Tag Archives: sport

Half Marathon Debut – 2XU Compression Run 2014

I was supposed to run my first half marathon at SCKLM (Standard Chartered KL Marathon). Registering for the half for the 2XU Compression Run was something I did on an impulse. I regretted my decision soon after. Just about a week ago I requested to change to the Women Open 10KM category. They wanted to charge a RM30 processing fee, which I thought was totally not worth it. RM65 + RM30 to run 10KM? Nah. So I left it at that and decided to take this race as part of my training.

Yes, I honestly didn’t plan to compete. I was planning to follow the 2 hour pacer and even told Kevin that I will only be back after 2 hours. As i didn’t have it in mind to compete, I wasn’t race ready. I didn’t rest enough the day before (I only had 2-3 hours of sleep and I was out the whole day) and didn’t pay any special attention to what I ate. Actually, the thought of not competing eliminated unwanted stress/pressure and I was calm.

I had no clue on how to prepare for my first half marathon. Everything was by trial and error. I woke up at 3am (2 hours before the flag off) to get ready and have my breakfast. I usually eat 1 hour before a 10KM race. Since I was planning to eat a little more, I allocated 2 hours for my food to digest. I had toast, bananas and a powerbar.

We arrived at Lake Gardens 45 minutes before 5am. I was feeling rather fresh and energized. The weather was perfect. It had rained the night before so it was wet and cool.

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I casually strolled to the starting line and I was right up front!

About 5 minutes past 5am, we were off. As usual, I darted out. I have this bad habit of going out too fast at the beginning. I had to keep reminding myself that it was 21.1KM and that I had a long way to go!

200 meters in and we were greeted with the first incline. I heard a lot about this route before the race, about how it was very hilly and challenging. The rumors were TRUE! It was insane.

Studying race routes before races is not my thing. I don’t fancy knowing what I’m up against. I like “discovering” the route on race day. I was glad I did the same for this race. If I had known how crazy this route was, I would have been demotivated at the starting line.

Running is not all about your physical ability; it is about your mental ability as well. In fact, it is more mental than it is physical. It’s all in your head! As cliché as it may sound, you have to believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. That is the first step. *hint hint*1524934_10152773735676388_3113678794514105039_nIn terms of pace, I was just as clueless. My goal was to either maintain the pace or speed up. I told myself that if I felt good then go for it. I didn’t reserve any energy for anything because I didn’t know what was ahead of me. Every hill came as a surprise and kilometre after kilometre, I gave my best.

There were many U-turns throughout this route. It was pretty scary as I could see how far or how near my opponents were. The only good thing about these U-turns is that you are able to cheer for the other runners.

1896803_10152776567801388_5539403941500996667_nI felt a surge of energy every time my friends /other runners cheered for me. It made a lot of difference! THANK YOU!

I was constantly monitoring how I felt throughout the race. I usually ignore water stations but this time, I made it a point to drink at every station even if it was just a sip. In terms of fuel, I ripped my gel pack after passing the 10KM mark. I was actually planning to take my gel after 1 hour but I didn’t want to wait until my body was crying for it. I didn’t want to wait until I felt tired or cold before fuelling up. The only mistake I made was taking the gel without water which threw me into a mini coughing fit. Thankfully the water station was up ahead!

We ran the whole course in the dark. I could barely see the road beneath my feet. Thankfully there were road marshals at every major turn. After inching my way up the last hill which felt like death, the race was finally coming to an end. I could smell the finish line!

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A wave of energy coursed through my veins at the thought that I had 4KM left. Again, it is all in your head! Your body is capable of it, you just have to convince your mind.

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Crossing the finish line was the best feeling ever. My first half marathon, done and dusted in 1:43:22. Kevin made it just in time to catch a glimpse of me running through the last stretch. He wasn’t expecting me until after 2 hours (because I said that I wasn’t planning on competing). He was contemplating on a nap but he had a hunch to be there earlier (Yay! So much love!).

Camera roll:

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With Voon Ying who also finished strong! Thumbs up!

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The sister. 5KM Champ!

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Yvonne, my colleague, took part in the 10KM category.

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Zi Shen who didn’t wait for me. We crossed paths 3 times throughout the race! Grrr! He also said he was going to “take it easy”. Lies, all lies! Lucas, on my left, did really well too!

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Goh Shu Wei.

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ParX team mate, Goh Jing Jing.

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Doon! She has improved so much! So proud of her. The only goal I gave her was to keep running. Every time she felt like stopping she could imagine my nagging voice in her head. Haaaaa! I guess that’s a good thing! Well done girl!

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Daniel hit his PB but he ended up on a drip at the emergency tent. Got a shock when I heard that he fainted. Thank God he was okay!

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3 monkeys?

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3rd place.

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Team Dirigo – 1, 2, 3!

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With the Champs!

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Stuff from the race.

This route was perfect for my half marathon debut, challenging with many unexpected twists and turns. No regrets. I truly enjoyed every moment of it. Zooming down the hills and climbing up others in the dark was pretty exhilarating.

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Yep, this race was totally RAD! Very happy with my first half marathon! Looking forward to all the other races in the future! Bring it!

Keep Running!

Word text images from various sources: Tumblr, Instagram, Google

Cardio for FAT LOSS

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I get slightly irritated with quotes/statements like the above. The problem here is not that you only do “cardio”; it is the type of cardio exercise that you choose to do and how you’re doing it.

How can one not lose weight by doing cardio? I mean, if you’re not losing any weight by doing cardio, my question to you would be ‘what kind of cardio workout have you been doing?’

If your definition of cardio is hopping onto the treadmill or the elliptical machine for an hour at low intensity (and being able to hold a conversation with a friend), then you are right – you’re not going to get very far (or anywhere) with that. This type of cardio is known as Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio.

Most people start out their weight loss/fitness journey by doing cardio. GREAT CHOICE! The effects are pretty immediate and over the first 3 weeks or so, you would have noticed that you’ve shed quite a bit of weight. So, you continue to do the same thing week after week.

The good thing (or bad) about our bodies is that we adapt. By then, your metabolism would have completely adjusted to your cardio workout that it becomes a baseline to what you have to do to maintain.

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An example of LISS. Happy and smiley, even at the end of your workout.

People tend to want to remain within their comfortable zone. They continue to do LISS at the same rate over the same amount of time as when they first started out. This is the reason why some people even after spending hours at the gym each week, don’t seem to be losing any weight.

As your aerobic capacity improves, what was once very hard wouldn’t seem hard at all. In order to progress to the next level (ie: lose more weight), you have to constantly increase the intensity of your workout.

Another factor is that people tend to overestimate the amount of calories burnt. After an hour of LISS on the treadmill or the elliptical and they feel that they can reward themselves with a big meal. What they have just done is put back everything they have lost through the workout and most times, even more.

The thing about LISS is that it doesn’t dramatically change your body. Therefore, you are only burning calories during the workout, not 24-hour energy expenditure (more on that later). The more time you spend doing LISS, the more calories you burn. LISS is great if you have a lot of time on your hands or if you are training for a marathon (and covering great distances).

The other type of cardio is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT consists of short burst of high intensity work where your energy expenditure is at a maximum coupled with low-moderate intensity work. HIIT can be done with almost any sport (running, swimming, cycling, dancing, weight lifting) as long as your heart rate is through the roof for a set period of time.

not easyWhen it comes to exercising, most people like to do it in their comfort zone (myself included). As long as you break a sweat, you’re happy. You don’t feel the need to push yourself that far because it requires too much work. Well, the sad reality about HIIT is that it is going to require A LOT of work. It is about maximum energy expenditure and putting your body in a very uncomfortable mode.

It is going to hurt, you’re going to hate it, you’re going to hate working out, you’ll feel like quitting (please don’t), you’re probably going to puke and you can almost taste death. If you don’t feel any of that, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

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After multiple HIIT sessions.

HIIT would be the preferred type of cardio for fat loss. Why? Because by pushing your body to that level of exhaustion, you are effectively breaking down muscle and other tissues. This will send signals to your body to rebuild itself. Repairing, rebuilding and reconstructing damaged tissues require a great deal of energy which would lead to an increase in metabolism (24-hour energy expenditure). Your body would be busy repairing itself all day even after the workout. HIIT also increases your muscle mass which will further increase your metabolic rate (more on that in another post).

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This applies to running, life and everything else. Always do a little bit more than what you can handle.

The great thing about HIIT is that you only have to do one thing – get your heart rate thumping at its maximum. It doesn’t matter if your body has adapted to the previous HIIT session, the next time you do it, it has to feel hard. That is how you gauge a HIIT session.

Conclusion:

HIIT: More effective for fat loss over a shorter period of time, greater change in metabolic rate, improves your body

LISS: Takes a longer time to accomplish the same results as with HIIT, burns calories but does not alter metabolic rate after your body has adapted to it, great for improving aerobic capacity but does little to change or improve your body

I hope that by now you have a slight idea of both HIIT and LISS cardio. Cardio is not the culprit as to why you are not losing weight, it is the type of cardio that you choose to do.

Both LISS and HIIT cardio have different effects on the body. I feel that both should be incorporated into your workout routine so that you are able to reap each of its benefits.You can do HIIT sessions 3-4 times a week depending on your level of fitness and LISS for the rest of the week.

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Trust me, I used to hate HIIT sessions (I still do, sometimes). I hate it mostly because I know what it requires from me. I know that I would have to push myself above and beyond my limits. The slightest thought of it gives me the chills *shudders*.

Do some HIIT and torch some FATS!

Word text images from various sources: Tumblr, Instagram, Google

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