Thursday, January 26, 2012

Speed training is scary!

Stepping into my 4th week of training, I have to say that the journey hasn't been too easy for me. There are two surprises I found... The first surprise is declined my fitness level since my last marathon in November; the second surprise is the difficulty of the interval (threshold) training.

To summarizes my first 3 weeks of training, I did my first half marathon in my first week of training. Well, I know that it's kinda crazy. But since my last marathon was just 2 months ago. I think, this first marathon would be my good indication about my fitness level. It was one of the Nike + challenges.

No set location, I just ran in my own area and then sync my result to the website. It could be my advantage to get a good time as I know my normal running area well. But it didn't turn out that way. I completed in 2 hours and 2 minutes, slightly outside of my normal time.   Well, I gave myself some grace for that.  From now on, it's just going to be faster and faster. So no more 2 hours for my half anymore!

My second surprise was my new training regime - interval (threshold) training.  It is a simple running between fast speed running and then recovery joy follows. The whole set will be repeated again.  The hardest thing for me is becoming out of the breath at the end of the speed training and it is very very uncomfortable and scary! However, more I do it now, more I realise that it is the key to run marathon fast! I believe that I can finish a marathon but the key for is how fast do I want.  Last year of my marathon training, I focused on the completion of the course.  Weekly long run is the most essential element in my training.  With it, I completed the course in a respectable time.  However, if I want to run fast and complete it fast, long run is not enough... threshold running and even with hills running will be the keys! So, here it is... scary as it is, for my 4 hours completion, it is the challenge for me, not only my physical body but also my mind as well.  Imagine, you are grasping every single breath as your body needs it so badly.  Errrrrrrrccccccccccchhhhhhhh! That's hurt!

New challenge to my body, new challenge to my brain! Mental strength is even harder to train than the physical body.  After my one month of running without the training plan, changing back to the training gear is challenging! Nike has launched a campaign, MAKEITCOUNT, which aims to motivate you for the new year! Different sport celebrities made their statements or pledges in order to fulfill the purpose of the campaign.  Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, Mark Cavendish are just a few....

Well.. the photo shot with the pledge isn't just for the celebrities... but also for normal ordinary people... like me! So, I have a shot, not as so coooooolllllllllllllll as Paula's. The point is the pledge! The statement with me for this year! Here it is!

Run Fast,  Train Hard; make everyday count!

When I was writing this, I was indeed thinking of the hard speed training! So, it's the statement that I made for this year.  It is not only applying on my running training but actually other parts of my life! But it's always great to start on my training! 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year! 

Sorry for being so quiet recently from blogging. I'm amazed how Christmas baking and my work in hospital have been keeping me away from blogging. Considering we are still in January, I hope that you had a fantastic Christmas, a fabulous and energetic new year! January is always en exciting month, the old year has gone, and we all are excited about the coming new year. 2012 is quite a special year, especially in London, where Olympic games will be held in August. Hence, it is making my marathon running in this year more exciting and challenging. I definitely want to do so much more better than my debut year of marathon running, especially, it ended in such a high note (a PB was made). Therefore, I am aiming to complete my London marathon around 4 hours. Yes! 4 HOURS! It is a high aim for me, if there is no challenge, why bother to do training? Therefore, I have started my training already for my London April Marathon. From my last year training experience, I have studied many different training programs in order I can do better in this year, and yet it works with my crazy shift work schedule. I have even studied Paula Radcliffe's training plan in her latest book (who doesn't want to run like Paula?).
However, her plan just doesn't work with my shift work schedule. With some wisdom from a runner in the Nike running club, I was introduced a training plan that is challenging and yet fitting into my schedule. I won't say that it is going to be easy. To aim for a good time in marathon, there is no easy way to do it. Better timing, harder training. The training plan involves 4-5 runs a week, hill, interval and long runs. With the training plan, I also have registered to do couple half marathons before April in order to monitor my progress. 

 Apart from London marathon, I'm actually aiming to do about 3 marathons run and other runs this year... So far, this season, it will be looking like this... 
15/01/2011 - Nike+ half marathon 
19/02/2011 - Brighton half marathon 
04/03/2011 - Milton Keyes half marathon 
22/04/2011 - Virgin London marathon 
27/05/2011 - BUPA 10k City run 
18/08/2011 - Helsinki marathon (planning) 
11/2011     - Eden Project marathon (planning) 

 Here it is.. My year 2012. Maybe not that much of traveling but I believe that it is still going to be very exciting and challenging year. As I'm training hard for this London marathon, I would like to draw your attention on my charity, VICTA. Without their given opportunity, like they do for all children with impaired eyesights, I would not able to take part of this great event. As you are reading, please go to my personal website ( to support me and my charity. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hello Berlin.....again

I don't normally go to a city more thn one time unless I really like it, like Paris. I'm here now in Berlin and typing this....

Yes... After 2 months, I found myself back to this city again. Last time, when I came here, I realized that I wasn't able to explore this city as much as I would love to. I just had a little taste of it and then I had to pack and go. This time, I came here for Christmas markets and Berlin again.

Two things for me that I would love to dig more in this city. One is the history, both Nazi and Soviet Union; second is the graffiti. With these two in my mind, I had one day history day, one day graffiti day. The history is still heavy to me but at least it is not stranger anymore, especially, after reading the book entitled 'a woman in Berlin' and my knowledge from my last visit in the concentration camp. It is still very interesting to me.

It is always fun to check out those graffiti. You will find my new findings towards the end of my blog...

Of course, Christmas markets. I really don't know how many here but everywhere I go, I will hit one. I have been so many to a point I'm well saturated with those Christmas atmosphere! After my days walk on history and graffiti, Christmas market is truly my evening adventure.

I'm typing this in the last night on Berlin. No more Christmas market but I will head to see ballet tonight, danced by Staatsballett Berlin. Tonight is THE classic, Schwanensee (Swan Lake). And the prime ballerina is Polina Semionova. ( I'm so excited to see her! Just purely can't wait.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

1 week already...

Last week, I was electrified by the personal best that I made in my last marathon in NICE.. now, I'm sitting in London and rekindling this sweet memory.

I actually still can't imagine that I have achieved 4 hours 15 mins in this difficult course.  It's truly a major encouragement for my 2012 marathon preparation and a wonderful way to finish my first year of marathon running.  I was reading my diary again about that day and I still can taste the tiredness on my both legs, the cheers from the crowds, the electrifying feeling and the thrill... I think it's gonna to be in my memory bank for the rest of my life.

Back to London after another 2 days in Nice. The first thing that I did was to celebrate another completion of the marathon... what did I do?? Hahaaa... a BIG HUGE Bunch!!!! It's kinda routine for me now... a BIG HUGE BUNCH in this funky eating place called... The Breakfast club in Spitalfields market. They truly know how to make a nice and yummy English breakfast (well.. I'm vege, but they do have vege twisted fired up!), with eggs (proteins), hashbrowns (carb), tomatoes (Vit C), mushrooms.... Yum Yum Yum! These all help me to recover after the 26.2 miles of running! This time, I had my lovely friends, my fellow workers, Lianne and Polly to go with me! Can't be better than this! 

Before heading to Nice for this amazing run, I did think about what I'm going to do after the race.  After all, I have been training for marathons, one after the other from the beginning of this year.  I still remember how I spoke to one of the following runners in my church about training for my first marathon (Paris) at the beginning of the year.  I sounded so naive and inexperienced.  After all the races, I was planning to have 2 weeks off from running so that I can recover properly. How can I resist the temptation especially the sun has been so lovely in London? On Thursday, for the month of Movember... my running club, Nike had a Movember run.  For guys, no shaving for 1 month and running with the mustache; for girls.. well, no hair to grow.. so stick one on! Like this...

 I won't say that I looked handsome... but I do think that I look better without it!! Would you agree?

Fellow runners in the Nike running club in Stratford

What next? To be honest.. I don't know.  I have started to look into different training programs and then to plan my training program for next year.  Meanwhile, I will take running easily.  Just enjoy the moment of running, lovely winter sun shinning on the face, gentle wind breezing onto my face, the sound of the trees like dancing with the wind...and there is nothing, no pace, no distance, no time, in my mind, but just let the body to take control and run as the body is pleased.... A little rekindle of running.. why not? I love running...

P.S. if you are reading this, and having any good marathon training program, please let me know!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Personal Best has created today! Wow!!!

The time is 4 hours, 14 minutes and 46 seconds!!!! It is the time on my Nike plus; official time may come later this afternoon. I just can't believe that I have done my PB on this course actually not that easy at all! One thing I do know, my mind was focused and ready for the challenge. It is also a course that I ran all the way from the beginning till the end!!! I'm electrified! What a way to finish my first season of running, especially after my disappointing time from Berlin!

Details come lata! Now, it is a celebration time!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 3 - a day before the race

Love breaky run.

It is like a little 'loosing-up'-per-race exercise. To get my muscle going; to get my head and mental to prepare and focus onto the race tomorrow. So, I took part this small breaky run hosted by the race organisation. It is a small run, just running along the Promenade des Anglais. It wasn't that grand like the Berlin one, running all the way to Olympic Stadium. As a warm up run, it wasn't too bad! So am I ready for the last race of year 2011? Maybe. Normally, I ask myself this question on the morning of the race day. As for now, I'm chillaxing... Trying not to think about it.

As I'm chillaxing, I went to Matisse museum. Apparently, he spent his last few years of his life in Nice. It is a small museum but has adequate work of Matisse displayed in the museum. I really enjoyed it. It wasn't too much that makes my brain absolutely exhausted, but there are enough work to know him and be interested in his work.

Enough of walking today... I'm just chill, reserving energy for tomorrow. The question for me is how fast I can do this time. Not that I'm pressured myself to run real fast. But I want to do my best, so that I can work out how I can prepare next year.

Next blog, it will be the time.....