysis, the website and that I didn’t have to do anything. Problem is, it doesn’t work on an elliptical, or recumbent bike, or anything apart from running. So that was it.

Plus I was travelling quite a lot then and sometimes I don’t make it to a gym. Running was flexible. I didn’t have to make an effort to travel to a gym if I were at home, and of course no fees. In HK I could run at all hours, and it’d be safe. (Not in Chicago though.) Then when I got to PT, there were like 20 treadmills vs 3 ellipticals. So that was it.

The really fun thing about running are the races I’ve been able to participate. I mean, who’s heard of elliptical competitions?

in arts and media , being healthy |

something arrived in my mail today that I haven’t seen for long time — a print magazine. runner’s world to be precise. One of the perks of joining cara I suppose. It’s an interesting magazine, a few good articles like the one about running safely on the road, which is especially relevant in the winter when it gets dark too early. Runner vs vehicle, runner loses almost 100% of the time.

There’s also race calendars, a survey on the best marathons (most fun = NYC; best value = Fargo, ND; best destination = Big Sur, CA) and in general lots of encouragement. I visit the rw forum occasionally, but they seem too elitist and hardcore for me. It’ll be a change, to have a magazine to read in bed.

in 101.1001 , being healthy , techtalk |

I bought wii fit plus during black friday even though it wasn’t on sale. At the time, I was debating between this wii fit, which I’d always wanted, and the new Tony Hawk skateboarding game.

The first time I started it up, the program did some body measurements — height, weight, bmi, balance. Then there are some basic exercises — yoga, strength training, cardio, which are pretty decent. I tried the balance training ones — skiing, heading a football etc and not only did I suck, it told me I was unbalanced. Heehee.

I did better at the advanced games, and these are fun! Segway, biking, martial arts, flying — all involve some form of balance, cardio or at the very least, moving the body. They really did great on the games.

Its selling point is that it’s a fitness program. Hmm. I’m on the fence on this one. I know people have claimed to have lost weight on wii tennis, I’m just not sure it’s an effective weight loss program. It will benefit people who aren’t active normally. For me, it’s a fun game. It’s not gonna replace running or strength training.

in being healthy |


Santa Shuffle results are in. I was crap. 451 out of 803 overall, 17 out of 40 in my division. Blah.

So anyway, I did a summary of results of all my races this year. Total 7 races (strictly speaking the human race doesn’t count so it’s 6). I did pretty okay in all of them. The time for the beachathlon was slower cos of all the obstacles we ran through. It seems like generally I come in the middle of the field overall and within my division (gender and age based).

I really must beat that pesky 6min/km barrier next year.

in being healthy , challenges |


My last race of 2009, the santa shuffle 5k at Lincoln Park this morning. It was cold, luckily sunny. All racers were given a hat, beard and santa t-shirt so there were lots of red around. Some others dressed more elaborately in santa costumes, and some were in flannel pajamas — they looked warm.

The race and course itself wasn’t that great. The gear check was one corner of one table with 2 pretty inexperienced people, good thing I dropped my backpack early, some people didn’t make gear check and had to carry their stuff on the race.

The course was a loop up to the zoo then back. The highest number I saw as 1100-something so I’m thinking around 1200 people. On the narrow paths of the park, initially on the pavement along the road then there was one stretch where people running up and down were sharing the same path. Any more runners and it would have been very crowded.

My nike plus picked today to run out of battery, sigh. I had to rely on the official clock, which told me I finished at 31.29mins, the fastest I’ve been recently. Some people were saying the course was over 5k, I dunno.

Afterwards there was a breakfast buffet and beer at a pub over at Webster. It was over 1 mile and I walked over. Usually after runs we get bananas and energy bars so a hot breakfast (with Bud Light) was welcome. They had bacon, sausage, egg, bagels, french toast, pancake, something with gravy (American gravy, ie white sauce) and an egg filled deep fried thing that was actually spicy and really nice. Well worth the mile walk. There were a lot of runners and the queue for the food was long, I was lucky I got in line early and was within the first 20 people. I wonder how it was at the end, whether they had enough food.

in being healthy , outside interests |


Because of all the eating over the Thanksgiving holiday, I knew i had to do some serious running for the remainder of the weekend. The weather had been good, and then today when I woke up…it was raining and i heard rumbles of thunder. Sigh.

I did go out after lunch, and now with my new long-sleeved running shirt on top, and running gloves. I ran south along the lake, past Montrose beach. It was pretty deserted, I saw fewer than 10 other runners. At first it was fine, and then after I turned around it started to get very, very, very windy. The worst was that I was running against the wind, which slowed me down a lot. And then it started drizzling. Sigh. I was glad of my dryfit shirt and my hat.

So now I have to be prepared for winter running and figure out how to do it when it starts snowing. There’s a lot of good clothing and tips out there:

  • attire — layers, shell, hat, gloves, probably have to wear long pants soon — remember to wear a technical shirt underneath and not cotton
  • visibility — I’m thinking of getting some reflective strips for extra visibility, the neighborhood street lamps aren’t terribly bright
  • safety — I used to run at all hours, like 11.30pm, midnight. Not anymore in Chicago cos it’s unsafe, and I’d never go out to the lake in the dark. I already carry my ICE card in my ipod pouch, I’m gonna get a road ID soon

in being healthy |


Jove posted in her fb status yesterday about how many calories were in a vanilla shake with whipped cream and sprinkles. I jokingly replied “what’s a calorie?” Truth is, not a single day passes without me thinking about calories. To recap, I started 13 months ago and got to where I am now by being very disciplined about my eating and going running. There’s thousands of articles out there about weight loss, diet, exercise. To me, it’s simple mathematics: IF (calories in > calories out) THEN (all is good) ELSE (try harder).

Ricky, Car, mm and other people was worried that I was getting too thin. Hmm. Recently, though, I feel like I’m filling out my clothes again. The problem is: a) I’ve stopped weighing myself and b) I’ve slowed down on strength training so it can’t be muscles building up. I think I’m putting on fat again. Sigh.

It’s likely to be diet, both what I’m eating and what I’m not. I know I’ve gotten too addicted to peanut butter, and too many snacks like chocolate(!!!). Calorie-wise though, I’m having a hard time hitting my target, look at the chart of the last 30 days, I only hit the goal (yellow area) like 5 days so it’s actually a combination of me becoming skinny fat and not eating enough.

So, what’s the plan? Winter is coming, so I’ll have to figure a way to acclimatise to running outside. Remember, I’ve not lived in such a cold city before. Not even Zurich. It’s also holiday season, and I’m prone to eating too much. I think I need to find the discipline again:

  • run inside, use the gym at work
  • do more weights!!! even if nrolw is too much, just do 50 crunches and some bench presses
  • fewer snacks, or switch to healthier snacks
  • hit the calorie goal target

That said, I have to start tomorrow. It’s already 9.30pm, there is no way I can eat another 495 calories tonight.

in being healthy , challenges |


Woke up at 6am (argh, on a sunday) to do the hot chocolate 5k. Didn’t get a fantastic start — the stupid bus ran the stop, and the other passengers and I were like “the hell?” As I was checking the bus schedules, the red line pulled up so I had to sprint up to the platform. Pulled my thigh a little, and was uncomfortable leading up to the start of the race.

It turned out to be a beautiful morning, perfect for running. I kept the running jacket on, thought I got hot and should have checked it. Finished in just over 31mins.

Afterwards, the food was chocolate fondue. It was a small plate of: 1 apple slice, half a banana, 1 marshmallow and a couple of biscuits. Pretty puny. There was also a small cup of hot chocolate. Still, better than the banana and cereal bar combinations we get at other races. There was also a Nike+ tent, and by showing the run on the ipod, we were eligible for a prize draw. I got an armband, which is timely cos my existing one is showing signs of old age and use.

Home and showered by 10am. Dealt with fb game stuff and the rest of the day will be nano.

in being healthy , challenges |


The first run I logged in my nike+, which to all intents and purposes was the beginning of my running career, was on 29 October 2008. So what have I achieved in 1 year:

I have enough goals and tasks already, but generally in the next year I want to try to run one race a month, run faster and move up to half marathon. Achievable? I think so.

in being healthy |

I went back to nrolw training today, starting on stage 2. I think I’ll do both workouts with smaller weights this week but not count officially to get back to the routine. Stage 2 has more variety, and some of the exercises look complex. But what I found difficult were the ones I had to balance on one leg — dumbbell 1 point row and rear leg elevated split squat. Workout B looks long, and has elaborate sounding exercises like wide grip deadlift from box and dumbbell prone cuban snatch. It also has 15mins of intervals, so it’ll take longer to complete. Later this week.

in being healthy , challenges |


Even though I signed up for the nike human race that is supposed to happen today, I seriously doubted that I’d be able to do it. Today was Gram’s funeral and I’ve been up since 6am, driving down to the house, then we were at the funeral home, church, cemetery and the luncheon. It was a sad day for the loss of such a wonderful person, and yet a day where family and friends gathered together.

I got home just after 6pm, and the run was tickling at the back of my mind. The other concern was of course that I’m sick and the only exercise I’d done in the past 3 weeks was the one run at Ptown.

I thought to myself, no harm trying. If I get to tired, I can stop before 10k. I didn’t run to the lake, just made the rounds up and down the neighbourhood streets. And no, I didn’t get tired. I finished in a fairly normal time of 1hr 6 mins.

in being healthy |

I woke up way too early cos I was nervous about this morning’s demo 2. It’s at our office and I had to make sure everything was set up right — breakfast ordered, DSL turned on through helpdesk, webex invitation sent, the vendors know where to go, our people know where to go. Got to the office at 7.45am. The vendor got in at 7.50am! First thing I said to him, “early much?”

This is a vastly different product, much more web 2.0 and startup like. The people weren’t in suits, they were friendly and there is a feeling of entrepreneurship when interacting with them. I was impressed by the product.

Managed to leave at 3.30pm and drove down to the wake. It was nice, lots of family and friends. There’s a plumbing problem at the house so I decided to come home instead of spending the night. Early start tomorrow.

I’m still feeling not 100% and pretty tired. I’m coughing up some stuff so it’s less painful and dry. Still staying away from that cough medicine.

in being healthy , family first |

First product demo today, so I couldn’t stay home. Of all the weeks to be sick, this is the worst week ever. I dare not take the cough medicine cos of drowsiness, but the inhaler seems to be working a little.

We were invited to our vendor’s office at Sears Tower for the demo, only a 5 min walk. When we walked in, we were greeted by a room full of suits! Scary. The demo was as expected, that’s what you get from the industry leader.

Bought a flower basket and drove down to Gram’s wake. The minute I walked in I knew I’d be told off, cos I’d been told to stay home and rest. But in all honesty, most people would have made the effort. It was a horrid drive down in heavy traffic and even more horrid drive home in the torrential rain. But I made it.

in being healthy |

I’ve never felt this horrible. I had tons to do at work, so I couldn’t stay home. Drove in. Then straight to meetings. I was totally burning up, my eyeballs, throat, head, nose were all heating up. It was a struggle not to fall asleep.

So finished the last meeting at noon, then went directly to the clinic. A fairly long wait later and the doc said, “you have the flu, but then you knew that already.” Nice doc. I went back to the office, told everyone I was leaving then went home. The doc gave me Zanamvir, an anti-viral medicine via inhaler and a very very strong cough syrup. I took the syrup and was out pretty quickly. Napped till around 7.30pm, showered, watched Top Chef, and it’s time to go to bed.

Seems like a lot of people who were at Ptown got this cape cod crud, as someone called it. What a takeaway present.

in being healthy |

I used to depend on panadol almost exclusively. When I was just visiting the US, I used to bring my own because I couldn’t find it at the drugstores. It’s only a couple of years ago that I sussed out that it’s tylenol.


For some reason, since I moved here I switched to ibuprofen. It has an interesting and simple synthesis story. I have a big jar of advil at home and a small bottle of motrin in my backpack. And it’s only earlier this year that I discovered that mm is allergic to it. So I need to keep some panadol in my pocket.

I was in desperate need of cough medicine today, my throat felt dry and painful, halfway down my chest actually. So I got a combo pack of dayquil and nyquil. Not quite feeling the effects yet, let’s see how the nyquil does tonight.

The dilemma tomorrow: drive to work or not? I don’t want to be the person on the train with the hacking cough. But there’s clearly a drowsiness risk. Hmm, I’ll have to see when I wake up. There is a departmental event in the evening, the more reason to drive.

in being healthy |

I need to pick up the health routine again. One week of visitors and constant eating out, followed by a second week of holiday, totally screwed up my normal healthy eating / exercise routine. Only 1 run the whole fortnight — argh!!!

Should start back today, but feeling sick. Okay, there’s a big bit of laziness and lack of momentum in the mix too. But no more. Need discipline.

in being healthy |


I got up really early, like 6.30am, for the AIDS 5k run at Grant Park. I was apparently one of the top 300 individual fundraisers so I got invited for a VIP breakfast before the race. The promise of egg soufflé, country bacon, oatmeal and juice was too good to pass up. At the end, I managed to raise almost $1400, with my family, mm and my fantastic colleagues pitching in. Company match helped the cause too.

It’d been raining so the ground was pretty wet and it was generally cold. I waited and waited till I could take my sweatshirt and track pants off and spent the 15mins before the race walking around in a t-shirt and shorts, shivering a bit.

I ended up pretty near the starting line. When the horn sounded I ran off with the others, only to be hindered by slow runners and a whole bunch of AIDSmarathoners who took up the whole pavement while doing marathon pace! I know they’re all there for a good cause but they really shouldn’t have blocked the pavement like that. I know the reason I didn’t get a smooth start was because of them, I was panting and my heart was pounding the first 500m.

The great thing about this race was that along the route there were entertainers and volunteers cheering us on. It gave a huge boost. I finished just under 31mins, grrrr I hate going “if only” but this time…if only I had a smooth start I could have beaten 30mins. Sigh.

One thing about these events, and it’s my 4th race this year already, is that they’re so well organised. It’s a testament to the volunteers. There were lots of freebies from the booths, promotional material and food — water, yogurt, banana, cereal bars, isotonic drinks, and this race the official “foodstuff” was a hotdog. Every time I come away from the race with my backpack stuffed full of goodies.

One more race in November. Then it’s winter. More races next year; and I’m thinking of moving up to 10k.

in being healthy |

We had flu shots at work today, the building offered them for $30, which the company paid for. I had flu shots every year for a few years now, can’t say I’m completely immune to getting a virus or flu, but in my mind it’s been helpful. It’s always mitigation rather than reaction. A couple of my colleagues hadn’t had flu shots before and were nervous so we went together as a group.

in being healthy , challenges |

Finished 7/8 tasks, the first time I’ve not achieved 100% completion.

  • run a full 10k // done
  • nrolw complete stage 1 // done
  • deadlift half my body weight // done
  • full pushup // did that one nrolw workout

  • food
  • vegetarian day x4 // done
  • quinoa recipe x1 // done

  • other
  • sort gcls videos // sigh, I’m not sure when I’ll get round to this
  • 6-word novels x20 // done

in being healthy |


Talking about running, I registered for the nike 10k human race:

the Human Race 2009 is a virtual event - no need to get to a venue - you can run your 10K any where, any time on race day

I’d just started running last year and didn’t learn about this event till afterwards. It’s a self-participation event. Registering on the nike site means the run is tracked and recorded, which I do anyway with my Nike+. I’ve been stuck at 5k for a few months, this will be perfect. Plus this will bring my total race participation to 6 this year, I’m really pleased.

in being healthy |


It was a perfect day for running along the lake. There were around 500 people at the beachathlon. The run was 4 miles plus 5 obstacles — pretty simple ones like people kicking giant beach balls at us, life preservers as “tires”. At the end there was the option of a normal land finish or running into the lake. I really wanted to do the water finish, but with the Nike+ in my shoe, my ipod, and carrying my small camera that was too many electronics to risk.


There were hula dancers, and a few runners in costumes. The winners of the costume competition were a tiki lady and a landshark — landshark being the sponsor of the race. I was on my way home by noon, stopping at the huge Lincoln Park farmer’s market on the way home.

Yep, perfect morning for running. I wasn’t even bothered with my time. It was officially tagged anyway, but with the obstacles and the slowness of running on sand, I think I ended up at the 40min mark.

in being healthy |

I moved up 10 pounds for the s1-7 nrolw workouts, I’m at 60 for squats now. I know I can do more, possibly up to 1 rep body weight. The problem is, I can’t get the barbell up to the starting position behind my neck sitting on my shoulders. Towards the end of 50, I managed to clean the bar up above my head and lower it. But now at 60 it was difficult. I ended up using 2 chairs and crawling underneath. This won’t work for heavier weights I think.

So, I probably need to start looking at getting a squat rack.

in being healthy |


I picked up the gear for the next 2 races — the beachathlon this saturday and the AIDS run walk in October.

As soon as I saw the beachathlon event, I signed up. It seems so much fun:

a 4 mile running race set along the downtown lakefront running path and incorporates 5 fun filled beach obstacles throughout North Avenue Beach, Oak Street Beach and Ohio Beach

Participants will receive a lei at the finish line, plus a free beer. There will also be pina coladas and margaritas. Definitely a good reason to participate.

The AIDS 5k Run & Walk is a big charity event, participants are encouraged to get sponsors for their run. They give us a nice link so people can donate by credit card; and there are gifts for participants reaching certain amounts. So far, between my colleagues and family, I’m almost at my target of $1000. I did try posting the link on fb, but no one responded. *shrug*

in being healthy |

5.01km 33.17min 6.37min/km.

You just know. Within the first paragraph/verse/bite, it’s already enough to tell if the book/song/meal is going to be good or bad.

Today was one of those days. I took a couple of steps, and just knew that the run wouldn’t be good. I couldn’t pick up the pace at all, my knees and legs and whole body felt sluggish. The last half km was quite a struggle, and I was only doing my normal 5k. Sigh.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably never going to break 6min/km. I’ve done it before, but recently it’s just not working out. It’s a bit like my weight, when I dropped below 120, I was to the point that I looked sick. Then I came back up to 122, and those 2 pounds made a big difference — I can maintain, and I don’t take on the emancipated vampire look. I guess each body has its “happy” place, regardless of 5k pace or weight. It’s okay, I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m always the one that lands on the wrong side of the milestone — coming 151st in the public exam missing out on the scholarship; the top 2(ii); getting 690 on my GMAT…I’m resigned to it. No use making a big deal.

in being healthy |


I’ve set up my home gym for a couple of weeks now, and I’m pretty happy with it. Initially the debate was: weights or machine, like a bowflex. Weights won out, cos I’m used to using free weights. The next question was what type of weights. Having a full set like in a gym wasn’t feasible, so it was an easy decision to look at adjustable weights.

The market leaders seem to be bowflex selectech and powerblocks. I tried out the bowflex at sears, and found them quick large. The cage design of the powerblocks is a bit weird.

And then I read about ironmaster quick lock dumbbells, and the reviews were good — solid and part of a system. The changing isn’t as fast as the others, it isn’t a huge criteria for me anyway. So i went ahead and ordered the set, which came with a rack. To complete the system, I also got an ez-curl bar and the matching bench. The whole shipment came in 6 very large boxes.

The other item for my home gym is a balance ball. I have a regular one and a mat that I got at Target. I added a bosu ballast ball after using one in London. The filling inside stabilises the ball and that’s important to prevent slippage. Even though I have gym mats I’m on the normal floor when I’m using the balance balls.

I’ve started with NROL, and these came just in time. I feel like I’m lifting proper weights with the ironmasters, albeit I’m still at the 50 pound stage. The original balance ball is good for prone jackknife exercises and the ballast ball good for crunches. I don’t have a step, and have been using the step ladder for stepups, the only hack I’m using.

in being healthy , challenges |
  • run 50km // 27.05km
  • 5k race in under 36mins // 33mins
  • weights x8 // 2 of 8
  • 1000 squats, lunges, abs // 400

  • food
  • vegetarian day x4 // 2 days
  • meet calorie goals 24 days // 11 days

  • other
  • organise story outlines // procrastinating
  • get driver’s licence // done

in being healthy |

video link:

I opened up the NYT today and immediately was drawn to the review of a new film produced by Peter Jackson. District 9 is an alien film with a difference. Yes, there are ugly, dripping aliens who can’t speak Earth. They look dangerous. But it’s not your regular sci-fi film. It’s DEEP and looks amazing and the more poignant because it’s from South Africa. The LA Times says,

In a good summer, there’s usually a movie that will come out of nowhere and completely wow us. This is a good summer, and that movie is District 9.

I don’t know how I can do it, but I need to find the means to go see this one.

in being healthy |


I finally gave in and got myself a heart rate monitor. The nike+ is great for measuring time and distance, but the HRM will keep track of my performance. Plus I can use it when I’m doing other exercises, it’d be interesting to see how I do during strength training.

The idea is to measure heart rate, and this is done through sensors that are at the back of the watch, or on a strap that is worn around the chest. After some research I decided on the polar f6, one of the most frequently recommended models.

Putting the strap around my torso wasn’t much of a problem, although I can see why some women may find it challenging. I didn’t even notice it after a few minutes. Moistened the electrodes and it started measuring my static heart rate. There’s also a functionality where I could set up my optimum heart rate in my ownzone to ensure I’m exercising within the correct zones. The idea is to be at a certain% of max heart rate depending on desired intensity of exercise. I probably didn’t set it up properly cos I did a slow 5k over to the lake and it was constantly beeping at me that I was exceeding my range. I think I have to reset the ownzone again. No biggie.

The interesting thing is the discrepancies of calories burned:

  • nike+ = 319
  • polar = 293
  • tdp = 260

Considering I track at tdp, the more conservative number is probably an advantage. So now when I go running, I take: ipod nano, nike+, HRM strap, watch, keys, insurance card/ICE card, armband. More and more stuff.

in being healthy |

video link:

I still haven’t started New Rules of Lifting. Two reasons: 1) need to get some weights (easy); 2) need to get mentally prepared for some of the harder exercises (procrastination).

One of the most ‘feared’ exercise, especially because it’s in Stage 1 is the prone jackknife. The first time I tried it, at PT, I couldn’t even get into the starting position. When I finally got there with difficulty, I was so wobbly that I kept falling off. It was both disheartening and, because it was at a public gym, kinda embarrassing.

I tried again today at home, and hey! I did a bunch of them, just like that. I’m pleasantly surprised. I have no idea why the change from the previous attempt at PT. Possibly:

  • I have better core strength (yeah, I wish)
  • I’m using a smaller, and less inflated swiss ball
  • I wasn’t wearing shoes
  • I was at home, so no fear about falling off and looking like an idiot

It’s a good core / ab strengthening exercise. I’ve been scoping out dumbbells, barbells, bench etc and I have a pretty good idea what I’ll be getting. I have quite a good budget to work with — if I joined the local gym it’ll be $800 a year, so my aim is to spend around that price point.

in being healthy |

I ran in the Elvis is Alive 5k race tonight. I forgot the sensor for my nike+ so timing was done using my watch — I ran between 33.00 and 33.30mins. Pretty slow, considering the winning male was at 15.53 and the winning female 19.00. Ah well.

elvis5k002joe elvis5k022top4

It was definitely a fun run, with emphasis on fun. Performing on the stage was Joe “Elvis” Tirrito, who did a good job. There were about 30 runners dressed as Elvis, from a baby to taichi Elvis, who I found doing, well, taichi, before the race. After the race there was a best dressed Elvis competition, which was judged according to the volume of cheers they got from the crowd. The initial favourite was a baby, and even though the martial arts Elvis trio did some moves, the prize went to a tall Elvis.

Each runner got a free beer after the race, and I bought one extra, heehee. There were also water, peanut butter & banana sandwiches, bananas, muscle milk and cookies. I found a spot on the lawn near the front of the stage, and made friends with a group of girls sitting next to me. They were dressed as Jailhouse Rock escapees. They asked me to take pictures of them, and I asked if I could take one with them. It was runners’ solidarity, I think.

full set at flickr

in being healthy |

link to video:

I did 45mins upstairs at the work gym today. Machines cos someone was using the free weights. Like PC vs mac, canon vs nikon, there’s the perennial argument of machines vs free weights. Personally, I like free weights but the machines make me stick to better form. There’s no right or wrong, and if anything I like the idea of switching up regularly.

Speaking of machines and weights, I came across this infomercial on the tdp forum. Its selling point is so ridiculous it’s hilarious. One of the forum commenters posted,

Stupid people. You can do the same motion without spending $20 and get a free facial at the end. You could even make money with it!. I think marketing has the wrong angle

Watch the video and think about that comment. Hee. I’m 12.

in being healthy |

5.13km 33.21min 6.29min/km

Hadn’t gone running for almost 2 weeks, which feels like forever. 6.29mins per km is way way too slow. I can theorize on why: out of practice, different route (actual roads vs track at PT), or plain having reached my optimum speed. I need to slowly train back up.

in being healthy |


At the risk of sounding like i’m at confession — it’s been 6 weeks since I did weight training. Since I moved out of PT to be exact. I don’t own any weights, and I don’t want to join the nearby gym. For the $800 a year fee, I’d rather get my own weights, but it is fairly low down on my priority / shopping list — need to get a sofa bed and kitchen table first. The good news is, the office building has a free gym for its tenants. It’s fairly basic — a couple of ellipticals, a couple of treadmills, free weights — but more than enough for me. So I took stuff with me today and went upstairs at 4.30pm. There were only 2-3 other people, pretty good.

It was nice to lift weights again. I went straight back to the reps and weights I was using before my break and boy are my muscles hurting right now!

Conventional wisdom is that rest is an essential part of the fitness cycle of exercise, diet, recovery. There needs to be time off for the body to recover and build the muscles we all so want. I think it also makes the whole journey easier. At my peak I was exercising 5, even 6 days a week; a lot of people do that, but I’m not 100% sure i could have kept that up. Recently I’ve relapsed to only 1-2 times running a week, and I’m slacking in the food front too. I think somewhere in-between is the most feasible — 3 times exercise a week varying between running and lifting, continuing the healthy eating but allowing myself days off. Yep, that sounds like a permanent lifestyle change alright.

in being healthy |

usqueeze banana

I’ve been waking up to horrible leg cramps in both calves, as i stretch the back of the calf muscle seize up and feels like it’s solidifying. It doesn’t last long, but the last couple of days i’ve stayed sore all day. Didn’t impact my running, but it’s annoying.

Seems to be a mineral deficit of some sort, one or more of the alkaline / alkaline earth metals — potassium, calcium, magnesium. And/or dehydration. Many of the remedies include bananas for the potassium level. Milk, potatoes and water.

So I had one yesterday and one today. I’m not very keen on bananas, especially if they’re too ripe. Still, if it helps, then i’m all for it. Then again, I suspect what I really need is the osim usqueeze foot massager — I gave mine to Mum, probably time to get a new one for myself.

in being healthy |

Nine months is a good time to update on the Getting Healthy project. I guess I should start with some stats, which is basically 33 pounds / 15kg since October 2008. That’s over 21% of my starting weight.

Yes, I have acted nonchalant about it, saying simple things like, “oh, i just go running” when people comment on the weight loss. But I’d be cheating myself if i didn’t come clean and say, yes, i put a lot of effort into it. And I’m happy and proud of the result.

Been reading a lot of the NYT Health section, and this article about the cost of weight loss resonated. This is what they say about potential cost,

How ready are you? The more committed you are, the less you will need to spend.

The hardest is the $0.00 DIY approach — count calories, exercise, change lifestyle by yourself. This is the approach I took. Registered on tdp, started running. Ate out less, made more salads. I suppose if i had to place a monetary value, it’s the $30 I spent on the Nike+. More about that in a bit.

For those people who need more help than the DIY approach, the costs go up as more help and professionals get involved. Buying a diet or exercise book is low cost, as is joining a group or a low cost gym. But then it gets serious. Hospital programs, personal trainers, nutritionists. There is no end to the amount of money one can throw at the ultimate goal of losing weight.

In MBA school we were taught opportunity costs. There is general consensus that even if we had to spend money now on things like Weight Watchers, exercise equipment, or the perceived increased cost of healthier food, at the end of the day there is a HUGE potential savings in terms of avoided healthcare costs. As one of the commenters said

What’s cheaper — $13.00 a week to attend a lively, educating, and motivating Weight Watchers meeting; or 100.00 a month on cholesterol lowering drugs; insulin or the oral equivalent, blood pressure meds, and other obesity related illnesses?

I didn’t seek out any help or enrolled in any support group. In a way, I was arrogant enough to believe that I had sufficient commitment to motivate myself. Plus, until recently, i viewed this journey as a highly personal and private one. What helped, was that I didn’t set a fixed goal. I didn’t say lose x pounds by y date. I only set a rough target of around 8 to 8½ stone, all i wanted is to get under 120 pounds / 55kg. The key was as little pressure as possible and set small goals. More recently, i’ve given myself more slack in the calories front. If i had a weekend of overeating, then so be it. It’s no big deal.

That said, I’m glad that I’ve found friends who are also on the same journey. I should have known that having support and feedback would result in even more motivation and encouragement. I get a buzz every time I tweet my runs and someone likes or, better, comments, on my fb status. So thank you, friends.

And it brings me to this long, interesting Wired article on the data effect of Nike Plus. I can say it’s the best investment I’ve made in this journey. I don’t go running without it. It’s so simple, giving me great tracking data that satisfies on a deep, deep level. No, it’s not only because I’m a numbers person, an excel geek — 1.2 million runners, 130 million miles run attest to that.

So here is my Nike+ chart. The stats at the bottom say: 109 runs, 69 hours, 620km, 40684 calories burned. More stats: longest run 11.7km, fastest 5k @27.22min. On average i’m running 2 times a week, and I run most on a Monday. To which I say, i’m committed to keeping it up.

in being healthy |

feeling a bit sorry for myself, found myself with conjunctivitis today for no good reason. Not as bad as some cases, a bit painful, can’t really open my left eye comfortably. Doctor and eye drops came to almost $150. I need some optrex or some saline to wash my eyes, but obviously I don’t have them at home. Sigh.

in being healthy |

Nice article in the NYT about core exercises. It reinforces what I’ve learned since I started the Getting Healthy program — sit-ups aren’t good for you, core means the whole core and great abs are made in the kitchen.

Anyway this is a video I found on the TDP forums that had me chuckling. So much bullshit has been perpetuated by bad personal trainers and inaccurate articles in fashion magazines. I don’t know what mua means but I guess this is a convo between someone who is in the know and the average gullible girl who believes everything she reads in Us magazine. I mean, she said “toned” — such a sure sign.

in being healthy |


I ran to the lake and back tonight after work. Oh boy, it’s such a great route, I’m at the lake in just over 2km (10mins) and the path is perfect — wide, good surface, not too many people. All in all 5.25km. Mapped the route at so I had a sense of distances. I can see me doing 10km up and down the lakefront easy.

in being healthy , challenges |

Exercise and food goals were met. Didn’t do any writing. Still debating whether to set June challenge. Business trip and moving — too many moving parts.

  • run 50k || done 62.89km
  • 5k in under 30mins x4 || done
  • 500 crunches || done
  • 500 squats || done

  • food
  • vegetarian day x4 || done
  • meet calorie goal 24 days || done

  • other
  • find an apartment! || DONE!!!
  • finish writing WS || nope

in being healthy |

so according to ExRx, I should be bench pressing 77 pounds. Gulp. That’s almost twice what I’m doing lately — I use 2x20 pound dumbbells. I should be able to go to 2x25; and If I’m going to use the “lift to failure” rule, I can probably do 1 rep at 60 pounds.

sigh. obviously a way to go.

in being healthy |


I ate all this food, including peanut butter cereal bar, half an apple crumble cookie, and still according to TDP I haven’t eaten enough for today. That’s cos it’s vegetarian day, I guess. I still have 80 calories left over, but i’m too full and it’s late. It’s been a pattern, I’m not eating enough, may be i need to make some more food.

in being healthy |


I was watching The Biggest Loser the other night and was marvelling at the contestants who’ve lost more than I weigh! I do realize that 1) they started off with a lot to lose and 2) they were at a 18-week intensive boot camp. I hope they can keep it up in the long run.

Anyway, I hit 25 pounds lost last weekend, and it’s taken over 7 months. The period between Jan-Mar was difficult, cos of the whole being in PT and living out of suitcases thing. I didn’t even have my scale, and it was a miracle that I kept the same weight. I’m reasonably happy about my progress. Of course I would have wanted to get to this point earlier, and am dreading that last 5-10 pounds that would get me back to my college weight.

Everything I read tells me that 1-2 pounds is the maximum amount to lose per week. So when I read about the weight loss of 8, 10 pounds a week, my first thought is to worry that it’s too much. However, I don’t know where the people are on their weight-loss journey — if they have a lot to lose, and starting out, i think it’s okay.

Yes, Jove. Cutting calories without exercise results in the dreaded skinny fat.

Studies suggest that it might be deadlier to be thin, sedentary, and unfit than obese, active, and fit.


I started strength training in February. I’m seeing some results, but even though I’m lifting weights that are heavy for me, I suspect they’re not heavy enough. Sigh. When I move to my proper apartment, I’m getting weights, a bench and some equipment. Then I’m going to start NROLW.

in being healthy |

I have a 10 day prescription of amoxycillin. 2 tablets twice a day, ie 2x1000mg a day. For 10 days. That’s the longest course of antibiotics I’ve even been given, and that’s a strong dose.

I must say that it seems to be mostly working (touch wood). I slept till after 12pm today, having been pretty much unconscious all night. Still groggy, but the severe coughing and especially the pain has abated.

in being healthy |

Things today disappointed me:

  1. My cough worsened, to the point that the itchiness turned to discomfort and pain. Can’t take deep breaths either. So I sent myself home from work and went to see a doctor
  2. $130 for treatment and prescription. And I’d forgotten about the “get prescription at pharmacy, not at the clinic” bit. As I’m on the international health plan, the card isn’t recognised and I had to pay and claim
  3. My blood pressure was at 150/90. It’s not the flu or the cough; this is the one thing that is freaking me out — what would it be if I haven’t been running?
  4. Other general blah stuff, mainly work-related

in being healthy |

I was curious, after signing up for the corporate challenge, about what my current 5k time is. When I did the standchart 10k last February, I was in the 40min region which is embarrassing really. According to my Nike+, the best time was around 33mins, which was probably part of some random run along Bowen Road. It’s still a slow time, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that a) I’m not a fast runner and b) it will take time and training.

So what I did on the treadmill yesterday and today was tried a fixed 5k. Warmed up for 4 mins, then started tracking on my Nike+. Not on the treadmill cos it’s in miles. Pushed harder today than yesterday and already seeing results: yesterday: 28.40mins | today: 27.26mins.

I’m pleased that I came in under 30mins. I still need to improve on it — the goal is to do the corporate challenge in under 30mins. The challenge is 3.5miles = 5.63km. Translated to 5k terms gives 26.40mins. I’m thinking it’s doable.

in being healthy |

Today’s run: 46.02min 7.13km 6.26min/km

I haven’t gone running since the 8th, and I’ve been sick since good friday. My voice is still gone, and today I’ve had to supplement my 4 types of medicines and cough syrup with panadol cos of a ginormous headache.

What freaked me out was when I was putting on my trousers this morning, I had to go back one notch on the belt. This means I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost. Argh!!!!

I was wondering if I should go running while sick. My body certainly doesn’t feel like exercise, and my gut feeling is to be lazy. Should we exercise while sick? I guess it depends on a few things:

  • the nature of the illness — broken bones does not lend itself towards running
  • the intensity — if you’re too sick to get out of bed, then no
  • type of exercise

The idea is not to overtax the body, whose priority at this point is to recover. A cold or flu, like what I have, should be okay for light exercise. This view seems to be shared by many people.

The other concern is to make sure other people aren’t going to be affected, especially in a gym. I actually was breathing well, and didn’t start coughing till 1 minute from the end. All in all, a good run.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |

I went for massage in some shape or form for 4 days in a row. Foot massage, spa massage, lymphatic drainage and then facial at L’Occitane. I was feeling quite miserable cos of the throat infection. It was a “Velvety Apple Almond” course. Cleanser, then…oh sweetness…10mins of STEAM treatment!!! It was supposed to be for my face, and both my face and my throat was ever so grateful. A little bit of pain as the therapist squeezed the blackheads off my nose, then a couple of masks. Feeling good afterwards.

in being healthy |

From David Kuckhermann, a renowned percussionist. I’ve been doing these for a week and they really work. Very simple exercises that take very little time. Great advice.

in being healthy |

We went back to our usual (more regular) massage place for a second round of body massage. The type that hurts and is definitely not soothing. A different experience.

in being healthy |

It’s mm’s birthday. We went to a spa at one of the big hotels. Very tastefully and serenely decorated, with tea served as soon as we arrived and peaceful ambient music throughout.

We went for a 3 hour package. Started with foot massage — foot spa, massage itself then a mud wrap. Then hot stone massage and facial. The first time we had hot stone massage was in Bangkok after the Kenya trip. It was much needed, really great and relaxing. Nothing since then has compared. I fell asleep somewhere between the massage and facial, totally missing the facial experience. The next thing I knew, the therapist was peeling the mask off. Heh.

We had a little time to spare so we enjoyed the hot pool, sauna and steam room. Pretty decent.

Dinner with her family at the usual restaurant. Good to have a pampering day.

in being healthy |

I did 40lbs shoulder press, and 180lb leg press today. woot! A new workout I came across is a combo. This one combines split squats with deltoid raises. For the second set I substituted the raises with hammer curls. [it is good]

in being healthy , challenges |

mid-month update for the TDP challenge.

  • run 50k // 37.8/50
  • intervals x8 // 3/8
  • strength training x8 // 4/8
  • increase bench press weight by 10lbs // done 24—>40
  • track every day // 15/31
  • 2 veg every day // 15/31
  • meet calorie goal 24 days // 11/24
  • finish editing nanonovel // 10/25

in being healthy , eating and drinking |

ARGH! I’ve never had so much carbs in one day. Not my own pictures, but these are representations of what I had:

  • honey wheat walnut toast, 2 slices at breakfast
  • meatball pasta for tea/dinner
  • french bread, 2 slices with pasta
  • paczki, a type of polish doughnut served on what they call Fat Tuesday and is basically Shrove Tuesday

I can’t imagine the overload and the amount of exercise needed next week.

in being healthy |


I got New Rules of Lifting for Women and looked through it last weekend. The idea is that women should stop with the tiny 5lb pink weights and start lifting heavier weights. I know this already, from hanging out at the tdp forums the last few months.

I also learn that:

  • It’s ridiculously difficult to build muscles — fear of bulking up if using heavy weights is unfounded
  • Toning is a marketing word and has no place in the vocabulary of anyone serious about their fitness
  • Even though weight training doesn’t score very high on the calories-consumed scale, muscles will keep on working after exercise, and that’s when energy is spent — that’s the afterburn
  • Cardio exercises (running, elliptical) are options, not mandatory, in fat loss programs
  • Don’t obsess about weight-loss, focus on fat loss and changes in body shape — this is easier said than done cos weight is still the most visible quantitative measure
  • It’s also impossible to spot reduce, which is bad news for getting rid of the fat-fat tummy
  • Discipline and hard work are needed

That said, i haven’t started following the workouts in the book yet, I need to organise myself as they seem quite in depth. The whole book contains workouts for 6 months, gradually building up weight, intensity and reps. At this point in time, I don’t want to give up running completely, as cardio has its place in improving respiration, heart rate and circulation (ABC).

I’ve been using the machines here at PT, if I go early enough in the day, it’s not so crowded. Most recent workout:

  • fly: 8@50 x3
  • leg abductor inner: 8@130 x3
  • leg abductor outer: 8@130 x3
  • seated shoulder press: 8@25 x3
  • tricep press: 8@60 x3
  • abs: 8 sets x3

[nomenclature: 8@50 x3 = 8 reps, 50lbs, 3 sets]

I guess for a beginner it’s pretty decent. I found shoulder press very hard, barely able to get through the last rep of the sets, and I was only at 25-30lbs. Need to work on that.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |

I tested on the treadmill at Car’s home on 6 July 2008. At 0% incline I ran 1 mile in 14.31mins. When I went running today on the treadmill here at PT, I thought it’d be interesting to see how I’m doing in terms of speed. Random incline, between 0.4 and 1.6%, ran 1 mile in 12.30mins.

That’s 13.9% faster. Probably can do even better if I run all out.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |


New Year’s Day is the most popular time to set resolutions. And losing weight / exercising is probably the most popular resolution, like, ever.

I’ve never been one to make resolutions, and originally I didn’t want to post this cos a) i might get complacent and b) i really didn’t want any jinx effect. But it being new year resolution day I think I can afford to give myself some encouragement.

Anyway I discovered the daily plate way back in 2006, but only used it to track food very occasionally (ie when I remembered). When I started running, I used TDP to track food, exercise and weight. It’s a good tool, easy to use, easy to get into a habit of updating. it doesn’t have all the food I eat so I estimate; it overestimates the impact of exercise so I report 5-10mins less, it’s no big deal.

So, yeah, I lost like 15 pounds since October. Pretty neat.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |


I half-heartedly tried running a few times throughout the years, but could never get into it. I got breathless to quickly, my knees hurt, I felt I was going too slowly. The lesson of 2 10km races with no training weren’t heeded properly.

I started being serious about running 2 months ago when I got the ipod. Then I got the nike+ and being able to keep statistics was the biggest motivation. I should have realised that all it took was a geeky angle.

I was very slow initially. Added the inconvenience of street running — traffic, stupid pedestrians who block the whole pavement, dogs and their walkers — meant an inordinate amount stopping and starting. The first record on my nike+ showed a speed of 8min/km, a result of jogging for a block or two, walking, and walking during the final 20mins. Mostly I’ve been keeping in the 7-ish min/km tempo. Occasionally I’d break 7mins.

The knees haven’t stopped hurting, but in only 2 months I’ve done pretty okay. I’ve made an effort to run at least 4-5 times a week; other times I walked or if I’m at a hotel I use the elliptical. One day a week is rest day.

The latest big breakthrough is this weekend when I decided instead of running around the block, to run over to Bowen Road and use the “dedicated” running route. Boy it made such a huge difference! There were a lot of people, but it was never crowded. The initial parts were shared with traffic, but it then quickly became pedestrian only. Conditions were ideal, yesterday I ran until the 3km marker on the route, and including the distance from home it ended up being almost 12km.

Today I selected by distance. 5 mins walking warm-up before starting the workout. Hardly any traffic stops and running all the way, no walking. Turned the voice notification on and stopped the timer at 10km exactly. Then another 10 mins cool down walking home.

1.08 is still slow, I’d like to get to under 30mins per 5km. But as a target reached I feel I deserve a little self-congratulation. There’s lots of room for improvement, plenty of time for building up speed and strength.

in being healthy |


I tried hiit aka high intensity interval training on the elliptical today. The idea of HIIT is to alternate short bursts of high intensity activity with a short period of low to medium intensity, and repeat for anything from 6-12 sets depending on level. As a beginner, I didn’t try to do too much: 5mins warm up, 30sec at resistance=10 pedalling as hard as I can, 90sec of slow pedalling at resistance=3, repeat for 6 sets, 5mins cool down.

There’s a lot of articles extolling the benefits of HIIT vs low intensity, steady cardio. It’s touted as the superior fat burning exercise. I think both are beneficial and it’s probably worth alternating between them. Mostly, the suggestions are to do HIIT only 2-3 times a week, and not to over “indulge”.

Calorie-wise, the actual calories burned during a HIIT session isn’t going to be greater than a steady cardio session, especially since it takes half the time to complete. But since it’s working the muscles harder, the muscles continue burning energy long after the exercise ends. Even after one session, and perhaps this is my preconception, I feel my arm and thigh muscles actually aching, and my heart pumps a little harder.

What I’m liking is that I’m discovering and coming up with different types of exercises. Weight loss will be good, but I want to see the difference in body shape much more.

in being healthy |

So i got tired of too much eating and decided to take a little more control over what I eat 2 weeks ago. Been keeping to net around 1,200 calories a day and some running. Problem about being on business trips: a) eating out food and b) difficult to motivate myself to exercise (though this is as valid at home as being away). I’m proud that I did 30mins on the elliptical at the hotel gym 3 days in a row this week. Put in a tiny amount of weights too, and now my arm muscles are telling me I should have done that sooner.

Not seeing any major weight loss, which I’m sure will come eventually. Fingers crossed. What I have noticed, with basically keeping to salads and watching portions, is how not hard it’s been. Not quite easy, hence the not!hard. I don’t feel uncomfortably full after meals and I’ve been able to stay away from sweets. There were a couple of trays of treats — brownies, caramel slices, M&Ms — today cos of training sessions. I stood for the longest time smelling the treats and then walked away. I had too much chocolate when I was young, so I can stay away. Last time in Chicago I loaded up on steak but this trip I’ve had very little red meat. Travelling on my own without the influence of my colleagues help — I get food mainly from the deli next to the hotel — they do a great spinach, apple & cranberry salad and this lovely butternut squash ravioli.

I hope I can continue this discipline and continue running when I get home. Preparing for the 10km next February. I want to shave at least 10% off my time which, with training, shouldn’t be too difficult.

I’d be kidding myself if I claimed it’s all for getting healthy. The ultimate goal is to get back to my college weight. Healthy eating habit is the bonus goal.

in being healthy |

So it’s 5am Chicago time and I’ve been up for almost 2 hours. Stupid jetlag.

I went to bed at 9pm, woke up at 1am then at 3am. 6 hours’ sleep. Doubt it’s enough to keep me going all day.

I feel like some fruit, or may be diet coke. But I’m too lazy at the prospect of brushing my teeth again.

I set the alarm for 7am. I wonder if I should crawl back to bed and attempt sleep.

Stupid jetlag.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of my meals lately. Instead of posting per event, how about just a sampler?

gdr004prawn gdr020soup

These from the team dinner a couple of weeks ago. mm was there too. It’s one of those big multicourse meals at a private kitchen. Among the plentiful of food on offer: a gigantic plate of prawn toast and a special soup with I think fish maw but I don’t know what the exact name is.

sang006veg sang004liver

The second lot from last week’s team lunch. Steamed marrow with wind fungus and tender pork liver with greens. Surprisingly the liver is one of my favourites at this restaurant.

ricepaper001roll ricepaper006curry
ricepaper008souffle ricepaper010fkiss

Dinner with friends at Rice Paper Vietnamese restaurant. Make your own rice paper prawn rolls and yummy duck curry. The curry was served with french bread. Then we went crazy with the desserts. Five of us, five desserts. Here’s the soufflé and what they call French Kiss — a shortbread filled with cream with raspberry sorbet.

After all these excesses, I decided this last weekend that enough is enough. Been careful about what I eat this week, trying to keep to vegetarian and keeping a loose count of calories. Let’s see if it works.

in being healthy , in the news |

We missed the closing ceremony — it had just begun when the plane landed and I was too intent on unpacking, showering and doing laundry to catch the end.

Although I missed the handball and water-polo, 2 sports I love watching but only get to see every 4 years; and I was on vacation, I thought I did well in terms of catching the important sports. Japanese tv repeated and repeated on their athletes’ wins, and why not? They showed a collage of their medal winners (and those who didn’t win), I couldn’t understand the commentary but I was still moved. It doesn’t matter which country, the joy when an athlete gets a medal has no boundaries.

There’s been so much said about China. The no-expenses-spared extravaganza. The haul of medals. The volunteers. The military precision organisation. The pride.

There is one group I was particularly interested in, the older-than-usual athletes. The New York Times summarised their amazing achievements. Notable:

  • Constantina Tomescu-Dita, 38, Romania, women’s marathon gold medal
  • Dara Torres, 41, US, oldest swimming medalist with 3 silvers
  • Hiroshi Hoketsu, 67, Japan, dressage, the oldest competitor

And so to the final medal count. I must admit the immediate reaction the first time I saw the final table wasn’t at the 51 golds that China won, I’d expected to see them at the top and wasn’t surprised. It was the UK at #4. I mean, wow. Ahead of Germany and Australia? That’s an achievement. I saw a Rebecca Adlington interview video on the Guardian and if she’s a typical Team GB athlete, then the UK must be doing something right.

I don’t want to be harsh but of course it matters whether it’s a gold, silver or bronze. The Americans are deluding themselves by counting the total number of medals rather than what the rest of the world uses, # of gold medals. More analysis next post.

in 101.1001 , being healthy |

mm belongs to a traditional sports club, nothing fancy but lots of activities. It also has one of the oldest and most active bowling facility around.

We’ve been meaning to go, but never find the time. So today we made a special effort. Had to wait half an hour, which we spent watching some really good players. You can tell they’re good players by their robotic wrist guards, own shoes and own balls — often one player will have 2-3 balls.

My grandfather played in the league and my dad isn’t bad either. Me? I used to play a bit, but now I’m totally out of practice. After a few bowls I realise I need one of those wrist support cos I was all over the place. I managed to get 107 and 114; mm got 105 and 98. We had a really enjoyable time.

in being healthy |

Talking about spa beds, my new foot massager arrived and I’m currently enjoying having my feet squeezed, vibrated and pounded. Not the same as going to a real person, but this can be enjoyed anytime.


in being healthy |

I’ve had a blocked left ear for weeks. It didn’t affect me that much at home or at work. Home is quiet to the point of silence and I sit in an out-of-place corner at work. The only problem is in crowded places like restaurants where there is a lot of ambient noise. The noise seems to get stuck in my head, but it provided another good excuse for me to be unsociable.

I had some spare time this afternoon so I finally made myself go to the doctor’s. As I suspected it was just earwax, not an infection. It was the doctor who irrigated my ear, not like when I was young when the nurse did it. Actually I preferred the nurse in Barnet. Took the doctor 4 times to clear it, and the gunge that popped out was pretty yucky.

Now there seems to be a big engine next to my left ear, I’m hearing a lot of extra sounds. I need to get used to this.

in being healthy |

via bb.

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is running a Thanks Mom initiative from 5th to 19th May. During the event, costs to join the Marrow Donor Registry are paid for by generous partners and contributors. Their goal during the event is to add 10,000 donors online and 36,000 donors at marrow drives.

In the US, you get the inside of your cheek swabbed. You get a kit at home or you go to a sponsored NMDP bone marrow drive. If you are not a US resident, this is still important information. Even if you do not live in the US, people who register in the US could save the life of a person anywhere in the world, maybe even where you live. So tell someone about this.


  • 70% of the people who need a bone marrow transplant will need an unrelated donor
  • Many people will not find their match, so more people are needed
  • The most likely match the same or similar ethnicity
  • There is a severe shortage of people of African descent on the registries worldwide. It is very hard to match someone who is African Caribbean. There are others who are even harder to find a match for. If you are Chinese, it is very difficult to find a match. There are severe shortage of people of many ethnicities and you may be surprised to find out you are on the list.
  • 49% of the matches in the US involve an international donor or recipient, including recipients in countries where there are no registries, which includes all of the Caribbean.
  • This is a life-saving procedure for the recipient that is low-risk, not time-consuming, and not done at a cost to the donor.

Before doing so, read the faq and medical guidelines carefully. It is a commitment, and donating bone marrow is a little involved than donating blood.

I haven’t signed up yet. Not because I don’t want to, but I need to find out if being disqualified from donating blood outside the UK applies for donating bone marrow too.

in being healthy |

I thought I might go to the dance studio today. Or if I’m feeling needy go to foot massage.


Woke up with hay fever. Two triludans (um, only supposed to have one every 12 hours) later, my nose itches, my skin itches, my eyes are dry and I can’t stop sneezing.

Managed to nap a little in the afternoon, by the time I woke up it was 6.10pm. I couldn’t see the buildings outside for the smog cover.

Fucking pollution.

in being healthy , objects of desire |

Oh yes. I bought yet another pair of new sneakers. I usually keep 2 pairs of sports-only sneakers around cos I have a tendency to break them easily. And lo and behold, my old pair broke. Heehee. I don’t need any excuse to buy sneakers.

These are nike air max moto+ 5, which is freaky, cos the previous pair I bought last year are nike air max moto+ IV. It’s a pure coincidence, cos I didn’t even look at the model name and number till just now.

in being healthy |

And talking about exercise, this is a 2 minute ab workout. The amazing thing is that the presenter didn’t even break sweat, she went about it like she was stirring sugar into a cup of tea.

in being healthy |

I’ve starting going to funky dance classes with my colleagues. A couple of them have kinda bitten the bug and made it sound fun. I was skeptical because well, I don’t dance and it sounded naff. But I went to my first class a couple weeks ago and it turned out to be beneficial. To someone with no sense of rhythm like me it’s like a glorified aerobics lesson. The class is 90mins long and is very energetic. I end up completely drenched in sweat. I’m not viewing it as dancing, just a good form of exercise. I’ll keep it up as long as I can.

There are some great videos, but this one is closest to what the class is about. Basically, there’s a lot of arm-flailng and jumping about. Like I said, good exercise.

in being healthy , thing-a-day |

I finished the 10km race in 1.36, which is very slow but I don’t care.

It was cold, but I didn’t want to leave anything with the bag drop cos of the long queues at the end of the race at the pickup point. So I went out in shorts and a fleece sweater. The sweater went round my waist as soon as the race started and stayed there till I got home, so it was kinda pointless.

I ran the first 2.5km, which I thought was pretty good. The next 5km was walk-uphill-run-downhill. The last 2.5km was mostly walking. There were whole families, kids, and a couple of disabled athletes, it was pretty relaxed.

I was home and showered by 9.30am.

And my shoes stayed intact this time.

in being healthy , thing-a-day |


After work I went to the park where I queued up for almost 2 hours, shuffling slowing in a never-ending snake-like line. The purpose was to get my marathon race kit. Yes yes yes, i’m running the 10km not the marathon but this is what the event is called. The kit comprises: a T-shirt, baggage tag, coloured bag for baggage, race magazines, a souvenir coin and most importantly, my race number label and the timer chip. The timer chip is the black widget at the bottom there.

Race this Sunday. Have to get up at at 5.30am for a 6.40am start. Wish me luck.

in being healthy |

I was off sick this week for a day and a third (cos I went home mid-afternoon yesterday). Just the usual flu, and a lot people at the office are coming down with it. The weather has been cold and the last couple of days we’ve had cold drizzles. Very grotty London wintery weather.

mm is tired and stressed out too. It’s worrying.

According to research published in the European Heart Journal work stress has a direct biological impact on the body, causing changes in the body that increases the risk of heart disease. The study began in the 1960s and involved over 10,000 British civil servants.

People who reported stressful jobs appeared less likely to eat sufficient amounts of fruit and vegetables, and were less likely to exercise - although problem drinking did not emerge as a significant problem in this study. That is hardly surprising, and can be considered a secondary consequence to stress.

What was interesting is that stress appeared to upset the part of the nervous system which controls the heart, telling it how to work and controlling the variability of the heart rate. This means that even if someone had a good lifestyle — eating healthily, exercising, not smoking and drinking — stress may cause heart problems regardless.

If there’s a reason for reducing stress and having proper work-life balance, this is it.

in being healthy |

via mefi, a 2 minute test for tiredness.

Well, I’ve been stressed out with the merger for months, only gotten a respite from non-stop travelling this month because i need to setup and run four payrolls. And the last week has been highly stressful because of said payrolls.

So yeah, I don’t need some stupid test to tell me I’m tired.

in being healthy , how the day went |

It’s one of those indulgence days.

Met mm for lunch. We were talking about it on Thursday and agreed on the Korean restaurant. Now looking back, we never actually talked about which Korean restaurant (out of many in the area) but we both knew where to go. We had cold noodles and oxtail soup. The noodles were very nice, and we’d order it again definitely.

After lunch we took the bus to the acupuncturist’s place. I hadn’t been since November, and got a small disapproving look from the nurse. My original reason — a terrible unending migraine — hadn’t returned. But I’m sure the reason behind the headache — stress — is still there.

We could have gone shopping but we decided to go for foot massage instead. Ah, so nice. I fell asleep, as usual.

Dinner at a wood-smoke oven place. The starters, Waldorf salad and cream of pumpkin soup, were good. But the wood-smoked steak was horrible. Not tough, the other way round and that’s because it’s been treated with baking soda to make it tender. Problem is, it takes the flavour and texture completely away. Disappointing. Even a free tiramisu won’t persuade us to return.

So, simple day full of eating and pampering. Nice.

in being healthy |

I’m sure it’s not portending any doom but I’m starting the new year with a cold. It got cold suddenly last night, falling to 10°C, and today it barely crept to 15. Of course, when I told certain people they rolled their eyes at me.


Heh. According to wisebread:

The most frugal approach to fighting a cold is to do nothing. Grin, sneeze, cough, and bear it and in a week you will be magically cured.

Double heh. I took some vitamin C and some panadol. Sleeping till 11am this morning helped. Should be okay.

in being healthy |

real age

A little quiz to find your real age, in terms the body’s age rather than mental age. The questions take into account lifestyle, activities and health. I didn’t score so well in the stress and exercise questions but diet (mostly home made, non-fried meals), no history of smoking and low alcohol consumption (nowadays, hee) helped. Safety-conscious is a factor too — always wearing a seat belt and not participating in dangerous sports increases life expectancy. There’s a little bit of a duh factor in some of the questions.

Not good enough to get to age 12 though. Drat.

in being healthy |

Went with mm to see her TCM doctor about my headache. Got my pulse taken, my neck stretched and was told that I had the typical stress-related tension headache. Had acupuncture treatment — 4 on my neck, 2 at the top of my head and 2 on my forehead. Unlike the acupuncture that I get at my chiropodist, here they pass a soft electric current through the needles and I could feel the pulsing. Wasn’t uncomfortable though.

Normally they’d give patients strong herbal tea and we have to go back 2 or 3 times a week for a few weeks. When they learnt that I was going on a trip I got powdered medicine for the whole 2 weeks. Twice a day, dissolve the powder in warm water. Tastes fine.

I was also told not to stare at the computer too long, stay away from caffeine and fried food so I get re-balanced. The first two probably difficult and the third is easier to do at home. We’ll see.

in being healthy |

well, I woke up and my head still hurt. But I had lots to do at work so I trudged in.

My colleague took me out for breakfast and it felt better, but I had to take 2 rounds of panadols before lunch. I think at one point I had a slight temperature and was feeling sickly. Then mid-afternoon it started getting better.

I had to go to an external meeting at 4.30pm but before that I went to the drugstore and bought some Redoxon. Dissolved 2 tablets in 500ml of Evian and felt way better. Oh, plus I had a salad for dinner cos I had to use up the fruit and veg in the fridge — so I chopped up some celery, yellow pepper, apple, mango and dragon fruit. No dressing. I guess the vitamin C attack worked.

in being healthy | | comments (4)


4am: woke up with headache

5am: took 2 panadols, still painful. couldn’t sleep, read a bit

6am: tired out, tried to sleep

7.40am: alarm. been sleeping in fits and starts

8am: called work. made a cup of tea, took another 2 panadols

8.30am: tea hasn’t helped, panadols hardly made a dent, back to bed

11am: still persisting, took 2 panadols

12pm: made lunch, in hope that food would help … only slightly

1pm: made it to work. answered emails, printed out stuff for trip

2pm: another 2 panadols, actifast this time. called T, whose wedding dinner I had promised to attend tonight

3pm: i think I’m gonna be sick

4pm: may be a sausage & egg mcmuffin meal will help (not really)

4.30pm: dropped off cheque with T, said hello, took a picture

5pm: home. 2 panadols. I know, over the limit already

6.30pm: pounding, pounding, pounding … need nap

7pm: wow, i was really out. may be 0.000001% better, trying to resist more medication

8pm: is it time for the call yet?

9pm: laundry. anything to distract me

10pm: thank goodness for the blackberry, the call is delayed for 5 mins

10.45pm: okay, all done. I had 2 more which brings the total to 12 in 24 hrs. I’m stopping now

11pm: bed

in being healthy |

that I won’t be able to do nano this year. Day One of the merger is likely to be 01-jan-2008 which means by November it’ll be busy busy busy at work. I won’t have either a personal office or a quiet cubicle yet, it’s still sitting in a very enclosed conference room with little privacy. Writing at work will be out of the question.

But that can be overcome.

I had to do a hell of a lot of typing this week — I’m comparing 2 sets of documents and one set came in pdf, meaning I had to type it all out. It was fast touch-typing but the end result is my neck is stiff like a tree trunk, my left arm is strained and needless to say my left wrist and hand are both painful. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not carpal tunnel — my thumb and fingers are okay, it’s my little finger all the way up to my elbow that is causing the problems. The back of my hand too. It is some form of RSI.

Anyway, that’s my fear.

in being healthy |

I stopped seeing the in-town chiropractor and finally went to the out-of-town one with my colleague a couple of weekends ago. It’s really far away and I am thankful that a) my colleague drove and b) he is so generous to meet me near home and drop me home afterwards.

I haven’t been to this chiro in almost 9 months, but the drill is the same. Some traction for my neck first, and yes it popped. Then rest for a while before the doctor came to manipulate the neck and spine. He said my neck is out of place and my muscles all tensed up. There’s a big rock-hard bulge on my right shoulder blade. As for my very painful upper arm, apparently it’s a little inflamed probably because of all the stress it has to deal with. After a few well placed pushes and cracks, there’s acupuncture for 5 minutes.

I went to the third session tonight, and the pain in my arm has receded to faint discomfort when I move it in a certain direction. Tonight’s traction was quite intense and now my neck muscles are stiff — a good night’s sleep and they’ll relax again. I don’t think I’ll be healed that quickly, will need a few more sessions to correct the spine displacement; and since I’m sitting at the computer all day, I’ll need maintenance every month or two.

This doctor has a lot of patients, from kids to the elderly. Even in such a remote location people go all the way out there, I take it as a sign of effectiveness.

in being healthy |

I feel flu-y, been coughing and extremely sniffly. Either I’m coming down with something or the air is too polluted (sigh, what’s new?). My arm feels a little better because I went to the chiro today and go acupunctured again.

It’s far too hot and it’s not even June. I hate summer.

The only saving grace is I got home early enough to go swimming for 20 minutes.

in being healthy | | comments (1)

A few years ago I had a huge pain in my upper left arm, there’d be a stabbing pain coming from inside my bones whenever I moved it to a certain position. It got so bad I could hardly drive — reaching the gear stick was painful. I had it fixed eventually, it was a mis-alignment in my neck that extended down my arm.

I’ve been getting stiff and painful in my left arm, hand and particularly little finger when I type too much. It gets challenging every November during nano. Just typing this post I’ve had to crack my wrist 3 times already. I think I need to look into ergonomic keyboards.

I’ve had the same arm pain for the last couple of months, only in my right arm instead of left. It’s progressively gotten worse, I can’t lift it above a certain point, though it comes and goes — it’s better during the day when I’m moving about, and bad at night. I slept with both wrist braces last night, I think it helped a bit.

I went to a chiropractor to have it looked at last week. Been going about 3 times a week. Today they acupunctured my right shoulder. Some people are afraid of acupuncture, but I was okay, there was a small prick which wasn’t painful until the doctor wriggled the needle — on purpose, to heal the muscles / tendons / whatever is wrong.

Long and short of it, I spend too much time sitting at one desk or other. My #3-7 vertebrae are out of place and need to be manipulated. Needs to be majorly cracked.

in being healthy |

I bought a pack of batteries over the weekend, nothing out of the ordinary … one needs to have spare batteries around. This pack came with a very basic pedometer, so I thought I’d try it out today to see if I get to the 10,000 steps a day that is recommended. Thing is, being a cheapie freebie, the thing keeps resetting itself and I have to add it up roughly. I think I made around 8,000 but I’m not sure. I should get a proper one, I know.

in being healthy |

I killed my sneakers, so I bought a new pair (with mm’s approval of course). Sneakers I wear everyday are different from the ones I wear to do sports. Yes, I’m weird that way. These are Nike air max moto+ IV, the + meaning they’re iPod enabled. woot!


in being healthy | | comments (1)

Cripes, I’m stiff. Mainly, my legs are stiff and I have a sore shoulder.

I really must exercise more.

in being healthy |

I registered for the 10km portion of the marathon a few months ago, thinking that I could train and in the process, get fit and lose the annoying pounds. But I was lazy and didn’t train properly.

Still got up at 5.30am this morning to run the race. I was right at the front of the starting line, about 10 rows from the front. Got overtaken by faster people quickly. Didn’t matter, there were a lot of people behind me. I ran for the first 2-3km, then alternated between running and walking.

The soles of my running shoes came off about half-way and by the last 1.5km the bottoms were shredding badly so I kinda struggled to the finish line.

Didn’t have a watch, but I asked a lady for the time and I think I was at the 1hr 35-40min mark. Not spectacular but it was my first time. With training I can perhaps take 20 mins off that.

There was water, bananas, chocolate and a pear at the end. The queue for baggage retrieval was terribly long. Must remember not to check luggage if I take part again.

in being healthy |

via yahoo news, people who are fully bilingual and speak both languages every day for most of their lives can delay the onset of dementia by up to four years compared with those who only know one language.

The scientists from Toronto’s York University says that the extra effort involved in using more than one language appeared to boost blood supply to the brain and ensure nerve connections remained healthy — two factors thought to help fight off dementia.

That’s good isn’t it? So, to extrapolate, if I were fully trilingual would I delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by 8 years?

in being healthy |

I must start training properly. Follow the program. 6 days a week. One foot in front of the other, run, repeat.

in being healthy |

for the past 2 weeks I’ve been having hearing problems, my left ear is stuffed up for no good reason. Doesn’t bother me a lot at work since I’m mostly on email and I use my right ear for the headset. Absolutely no problem at home since I don’t talk to anyone. Now today because I’m out and about with mm, I now realise how little I’m able to hear. When we’re in a restaurant the background noise stays inside my head and I can hardly hear myself speak. If this persists I probably need to see a doctor, or at least get it syringed.

in being healthy |

I went out for a jog today, but mostly it was brisk walking rather than actual running. I did have my backpack and I was more intent on photographing than running. Did about an hour, I think. I stopped by the supermarket on the way back and I was gone a total of 1.5 hrs, so that makes sense.

Need to do more.

in being healthy |

I visited an orthopedic chiropractor today, to have my neck and wrist pain looked at. No surprise that I’m stiff and my vertabrae are out of place. In fact, my #4, 5 and 6 vertebrae seem to have slipped from their positions. I know the area around my lower back is problematic too, but that wasn’t the focus today.

First a technician (that’s the best description I can come up with for the lady in the white coat) “worked” me up — a 15 minute therapeutic massage on my neck, shoulder and arms. Not the comfortable spa massages, oh no. This one was painful. She was strong.

Then to the doctor’s office. I sat in what looked like a barber’s chair while he manipulated and pressed on what was presumably acupuncture points all along my neck, the joint between my upper arm and my shoulder and down along my arm. Then he rubbed some “energy” into the top of my head and my left ear. It felt hot and stinging actually. Right now I hurt all over, but I think I will sleep easy tonight and will be better in the morning. Going back on Thursday.

in being healthy |

I woke up at 11am, after sleeping for 10 hrs. Considering my nap yesterday, I’d been sleeping a lot. Still feel like it’s catch up sleep though.

After a short debate with myself, I decided that I’d break the “stay home all weekend” cycle. Went out for a walk, taking the long way round to go to the supermarket. Part of the way was deliberately uphill. Probably ended up walking for about 40 minutes. Not too bad, though yes I know I should have ran not walked. Small steps, okay?

Talking to K yesterday about her bbq picnic made me crave steak. So I ended up getting a small piece of sirloin, and I reheated more of that pumpkin pasta. I’d roasted a whole bag of carrots at lunch so I chucked that into the pasta too. Now I’m really full, either from the pasta or the protein — I haven’t been red meating it since Vegas (except, does ham count? I guess so).

I’m also going to make a start on that Boots 5-day detox plan that my sis gave me a long time ago, so perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to have steak. Sigh. Back to cereal, fruit salad and leftovers.

in being healthy |

Now that I have almost all weekends to myself I’ve gotten into the habit of napping in the afternoon. If I’m sleeping in my chair, it’ll only be about 15-20 mins but I tend to sleep on the sofa in which case it’ll be about half an hour to an hour. Today I slept from 2.30 to almost 6pm!!! My first reaction was “a whole afternoon wasted” but then again, how better to spend my free time than to get some rest and catch up on sleep?

Don’t think it’ll eat into my night-time sleeping patterns, I don’t feel more energetic or less sleepy. Actually I have a bit of a headache, sigh.

in being healthy |

I found an old tub of Body Shop Hemp Chanvre elbow grease, which is perfect for the dry prickly skin on my elbows. I’m not sure if they sell this range anymore, I can’t find any “elbow grease” on their website anyway; I remember the furore about the “hemp” name when it came out.

The cream itself is very greasy and sticky. But I’m hoping it works anyway.

in being healthy |

My back and neck hurts. I can’t tilt my head more than a few centimeters to my right. I can’t raise my left arm above my shoulder without it tensing up. The little finger on my left hand is still giving me enormous problems when I type for any extended period of time.

I need exercise.

in being healthy |

via cnet.

So here’s a calorie counter, web 2.0 style. At the dailyplate, counting calories and keeping track of food intake is as easy as a few clicks. It lets you enter age, height and target (eg lose 1 pound a week) as well as the brand and type of food consumed, then sums it up in a calendar format.

Aside from the input section, it has an output section. A drop down of various typical activities sums up the energy expended. So yoga is 360 cal/hr, cooking 148 cal/hr and firefighting 1,080 cal/hr. Oh and kissing is 72 cal/hr

Simple interface and guilty warning if I’ve gone over the recommended limit. It also recommends alternatives to some more heavy food, though most of their selection is still very US-centric. it’s still in beta, but looks like a useful tool.

in being healthy |

My left hand is hurting again, especially my little finger. IIRC it started during nano last year. My colleague dragged me to her chiropractor for treatment. The therapist first examined me and declared that my spine was out of place. Everywhere he touched was painful.

The treatment at that clinic is apparently pretty standard. I got hooked up on a treatment bed, my chin strapped in (but comfortably layered with a thick towel) and my waist strapped too. Then I was gently stretched so I could actually feel my neck straightening. By the third round, I heard a pop go off in my spine, but it wasn’t painful.

After being unhooked, I was told to lie still to rest for 15 minutes. Then it was to another treatment bed, like the usual massage bed with the opening at the head. The therapist then did a series of quick manipulations … I can’t call them massages they were more focused on a specific area. Lots of popping and cracking. Then had a little acupuncture for about 5 minutes on my left arm.

I’m very stiff, but I can see the benefit.

in being healthy |

Played my first game in the inter-departmental basketball league. Hadn’t played since college. I sucked majorly.

My arms ache. My shoulders ache. My thighs ache. My back is killing me. I’ll feel the effects tomorrow. But I enjoyed it.

in being healthy |

Our department secretary says I’ve lost weight. I hope it’s true and not because of the black clothing. I’ve been keeping up with walking home, though today it was late and I didn’t take the route that included the 167 steps. I feel a little fitter. But because of the 2 India trips, my digestive system is still up the creek.

in being healthy |

You’re probably tired of reading about walking. I mean, it’s walking. One of the most boring activities around. And it’s not like I’m doing a vast amount, or taking up walking the sports (yeah, like I want to sway my hips around and pump my elbows and do this weird bow-legged walking action).

I changed my route today. I took the slightly longer route that included a steep flight of stairs — 167 total. Heh, doesn’t sound too many. I didn’t feel as out of breath when I got to the top, compared with the first time I went that way. I hope that I can increase my speed up those steps.

In a way, I’m enjoying the weather, it’s still coolish though it’s beginning to get warm and humid. OTOH, I want the pool to open. I suppose when summer comes I’ll stop walking and go swimming instead, it’ll be way too hot then.

in being healthy |

Remember I said I could vary the route I walk home? Yeah right. Anyone who knows me will know that it won’t happen. LOL. I’ve been taking the same route everyday, it’s habit forming.

in being healthy | | comments (2)

We go for foot massages regularly, well we try to anyway. The massage place also offers body and other forms of massage. Today I had a body massage, but I was so stiff that the therapist suggested that I tried cupping, followed by ear candling / lymphatic massage. Not the usual.

Now, what is cupping? I’d read about it before, but never tried. watch a video demonstration.

The therapist put the vacuumed cup on my back and pushed it up and down. Dude, that hurt! Then he put the individual cups on the skin and pumped out the air. I could feel the skin tighten up and heat up. It was a little painful but manageable. Anyway I only had them on for about 5 minutes. At any one time there was about 5 cups, then he released them and moved to another spot.

Lymphatic massage went with the ear candling. It was quite painful too, especially when the therapist moved to the nodes under my arms. She said I was quite tight there. By the time she moved to the ear candling, I was fast asleep.


Now I can still feel the effects of the cupping. There are angry looking circles all over my upper back and they feel sore and hot. Having said that it was an interesting experience. I’m sure it’s good for me too.

in being healthy | | comments (1)

I missed only last friday in the “walk home from work” gig that I’ve decided I’d start doing. I missed my informal cut-off time of 7pm tonight but I still did it. Well, I met mm in my office lobby around 7.15pm so she could sign her passport renewal form, and she encouraged me to walk home. So thank you mm *smack*.

I’ve kept to one route. Yes it’s the easiest because of fewest steep steps and slopes, and it has the longest escalator stretch. I usually walk up the escalator though, does that count?

I’m also having more greens. I can’t eat too much without my stomach going all screwy, think whatever I may have picked up in India is still around. When I go to the clinic next week to get my second hep A shot, I’ll speak to the doc if I’m still having problems.

in being healthy | | comments (1)

I walked home from work today. Half an hour, which isn’t bad considering taxi takes 20 minutes because of the evening traffic. There are a few routes I can take, which is further encouragement, I won’t be bored.

I want to be able to keep this up, I wish I could have thought of this in winter when the weather is much more suitable for walking. When it gets hot and humid, which will be soon, it’ll be less motivating. I’m also hoping work doesn’t get too hectic and I don’t let my trips interrupt the flow.

Oh, and I had the rest of the steamed veggies. Again I’m pleasantly surprised at how filling they are.

in being healthy |

My dept had an offsite for the past 2 days. Aside from the usual presentations and discussions we had someone come in to talk about stress relief. We took a stress test, where if you scored higher than 20 means you’re stressed. Heh, I was keeping my score by finger counting and I stopped when I reached 50.

Here’s another test. Look at the image, the speed at which the leaves are spinning is indicative of how stressed you are.


Here’s one more. And another.

in being healthy |

I chickened out of basketball practice tonight. Here’s a bunch of lame excuses:

  • It’s 9pm to 11pm and it’s far too late
  • Once I get home I never want to come out again
  • I had dinner late and ther wasn’t enough time to let it digest
  • My 2 other colleagues who were supposed to go with me couldn’t make it and I don’t know anyone else
  • I’m lazy

Don’t get me wrong, I lurve basketball, but it wasn’t to be today.

in being healthy |

I have the most horrible case of mouth ulcers, aka canker sores. Usually I get them if I accidentally bite myself, but over the past two days they’ve been springing up like mad. I think I have six of them now, inside cheeks, on the gums, behind my teeth, everywhere. It’s difficult to eat or talk.

Doctors don’t know why they occur — they can be triggered by emotional stress, dietary deficiencies, hormones or food allergies. I’ve been dosing myself heavily with herbal tea and increasing the vitamin C intake. Hope they go away soon.

in being healthy |

My dept went out to celebrate promotions tonight, our boss’ idea. We left at 6.15pm and everyone had a really good time. Ordered lots of snacks — chicken wings, chips, satay, garlic bread, salad. Boss was having red wine so a few of us joined the red wine brigade. People started leaving at around 8-ish, but me and a couple of others stayed. In fact we stayed till way after Boss left (I paid for the remainder of the drinks / food) and had a whale of a time. I think we were all pretty smashed, we kept calling this other girl who used to work in our dept and were yelling at her down the phone.

I got home at 11.30pm, turned on the hot water and then the computer. But 3 minutes on the laptop and the words were swimming, so I took a shower and hopped directly into bed.

Yeah, I had 5 glasses of red wine. No wonder.

in being healthy |

I felt sickly today, with a killer migraine. On the way to work I felt carsick in the bus. That never happens, like ever. I have decent enough car and sea legs. I had a conference call at 10am but that was postponed, so I headed home.

I took the laptop outside to the living room and watched the travel channel. Next thing I know, it’s 3.30pm. I think I fell asleep for 2 hours, without even knowing it. argh!

Didn’t eat a lot, the headache is baaaaad.

in being healthy |

I seem to have spent most of the last 24 hours sleeping. We were watching a film in bed last night but I barely had the energy to stay awake and I gave up halfway through.

Woke up today at almost 1pm, had lunch then we went back to the bedroom to watch more tv. Well, she watched tv and I slept. I know I woke up a few times but never more than a few seconds a time. When I really woke up again it was 6.30pm. So yeah, I spent most of today asleep. Poor mm, we don’t spend enough time together and I ignore her on a sunday. Sigh.

How much sleep do I need? When I was young, I slept a lot. Weekends until noon is not uncommon — the most was until 4pm, and I went to bed at normal hours that night with no insomnia. I feel tired all the time, I stay up until ridiculous hours, I guess eventually I’ll need a day to catch up. Just like tonight, I don’t think I’ll have problems sleeping, I’m still feeling groggy.

in being healthy |

She took me to yoga class today, she’d taken it up recently and already she is singing its praises. I’m not at first glance someone that does yoga, but I went along. It was good, the session wasn’t as tough as I thought and the instructor had a nice and relaxing voice.

Some stupid woman in the locker room pissed me off by shoving her way to the locker I was still using, that ruined all the relaxation that I gained from the session.

We went for a haircut afterwards, then sushi dinner. Relaxing. My hairdresser took half my hair off so it’s less thick and feels lighter now. Funny thing is he commented that my hair is becoming more curly. I mean, curly? Huh? I’ve always had straight hair and usually it’s not long enough to be curly. Hmm.

I washed my hair 3 times today — at the yoga place, at the hairdresser’s and then at home. It’s very clean now.

in being healthy |

I’m going to India third week of October on business, time to get shots and vaccines. Went to see the doctor today at the public hospital and he recommended Hep A and malaria. No typhoid, hmm. Malaria pills start a week before departure and to be taken for the next 6 weeks. Got my first ever Hep A shot today, I’m so lucky I’m not needle-phobic, I just looked away when the nurse administered the shot. A little pin prick, and the area is still a little sore, but not too bad.

in being healthy | | comments (1)

My back hurts. It’s the not sleeping properly, the no exercise, the sitting in front of the computers all day, the elbow hurting cos of keyboard and mouse usage.

It’s not the most pain I’ve had, but since it wasn’t so busy, I went for 2 hours of massage today. Not the gentle push type of massge, this is where they press very hard at joints and points. Still hurting but much better now.

in being healthy , workstuff |

Long day today, started with a 8.30am training that went on for 2 hours. When I got into the office there were people milling about outside in the corridor, turns out the aircon was out for the entire building. It was stuffy. Luckily it came back on in a short while.

More meetings in the morning. Had to do a long presentation in the afternoon. Then another meeting and more work. It’s good to be busy I guess.

Conference call at 8pm. So the day ended late.

In the middle of it, I heard from the recruiter for that job in DC — they decided to go for someone more experienced. Sigh. What can I do, I was looking forward to a lot of things, even though it meant a move. It’s nearly time for a change anyway.

in being healthy |

I finished up my work in the morning and came home in the afternoon. Meds making me drowsy. Tried looking at the screen but felt buzzing all inside my head. Took a nap, was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, slept for 2 hours.

Long day tomorrow, 8.30am start, 2 hours training. Then I have to do a presentation in the afternoon, and conference call at night. All to do with the thing that starts Monday, yikes. What a time to be unwell.

in being healthy |

Stayed home today, couldn’t have made it to work. Doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, luckily it wasn’t crowded in the clinic. Lots of meds, new ones and old ones — accuhaler, nasal spray and cough syrup were repeats. Now I have some painkiller, asthma meds and xanax. Wow. Apparently it’s allergy and stress … now why doesn’t it surprise me?

in being healthy |

Today was BAD. I couldn’t stop coughing, it was the hacking, lung on table kind of cough. My poor boss, in the next office, heard every single one!

It’s quite bad, so bad it hurts.

Mum called. She’s feeling better and they wanted to go for dinner to make up for yesterday’s missed tea. It’s a weekday and I’m not feeling well, but what could I say? So we did, and we had a good meal.

in being healthy |

She twisted her ankle yesterday on the way home. She told me when I called last night, this is one of the moments when I want to change the living arrangements, stat. Not a lot I could have done about the swelling, but being there would have made both of us happier.

Finally decided to go to the doctor’s again. The stupid cough hasn’t stopped, and it’s been 2 months. We ran into each other — she was going back to the office after seeing the doctor, and I was on my way to mine. Talk about fate! What are the odds of that happening? I feel good about us.

She’s limping, poor girl. I jokingly offered either my purple crutches or my OAP walking stick, but she declined. She can walk ok, but it looks painful.

Strange that in the space of about half an hour between going to the doctors and coming out, I see like 4 people on crutches. It’s freaky.

in being healthy |

I didn’t want to write much last week, cos if I did, each entry would be like “I’m still sick, can’t sleep, coughing fit at night, feeling sorry for myself”. After a while it gets tedious for both the writer and the readers, no one wants to hear me wheeze.

For various reasons I convinced myself I had to go to work everyday. I did go in later and left earlier. I was good, I wore a mask and kept my door shut. But I was coughing so much that they could hear me, and of course my ex-boss sits right in the next office, there’s only a thin wall between us and she probably feels the brunt.

The ENT specialist did all he could, then referred me to a respiratory specialist. I went on Thursday, long wait but he was thorough. Ended up with 5 types of meds plus a funky purple inhaler. I think it looks like one of those cable tidy contraption to keep computer wires organised, she thinks it looks like a room air freshener. Funny how people associate an object with different objects.

Those meds are stronger. And good too. The one before sleep is VERY strong, makes me dozy after only 10-20 mins. So drowsy that I forget to wake up to coughing fits.

All in all, I’m slowly getting better.

in being healthy |

I have been profoundly ill this week. The cough from last week got worse and worse, so much so that it sounded like I was a 50-a day smoker, and I couldn’t sleep.

I was going to see a GP, but my colleagues (bless them) gave me the number of an ENT Specialist and I went to see him on Tuesday. Ever since I have not been to work — my cackling would scare any sane person off. It’s acute bronchitis.

Been quite heavily medicated — he gave me 6 types of medicine, including antibiotics which I don’t like but reluctantly agreed to. Today was the repeat visit, no better, and he gave me 7 types of medicine. Next visit is due Wednesday.

The cough is very bad and unsettling. My voice of course a nice husky deep tone I’ve always wanted :). My mouth feels bland and icky. I’ve been eating congee and sometimes some biscuits. Lots of tea, warm drinks, I dare not touch any cold drinks.

Restwise, not so great, cos I wake up on coughing fits several times a night. So the best description is fitful. The only time I’ve ventured beyond the garbage disposal since Tuesday is today, to see the doctor.

Of course I’m ‘enjoying’ being at home, but this is not a good reason for it.

in being healthy | | comments (1)

Been feeling sickly since the weekend. Cough, cough, cough. Last night I woke up to a huge coughing fit, felt like my throat and lungs were coming out.

Didn’t go to work till lunchtime, went to lunch with my friend CL, who is also sick. We decided I have to go to the doctor’s so I did. Got some medicine — anti-inflammatory and cough syrup. Declines the antibiotics. The cough syrup is pretty potent, made me drowsy within half an hour, wow.

Doctor said, no cold sweet drinks, nothing oily, no deep fried food, no citrus and no mango.

It’s a dry hacking sort of cough, not very nice. The fact that it made me go to the doctor’s means it’s pretty bad :(.

in being healthy |

This is really good news. Singapore will ban smoking in certain public places by October. Places include bus-stops, public toilets and open air stadiums. The government is considering extending to pubs, clubs and hawker centres.

I believe it will work in Singapore, people are very conscious of keeping to the rules and being a conscientious citizen, a recent study found the majority favoured a ban, even smokers themselves.

To be honest, I have absolutely no sympathy for smokers, why do they have to poison the air, force me to smell that foul smell and endanger my health through inhaling those particles into my lung. I have no problem about them slowly killing themselves in the privacy of their own home, I couldn’t care less about them. But as soon as it starts affecting me, that’s when I get annoyed.

in being healthy | | comments (1)

Woke up at 10am, went down for breakfast, ate enough so I didn't have to go for lunch. Had sausages, fried noodles, hash brown, waffles, french toast, poached egg (but too much vinegar in the water got absorbed into the white), watermelon and papaya. Wow.

Went to Carrefour to buy the "lo hei" ingredients. Not expensive, just over SGD10 for a pack that's supposed to be enough for 10 people, though the portions are small. Bought some biscuits and lapis cake. Plus a plate of sashimi, 2 tubs of salad, milk and some juice. Quite a lot to carry, cos they gave me this gigantic bag that is, well, gigantic.

By the time I got back to the room I'd started dripping, so I took a shower. Hooked up the laptop, ate the sashimi.

Around 4pm decided to go downstairs to the gym, which was virtually empty. Did 20 minutes of brisk walking and tried playing with the machines. Some are better than the others, didn't like the shoulder press but some of the other weights machines are ok. Tried doing more crunches but positioning very bad. Then showered and used the sauna.

Now my arm muscles and shoulders are a little tired. Think I'll go try it out again tomorrow.

in being healthy |

After an absence of a few weeks, I went back to the gym at lunch. And am paying the price for neglect, my arms and back got stiff afterwards. But I tell myself I have to continue.

They've put in more TVs, so people have more to watch when they're running away. But the fun's been discretely watching other people, you know.

A lot of people have iPods. Good for them. Good for Apple, except I suspect most of these iPods are PC ones. Necessary evil I have to concede.

Anyway, this woman got on the crosstraining machine next to me, and she was, gasp, impeccably made up, with a fancy watch and loads of jewellry. I can't help but think, don't these people sweat when they exercise? I break out in rivers and streams and I can't stand it if I have a watch or anything. Weird.

What's more, she was wearing tights underneath her shorts, plus socks and the obligatory cute sneakers. Huh? And a double huh? This is so weird.


in being healthy |

I've been on a salad lunch diet recently, pretty neat huh? Usually it's a combination of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, peppers, mushroom, asparagus. Sometimes I cut up a small piece of cheese into even smaller chunks and scatter them in.

Luckily our department has our own pantry, and my office is right next to it! This means I'm in and out and no one is any wiser, cos I also happen to have the first office in a row. People have to walk past me, so I know who comes and goes, but I'm spared that.

So I bring the veg in and cut them up before lunch, so it's fresher.

It's not really a conscious effort to diet or anything, I'm just in a salad phase. I'm sure one of these days I'll suddenly get an urge for grilled chicken and pumpkin and pasta.

Been to the gym 3 times this week. But whatever goodness I'm feeling is spoiled by the late afternoon hunger that creeps up. So I go downstairs to the fast food place and the healthy day is ruined. Ruined, I say.

Tonight I had dinner with colleague-friend C, tomorrow lunch with colleagues P and ex-colleague J, then dinner with sis and friends. Eating out, that's the bane of a healthy way of life.

in being healthy |

Still sick. Not as bad, the really stabbing pain has gone but still can't really eat. It goes straight through me. So I'm kinda hungry but I dare not eat much. May be I'll have a bit of macaroni in a while. Sigh.

in being healthy |

I'm sick. Self-dignosis is stomach bug. Diahorrea and a huge acute pain in the abdomenal area that happens frequently. Not stomachpain, not indigestion, something new.

May be I've eaten too much reheated food lately, I dunno.

I eat better when I'm sick. Bananas, yogurt, stay away from the cold drinks.

What? I'll only get healthy if I get sick? That's making the kind of sense that it's not.

in being healthy |

In honour of me (finally) joining the gym I'm creating new category.

So, i joined the gym downstairs from the office and went there during lunchtime with my colleagues. There was a circuit training class they were attending so I went too. Oh boy, I'm dreadfully unfit, man.

Did the bikes instead.

I signed up for a year, actually 14 months, cos I get 2 months free. I want to make this work.

And, I'm having salad today.

in being healthy |

I haven't had pain in my abdomen for a while. Probably a good 5 years.

I remember the searing pain and stitch at my side and stomach. Pain that kept me up nights and nights. I had to pace round the living room in the middle of the night in the dark, too distraught to have any light on.

I thought it was stomach pain in those days, may be an ulcer. It was gall stones. Since I had the gall bladder out (2 operations, a fortnight of discomfort and weight loss) it's been fine.

Came back today. Not as much as before, just some pinpoint pain somewhere inside. Not sure where it is. But enough to cause unhappiness and a little pain.

I've taken one tablet. See how it goes.

Usually a hot shower would cure these niggly niggles. But it only smoothed it a bit, pain is still there. Let's wait till the morning, I have tomorrow off so no need to get up early anyway.

in being healthy |

When I got back on Friday and got dresssed to go out I discovered to my horror that my cargos felt much tighter, especially round the troublesome stomach area.

Shit. I've gained weight. Again. It's been creeping and creeping up I tell ya. It's a bad sign.

I still can't stop eating so quickly and so much. But it's bothering me. A lot.

It's fine during week when I cook for myself and not eat out. It's the weekends.

And the need for exercise.


in being healthy |

all of a sudden everything feels hot. The air I breathe out, the back of my neck, inside my eyelids. I'm sure I have a fever but the digital thermometer I have at home doesn't seem to work and the instructions are all in German. I call up the doctor's clinic at lunch time and was told the earliest appointment is 4.45pm and I'd have to wait anyway.

I gave up. Went home, had a bit of porridge. But didn't feel like sleeping so I organised my iTunes library and updated the musicality pages on the website.

I still feel hot. My throat feels dry. I'm either very hot or very cold. I put on an extra shirt only to take it off again in a while.

Ok, that's it. I'm sick.

in being healthy |

There's so much pollution that sometimes I can't see beyond the next building. I can't breathe, I have a sore throat and my eyes, nose and back of my throat are scratchy and itchy. I have to take a triludan but it takes an hour to work and makes my head dry up so much I need to take 2 paracetemols to fight the headache. It's altogether a sorry state of affairs.

A year and half in Switzerland and I did not need to touch the triludan even once. It's so bad for me. I guess I'm lucky I don't have to rely on an inhaler. Yet.

Right now the sky is so full of smog and light pollution that it looks like a damp wet grey blanket smothering everything. The smog won't even let the sky be the blackness that it is. It's impossible to see the stars. The last time I looked up and was greeted with the sight of a million brightly shining stars was in Africa.

Almost forgotten.

In the daze.

In the haze.

I'm drowning in the air.

in being healthy , eating and drinking |

It's been soup for the last 3 meals, and it will be soup again tonight. A bunch of us at work are having Soup Week, where each day one of us brings in a soup for sharing. My turn on Monday and I made carrot & orange soup. And I made a lot. I don't mind having the same food repeatedly, such is the nature of cooking for one, gotta get used to it. Today's soup was vegetable. I had a couple slices of plain toast and a fruit salad also. Feeling all healthy and righteous right now.

Been on a soya milk and chocolate milk binge lately. I dilute the chocolate milk with plain milk to make it less sweet. It has the same calorie content as yogurt drink which is surprising. I would have thought the yogurt drink is healthier. Then again define healthier. After I had the yogurt drink yesterday my reaction was, at this amount of calorie content I may as well stick with Diet Coke. I've decided I need more calcium in my diet, hopefully not too late to strengthen the old bones. Can't drink milk on its own, don't like the aftertaste. Haven't had milk from a bottle for ages, gold top for full cream, red top for normal, blue top for skimmed.