Tuesday, July 17, 2012

National Vertical Marathon 2012!

A different experience by the "Mileage Couple"! :

I posted this as my status in Facebook “Lifts and escalators are invented for a reason. No more vertical marathons!”
And I truly stand by it. Ok fine, maybe no more vertical marathons till ….next year.

The coach and I took part in the Lover’s Challenge category in the National Vertical Marathon organized by NTU. It was my first ever vertical marathon. The only other sets of stairs that I climb daily are the 18 steps in our home and those leading to my office. But my office is on the 2nd level so they don’t really help much. I do try to intensify the “training” by running up the steps in my 3 inch stilettos.

I knew it will be a painful experience having tried to do 3 sets of 21 levels at my sis’s apartment few months prior. That was my one and only so-called serious training for vertical marathon. I was just hoping that being quite a regular runner, I would not suffer major cramps on my way up. Trust me, it’s a whole lot of different bio-mechanisms engaged as compared to running.

Fast forward to race day. I was so glad the number of levels to climb was lowered to 40. We thought our start time was 5pm but it was actually at 3.23pm. And to think I had just wolfed down a plate of Phad Thai with heaps of chili padi at 2pm. I was having major burps and tummy burn. I distracted myself from the discomfort by immersing myself in the race atmosphere. As with any new race experience, every sight and sound was a fresh feeling.

We started off in batches and when it was nearing our turn, the adrenaline was building up even though we were treating it as a fun race and couple bonding time. We had to run a short distance before we commence the climb and I was still thinking ‘not bad, legs feel good’. That deceptive thought vanished immediately once I set foot on the very first step.

I’ve never sworn so much in a race before. And I really mean out loud. 5 levels up and my thighs were already burrrnnnniiinnnggg…. I simply could not comprehend how some participants could join more than 1 category on the same day and race up those horrible latic acid inducing steps many times over. Coach’s encouragement kept me going (and swearing) though i must admit that at times I did get irritated by his encouragement because it’s universal knowledge that he’s not suffering as much as me. For him, his heart probably wasn’t even ticking at more than 60 per minute.

Upon reaching the final level, we had to run another 70m or so and cross the line hand-in-hand. My legs were jelly-fied by then. If Coach wasn’t holding my hand I probably would have crossed the line on all fours.

I wasn’t happy with my timing at all which I thought was disastrous as compared to the Open category’s times. Coach’s remark to me that ‘even 14 year old students climb faster than you’ was simply rubbing salt into the open wound and hammering my already deflated ego. Utterly despondent and dejected, I turned to my trusty recipe for some good cheer- desserts! I didn’t think we will emerge top 3 so I dragged Coach to have desserts at Chinatown instead of waiting for the results.

By some stroke of good luck, we received a call from the organizers that we emerged 3rd. That was a little mood booster but it could not deny the fact that I am still much slower than secondary school girls. The prizes were decent and we probably now have a half year supply of shower gel to use.

Conclusion? Vertical marathon is painful and definitely needs specific training for it. Amidst all the profanities from me, it’s definitely good fun especially when it’s accomplished with your other half.

Too bad there aren’t any photos to show as I too dazed by the going round and round to stand still for any pose.

By Michelle~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Strive to achieve that mileage

An entry by our new member Ronald! Congratulation for achieving a PB in the 5000m time trial @ CCAB on 5 Oct 2011! It is an impressive performance to achieve a 2min improvement within a month!


I never competed a 5km race before. Usually when I didn't exceed 30mins at 5km mark, I would be happy to say that I am still within target.

My personnel best at 5km is 26mins all along, until 5 October 2011.

"2 laps to go Ronald!"

I huffed and I puffed during last 2 laps of the Time Trail, it was not easy, as I was supposed to pace the 3 ladies behind me, but they were already ahead of me. Coach was shouting at the finishing line with his stop-watch "Two zero four, two zero five, two zero six!" counting my pace when I was approaching.

At least I could really understand what is meant by Pace after I joined Mileage, a running workshop to train myself for the grandest Marathon at the end of the year. I couldn't figure how to calculate the paces when I read them from the magazines. Even some basic theory of leg exercises, I would have keep on doing the wrong ways if not for the running workshop.

My 12 and a half laps of running at the stadium produce this result:

Dist      Lap Split
0200m 0:54
0600m 1:50 2:44
1000m 1:55 4:39
1400m 1.57 6:36
1800m 2:01 8:38
2200m 1:59 10:37
2600m 1:56 12:33
3000m 2:00 14:33
3400m 1:58 16:32
3800m 2:07 18:40
4200m 2:06 20:46
4600m 2:06 22:53
5000m 1:43 24:36

I tried to sprint at the last lap, but alas, "not enough gas" when I have run ahead of the 3 ladies.

The time was 24 minutes. Alamak! I broke my PB for 5km by 2 minutes! I have never dreamt that I could make it in the first place, told coach I would try my best when he set the time at 24 minutes before my run.

Congratulations and encouragements poured in from my fellow team mates after that. I was so touched to receive so many compliments from everyone.

I even got the prized tee shirt given by coach tonight. I believe it will boost me to another level of faster running soon. Set to perform better in future races. Cheers!

By Ronald Quek

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An entry from our friend Marsha~

An entry from our friend Marsha~

Happy 3rd Anniversary Mileage! I was with Mileage for a brief three weeks during a business trip to Singapore. While my experience was short, it was VERY rewarding. The group is small, which allows for close-knit relationships and personalized training.

Everyone in the group was accommodating and friendly. The coach customized my workouts based on my pace and goals, and helped me work through the injuries and pains I was feeling. The workouts were more challenging than what I was used to, but I never regretted a single workout. The feeling of accomplishment after finishing one of coach's workouts is indescribable! The other runners in the group kept me motivated to do my best, no matter how lazy I was feeling. I highly recommend Mileage, and would return to the group if I am ever in Singapore again!

Thank you to Gary (for introducing me to the group), Jan and Jac (for running with me and keeping me motivated), Michelle and Joe (for inspiring me to push harder when I was feeling tired), Evelyn (for bringing fruit and always being so happy), and Kien Mau (for being a supportive coach)!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Fubon Taipei Marathon 2010

A Race Report by Michelle~ (Sorry for late update!)

There is only one word to describe Taipei Half Marathon- Unexpected. No, let’s make that 2 words- Totally Unexpected.

Ever since missing out on Gold Coast Half Marathon in July 2010 due to a bad bout of infection, I have been falling sick every other month and for that I’ve missed 2 other races and 1 time trial. Not forgetting missing out on trainings every other week. I did not train specifically for Taipei half marathon because according to Coach’s words, “You can’t complete the training anyway”. How encouraging. My intervals were mostly 5k volume and my long runs never more than 21km (ok, once I hit 25 and that was it). I did have some breakthroughs in training so I was trying to spur myself on by convincing myself that I was still fitter now than in end 2009.

[Coach's note, Sorry Michelle! I must be joking when i said that and did i say that? Oops. So sorry!)

Soon came 15th Dec 2010 where we departed for Taipei. When I woke up on that morning of departure, my throat was as scratchy as sandpaper. Not a good sign. I hurriedly took Pi Pa Gao (Chinese medicine) and down vitamin C water. In my carry-on bag were packs of pills for sore throat, cough, fever, cold and diarrhea. I kept sneezing en route to Taipei and I was silently begging my body “Please please, please “dong” (endure) for 4 more days”. Alas, my condition worsened day by day. Every day, I was buying more medicine for myself- cough syrup, more Pi Pa Gao and stronger flu tablets. The day before the race, I asked Coach “will I die if I run?”

Miraculously, on race day morning, my nose has cleared (everyone, try Zyrtac-D!) save for a little sniffle. The phlegm in my lungs have also cleared somewhat though I was still wheezing when I breathe. Judging from the temperature the day before, I settled for T-shirt, shorts, a pair of arm warmer and hope and pray that my legs and fingers won’t freeze.

The whole gang (Coach, Sze Uei, Wei An, Evelyn and I, together with Uncle Lim and Uncle Roy, both from MR25) took a nice and slow 15 mins warm up to race start venue. We reached at around 45 mins to race start and the crowd was already thick with participants from all categories. Wei an wasn’t exaggerating indeed when he said that the year before, the crowd was so huge that he was left with no choice but to climb over the barrier in an effort to get closer to the start point. After a short stretching session and the mandatory toilet visit, I was good to go line up in the start pen. In the most unglamorous fashion, I clambered over the barricade, aided by friendly Taiwanese runners who made a clearing for me to jump into. Race atmosphere was quite electrifying with music blaring in the background but the runners around me were deathly quiet and serious. Pre-race anxiety I suppose.

Race start for the masses was exactly 3 mins after the elite start. Roads were wide with about 5 lanes so after 1km thereabouts of turf fighting, one could run with ample space. Given my condition, my target was to just equal or slightly better my last PB of 1:45 set at Angkor Wat Half Marathon a year ago. My legs felt quite good for the 1st 5km but I had no idea what pace I was running. There were supposedly distance marker at every km but I reckon I was busier with sightseeing than spotting the markers. That’s what I love about racing overseas- there are new sights to distract you along the way.

The 1st marker I saw was at the 7th km and a glance on my polar showed that I was quite ahead of a 5 min/km pace. At that point, I was still feeling quite alright except for the occasional hacking and itchy throat. At the 10km, I clocked 48mins. “Not bad!” I thought. It has been proven that the 3rd quarter of any race is always the hardest mentally. I comforted and entertained myself by spotting full marathon runners around me and pitied them for they are only ¼ way through. Ha ha!

There were 2 sponge stations for the half marathon route and I absolutely think every Singapore races should adopt this idea. Even during temperatures of 15 deg Celsius in Taipei I found sponges a cool relief! Not knowing when the next drink station was going to be, I sucked on the soaked sponge, much to the disgusted look of the volunteer at the sponge station.

As usual, when I hit the 12th km mark, I would be thinking “just a northern route to go!” (Explanation: To me, a half marathon race is taken as 20km-just a deceitful way to make it easier on the mind) I’m pretty sure I’ve glanced at my watch now and then and knew I was doing well below a 5 min/km pace, but as to exactly what kind of timing I was running I have absolutely no idea. My CPU usage was already at saturation trying to tackle kilometer after kilometer so there wasn’t any more RAM for mental sums.

At probably 17km or so, I heard a “clap clap” from behind and to my surprise (or maybe it was horror, I can’t remember now) it was Wei An! In my mind I was thinking he’s going to get it from Coach again.

Up to this point, I was really enjoying myself so far. The supporters were evenly spread out and they were amazing- amazingly good looking. Either I was already delirious with fatigue or Taiwanese are a real handsome and pretty bunch, but I sure had an eyeful ogling at the hunks and babes. How did I feel physically up to this point? Well, my legs weren’t as fresh definitely but I enticed them with a pampering massage if they could hold up right till the end. Nose was dripping but nothing a wipe on my T-shirt and arm warmer couldn’t handle. Coughed up phlegm which went back the same way it came up.

After the last right turn, the finish arc was in sight. The feeling of seeing the finish was mixed. Knowing that I was on my way to complete another race was a delightful feeling but seeing the finish and still having to run at least 400m more towards it was torture. Of course, the latter feeling diminished in proportion to the distance to finish. When I finally stepped on the mat, it was 1:39:08 on my watch. It took a little while to sink in that I’ve not only done a PB but also hit my delayed goal of a 1:39:59 (was aiming this timing way back in July). My body, as if knowing that it has done its part in holding up for this race, gave up almost immediately and I was nursing a fever for the rest of the day.

Everyone else did well and special mention goes to Sze Uei. This guy either has talented genes or secret boot camp training for he did his maiden 21.1km in 1:44! It was only a couple of months ago that he was struggling to pass his 2.4km test. Perhaps, it was simply Mileage’s training philosophy of quality over quantity.

I would highly recommend Fubon Taipei Marathon for a half marathon race. There were altogether 3 climbs for the race but nothing lung and leg breaking. Good organization, perfect weather and coupled with a pretty fast route and decent scenery, this makes quite an ideal race. But the greatest enjoyment for me? The great company whom I travelled with and the hordes of decadent food that we savored on the pretext of carbo-loading. It was a no wonder that everyone returned with a PB on the weighing scale as well.

Michelle finished the half marathon with a PB of 1:39:08

 Uncle Lim & Roy Finishing
Wei ann finish the half marathon with a PB of 1:33:05
Sze Uei finished his first half marathon with a PB of 1:44:24
Group photo, post run celebration with local beer!

Mileage group photo after the race at finishing point, small group but it was fun!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bareno Run 2010

~contributed by Michelle~

Event Date: Mar 14
Venue: Bukit Jalil
Distance: 15km for Coach, 10km for the mere mortals

Before the recce of the race route:
Chantelle: Coach, i aim to do sub 50! I'll push this time!
Coach: I'll try to break 50mins for 15km. Not easy but it's a challenge

Coach to Gabor: What's your PB for 10km? 42mins? Try to go for PB.
Gabor to Coach: Let's see, i'll try.

Me to Coach: What should i aim for? I guess i'll aim for 46:59
Coach to Me: 45:59.
Me: 46:59.
Coach: 45:59.

AFTER the recce of the race route:
Chantelle: Think i'll be happy with sub 60. I'll aim for PB another time.

Gabor: I'll not run for the timing this time, there's no point. I'll try to go for good position

Me to Coach: I think i'll be happy with a 48:59.
Coach to Me: *Silence* (means consent)

I guess that gives you an inkling of how challenging the route was. I kid you not but the only flat portions were the start and the finish which were hardly more than 100m each. This has got to be most consistent race route i've attempted- consistently going up and down. My quads and hamstrings were given a very thorough workout.

We reached the race site 55mins prior to race start (35mins for coach's start). My warm up routine this time was the simplest so far- 2 x 200m jog to the ladies and back + one tiny round of the stadium carpark + stretching. No striding whatsoever. I didn't have the usual pre-race jitters and in fact, i felt unusually calm. Maybe because the distance was something that i was comfortable with (it's less than 1 loop round MacRitchie!) and i did not have any expectations for this race- not with the roller coaster terrain.

Fast forward to 5 mins from race start. There were about 500 participants for the 10km category so it wasn't that crowded as the start area was pretty spacious . Coach repeatedly warned Gabor and I to squeeze right to the front. Given the naughty-boy attitude of Gabor and the too-paisay-to-stand-right-in-front mentality of mine, we happily settled for the 6th row.

0secs to race start. Legs ok- check. Feel good and fresh enough- check. Tough and mentally strong enough to take on the slopes- check.

The moment one turns out from the start pen, there was already a gentle and long slope eagerly welcoming you. This was followed by a sharp left turn-more slope-right turn-another slope (!!) and this pattern continues....

I had this athletic Indian girl in sight for the 1st 3km. She was keeping a good pace and we were taking turns to lead. But she fell back after 3km and i could not spot any ladies in front. On and off, i'll try to draft behind male runners. I digress- Somehow, from experience, drafting beside a male runner is tough because whenever they spot a lady beside them, they will accelerate and drop me behind. Then when i come up to beside them again, they accelerate again..Men's ego @ work?

The most memorable slope of the race was this particularly steep and winding one in a park at about 5ish km. If the earlier slopes were daunting, this was a slap in your face. I slowed down to a trot. I couldn't and didn't want to push because i had no idea how freaking long the slope was. (We didn't recce this part of the route). What kept my legs moving was my mantra of "whatever that goes up has to come down".

After we exited the park, it was a gradual downslope which allowed runners much cardio respite, alas not for too long. After a left turn, one is greeted by the KING of the slopes. If the earlier steep slope in the park was a slap in the face, then this was a punch in the nose. Mentally, i was prepared for this slope and given that this would be the last slope before approaching the finish, I pushed myself as much as my legs and lungs could take. There were cones to segregate the running lane from the traffic and they were spaced about 5m apart. As i willed myself up the slope, i did a countdown from 15 for every cone i passed. This allowed a self delusional distraction from the latic burn in the quads. 15....10....huffin'....8...heavin'.......5....puffin'...3...2....1. I looked up. Darn. 15 wasn't enough. But i was almost there. I could see the summit.

After i hit the crest, i saw the comforting sight of coach. Comforting because it meant the finish was near by. Usually i could manage a smile when i see him but this time, i only had enough left to raise my eyebrow in acknowledgement. Nonetheless, his thunderous "GO MICHELLE" spurred me for the last 1km (actually it was because i thought there was another lady closing in that's why he shouted exceptionally loud and that prompted me to pick up my pace).

After a mountainous journey, finally i could see the finish in sight. I squeezed out whatever that was left and sprinted for the finish. As i clicked the "stop" button on my polar, i glanced at my watch and took a double take at the screen. The screen read "46:55". An unexpected result indeed. It was a PB of 6 secs. The official handed me a tag that says "Women Open 1st". Oh wow, that was another huge surprise.

Gabor achieved a commendable 11th placing, chantelle 5th and the runner-from-another-planet aka Coach did an impressive 52mins for 15km and had all other runners eat his dust. He was just 2 mins away from walking off with a jacuzzi from Bareno. (The jacuzzi was a special prize for any Malaysian who could break 50mins for 15km).

The Malaysian hospitality was impressive with free chendol, tau huay, milo and fruits at the race carnival. A pity i did not have the appetite for them as my stomach was still churning from the roller coaster ride.

Enroute to Singapore in the long car journey, i reflected on the race. What we face everyday in this Living is analogous to the uphills and downhills in the race. When the path gets steeper and you find yourself at the brink of giving up, just remember- Whatever that goes up, has to come down.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mileage's Picnic & Photo Shooting


Contributed by Jan Cheang~

I was reading a short article and found this. It says that if I had answered “yes” to any of this list of questions, then I am considered as an addict. I was thinking about running when answering these questions – and yes, I’m addicted to running! And I believe that almost all of you are too!

The following is the list of questions:

I. Can you hardly wait until you are alone so you can experience the feeling that comes from taking part in the experience?

Sort of, like cant wait to get off work on Mon and Wed evenings ..........
II. Do you find yourself avoiding people because they interfere with your addiction?
Yes! It’s like I dread having dinner invitations on Mon and Wed and Sat nights. I even dread getting invitation to weekend lunches because I rather sleep at home after my long runs. Tsk tsk...becoming very anti-social.
III. Do you find yourself daydreaming about your habit?
Very often... especially now when I have been googling on overseas marathons ever so often!
IV. Do you regularly turn to your habit when you are troubled?
Yes! Nothing beats sweating out on a run after a bad day...or when you have some terrible things to sort out in your mind.
V. Do you feel better able to face life after engaging in your habit?
Quite true...this was why I took up marathon running again in 2003.
VI. Do you get upset if you cannot partake in your habit for a long period of time?
Cant agree more! Will be worrying sick about how fat and unfit I’ve become etc...
VII. Do you prefer to be with other people who do what you do?
Of course lah! See you all 3 times a week and still can spend time picnicing with the same people on a precious Saturday...I see you all more than I see my mom and dad!