Sunday, 28 November 2010


36 hours since my very first half marathon... and I am still feeling the after-glow of pride and pleasure. I had said before that I would be proud no matter what the outcome, but beating my stretch goal certainly makes it all the more satisfying. Not that I ever doubted it... but now I can savour the outcome of what it is like to invest daily and slowly towards a goal that I couldn't see before. And I was lucky because I was relaxed and positive for most of the week, and managed to stay quite cheery even at the start line as you can see! Way to go - a vast improvement from my 10k race just a couple of months back!

It was an early (and not very bright) start... was up at 4am and out the door by 4.45. Arrived at Hong Kong Disneyland by 5.30am, which left me with just the right amount of time to get ready. It was a very nice 19-20 degrees celsius - I reckon anything between 15-20 degrees is optimum, easy to get warmed up and acceptable when standing in line without a sweater on, but not too sweaty/toasty by the end of the run.

My plan was conservative - go out nice and easy at a pace of between 6 and 6:30 (min/km) for at least the first 5km and then just play it by ear (hopefully at least holding pace or speeding up depending on how I felt). I don't recall much of the first few km until we hit the waterfront next to the Airport Express trains - this was around the 5-6km mark when I was starting to wonder about where the first water stop was! I stopped at the water stations around 6km, 9km and 15km (the first and last roughly coinciding with my slowest splits), skipping the one in between because I was feeling slightly lightheaded and nauseous around those few kilometers. Fortunately, that came and went for about 5 km before going away for good, after which I was able to step it up - my last 6 splits were comfortably under 5:50 (which, adjusted for the inaccuracy of my footpod, would have been under 5:35).

Here's me powering down the final few hundred meters. Looking nice and strong huh? You miss the painful scrunched up face from this view! :) All things considered, I was feeling good enough to give it a real push!

Very pleased after the finish...
Note on kit - Running Room vest, Lululemon tights (note to self - there was a threat of inner thighs chafing just below where the shorts ended, may need longer tights in longer races), smartwool socks, Mizuno LSD shoes, Nike running pack (for my ipod Shuffle and my Clif bloks).

Time on my watch... (notice the distance, which was about 5% off). Just finishing would have been a PB, so this was a PB with a big smile! This can really get addictive! :)

I haven't been feeling too tired since the race although my quads and knees have moaned a little going up and down stairs. Other than that, I feel like I could be back to my regular schedule in a couple of days... not the best idea, I'm sure. Today and tomorrow are complete rest days, before a light gym session and 3-4kms on Weds. I'm going to start working in earnest on my marathon training plan - I have a few weeks to play around with before it all starts for real again! :) 26 weeks counting down now... the next couple of weeks will be 'training on paper' - finding the best amalgamation of plans that will become MY plan... I'll mainly work off the Runner's World and Furman plans, while picking up tips from Greg McMillan, Hal Higdon and Running Planet etc.

Next up -
Clearwater Bay Chase 10km in Jan 2011
Sundown Marathon in May 2011


Friday, 26 November 2010

Trivial Friday...

  • Do it... Do it today... Do it NOW!!! signed up for my first Marathon - Sundown Marathon in Singapore, May 2011 - Asia's only nighttime marathon!
  • Reading Dean Karnazes' book 50-50 and am amazed - he is able to run sub-4hour marathons at a heart rate of 110... that is my heart rate at a brisk walk/slow jog!!! He has also run 350 miles NON-STOP (over 80 hours!), 24 hours on a suspended treadmill over Times Square, in addition to his ridiculous 50 in 50 in 50.
  • Onto real human beings instead - for every person who starts thinking about getting out of their seats to do some exercise or contemplates the possibility of extending their limits, for each thought that says "Maybe I can do that too..." or "Today I could start here...", for every contagious enthusiastic vibe that I send out into the world... here's a big smile on my face!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Run run run run run....

I run because...

- Running, Life and Happiness are so inexplicably intertwined (read Kirsten Armstrong's latest article... I love her writing)

- No matter what happens on Sunday, I will be proud of myself :)

I know I am a runner because...

- I considered my travel options into work today and factored in whether it would be easier to read Runner's World on the bus or on the train

- I am feeling little tingles of excitement inside from the thought of a 2011 marathon dangling in front of me

- My post-race plans include... testing out some neighbourhood trails, running home from Hang Hau MTR station after work, body pump and spin class...

Crazy crazy crazy... have you caught a fever too?

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

On my mind...

This Sunday, I will be doing my first Half Marathon... 21 km... not easy, but not too difficult. And I ask myself to just push out those limits a tiny little bit more.

I want to do a full marathon soon but today, I found out that I am a month late registering for the StanChart Hong Kong marathon. Life is short and I don't want to wait until next autumn... but there aren't a wealth of choices here in tiny Hong Kong :) oh, well, so I will live to run the next marathon I can find - watch this space...

Shoring up on courage and strength for Sunday - these will be among the thoughts/people on my mind...
Bart's dream to complete the Comrades - I almost teared up reading this... it made me happy and proud, to be alive, to have dreams, to live to dare. Running is a celebration of humanity and of our connectedness...

Mark Hellenthal went from being overweight at close to 400 pounds to running a 100 mile race just recently. He sounds like a bit of an addict gone the other way, but I can relate to that...

My partner, who stubbornly, daily, chooses to be happy, optimistic, resilient, full of faith and hope.

Athletes everywhere, but Challenged Athletes particularly - watch the videos!

Dean Karnazes' book 50-50 is on my bedside table, my iPod shuffle will be loaded with my faves (for the tough second hour of the run!) and I'll be surfing the net on Saturday for more inspiring stories!

The world is out there for the taking!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A little something today

So I haven't been writing much... sorry to all my loyal fans out there, all 3 of you :)

But I have had time to set up my RSS feeds so I can track all the fantastic bloggers out there... Vanessa - if you're there, thanks for mentioning RSS at the weekend...

so just leaving you with a little inspiration today - read about Bela and hope that it makes you feel that sad and yet triumphant strength that comes from having faith in our human-ness.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

For all the crazies out there...

On running and yoga, on moving and then, stopping, just for one moment, on the flip side of the physical to the spiritual, on figuring out where you go from here, on breathing in and breathing out until you can finally take another step, on grace and faith and love, on what to do if what you love is lost, on living and learning and growing... read about it on this fantastic piece on the New York Times.

(PS i nicked this photo off a yoga website on the internet... am I allowed to do that?)

Monday, 1 November 2010

The streak continues...

Howsabout that huh? :)

Keeping up with the streak of records, this week I NAILED all of the following:

Toughest speedwork session - 14.5 km with 5 mile repeats (8:50- 9 minutes each)
Longest Long Run - 2"03! or approximately 16.5-17km
Highest weekly mileage - 45km

2 more 40+km weeks and then taper, leading up to the Unicef Run for Charity Half Marathon being held at the Hong Kong Disneyland at the end of November. Trying to rest lots, foam roll and stretch, do my core/strength work at least twice a week (would be ideal if I could get it up to three times!), eat really well…

The weather has been on my side too! It’s in the low 20’s in Celsius, with humidity in the 30’s-40’s… the sun was shining all weekend with a good but not too stiff breeze. Somewhat hazy but that’s just Hong Kong. I have a slightly irritated throat now and I think it’s related to running outdoors with the pollution, but again, that’s Hong Kong. I only hope this doesn’t do any long term damage to me…

Feeling good. Trusting time and the effort that’s being put in. Believing that I will do as well as I can. Happy about that.