Category Archives: My Training

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Oct. 21 – Oct. 27)

It’s Nov. 20…so I have exactly 1 day before I’m a month behind on Weekly Workout Round-Ups (except now, in the time between draft and publication, it became Nov. 21 in Singapore.  I’m officially a month behind).  Thankfully, I have a pretty detailed workout log and my photos to help me recall each day, plus whatever notes I throw into this file as a draft – and I actually like writing these recaps, so I’m not sure why I keep falling behind.  Ah, well.  I’d abandon the idea all together, except I actually really like having the record for myself – and publishing it publicly reminds me to keep up (usually…hmph!).  So here we go.  Since the days are flying by so quickly anyway, let’s take a moment to rewind back to October.

Monday (Oct. 21): RPM practice

This week I moved intensely into my Team Teaching, so I spent a bit of time in the studio alone, learning, practicing, and reviewing the tracks I’d be teaching during the week.

Tuesday: Run (6.8 mi) & RPM Team Teach (TT)

I ran a loop of McRitchie first thing in the morning, and collected some bugs on my shirt (better than in my mouth!):

The front of my shirt.  I wore yellow, to better highlight the collection of bugs.  You're welcome.

The front of my shirt. I wore yellow, to better highlight the collection of bugs. You’re welcome.

I team taught with a new mentor this day – and for some reason, the feedback she provided really clicked for me.  I felt excited to practice, and retry my tracks the next day.

Wednesday: RPM (TT)

Oatmeal = Fuel

Oatmeal = Fuel

Fueled by a great big bowl of oatmeal, I was ready to team teach with another mentor (we typically work with 2-3 mentors throughout our training) than on Tuesday. Although getting feedback from different people is important to help me develop my own personal style, I’m struggling a bit with trying to please too many masters.  I’m also working to adapt my running coach style to indoor cycling coach – some elements transfer easily, but others require some adjustment (for me, at least).  This topic will probably warrant a post of its own at some point in the future.  But for now, I’m trying to stay flexible, open to constructive criticism (so hard sometimes!), and learn as much as I can.  I know that, soon enough, this mentorship period will be over, and I’ll be on my own – so I need to soak in as much as possible right now!

Thursday: Run (3.1 mi) & RPM

There was nothing terribly notable about either of these workouts, but in the evening, we debuted a dish that has since reappeared weekly:

Pan-cooked portobello mushrooms with melted goat cheese and sauteed peppers and onions, with a side of quinoa salad. SO MUCH YUM on that plate, folks.

Pan-cooked portobello mushrooms with melted goat cheese and sauteed peppers and onions, with a side of quinoa salad. SO MUCH YUM on that plate, folks.

Friday: “Rest”

I had grand plans for some kind of workout (run and Body Pump, I think?).  But then, around lunchtime, I walked into our guest bathroom and found this:

That is laundry detergent.  It is brown because it leaked through the cardboard box on the left.

That is laundry detergent. All over the floor. It is brown because it leaked through the cardboard box on the left.

And thus commenced the Great Detergent Clean-Up of 2013.  Just think for one moment…about the logistics of cleaning up ~120 oz of laundry detergent.  [Those Costco containers hold ~180 oz of detergent, and the one whose corner cracked was about 2/3 empty when I finally discovered it.]

I did my best to avoid that scene in the Curious George book where George makes a huge mess at home by trying to use the washing machine (at least I think that’s what happened…I’m a bit vague on the details, but I have a very clear memory of the illustration, and didn’t want it to happen in our bathroom).  I also gave copious amounts of thanks that, in Singapore, most bathrooms have a floor drain – and our shower head is on a hose.

Needless to say, after three hours of cleaning up this mess, I had no desire to workout.  I finished up some computer work and let KMN take me out for dinner instead.  See, even running coaches skip their workouts sometimes…

Saturday: Run (8.8 mi)

KMN had a long run on his schedule for the day. I wasn’t interested in his 16 miles, but I joined him for the first half.  We actually ran the first 10 miles of the TNF 50K course – this was my first time running the whole section since race day.  I was of two minds: A bit relieved that the training was over, and a bit sad that the training and even had come and gone.

[Incidentally, I think this is a great thing.  Target races should be like relatives coming to visit: You are mostly excited and slightly nervous about their impending arrival; by the time they leave, you are half sad, and half relieved.]

KMN has a pretty carefree training attitude, and I was just out for fun, so we mugged for the camera a bit.

26 Pre-Run

I also nabbed some contradictory monkey signage:

"I may rummage through your bag.  Please do not leave it unattended."

“I may rummage through your bag. Please do not leave it unattended.”

"Please keep a distance of 2-3 m away from me as I am easily frightened."

“Please keep a distance of 2-3 m away from me as I am easily frightened.”



Yes, both signs refer to the very same monkeys.  I can assure you that the left one is far more correct.  Watch yourself when you pull out that package of Honey Stingers on the trail….

When we got to Bukit Timah, we took a break for some water, KMN refueled, and I headed out to the bus stop while he turned around to run back.  I know I’ll be excited for long runs again really soon…but right now, I’m happy to be holding around 10 miles.  I was also thrilled that my knee felt great and seems to be well recovered from whatever twisting/wrenching occurred during the 50K.

I also managed to drip sweat all over the floor of the bus on the ride home.  Shhh....

I also managed to drip sweat all over the floor of the bus on the ride home. Shhh….

Sunday: Rest

And that pretty much wrapped up the week, with a Total Workout Time of 7 hrs, 15 min – and 18.7 miles (and one laundry detergent debacle).  Not awesome, but acceptable – I expect the next week to bring more Team Teaching and, hopefully, a bit more running.  [Spoiler alert: Not so much of the former, but definitely more of the latter.]  I was also hoping to smush two weeks of workouts into one post, but this post is already 1,000 words, so I’m cutting it off here.

How do you remind yourself to stay receptive to constructive criticism without getting defensive?

What’s the biggest, stickiest, most annoying mess you’ve ever had to clean up?
[Note: Not necessarily the grossest…just the most annoying/hardest.]

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Oct. 14-20)

I had to look at the calendar – twice – to remind myself that last week was really just the second week after my 50K.  My legs felt…awesome.  I was doing much more cross-training than running, but BodyPump and RPM (indoor cycling) aren’t exactly gentle on the legs.  Here’s what happened:

Monday: RPM

Also, I had too many heavy things to buy at the grocery store (yogurt, milk, juice, hard cider), so I broke out the “Auntie Cart” for a walk:

Holly, listening to ChinesePod, and rockin' the Auntie Cart.  Awesomeness.

Holly, listening to ChinesePod, and rockin’ the Auntie Cart. Awesomeness.

Tuesday: Yin & Roll, BodyAttack/GRIT combo, Yoga on the Bridge,

This was a holiday (Hari Raya Haji) in Singapore, so there were special gym classes.  I started off the morning with “Yin & Roll”, a yoga class with one of my favorite yoga instructors.  We spent 75 minutes rolling sore muscles (mostly in our butts & hips) on tennis balls, then holding extended stretches for those same areas.  This was painful, but good.  I was also reminded of how spoiled I am by my foam roller – wiggling your IT band on a tennis ball requires much more core and arm strength/control than it does on a foam roller!

I took a break to do some computer work for an hour, then headed into an intense cardio/strength/HIIT workout.  This was a special combo class, and super intense – but fun.  In the evening, I joined the Lululemon crew for another night of free Tuesdays by the River Community Yoga.  [There are 2 more weeks left, by the way!  I should be there next week – come join me!]  Yes, there was more staring and maybe a few photos (as I described in last week’s Workout Round-Up), but I was prepared and determined not to be fussed by any of it.  Success.  By the time I rolled home around 9:30, I was ex-haust-ed.

But really, how better to spend a public holiday than tiring out your muscles with excellent workouts all day long?  🙂

Also?  This.  Steamed rice, salmon sashimi, seaweed, sprouts, and black inspired by a FB chat with GCA.

Also? This. Steamed rice, salmon sashimi, seaweed, sprouts, and black fungus…as inspired by a FB chat with GCA.

Wednesday: RPM & lots of stretching!

Just like running, spinning can do a number on your quads, hip flexors, and litttttle tiny hip muscles – and the five minutes allotted for leg stretching in class just isn’t quite enough.  I always try to hit the mat for another 10-15 minutes of stretching on my own, whenever possible.  And of course, I’ve tried to keep up with my bedtime rolling routine.

Thursday: RPM & BodyPump

This was my first morning (7:20 AM) RPM class in awhile – and from the stage, I could see that most of the class was definitely still waking up.  In fact, my team-teaching instructor told me that he tries to keep the music a bit more mild for this class, since everyone is still in their morning lull.  I chuckled, thinking of friends in the US who are pumping out intense workouts on their spin bikes at 6 AM…  The gyms here definitely don’t believe in (aka, there’s no demand for) super early morning classes.  So interesting…

The (blurry) detritus of good hydration habits....

The (blurry) detritus of good hydration habits….

I was able to sneak out to the gym again in the evening for some Pump.  I was…pumped! (har, har)

And there was veggie stir fry for dinner!

And there was homemade stir fry for dinner!

Friday: Run (4.1 mi)

My first run of the week – and the one I wrote about in yesterday’s post (I don’t care if my legs tremble during Warrior poses. I need to run.)  Friday was kind-of my rest day for the week.

Saturday: RPM & Run (7 mi)

As a participant in a spin class, I don’t much care what my fellow class members are doing/feeling/giving – I’m there to do my own workout, with the instructor.  However, as an instructor, I’ve quickly realized how different classes have a different “feel” or character.  As I mentioned above, early morning classes are a bit more mellow – but the Saturday afternoon class is considerably more energetic and intense.  This is not a better/worse characterization – just an observation.  And I’m rather amused that I didn’t really notice/care much about this as a participant – but it’s so obvious now that I’m on stage.

KMN procrastinated his long run until Saturday evening – which was, surprisingly, OK for me.  I don’t usually enjoy evening runs, but since this one was purely “for fun” for me – I had no pace goal – I headed out with him around 6:30 PM.  We did one loop of McRitchie Reservoir together, before I headed home and he continued on for another 6 miles in the park (it was too dark for another trail loop without headlamps).  I was excited that my knee felt great, despite the uneven, technical terrain.  He came back, we were both ravenous, and we went out for Indian food for dinner.  Palak paneer, I love you.

Sunday: BodyPump

KMN, GCA, and I all headed in to an afternoon Pump class.  Although the class time is a bit disruptive (3 PM), some afternoon lifting was a great way to end the weekend, and complement the previous day’s cardio.

All in all, I’m happy with the week.  I will be doing quite a lot of RPM in the coming weeks, so I was glad to get in four classes this week.  And although I didn’t do much running, Friday’s jaunt was a good reminder that I need to keep lacing up my sneakers – especially now that 50K recovery is complete.  My goal for the last 8 months has been base building – now that I have the base, I definitely don’t want to lose it!  So definitely look for some more running, starting next week.

The week’s run mileage was just 11.1 miles (although it would be considerably higher if the indoor spin bikes had odometers!), but my Total Workout Time was 12 hours, 2 minutes.

Early morning gym classes: Yay or Nay?

Is “early morning” 6 AM, 7 AM, or 8 AM?

When you have lots of miscellaneous stuff in the fridge, what do you turn it into, and what is your carb of choice?
[Interesting cultural difference: My inclination is to mix it up with some canned diced tomatoes and go “Italian style”, serving over pasta.  But my husband’s first thought is to make a fried rice type dish.]

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Oct. 7-13)

Last week was characterized by two things:

1. Not much running.
2. A return to yang yoga.

Both of these were good things.  As I’ve said before, I tend to use the post-long-race week as both a physical and mental break from training.  I take a step back from my intense Sunday afternoon workout scheduling session, and just do whatever workouts I feel like – or don’t feel like – doing.  I put zero pressure on myself to do anything, and if I want to lounge around and read a book instead, or sleep in for an extra hour, I let myself.  So after last weekend’s 50K, my workout week looked like this:

Monday: Yin yoga.

Basically, I fell asleep in a candle lit room while ostensibly stretching my hips.  Glorious.

Tuesday: Yoga by the River

I also used a hair dryer on Tuesday.  I did not, however, carry a flower pot on my head...

I also used a hair dryer on Tuesday. I did not, however, carry a flower pot on my head…

A new East Coast Lululemon showroom opened last week in Singapore.  In preparation/celebration, the owners organized a series of free Tuesdays by the River Community Yoga classes during September and October.  This was my first time in attendance.  There were over 100 of us – probably closer to 200 (?) with our yoga mats spread out on a pedestrian bridge at Clarke Quay.  The guest instructor demonstrated and led from the broad concrete railing.

This was an interesting experience, and I’ll admit that I left with conflicting emotions.  First of all, doing open air yoga with like-minded folks after sunset was REALLY COOL.  But Clarke Quay is a pretty popular evening hang-out for expats, professional locals, and tourists.  Our group occupied most of the bridge (leaving just a narrow space for people to pass by), so we were impossible to miss.  As my mat was located next to this walkway, I heard lots of comments as people went by – and a fair share of them were from groups of men, to the effect of, “Whoa, it’s our lucky day!”  Then, they pulled out their phones and started snapping pictures.

A week later, and I’m still not sure what I think about this.  On one hand, we are opting to practice yoga in tight clothing in a very public setting.  And there were plenty of groups, women, and couples staring (and photographing) too.  I mean, we were quite a sight:

Yoga on the BridgeOn the other hand, such blatant discussion and admission of oogling makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable.  But, I think I’m filing this one under “Live and Let Live,” though – and I’ll probably go back this week.  [Tonight, actually – locals, come join us – BYOM (bring your own mat)!]

Plus, this yoga session reminded me of how much I’ve abandoned my “other” yogas (Hatha, Flow, Vinyasa) in lieu of Yin.  Although Yin is great for stretching and relaxing, I do enjoy the challenge and strength required by yang yogas, and want to ensure I fit in a class or two each week in the coming months.

Wednesday's dinner: Dahl and homemade Naan.  Maybe not much to look at, but soooo good!

Wednesday’s dinner: Dahl and homemade Naan. Maybe not much to look at, but soooo good!

Wednesday: RPM

I have lots of team-teaching to do in the next two months, so you’ll be seeing a lot of spinning going on.  This was just a little test/warm-up.  While I didn’t kill myself with resistance, I was quite pleased with how good my legs felt – generally quite strong, just a touch of residual fatigue when I pushed the hills or sprints hard.  Three cheers for speedy recoveries!

Thursday: Short run/walk & Yoga

This was the Grand Opening of the Lululemon store I mentioned above.  The owners and managers of this store are an energetic, passionate bunch, eager to share their love of fitness.  In fact, I’m working with them to dream up some joint Lulu-RWH programming, so locals, stay tuned!

Anyway, they invited me out for the opening, so I joined an excited, chatty group of 30-40 athletes for a 2-3K run/walk to and through some of East Coast Park.  There, we enjoyed half an hour of waterfront yoga.  Delicious!

Our instructor kept saying, "Reach to the ceiling/mirror/back wall," then catching herself when we all laughed.  I think she needs to lead MORE waterfront yoga!

Our instructor kept saying, “Reach to the ceiling/mirror/back wall,” then catching herself when we all laughed. I think she needs to lead MORE waterfront yoga!

Next, we headed out for a ride around the East Coast area and tour of some local yoga and pilates studios…on a Hippo tour bus (don’t ask me why it’s called a Hippo bus; it doesn’t look like a Hippo):

Hippo BusMy job rocks.  I spent the morning working out, then sitting on the sunshiny, breezy upper deck while riding around Singapore (and ducking the occasional low-hanging branch), talking to yogis and runners, people for whom fitness is a passion – and in many cases, a profession.  The morning ended with mini cupcakes and Chinese treats back at the showroom.  Overall, a very fun morning.  Good luck with this new adventure, ladies!

I also left with my very first Lulu apparel to "test drive" - the blue & white striped tank.  We'll see how it fares after a few weeks with me!

I also left with my very first Lulu apparel to “test drive” – the blue & white striped tank. We’ll see how it fares after a few weeks with me!

Friday: Good intentions, zero execution

Saturday: Communication Fail

I was supposed to shadow an RPM class on this afternoon; but some miscommunication meant that I got to the gym…but didn’t end up shadowing.  Unfortunately, I was wearing my flip flops, and carrying my cycling shoes, but was absolutely without sneakers – so an alternative workout would’ve been hard.  I did some stretching, then came home and finished up my book (Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell – total brain candy).

Sunday: Long Run (9 mi)

GCA has been hankering to try out a new park connector, so I met her, and another of her friends (A), for an early morning run from Buona Vista MRT out to Pandan Reservoir.  This was super fun for me – Pandan Reservoir is near to my in-law’s place, so this is where KMN and I used to run when we would come to Singapore to visit.  This run was made possible by the construction of a new, shiny, loopy bridge over the AYE (freeway) that just opened.  The bridge is really quite impressive; I should have taken a picture – but I’m a bad blogger, and failed to take ANY photos of this group adventure.

We took the pace nice and easy, and the miles passed quickly with company.  My knee did just fine until about Mile 8, when it started to twinge a bit.  After a few twinges, I dialed back to a walk to the finish.  Walking, bending, squatting, and all other activities were fine for the rest of the day.  For now, I’ll continue to treat with rest (or at least, stick to short runs), and add in a bit of quad/hamstring strengthening.  The beauty of being post-key-race is that I have the time and freedom to let this run its course, without being anxious about training that I’m missing.

Anyway – I thoroughly enjoyed getting out for miles with friends – and meeting a potential new running partner *A*ahem*A*!  AND, the run ended with a trip to Ghim Moh market, where I was reunited with my first (and still favorite) tau huay (soybean pudding):

There's nothing like your first time.  Especially when it's as good as this one: smooth, creamy, just the right amount sweet...

There’s nothing like your first time. Especially when it’s as good as this one: smooth, creamy, just the right amount sweet…

I only wish I had thought to bring another five containers home, to eat this week.  Instead, I’m just going to need another excuse to go join GCA for a run in her neighborhood. 🙂

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of post-ultra-week.  Total Workout Time (including stretching & rolling): 6 hr, 19 min.

Coming up this week?  Lots of spinning, and some more non-yin yoga (and, who am I kidding, some yin yoga, too!), and probably some short runs.

Public group yoga: Awesome, or uncomfortable?

Beach yoga: Yay or Nay?
[I hate getting sand everywhere, but have to admit that the views were spectacular!]

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Sept. 30 – Oct. 6)

So much for posting this stinker on…uhhh…Sunday?  Ah, well, there was too much 50King to discuss this week to be overly concerned about Workout Round-Ups.  Most of you know what a taper looks like, anyway.  But I’m a sucker for completeness, so here’s a quick rundown of my workout week leading up to the North Face 50K.  Mostly, it’s a super-taper (aka, more taper than I usually do), with a lot of yoga.  My hip was feeling extra tight the week before the race, so I wanted to do whatever I could to stretch that out before race day.

The menagerie was anxious for KMN's return.  They even sent a delegate to wait at the door for him.

The menagerie was so anxious for KMN’s return that they waited at the door for him.

Monday: Run (4 mi) & Yin Yoga

KMN worked a last-minute deal from Saturday through Tuesday, so he spent maaaaaaaany hours at the office early in the week.  “Maaaaaaaaany hours” as in, “It’s a good thing he has a toothbrush and changes of clothes there”.  So I worked, cooked (although failed to take many photos), ran/yoga-ed, and hung out with the Stuffed Menagerie.

Tuesday: Run (4.7 mi)

I took my trail shoes out for a little pre-race tooling around at McRitchie.  Nothing too intense, just a short jaunt on some of the trails we’d be covering before dawn on race morning.  Besides a little hip tightness, things felt pretty good.  I foam roller-ed afterward like it was my JOB.

I also put the breadmaker to good use.  Carb-loading, and all that.  [This loaf wasn't finished cooking yet, thus the slightly pale appearance.]

I also put the breadmaker to good use. Carb-loading, and all that. [This loaf wasn’t finished cooking yet, thus the slightly pale appearance.]

Wednesday: Rest

KMN and I planned to meet for RPM spin class, but we were both running late.  Ultimately, he could have sneaked into class, but I was about 5 minutes too late.  He was a gentleman (or was looking to avoid his workout!), and skipped class too.  Instead, we went out for chicken rice dinner, and came home to do work.

Oh, I did sneak in a sprint around the apartment in the morning, slamming windows shut, when I glanced out the back and realized that this was happening:

"Fogging" This is how Singapore manages its mosquito problem.  I don't like it, but it's better than Dengue...

“Fogging” = Spraying some kind of pesticide. This is how Singapore manages its mosquito problem. I don’t like it, but it’s better than Dengue…

Thursday: Yoga

Since my return from Perth, I’d been skipping many of my “usual” classes at the gym, sneaking in spin when I could, and grabbing whatever yoga classes were convenient.  Thankfully, on Thursday, I got myself over to the gym for one of my favorite yoga classes for the first time in many weeks: Sherlin’s Thursday night yoga.  It didn’t disappoint, my hip flexors were leeeeeeeeeeeengthened, and some very good business connections coincidentally came out of the evening.

Early AM shake-out run.

Early AM shake-out run.

Friday: Run (3.6 mi) & Yin Yoga

An early morning shake-out run, then some final tune-up stretching with Joyce before race day!  I also did lots of extra stretching on my own, throughout the afternoon and evening.  The extra hours of desk-sitting brought on by taper were productive – but probably contributed to the tightness in my legs.  Thankfully, some extra stretching helped work the kinks out.

I also treated myself to this:

The heel of the loaf, but it looks amazingly like a toasted buttered roll, right NJ folks? [Apparently, toasted buttered rolls are "a New Jersey thing", although I have no idea why they haven't caught on elsewhere, seeing as how they are delicious.]

The heel of the loaf, but it looks amazingly like a toasted buttered roll, right NJ folks? [Apparently, toasted buttered rolls are “a New Jersey thing”, although I have no idea why they haven’t caught on elsewhere, seeing as how they are delicious.]

Saturday: TNF 50K!!!! [Race Report Part 1 and Race Report Part 2]

Sunday: Walking & (very gentle) Stretching

Yes, walking was a workout.  And stretching sore, achy muscles took a lot of mental fortitude – but I felt better and better each time I did it.

Total Workout Time for the week: 13 hours exactly – although more than 5 of those came from the 50K.  Now, looking forward to a week of rest, recovery, and “doing whatever I feel like doing” workouts!

“Toasted, buttered roll”: New Jersey thing, or not?

And since we’re well beyond last week already, how about you tell me the most FUN workout you’ve done so far this week?

28 Miles Is A Really Long Way (TNF 50K Training Run)

I’m running The North Face Ultra 50K this weekend – Oct. 5.  (!!!!!) So let’s take a post to talk about long ultra-specific training runs.   I integrated two of them around my Perth Marathon training: one before and one after.  I planned to write about the first one (a 27-miler in early August), but we left for vacation in London, and I got distracted.  So instead, I’ll tell you about the more recent 28-miler (from Sept. 19), and I’ll work in a few nuggets of wisdom/reflections from August’s run.  See how this new schedule is already helping me stay on track?  After all, Tuesday is Race/Run Recap Day!

Until my 27-miler, I had never done a training run longer than 22 miles, and never run further than ~26.4 miles (what I estimate a marathon actually works out to be for most of us), period.  For that first run, I planned for about 25 miles on trails, and I was feeling anxious about the endeavor – so I simply decided not to think about it (except for appropriate fueling and packing) until it was done.  And while the run was sweaty, tiring, and mentally taxing (and ended up being 27 miles) – I completed it.

Afterward, I took those 27 miles and kind of held them in my hand, staring at them with amazement and a little bit of confusion, “Am I crazy?  Did I just run 27 miles through McRitchie Reservoir?  On a regular old Friday morning?  Did I seriously just do that?!?!”  

Of course, the answer was YES – Yes, I ran 27 miles.  Yes, I did it by myself.  Yes, I ran a marathon distance between my first and second breakfasts.  Yes, I still got dressed, did my work, and even went out for dinner and a show with my family that evening.  Yes, I hope my face didn’t have a smug “I ran 27 miles this morning, what did you do?” kind of look on it the whole time.

But fast forward to September, when I set out for my second super-long training run (aiming for 26-28 miles).  This time, I was less anxious: I’d done this before.  I knew it would take awhile, and be really sweaty and not always easy, but I could do it.  My legs felt recovered from the marathon, I had done a 22-mile run the previous week, and I was feeling strong.  During my August run, I had also made the subtle but important decision to change how I viewed long, ultra-training trail runs.  They actually weren’t “runs” at all – rather, they were “adventures”.  My goals for these long trail adventures:

1. Don’t fall.
2. Don’t worry about pace.
3. Walk the hills.
4. Practice good hydration and fueling.
5. Stay out for 4-6 hours.

It was that last point, the 4-6 hours, that was prompting such long training runs.  Yes, 26-28 miles is probably a bit long for a training run for a 50K (31 miles).  Slightly shorter back-to-back runs would accomplish similar levels of fatigue, and would likely be easier on my legs.  I’m not suggesting that anyone else follow my approach.  But for me, personally, I wanted the confidence of having practiced hydrating and salting for a 5+ hour adventure.  The heat out here is no joke, and on race day, I need to be confident that I can plan, manage, and adjust my fluid and electrolyte intake, depending on the conditions and how I feel – not just for the first 2-3 hours, but for the entire 5+ hours of the race.  And since my legs seemed to recover quite quickly from these efforts, they made sense for me.

So I stepped outside waaaay early on Sept. 19.  KMN was with me, headed out for his own tempo workout.  We kicked off our anniversary by running in opposite directions.  [Thankfully, our marriage is stronger than the symbolism here.]  I wasn’t in the mood to do 4 loops of McRitchie (which is what I did in August), so instead I planned to incorporate part of a route I ran back in February with the Trail Running Singapore group.

[Note: There are trails in Singapore, but most are within a few kilometers of a major road that is serviced by a bus route.  Thus, I can go out for a long run, make up the route as I go, and hop a bus home when I hit my target distance.  The most important thing to plan are water stops (fountains, kopis, or convenience stores).  The logistics of long-run planning are actually super easy out here.  Also, I get cell service just about everywhere, even out on most of the trails.]

Although I didn’t want to run four loops of McRitchie, I still kicked off the morning with one.  There is one main loop, but including my run to the park and a few side detours, I extended up to about 9 miles.

I also blaze a trail around downed trees, and take out every cobweb industrious spiders built across the trail overnight.

I also blazed a trail around downed trees, and took out every cobweb industrious spiders built across the trail overnight.

Then, I turned around a re-ran half the loop again – with a quick stop at this lovely thing:

Right hand fountain at the Ranger Station: My favorite water fountain in Singapore.  It's refrigerated!!!  I always stop to refill here...

The right hand side water fountain at the Ranger Station is my favorite water fountain in Singapore. It’s refrigerated!!!!! I always stop to top up my water here, whether I need to or not!

I decided to add some distance with a quick spin through the Treetop Walk (a 250 meter long suspension bridge, rising 20-25 meters above the forest floor) and its associated trails.  But I had forgotten how many stairs there were on the way out, and ended up doing more walking than running.  The breeze up on the walk was fabulous, though (and probably the real reason I wanted to go!).

Treetop Walk with McRitchie Reservoir in the background.

Treetop Walk with McRitchie Reservoir in the background.

It’s too boring to note every bit of food and beverage that passes my lips during this kind of run, but on average I take 1 electrolyte-only source (usually a salt tab, occasionally Nuun) and one sugar+electrolyte source (Sports Beans or Sports drink) every hour.  I also drink my pack dry (1.5 liters) every 90 minutes, and I chug water at any fountains I pass.  In addition to my hydration pack, I carry a small 8 oz bottle (stolen from my no-longer-used Fuel Belt).  I use this little bottle to mix up concentrated Nuun and to help refill my pack at poorly configured water fountains.

After my high-flying foray to the Treetop Walk, Garmie reported I was just under 14 miles. At that point, another trail branched off the main loop.  I was 4 miles from home, so decided to run 4-5 miles OUT on the “branch off” trail, then run back, then run home – which would put me in the ~26-28 mile range.  So I veered off onto the Rifle Range Link, then to Rifle Range Road.  I’ll admit – a mile of road was a nice break from the trail!

I turned back onto the trails and retraced the route we ran much earlier this year out to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.  Bukit, pronounced like “book-it”, is the Malay word for “hill” – so anywhere there’s a hill in Singapore, the neighborhood/area is called “Bukit _____”: Bukit Brown, Bukit Batok, Bukit Timah, etc.

Bukit Timah is actually the highest point in Singapore (163 meters, don’t laugh), and there is a wide, paved path to the top, along with some short hiking trails.  The spot is quite busy on the weekends, but this was mid-morning on a weekday, so things were pretty quiet.  Standing at the Visitor’s Center at the bottom, with 17+ miles on my Garmin, I made a slightly crazy decision: I was going to hike/run to the top.  I had never made the summit, and although I didn’t think the Ultra would be crazy enough to send us up Bukit Timah, I wanted to check out the terrain, just in case.  Plus, I’d never done it before, and this was an adventure, after all.  The longest trail to the top is just over 1 mile long, hiking from ~80-100 meters above sea level up to 160 meters (the long trail had some extra ups and downs in it, though, just for fun!).

So, I set off.  The footing was a no-brainer (paved), but the first part was quite steep.  I took a photo, but it looks flat, so I’m not showing you.  🙂  I fast-hiked the steep parts, then slow-ran the less steep parts.  The trail I chose turned off-road briefly, to descend, then ascend, about 40-50 meters of trail stairs.  I actually appreciated the variety, and in about 20 minutes, I was at the top.  There’s actually not much of a view, but there is a rock!

Yeah, yeah - the active lifestyle blogosphere is full of folks who summit 14ers like its their job.  But in Singapore, we've got to make do with what we have!  163.3 meters will have to do!

Yeah, yeah – the active lifestyle blogosphere is full of folks who summit 14ers like it’s their job. But in Singapore, we’ve got to make do with what we have. 163.6 meters it is!

I also spotted a monitor lizard hiding in some leaves.  Sometimes, these buggers pop out on the trails. They’re harmless, and run away quickly, but are pretty sizable and can give you quite a surprise.  Just ask my friend Deb, who encountered one on a solo run when she was visiting a few weeks ago. 😉

Look closely, he (or she) is there.  Hint: Look for the tail.

Look closely, he (or she) is there. Hint: Look for the tail.

Having “conquered” Bukit Timah (OK, I’ll admit, even I’m laughing at the measley elevation Singapore offers), I headed back down to the Visitors Center, refilled my pack, and set off for home…but home was still a good 8 miles away.  Usually, once I make the turn to “head home”, I start to feel like the end is in sight.  But on this day, the end still felt really far away, even as my watch clicked to 20 miles, 21 miles…

How I was feeling at this point.

How I was feeling with about 6 miles left.

Physically, I was doing OK – legs were tired, but the varied terrain of Bukit Timah seemed to perk them up a bit.  My nutrition and hydration status was good, and although I was feeling tired, I had no specific complaints.  But my brain was pretty much fried.  I just wanted to be DONE.

I tried out some favorite mental tricks: Bribery?  Not buying it.  Envision the finish?  Depressingly far away.  Why am I doing this?  This is RIDICULOUS!  I broke out my iPod, with a brand new audiobook loaded on, just for this very circumstance.  But somehow, I’d accidentally loaded a book that I’d already listened to, and suddenly, the narrator’s voice grated on every nerve I could muster.  Finally, I hit on it: the tried and true method of chunking.  I chunked my way back out to Rifle Range Road, and back onto the trail in McRitchie.

At this point, my chunks turned to miles: Run 1 mile, walk 0.1 miles, repeat.  These were slow, sloggy, hot, somewhat sad miles.  When a gentleman running in the other direction passed me (I was at about mile 25) and said, “Geez, it’s hot out today!” as he zipped by, I sort of wanted to punch him.  Dude, you have NO idea.  Or maybe he did.  What do I know?

Three run/walk repeats later, and I was back to the road, just one mile from home. Normally just want to run to be done, but still…the urge to walk was very strong.  As I fought it with each step, I tried to channel the experience: “I’m going to feel this way during the Ultra.  I’m going to want to walk.  I’m going to want to stop.  I might want to cry.  But I will keep moving forward.”  As I am often telling my clients: “Your training is for your body, AND for your head!”  Well, this run certainly worked out my head muscles…

Finally…5 hours, 20-something minutes later…I was home.  My husband (already at work) had programmed the air conditioner in the study to turn on a bit before my anticipated arrival.  He chilled some water for me, and left me a note reminding me to hydrate (watermelon & Aquarius sports drink in the fridge!).  After a few minutes in the air con, some cold beverages, and a little stretching…I felt surprisingly GOOD.

The greatest casualty of the run was a callous on my right big toe, which got a blister underneath and ultimately had to be cut off (the callous, not the toe).  This is normal for me, so no biggie.  [Also, we’ll be talking about feet and blisters a lot in some upcoming Coach’s Corner posts, so stay tuned.]  There wasn’t even too much chafe-induced post-run squealing in the shower.  And I was awake enough to bang out some work, write a blog post that some people actually found funny, and enjoy anniversary dinner with my husband (don’t hate on the recycled photo):

Hey, you two clean up pretty good!  ;-)

Hey, you two clean up pretty good! 😉

Overall, I’d call the run a major success.  I accomplished all my goals.  I pushed through some tough spots.  Part of me wishes I hadn’t experienced such mental disintegration at the end of the run (motivation wise – all my faculties were still perfectly intact), but part of me is glad for it.  Brains need training too, and there’s no way that this run made me less prepared for the North Face race.  So…come on, Saturday – bring it on!!!

[Even though a race preview doesn’t fit into the New Blogging Schedule, I’ll be posting one, so keep your eye out for one in the next day or two.]

I know a few of you have favorite Port-o-Potties – but does anyone else have a favorite water fountain?

As a runner, what limits YOU more: Your brain, or your body?

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Sept. 23-29)

In the spirit of staying up-to-date and organized (See: Order On The Blog!), here’s the scoop on last week’s workouts.  Do note that this was my first taper week for The North Face 50K on Oct. 5th.

Monday: BodyPump

Tuesday: Run (6 mi)

I joined KMN for his tempo run in the morning.  Since I was planning for fewer overall miles this week, I figured I could handle his long tempo pace (slightly faster than my Easy pace).  We did a 1 mile warm-up, followed by 5 miles at tempo pace (Goal: 8:30-8:45 min/mi), although we ran a bit faster.  This was a solid, but not exhausting, effort for me.  As this was KMN’s workout, I let him take the lead, and we actually ended up with a progression run.  Splits for the 5 tempo miles were:

8:33 min/mi

Not exactly a steady-effort tempo workout, but it’s very important for our marriage that I not coach my husband.  He was happy with the workout, so I was happy.

There was also much stretching, and a 1 min, 50 second plank.  I don’t have any designs on being able to hold a  5 minute plank or anything (not that cool/don’t have that much spare time), but I’d like to work my way up to about 2.5-3 minutes – and add some plank variations to work other core muscles (side planks, mountain climbers, etc.).

Wednesday: RPM & Yin Yoga

I arrived early for spin class so I could practice for my test on Saturday.  Then, during class, I focused on my technique (proper cadence, stabilized core, correct arm position), knowing that all of those things would be important for my test – and subsequent teaching.  They are also much easier to think about when taking a class, as opposed to coaching a class.  Once I start opening my mouth to coach, I start paying less focused attention on myself (obviously).  Thus, my technique needs to be second nature.  This was a solid session, and got me *very* excited for teaching my own class.  I love spreading the workout love.

Thursday: Run (5 mi), TRX, & RPM

Singapore is always humid.  This particular morning happened to be especially humid.  Check this out:

Can you see the sweat?  That is genuine knee/calf sweat.

See all those glistening drops? That’s genuine calf sweat, people. Totally the norm out here. There’s a reason we keep a pile of junky towels at the door….

Indeed – about an hour after I returned from my run, the skies opened.  The rain let up in time for me to head out for a lunchtime TRX class.  I’ll blog a bit more about TRX another time, but in short, it is a workout done using only your body weight and two straps suspended from the ceiling.  This was my very first TRX class, so I took things slow and easy, but did inadvertently decimate my triceps.  Those weakling triceps were sore for the next four days – no lie.

I finished up my trip to the gym on…yep, you guessed it:

My precious....

My precious….

After hitting the shower and changing into clean clothes, I realized…my clean clothes were basically an exact duplicate of the sweaty ones I’d just taken off.  I wanted to wear a sign or something that explained the situation, so no one assumed I was just a gross, lazy, non-showerer.

Friday: Run (5 mi) & BodyPump

After my run, I succumbed to peer pressure – Elizabeth (My Neon Running Shoes) posted about the delicious egg/spinach/cheese wrap she had for dinner (Picture day. Wraps. Nestle Tollhouse!), so I raided the fridge to recreate hers as best I could for myself:

I only had enough eggs for one, though.  The other contains a bananas, a smear of peanut butter, and a bit of Nutella.  Both tasted terrible.  That's why I didn't share with you. :)

I only had enough eggs for one wrap, though. The other contains a banana, a smear of peanut butter, and a bit of Nutella. Both tasted terrible. That’s why I didn’t share with you. 🙂

Friday is usually date night around here…and we started our date off with a BodyPump session, and ended it with ramen.  Date-night-perfection, if you ask me!

Saturday: Run (10 mi) & RPM Instructor Test

I already blogged about both of these things in my post Recipe for a Most Excellent Saturday.  And let me tell you…”just” 10 miles?  Felt amazing after a few weeks of super long runs!

Sunday: Big, fat, GOOF OFF.

And I didn’t feel the least bit guilty.  And, OK – I didn’t really goof off.  I went to church, did some work, took a nap, picked up my 50K race packet, had dinner with family, etc. etc.

This was the first week of my 2 week taper, and I logged just over 26 running miles.  I was aiming for about 30, so I’m content.  Still, with some cross training and a fair bit of RPM prep and training, I still hit a Total Workout Time for the week of 11 hrs, 45 min.  Now, it’s time to bring on the serious, week-before-the-race taper.

Fill in the blank: Disaster is…trying to coach/teach my significant other______________________________.

Gosh, it’s late and I’m tired.  I just dozed off, and awoke to a very unusual sentence written here.  Ever sleep-type?
[And with that, I’m outta here. It’s bedtime in Singapore!]

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Sept. 16-22)

I am just this one post away from being caught up on my most self-centered blogging: Race Reports & Workout Round-Ups.  [I mean, even more self-centered than the OTHER blogging I do.  Although, I’m having trouble remembering what that was, even.  Don’t worry, we’re going to return to this question very, very soon.  Like, this weekend.  Whoot.]

But first: What did last-last week’s workouts look like?  Take a peak:

Monday (Sept. 16): BodyPump

Mondays are busy work days for me; I usually take them as rest days, but managed to push myself out of the house for Pump at 8:45 PM.  I wasn’t exactly a happy camper at the start, but by the end I (of course) didn’t regret going.

Doing workouts late in the evening is a struggle for me – I’m not a nighttime person, and getting out of the house when I’m already tired is…a challenge.  However, I’m much more productive (and less likely to fall asleep) doing a workout, than I am sitting at my computer trying to focus when my brain is clearly ready to shut down.  Thus, workouts in the evening are actually a better use of my time, so I am trying to make this BodyPump class part of my weekly routine.

Tuesday: Run (5 mi) & BodyAttack

Pre-run apartment pic.  Yep, lovin' that Perth Marathon FINISHER shirt!

Pre-run apartment pic. Yep, lovin’ that Perth Marathon FINISHER shirt!

I ran KMN’s warm-up and cool-down with him, then tooled around for some easy miles while he did his speedwork.  We are such different runners: I love my 5-6 days/week of running; he is a FIRST (3 runs/week) guy all the way!  Still, we do what we can to do some of our weekly miles together.

I was also hit with an unexpected stomach cramp/side stitch during BodyAttack – this is pretty weird for me, as I’m not usually prone to such things.  But it left me feeling pretty nauseous and gross, so I tried to keep my bouncing to a minimum, and opted out of the post-Attack yoga class I’d been considering.  I came home and slept instead.  Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing more than an ill-timed pre-workout snack.


There was also some planking on Wednesday. I'm on a bit of a planking streak, and at the time of this picture, was up to a 1 min, 40 sec plank.

There was also some planking on Wednesday. I’m on a bit of a planking streak, and at the time of this picture, was up to a 1 min, 40 sec plank.

Wednesday: Run (5.1 mi) and RPM (spin)

Pretty standard workout day. This was my first class on the “new” (now three weeks old) RPM 60 release.  After class, our instructor was enthusing about it, and asked me what I thought.  I had to confess to him…the first few times I spin to a new release (new songs, new choreography), I don’t like it.  I don’t like it at all.  I guess it’s the “I HATE CHANGE!” monster in me, but my first impression is always: “I don’t like the music, and the choreography is just so-so.”  But after a few classes, it always grows on me, and I end up walking around the apartment, humming the songs incessantly, and totally enjoying classes.  Just goes to show…don’t always trust a first impression!

There was also rice porridge and Chinese veggies for dinner.  Update for longtime readers: My porridge making skills are improving...

Rice porridge and Chinese veggies for dinner. Update for longtime readers: My porridge making skills are improving…

Thursday: Loooooooooooong run (28 mi)

This was our wedding anniversary, and the day I shared this post: Female Endurance Athletes Are Just Like Other Women (Only Not Really).  The 28 mile run – yes, 28 miles (45 km) – deserves its own post.  All I will say for now is that it was long, hot, and sometimes I wanted to quit.  But I finished.  And after ultra training the last few months, I just don’t think of 20 miles as a “long” run for me, anymore.  And that’s actually a little bit scary.

Hey, you two clean up pretty good!  ;-)

Post-anniversary-dinner picture. Hey, you two clean up pretty good! 😉

Friday: Rest

This was really more a function of being busy, than being exhausted, though.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt after the previous day’s shenanigans.

Saturday: RPM Training

As you may (or may not) recall, I completed the first part of my RPM (indoor cycling) Instructor Training back in July: What do you get for spending a weekend at the gym?  Two months later (which is OK, because, hello, marathon training!), I’ve finally had the chance to take the extra gym-specific training I’ll need to start on as a Trainee.  This Saturday was the first part; the second part will be tomorrow (Sept. 29).  Compared with the initial module training, this was pretty straight-forward. We did some technique-focused cycling, then talked about the tracks we’d audition on the following week.  I’d taken it easy in the morning to be fresh for the coursework in the late afternoon, but ultimately, I ended up with much less time on the bike than I’d expected – less than an hour, for sure.  I thought about going for a run when I got home (7:30 PM), but KMN and I opted to be old and boring, and were in bed by 9!

Sunday: Easy trail run (7.3 mi)

KMN ran a double loop of McRitchie for his long run – I joined him for the first loop, then happily headed home for rehydration and cooling, while he went out for a second lap.  Relativity is a crazy thing: I was amazed at how short one loop felt, compared with Thursday’s super-long, multi-loop run.

Total Workout Time for the week: 12 hrs, 49 min – thanks largely to Thursday’s long run.  And I was just fine with how the week’s numbers turned out.  Legs are a little tired, but overall feeling good.  Now I’m looking forward to my second run-taper in two months, and a little extra time on the foam roller!

What workouts do you drag your feet about, but ultimately appreciate and enjoy?

If you could train to teach anything (athletic or otherwise), what would it be?

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Sept. 9-15)

I have a race report from last weekend that I *really* want to share – but as a stickler for chronological order, I have to do a wrap-up from the week before, first.  So my next four posts look like this:

1. Weekly Workout Round-Up (Sept. 9-15) – aka, THIS VERY POST
2. Yellow Ribbon Run Race Report (Sept. 15)
3. Weekly Workout Round-Up (Sept. 16-22)
4. My Obsessive List-Making Hits the Blog (You’ll just have to wait and see.)

Whew.  Now that the agenda is set, let’s get started.

Monday (Sept. 9): Run (3.5 mi)

Enthused?  Maybe? Possibly?

Enthused? Maybe? Possibly?

Nothing special, just a shake-out after Sunday’s Vertical City Trail Race.  I must not have run hard enough (or I didn’t run too hard?), because my legs were a bit tired, but not sore at all.  I delayed my run until I needed an afternoon break, so I headed to McRitchie Reservoir, where I knew there would be plenty of tree-cover to shade me from the sun.  This turned out to be unnecessary, though, because there was no sun – Just oppressive, pre-rain humidity.  The air on the trail was so stagnant, I felt like I was swimming.  I escaped as soon as I could, and ran back home on the sidewalks, where I could catch a light breeze here and there.  I finished with lots of post-run stretching and rolling and digging a tiny bug out of my eye.

I swear he felt 10x bigger when he was swimming on top of my eyeball.

I swear he felt 10x bigger when he was swimming on top of my eyeball.

Tuesday: Run (2.9 mi)

This was just a short jaunt going to and from an appointment with a client.  Bonus of being a running coach: It’s perfectly acceptable for me to show up for a client (workout) meeting hot and sweaty.

Wednesday: Run (6.4 mi) & BodyPump

I was at the gym for BodyPump anyway, so I hit up the treadmill for a hill workout.  I chose the “random” hills setting, selected some levels that seemed about appropriate (I still don’t really have the hang of what I should pick when the treadmill asks “Choose a Level, 1-12.”  Is this a question of grade? Speed? Both?  I randomly choose, then modify as necessary.)  Basically, I ran for about an hour at 2%-6% incline.  This is considerably more incline than is typically found in Singapore, and I was definitely glad to get in the extra hills.  I don’t love the treadmill, but think I’ll continue to do one heavily graded run per week, to keep my climbing sharp.

BodyPump?  All I’ll say is that I need more BodyPump in my life.  Between marathon training, recovery, guests, etc – I haven’t been doing as much weight work as I would like.  But I love having stronger (and less scrawny) arms, shoulders, and back – so some work in this area is in order.

Birthday dinner for KMN at Dozo.  Perhaps I'll do a more in depth post sometime.  Short version: Air con too cold, food interesting and tasty.

Birthday dinner for KMN at Dozo. Perhaps I’ll do a more in-depth post sometime. Short version: Air con too cold, food interesting and tasty. Don’t judge KMN’s hair. He snuck in a workout and shower before racing over to meet me for dinner.

Thursday: Rest

I did some foam rolling, and prepared a hearty pesto pasta dinner in preparation for a long run (for both KMN and I) on Friday:

Another infamous 2-bowl dinner!

Another infamous 2-bowl dinner!

Friday: Loooooong run (22 mi)

Gear prep!

Gear prep!

After 2 weekends of lower mileage, it was time for me to get in a few more long training runs before the 50K in October.  KMN opted to join me for part of the run, to get his long run out of the way, as well.  He left his work and work clothes in the office the previous evening, and we planned to run from our apartment into the downtown area.  We mapped a route that would give him his desired 12 miles.  We laid out gear and went to bed early on Thursday.

A smile, before I realized how badly my (hydration) bladder was faring.

A smile, before I realized how badly my (hydration) bladder was faring.

But none of that mattered.  Early on Friday morning, the run started with me being supremely cranky, and the velcro closure on the bladder for my hydration pack breaking.  [Those two things may or may not be related.]  I thought I fixed the bladder with some super glue, but the repair lasted about 5 seconds, and the broken velcro resulted in my getting about 500 ml of water down my back in the first half mile of the run.

We propped the bladder up in my pack as best we could, drained some water, and I crossed my fingers that it would hold enough for me to finish the run.  We set off toward downtown and enjoyed about 8 perfect miles (perfect except that my back was extremely wet and I was cranky), before construction resulted in blockage of the river path we were running.  We spent about 10 minutes trying to find a way around, but were blocked by expressways and construction fences in all directions.  We finally crossed the Kallang River and headed toward the Singapore Flyer…only to be re-routed for another bridge closing, and eventually forced onto the sidewalk because preparations for the F1 race that was held this past weekend blocked the riverside running path.

With KMN racing the clock (he had a morning meeting), there were a few tense moments, but we finally made it to his office.  We separated, and I (now also running late) bought some water to (partially) refill my pack, and hopped on the subway to make up for some lost time.  I was scheduled to meet a client for a run out on the east side of the island.  Originally, I’d intended to run the whole way out, but instead rode halfway and ran the other half.

By the time I met him, I had 15 miles on my Garmin.  We did one lap of Bedok Reservoir together, giving me another 2.5, then I paused so we could do some stretching.  Afterward, I did another lap of the Reservoir on my own, then set out to do some Park Connector investigation.

Mid-run self-shot.  Meagan inspired me to give it a try!

Mid-run self-shot. Meagan inspired me to give it a try!

Singapore is making an effort to connect as many of its small parks and paths as possible; I read that there was a way to get from Bedok down to East Coast Park, through the Siglap Park Connector.  I could figure out most of the route with GMaps, but one section baffled me and was going to require my feet on the ground to sort it out.  I decided that, since my long run was already terribly disjointed and had lots of pauses, a few more for route investigation wouldn’t hurt.  And after a few wrong turns, not quite enough signs, and a bit of dancing around construction, I emerged victorious.

Finding this map hidden behind some construction helped considerably!

Finding this map hidden behind some construction helped considerably!

Ultimately, I figured out how to connect Bedok Reservoir to the canal that leads to East Coast Park (of course, this is only interesting for locals, and most of you probably know how to do it already).  Suffice to say, I can now confidently run this route without an extra “getting lost” allowance of time.  I will be back, and one day, I intend to take it all the way to ECP.   On this day, though, I decided that 22 miles was enough, and hopped onto the EW Line at Kembangan MRT station.

This certainly wasn’t my “best” long run ever – I covered 22 miles, with a running time of 3 hrs, 40 minutes – but the whole adventure took about 5 hours.  I don’t like all that stopping time during my run, but life is life, and sometimes conditions aren’t perfect.  On the plus side, I told myself that it was “heat training”, in preparation for the lengthy amount of time I’d be out in the sun/heat during the ultra.  Done, and done.

Also done?  Four big slices of watermelon.  This one's for you, Brennan!

Also done? Four big slices of watermelon. This one’s for you, Brennan!

Saturday: Rest

KMN and I took an impromptu mini-staycation in honor of our upcoming anniversary (click for slightly mushy anniversary post), and I sat in the air conditioning, read, napped, ate, and did zero stretching.  Lovely, really – for a day.

Sunday: Yellow Ribbon Run (10K)

Yellow Ribbon

This will get its own post tomorrow.  But basically, this was a fundraising run on a new-to-me route (we actually ran into the prison complex in Singapore).  A bit crowded, but a fun morning.

Total workout time for the week: 9 hrs, 3 min – and a total of 41 miles.  Not quite as much cross-training as I was hoping to sneak in, but running was solid – and my legs felt pretty good.  I think (hope!) I’m marathon recovered.  One more training week before I taper for the 50K on Oct. 5!

What’s your grossest on-the-run (or ride) bug encounter?  

Staycation: Yay or Nay?
[I used to be Nay, thinking it was silly to pay money to stay close to where I lived; but I’m converting to a Yay, thinking about the money saved on transportation and the time saved in busy schedules.]

Anyone have any fun workouts on the schedule for today?  Do share!

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Aug. 26 – Sept. 8): Marathon Recovery

Yesterday, I posted my Workout Round-Up for pre-marathon week.  Now it’s time to take a look at the post-Perth workouts!  In case you have forgotten (or are new – HI!), I actually spent my summer dual-training: for a marathon in Perth at the end of August, and for a 50K trail run in Singapore in early October.  With the 50K in mind, I ran a solid race in Perth, but didn’t kill myself.  I only had about 2 weeks of recovery before hitting a few more long workouts, in Singaporean heat, on Singaporean trails, in preparation for the 50K.

[Perth race reports are here: Perth Part 1 and Perth Part 2.]

So here are my two recovery weeks.  The goal of Week #1 was: Do whatever the heck you want, and nothing more.  This is a physical break – but more importantly (for me) a psychological break.  After adhering to a training plan for so many weeks, this break week was important for me, for my mental recovery/rest – especially since I planned to jump right back into a few intense weeks of training.

Monday (Aug. 26): Walk all over Perth with Grace, groaning slightly, avoiding stairs, and enjoying a long afternoon rest over gloriously rich hot chocolate at Chocolateria San Churro.  Red eye back to Singapore.

Tuesday: Not one blessed thing.  Not even a stretch.  (Don’t tell my coach.)

Actually, my legs were already significantly less sore.  What was nagging me the most?  My back, of all things.  I must have been a bit more tense than usual during the marathon, because the muscles of my upper/middle back felt tied in knots.

Wednesday: Yin Yoga

Basically, Joyce turned out the lights and I dozed off.  Well, I guess I approximated enough of the postures that she didn’t come over to check if I was still alive.  So, that’s a start.  My back felt better afterward, as well.  Two points for yin.

Thursday: Yoga

Post-Spin Stretch.

Post-Spin Stretch.

Sherlin works us a bit harder than Yin, but the hamstring/quad/hip flexor stretching was just what I needed, if not exactly what I wanted.

Friday: Spin

I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel about spinning, but they were actually really, really OK with it.  And my still-tight back was quite happy to stretch and fold forward to the handlebars.  Excellent!  I made a mental note that, if running turned out to be draggy  next week, spin would remain a good option.

Saturday & Sunday: Stretching and rolling and resting.

After switching places in and out of town during most of August, KMN and I were finally both home – and expecting guests on Tuesday.  We took the opportunity to catch up on chores, finish up a DIY project around the apartment, and prepare for visitors!

I also spent the week eating pretty much what I felt like eating.  For example, on Saturday night, I really wanted popcorn.  We were out of kernels for our popcorn maker. KMN went to the store to buy some, couldn't find any, and came home with this instead.  A reasonable substitute.  And a POP UP BOWL?  I'm not sure if this is pathetic, or cute.  ?

I also spent the week eating pretty much what I felt like eating. For example, on Saturday night, I really wanted popcorn. We were out of kernels for our popcorn maker. KMN went to the store to buy some, couldn’t find any, and came home with this instead. A reasonable substitute. And a POP UP BOWL? I’m not sure if this is pathetic, or cute. ?

KMN went for a long run on Sunday.  For the first hour he was gone, I was thrilled that I could catch up on work and tidy up around the house, rather than haul myself out for a weekend long run.  For the second hour he was gone, I was jealous that he was getting all the endorphins and I was getting none.  The timing was perfect: Clearly, I was ready to get back in my running sneakers!

Now twinning with my husband. But he was going running; I was merely going floor mopping.  [In Singapore, mopping is a tech-shirt-worthy job.]

Now twinning with my husband. But he was going running; I was merely going floor mopping. [In Singapore, mopping is a tech-shirt-worthy job.]

Total workout time (including rolling and stretching): 3 hrs, 45 min.  I should have been able to knit a sweater, or make a chiffon cake, or at least wash all the windows in the apartment with so much less time spent working out.  But alas…I don’t have much to show for it.

My goal for post-marathon Week #2 was to return to regular (albeit mostly easy) running, for about 25-30 miles, if possible.  To keep my overall workout load reduced, I planned to cut back on my cross-training workouts for the week.  This corresponded nicely with having guests, too.

Monday (Sept. 2): BodyPump

A two week break from BodyPump doesn’t do your (or at least, my) muscles any favors, that’s for sure.  I kept my weights fairly light – downloaded a bit from what I was using in July and early August.  And despite doing the squats and lunges without any added weight at all – I was feeling the burn, both in class and most definitely the next day.

We also went to another supermarket, and were able to find popcorn kernels.  After checking the snack aisle, the cereal aisle, and the grains aisle, we accidentally stumbled up them HERE.  Kind of makes sense, I guess...?

We also went to another supermarket, and were able to find popcorn kernels. After checking the snack aisle, the cereal aisle, and the grains aisle, we accidentally stumbled up them HERE. Kind of makes sense, I guess…?

Tuesday: Run (6.1 mi)

My dear friend Deb arrived for a visit verrrrrry early on Tuesday morning.  She’s a running machine, and promptly informed me that she wanted to run.  So, we ran.  The pace was a bit faster than my usual, but the miles flew by as we chatted and caught up.  As I did most of my marathon training alone, having someone to chat with really helped pass the time.

Wednesday: Run (8.1 mi)

Deb needed to do her long run, and wanted to check out the trails near our apartment.  I obliged, and we ran one loop of McRitchie Reservoir together.

Deb on the run.  [*cue music*]

Deb on the run.

After one round, we parted ways and I headed home, while she completed a second loop.  And in those 8 solo miles, she had more adventures than I’ve had since moving here: Mischievous monkeys ransacking boxes of water bottles, a sighting of a small snake, and a close encounter with a monitor lizard!

Playful monkeys on the first loop; she didn't have a camera to catch their shenanigans on her second round!  How many monkeys do you see...?

Playful monkeys on the first loop; she didn’t have a camera to catch their shenanigans on her second round! How many monkeys do you see…?

Thursday: Rest

Actually, it poured all day.  We went to a museum and took things slow and easy.

Friday: Run (3.6 mi)

KMN and Deb both did longer, faster workouts.  I pulled the “I just ran a marathon 1.5 weeks ago” card, and took a shortened option.

Saturday: Hiking in Palau Ubin

Our Garmin died partway through the trip, but we probably walked/hiked about 6-7 miles for the day.  Since we were all running a race the following day, I opted out of any other workouts.

Sunday: 5.6 miles + 20 Story Stair Climb

All three of us (KMN, Deb, and I) ran the Salomon Vertical City Trail Race.  I’ll post a separate race report soon, but suffice to say that I am much better trained for longer distances at the moment.  It was also a great example of That Time Coach Holly Ran The Race She Always Lectures You NOT To Run.  Stay tuned. [Edit: Salomon Vertical City Trail Race Report]

All smiles before the race!

All smiles before the race!

Total Workout Time for the week: 5 hrs, 38 min – almost all running, with some stretching/rolling.  Having Deb around this week was a great motivator for me to get back out on the pavement and trails.  Zipping off to the gym while guests are visiting seemed a bit of a waste – so that helped keep most of my training time run-specific.  Next week (uh…that would be this week that has just passed), it’s back to running + cross training, though.  Bring on 2 weeks of post-recovery, pre-taper 50K training!

What is the coolest/scariest animal you’ve ever seen while out running?

Anyone have a good recipe for pesto?  I made pesto last night, and it was a flop.  But I have an over-achieving basil plant, so…help a girl out?

Did you notice the new Run With Holly Gravatar photo (in the Comments section – I’m not just a green design anymore – I have an actual picture!!)?  Not to brag (much), but I have to admit that I’m feeling extra snazzy now!

Weekly Workout Round-Up (Aug. 19-25): Pre-Marathon Week

There are some blog-related changes coming up here (namely, more frequent, more varied, and less Holly-centric posts), but first, let’s do some Weekly Workout Rounding-Up.  These are mostly for me, anyway – and apparently you guys like them, too, because they tend to get lots of Comments.  Anyway, how did my workouts look pre-Marathon week?  Let’s hop back to the end of August:

Monday (Aug. 19): Run (1.5 mi)

I met a client for a side-by-side treadmill run.  But she had arrived at the gym early, and was halfway done by the time I joined.  I ran with her until the end of her workout, then we did some stretching together.  By the time that was done, I was hungry and didn’t feel like hopping back on the treadmill.  I called 1.5 miles good for the evening, and rewarded myself by using the escalator instead of the stairs.

What? I'm preparing for a marathon, OK? Every bit of rest counts!! [Kidding.  There's no 'stairs' option in this particular spot.]

What? I’m preparing for a marathon, OK? Every bit of rest counts!! [Kidding. There’s no ‘stairs’ option in this particular spot.]

Tuesday: Run (4.1 mi)

I met another client for an early morning run.  Many of my training plans include once-per-month telephone consults, and I offer my local clients the chance to substitute a run together for a phone call.  This is useful in many ways – and just a little bonus for my locals!  Depending on the pace and distance, I don’t always include these in my training tally, but this was a taper week, so every mile was going in – including these four!

I came home and had these for lunch.  In fact, I had this for lunch almost every day this week:

Homemade nachos, topped with refried beans&corn, cheese, salsa, and a salad.

Homemade nachos: Lay the chips on a plate and top with a refried beans/corn mixture and cheese, then broil for 2 minutes. Garnish with salsa and a salad on top.

Wednesday: Yin Yoga


And since we’re talking food, my breakfasts this week pretty much all looked like this.

I was hoping for some hip stretching; instead, Joyce had a class full of back stretches planned.  I still left feeling relaxed and calm.

Dear Alan: Sorry I skipped your spin class.  But leg resting, and all that jazz.

Thursday: Run (3.9 mi)

I wanted to get my legs moving before boarding my flight to Perth – so I ran 10 min easy/10 min tempo/10 min easy.  This was enough to get everything flowing, but not so much that I exhausted myself.  In the afternoon, I was PERTH-BOUND!!!!

Friday: Walking around Freemantle

Sightseeing report pending.  But we saw dolphins, got shipwrecked, and went to jail.  It was an exciting day.

Saturday: Shake-out run (2.5 mi)

Grace & I couldn’t stop exclaiming, “It’s so COOL!  It’s so NICE!  This weather is AWESOME!!!!!!!”  We ran along the Swan River, which would be part of the course the following day.  Only difference was that we were on the pedestrian path, and on Sunday, the road would be closed for us.  Yippee!!

Sunday: Perth Marathon (26.2 mi)

Here’s the link to my Perth Race Report, Part 1 and Part 2.

Along with the stretching and rolling I did, my weekly workout time was 7 hrs, 15 min (although 3 hrs, 30 min without the marathon!).  This was a smidge light for a pre-race week: I’d planned to drop my mileage to about 50% (20-25 miles) the week before the race, but instead only ran about 12 miles.  [However, if I counted the previous Sunday’s run, which was technically part of the “week before”, then I was at 17 miles.]  Honestly, though, I wasn’t too fussed.  I’d already put in my training, so my goals for the week were to keep moving, but not get too tired or injured.  And I succeeded.

A quick word about pre-marathon food – I trained just fine on my normal diet, so I didn’t plan to change much in the week before.  I think the biggest changes were that I didn’t buy any Pringles the week before the marathon, and did made sure to eat 3 full meals each day (sometimes I just snack through lunch).  Toast was a popular breakfast that week, and nachos were common for lunch.  Dinners were starch + protein + veggies; and since KMN was out of town, they were often thrown together at the last minute.  Like I said – I eat pretty well on a regular basis, and didn’t see any need to change a solid system that worked well during training.

Finally, in the days leading up to a big-effort workout or race, hydration is very important:


Look, Mom! I emptied them ALL.

And with that, I’m outta here. Final post-marathon thoughts, post-marathon Workout Round-Up, and a report from last Sunday’s 10K + Stair Climb race all coming soon!

Finish this sentence: “My dream nachos would be topped with ___________________________?”
[See above photo for my answer.]
[Huh? You don’t dream about nachos?  What’s wrong with you?!?]

What are your tips/tricks for staying hydrated?
[This isn’t a problem for me, but I have clients who struggle to drink enough during the day.  I’m always looking for more helpful suggestions to provide to them!]