the pencil runs

posts on running

10.5km MacRitchie Loop

Thursday, March 31, 2005
S and I had a rather adventurous jog yesterday. We did the 10.5km route around MacRitchie for the first time. We only started at 6:30pm (never never never again!) so by the time we were looping back, it was almost dark. We kept on jogging (in fear) until S tripped on a root and then we decided we were better off walking because of the dark. Luckily for us, we saw three guys walking in front of us and so we followed them until we got out to the road. At one point we could barely see 50m in front of us. *shiver*

I tell ya, adrenaline is the best way to keep from being tired. I carried my hp just in case, but at the point where we thought that we might have made a wrong turn and there was nobody in sight and it was already 710pm, my hp made a beep and it said, “No network." Boy did we run. We did it in 67mins, which was faster than what we did in Australia.

AND I get home and what does my dad tell me over my mee goreng dinner? That when he was a young man, his friend from the church youth group went jogging at MacRitchie and they couldn’t find his body for 7 days. In the end they found him in the water crouched in the fetal position. He was only 16, ended up getting 7As, but wasn’t alive to get his results. Sheesh. No wonder I couldn’t sleep last night.

desert run

Friday, March 18, 2005

If you think people who run are crazy, wait till you read about this ultramarathon man. I quote:

But an ultramarathon - technically any distance longer than a 26.2-mile traditional marathon - is not really a race at all in the ordinary sense, Mr. Karnazes said. A day and a night of running, he said, is more like a melodrama than an athletic contest - full of euphoric highs and gloomy, dispiriting lows. The emotional climax - the Dostoyevskian moment of suffering - comes when exhaustion and despair loom up and smack you in the face and the finish line seems unattainable.

"That's exactly the moment I seek," he said. "To me, life is in the struggle, and I never feel more alive than when I'm struggling."


Endorphins my foot!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Running endorphins is a bunch of crap. I never feel high while running. I feel my heart, my lungs, my thigh muscles, the uphill, and my side stitches quite acutely, but never ever high. I feel high AFTER the jog, and AFTER a shower, and largely because of the feeling of being clean and having accomplished something.

The route posted on the right had an unrelentless slight incline through Mount Faber Park which made me want to crawl up the hill, stop at the first bus stop and hail a bus home. But I couldn't cos there wasn't a bus home from there, and I had promised my parents that I would pick up dinner for them on my way back. So I slogged on in the evening drizzle.

Yesterday's jog, on the other hand, was fast, short, and poised to kill. I swear my heart was about to thump right out of my chest when I finally stopped. Later, I had a massive tricep cramp when I lowered myself in my first tripcep push-up. The things we submit our bodies to...

A bit of trivia - How do you know when you've drunk too much water before a run?
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Heart rate and exercist goals

Wednesday, March 09, 2005
moi-carine has a new heart rate monitor. I found the info posted below from a webpage selling heart rate monitors in the US. It has pretty useful information. For example, my heart rate right now is 60 beats/min (after making and eating a toasted peanut butter sandwich with sliced banana and a cup of coffee with sugar and milk). My age adjusted maximum heart rate is 226 - (age) = 199. That means that after my glorious sprint on Monday (148 beats/min), I was only working at 74% of my max! Granted I didn't take my heart rate right after the run (I was bent over trying to breathe), but it also means I can work harder. But I knew that already. :)

Q: What is heart rate?
A: Heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute; the times per minute that the heart contracts.

Q: What is average heart rate?
A: The average of heart rates measured during an exercise period.

Q: What is recovery heart rate?
A: This is the heart rate that our body will decrease to after an exercise session. For example, you exercise for a 1/2 hour at 155. Two minutes after you stop exercising, your heart rate decreases to 95. The 95 would be your recovery heart rate. It is used to evaluate your fitness level after exercise. It is good to set a two minute time frame and see how many beats you recover in that time frame. Compare this recover heart rate between exercise sessions.

Q: What is resting heart rate?
A: Resting heart rate (Resting HR) is the number of beats in one minute when you are at complete rest. Your resting heart rate indicates your basic fitness level. The more well-conditioned your body, the less effort and fewer beats per minute it takes your heart to pump blood to your body at rest.

Q: How do I determine Morning Resting Heart Rate (MRH)?
A: Immediately after awakening and before you get out of bed, measure your heart rate using your heart rate monitor or from the palpitating pulse from artery, counting the beats for 15 seconds and multiplying by four. You can sleep with your heart rate monitor on and in the morning read it first thing. Be aware of the fact that, if your bladder is full in the morning, you didn't sleep well, or you're feeling stressed, you might have a slightly elevated resting heart rate. Take these measurements for five consecutive days and find the average. This average is your actual resting heart rate. Resting heart rate is dependent on your living habits and a number of factors such as quality of sleep, stress level, and eating habits.

Q: What is maximum heart rate?
A: Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR) is the highest number of times your heart can contract in one minute. Max HR is the most useful tool to be used in determining training intensities, because it can be individually measured or predicted.

Q: How to determine maximum heart rate?
A: You can define your maximum heart rate by
1) having it measured in an exercise test
2) using age-predicted maximum heart rate formulas.

1) Measured Max HR
The most accurate way of determining your individual maximum heart rate is to have it clinically tested (usually by treadmill stress testing) by a cardiologist or exercise physiologist. You can also measure it in field conditions supervised by an experienced coach. If you are over the age of 35, overweight, have been sedentary for several years, or have a history of heart disease in your family, clinical testing is recommended.
2) Predicted Maximum HR There is a mathematical formula that allows you to predict your Max HR with some accuracy. It is called the "age-adjusted formula". The age-adjusted Max HR formula can come in very handy when you're not prepared to pay for the physician-supervised stress test.
WOMEN: 226-your age = age-adjusted Max HRMEN: 220-your age = age-adjusted Max HR
If you are a 30-year-old woman, your age-adjusted maximum heart rate is 226- 30 years = 196 bpm (beats per minute).

These formulas apply only to adults. The generally accepted error in age-predicted formulas is + - 10-15 beats per minute, which is due to different inherited characteristics and exercise training.
You should remember that there may be some discrepancy when using the age-adjusted formula, especially for people who have been fit for many years or older people. The formula will give you a ballpark estimate to work from, but if you want to exercise/train at your most effective levels, your Max HR should be measured.

Q: What is the heart rate reserve?
A: Heart Rate Reserve is the difference between your Maximum Heart Rate and your Resting Heart Rate. If your maximum heart rate is 196 bpm (beats per minute) and your resting heart rate 63 bpm, your heart rate reserve is 196 bpm - 63 bpm = 133 bpm.
The greater the difference, the larger your heart rate reserve and the greater your range of potential training heart rate intensities.

Q: What is safety heart rate?
A: This is the heart rate that is prescribed for beginning exercises - whether a walker, runner, swimmer, snow shoer, or a participant in any aerobic activity. It is also the term used in some cardiac rehabilitation programs in which physicians prescribe moderate, supervised training for recovering heart attack patients. This range is usually 60% (or less) of the maximum heart rate and represents the least amount of stress you can place on your heart and still receive a beneficial exercise effect.

Q: What is Max VO2 heart rate?
A: This is the heart rate at which you hit your maximal oxygen uptake effort. On the average, you hit your Max VO2 HR at 95% of your Max HR.

Q: What is the anaerobic threshold?
A: The physiological point during exercise at which muscles start using up more oxygen than the body can transport, i.e. muscle work produces more lactic acid/lactate than the body can process.

Q: What is the target zone?
A: A target zone is a heart rate range that guides your workout by keeping your intensity level between an upper and lower heart rate limit. There are various target zones that are suggested for an individual to follow that correspond with a specific exercise goal. IE: Improved Fitness Zone 70-80% of Max Heart Rate.

Heart Rate and Exercise Goals

Ideal ForBenefit DesiredIntensity Level
Light ExerciseMaintain Healthy Heart/ Get Fit50% - 60%
Weight ManagementLose Weight/ Burn Fat60% -70%
Aerobic Base BuildingIncrease Stamina Aerobic Endurance70% - 80%
Optimal ConditioningMaintain Excellent Fitness Condition80% - 90%
Elite AthleteMaintain Superb Athletic Condition90% - 100%

For example, if you want to Lose Weight/Burn Fat: do your favorite exercise at 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate, based on your age, for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week. To program your Heart Rate Monitor into your Ideal Weight Management Zone, use the Target Heart Rate Chart above.

Select which level of condition represents your current physical condition and locate the Lower and Upper Heart Rate Zones for your age from the Target Heart Rate Chart.

Read more!

briliiant fluid gold

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
I went jogging at MacRitchie yesterday evening. I had forgotten how therapeutic it is to run at the boardwalk there. I started the jog tense and jittery from having been at work all day; I ended relaxed, productive and contemplative.

We started the jog at 6:45pm, and ran at an average pace of 9.6km/h. At the end of the jog, my heart rate was beating 148 times a minute. I did 50 sit-ups, 50 push-ups, 50 tricep pushups, and a few lunges. I would have done more lunges except that I felt somewhat stupid-looking. Perhaps I will cycle instead to build up the quadriceps.

The light from the setting sun reflected off the still water, making the water look like brilliant, fluid gold. There was a strong headwind and many monkeys hanging out on the boardwalk. I’m always petrified of stepping on their tails. You know the saying, “Like a rocking chair in a roomful of long-tailed monkeys?” My buddy and I were two runners on a boardwalk full of long-tailed monkeys AND their babies.

I will have to go back soon.

Wet Toes Prelude

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Today my toes got wet. I had forgotten to bring my EZ link card so I decided to take a longer walk instead of dropping another dollar coin for the bus. That was when my toes got wet. Not that it really matters, it is only the prelude for this:

Remember how I thought we bought the wrong shoes? I came across a review at Runner's World which says that the Supernova cushion shoes are "neutral-cushioned" shoes, recommended for effecient runners with "normal or high arches". Ha! I feel much better now. I've posted a jpeg below of the review. (btw, you can get your own Runner's World magazine at the National Library. It will give you more running trivia than you've ever cared to know.)

Adidas Supernova Cushion Review by Runner's World, March 2004