Shape Run 15k Singapore 2016

The alarm went off very early last Sunday morning for me anyway. With a 6am start at the events space next to MBS the Shape Run 2016 was underway. Well, the 15km event that is.  There was a 10km, a 5km and a 1.8km Family Run. And there were times when I wondered why on earth didn’t I just do the 5km and be happy?  The Shape Run is a ladies only event and has been going a fair few years now.  I have done the run a few times over the years and the route this year was by far the best experience.  Generally,  less hairpins, doubling back and crossing over etc.   Having said that I think a fair amount of the land that this route covered didn’t even exist when I first did this run.   So great use of new land!

The race was a great one.  The race pack pick up was a breeze and the contents were pretty good.  The t-shirt sizing was exactly as described (always a lottery) and the route took us around some great Singapore landmarks.

Just in case you were wondering the weather at 6am on Sunday morning was perfect. There was no hint of a thunderstorm like there had been on previous mornings – there was a gentle breeze and more than a whiff of excitement in the air along with a little aroma de portable toilets but aside from that all was good in the world.

Shape Start

The start was the typical sprint start that every race seems to have, but there were some walkers that slowed the pack at narrower points.   [Note to Walkers:  I don’t mind you walking that is fine with me (although why you would pay to enter a race and get up that early, and then walk is beyond me) BUT if you are going to walk, please don’t start at the front of a race.  Wait until the runners have gone and then start walking at the back].

Anyway, the first kilometre which was slooooowwww going ran along side Marina bay.  As we turned right to go past Gardens by the Bay the pack spread out and the run became wonderful.  We then headed over the Barrage (and oh what lovely breezes) and onwards around the golf course.  We did a bit of offroad at this point but nothing serious – straight back on tarmac fairly quickly – phew.  Then on past the stadium complex, before heading back on Nicoll Highway and along the river past the F1 pit buildings then towards the Fullerton Bay Hotel before a fast finish down Marina Boulevard.    There was a good number of hydration stops and even an occasional cheering volunteer which helps.

Route Shape

At the 13km mark just at the end of the helix bridge,  the 10k and the 5k races all merged.  This was a really impressive site – runners everywhere, and i was thinking wow right up until I found myself jostling for air time with equally tired 5 and 10km racers/walkers.  Was great that we could all finish together but at 13km my tolerance and ability to dodge was a bit off.  It did cause me to pick up the pace and attempt to outrun them.   Apologies for anyone that I brushed past with a sweaty arm.

Personal opinion on this race is that I would do it again in a heartbeat, but maybe not this week.  My knees are struggling today.

 

Workout health warning (the practical stuff)

I am going to post a selection of work outs that are good fun or ones that i like.  Now remember, that you must be fit and healthy and have the ok from a doctor if you do these workouts.   If you are not sure of any form get your self some professional advice or look up info on the internet.   You are fully responsible for your own physical wellbeing if you carry out any of these workouts and please don’t blame me.

Remember to warm up, cool down and stretch post working out.  I won’t always mention this but just keep it at the back of your mind.  Thanks folks.  Now lets have some work out fun.

C

Plan the run, run the plan

I am a bit late posting this but better late than never.

With some idea that signing up for a half marathon would actually make me run and keep me motivated to stay fit blah blah, so now I am a fully signed up Angkor Wat half marathon entrant. I also dragged along a couple of friends who were not quite so motivated but are certainly getting into the groove now. The location is amasing and the weather should be cooler – what can go wrong?

We have 6 months to race day and preparations have started – and a plan needed to be created. Every good race starts with a plan right?   Google ‘half marathon training plan’ and see what you get????

Dear God, there are literally thousands, probably millions in fact, of training plans online. A lot of them, admittedly seem to be in miles and are clearly aimed at the US market, but nonetheless there are a lot of training plans online. Then there are the apps, books, magazine articles, blogs, runners forums all telling you basically the same thing, which is, you have to run to get good at running which means spending a lot of time running. There is a theme. But how can you get over this when you don’t have time to run that much, and really would rather prefer to do other forms of training and i mean ANY other form of training including Zumba.

Still I persevered because it the only way right?  Using a lot of research i created the following plan for my preparation. It seemed to suit my schedules, sort of, and would work very well to get me to where i wanted. I tried it to see how it went and I failed on week 2.   I missed my trainer, i missed crossfit, I missed my life (and its not as it its particularly exciting). I hated running and I certainly wasn’t getting around to the longer runs on the weekend. Right, back to basics and write a plan for ME. Here is the original plan (Sorry about the quality)

Original PLan

I figured out what i liked and what i already did, and why i failed miserably and now with 5 months to go here is the new plan (sorry again about the quality)

New Plan

You see the difference?

This involves a mix of cross fit or seeing my trainer 4 or 5 days a week, a couple of random other classes/sessions to keep it interesting and one long run on the weekend and that is it. Oh and a bit of yoga, if i can fit it in.  In short the weeks are not running and i do cross raining.  So part of the reason for this series of posts is to find out can i do a half with just minimal running and maximal cross fit and cross training workouts? and how does it feel?

Wish me luck – i may just be crazy.

Oh, and I have one final trick up my sleeve. You recall I just couldn’t get around to those long runs on the weekends? Well, I simply signed up to a bunch of races. Its amasing, if you pay (and in some cases quite a lot) to run, you sure as hell should turn up to run. Is this a 5 star training approach? Probably but lets hope it works.

MSIG 10k Singapore 2016

Last Sunday was the 2nd MSIG Singapore Action Asia 50 run. The race pack was fairly ok, the t shirt was Salomon, but i hate t-shirts so cut the arms off which made me look a bit hard core. I was cool though. Credit to the race team the sizing on the website was realistic. However given my many experiences with the sizing charts and the fact that i now largely ignore them, it meant that the large was a bit, well, large. One day i will get these right. And in the mean time Navigating Singapore race t-shirt sizing deserves a blog post of its own.

Anyway, back to the race – Advertised as ‘mostly off road’ with a ‘mixture of grass, track, trail & road’, this race ticked those boxes and the rain overnight gave it a special little something. They also went on to describe this as a flat fast trail through the heart of Singapore. Not sure i would agree wholly there as there was a bit of up hill walking going on at times but there again i am new to off road trail running what do I know.

Getting to the start in Chestnut Nature Reserve car park actually proved very easy, helped in many ways by the fact that I didn’t read any of the pre race ‘you must not drive to the start’ etc, so the taxi dropped us off about 100m from the start line. Oops.

We were signed up for the 10k which was the shortest distance on offer, i could have done 21k and 50k. Maybe next year…. Anyway, it was a pretty modest field of runners probably the smallest i have seen in any race in Singapore which made it a very civilised experience. I have been wondering why this was the case.

Quite a few wearing the Compressport freebie calf compression sleeves from last week’s Compressport run on Nicol Highway. And a lot of people were looking very much ‘the part’ in full compression. Indeed, one gentlemen who looked like he was sponsored by 2XU sprinted off like a gazelle from the start line. I saw him again around the 3km mark walking uphill. Clearly, you needed more than the outfit for this.

The route itself was pretty straight forward. The first 500m or so was on the road before turning onto the trail itself. The 3rd km took us through some lovely trail areas (this is where i passed 2XU man) before rejoining the motorway route. The 5th kilometre was marked by a beautiful rolling strip of grassland, which i thought would have been fab on a mountain bike, before crossing under the KJE intersection and moving onto pathways. We stayed on undulating pathways with a bit of grassland until 8.5 km when we had did a small off road loop before coming back to the road and heading to the finish line.

MSIG Route 2016

Yes, it could have been a bit more trail based and i found out I like the rocky more technical terrain but not a bad route with good variety for a first timer to trail running. Would I do it again? Yes, if you discounted the fact that you ran along side an expressway for almost the entire time, it was a lovely run. My TomTom tracked it as 10.45km and no, I don’t think i have made the Olympic team with my time.

Couple of other things – there was the no water cups policy – you had to bring your own bottles filled. There was no water at the start. Was this in the name of cost, ease of cleaning up, reduced litter in the nature park? Who knows but it meant i did need to buy a water bottle holder waist gadget thing to do the run – I LOVE GADGETS. This will now accompany me on every run. And they were giving out free ice lollies at the end but the queue was a bit long and the process was a bit slow so i gave up.

Finally, getting home. We totally lucked out. We got straight into a tax that was dropping someone else off. Felt a bit bad as we were v sweaty but we soon got over that.

Hello world & a special hello to the little red dot

Welcome to my shiny new blog about Health & Fitness with a Singapore focus and maybe a little twist of Asia.

I have done a lot of thinking, reading and practising to make this leap and become a blogger.  There is literally a ton of stuff on the internet explaining the do’s and don’ts of blogging – how to create, what to create, what to avoid, and I have just done it.  Actually it was easier than I expected, technically speaking that is.  Actually, writing this post was a harder than I expected.  Let’s hope it gets easier with practice.

I am just so excited that i get to share some fantastic stuff with you.   So, I will be using this blog to:

  • Showcase Singapore’s fitness scene.  Since I have lived here for almost a decade I can say that it has grown and is still growing and now offers fantastically exciting training opportunities at every corner.
  • Do fitness experiments – like my first one – can I run a half marathon with minimal running training?  All of this will be done in 32 degrees and 90% humidity.
  • Test theories on fitness like optimal training and female hormones, and training and low carb diets.  Not Singapore specific but definitely interesting.
  • Share fitness tips and ideas and things that worked for me over the years and also some of my better work outs just for fun. I like this bit and again its not Singapore related but the workouts will definitely be suitable for using in the gyms and parks and homes of Singapore and around the world.

Please subscribe and see where this journey will take us.  Leave me some comments on what you would like to see and let’s create a singapore fitness community right here.