Sunday, December 29, 2013

The start of another year - January 2014

Happy New Year and a toast to all the opportunities that 2014 will bring.

The start of a new year is such an exciting time and full of so many possibilities - a new beginning and a clean slate.

As we start this new year, I am making a list of things that I want to accomplish during 2014 such as beginning yoga classes to increase muscle flexibility, joining the gym for strength training, looking for some exciting events to see if the yoga classes and strength training make a difference and I will also be thinking about next steps career wise as my current contract is due to conclude in June.

There is also nothing like the shock I got a few days ago to help get things back on track after I found out that what I thought I was eating on my Paleo low carb / high fat diet was in fact a high carb / high fat diet.  High carbs and high fat do not go well together when the aim is weight loss - in fact weight gain is a guaranteed outcome (I am sure we have had this conversation before - but I am a slow learner).  It wasn't until I sat down with my good friend Clara who started punching the 'carb' numbers that reality set in - an apple has HOW many carbs?' oh dear, no wonder the weight loss isn't happening!

I then spent the rest of the afternoon making a list of what I can actually eat so that I am all ready to stock my pantry with low carb / high fat foods for the new year.  It was a surprise to see the number of carbs in things like dates and grapes which I thought would be fairly low in carbs.  I also found out that the number of carbs I need to aim for is approx 50 grams each day (for weight loss purposes).  Its always advisable to know what the goal is (how else can you achieve it)!  The good news is that as a result of this 'understanding carbs' exercise, there will be a lot of cream, avocado and full fat cheese filling my shelves in 2014 - all these yummy items have no carbs at all (or less than 1 gram) - I can't complain about that.  

Anyway, enough about carbs.... I have had an awesome 2 weeks spent in my beautiful little home in sunny Takapuna over the holiday season enjoying being able to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the beautiful beach and clear blue skies - it may sound strange but hanging the washing out in the garden with the sun shining on it has been quite a highlight - its so humid in Singapore that the washing can take a week to dry.  But like all other great holidays, this one is now coming to an end.  As always its been an amazing time and a real bonus was getting to meet Clara's triplets who were born a little earlier than expected on New Years Eve.  They are absolutely gorgeous.

I have tried hard to catch up with as many of my nearest and dearest as I possibly can - but for those of you that I missed this time, I will be back in early April for Soph's 21st birthday, so will look forward to seeing you then.

I fly back to Singapore at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning so will be making the most of my last few days in Paradise (on this trip anyway).

Here is to an awesome 2014 - may all your dreams come true.  Until next time -

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lessons Learnt

Well what a weird weekend - after three months of working towards a goal it seemed a little strange not to have to head out for three plus hours pounding the pavements. Instead I downloaded four great movies and barely moved off the couch.  Bliss.  Time for some R&R before I decide what is next on the race agenda.

However, whilst lounging on the couch, I have been reflecting on the lessons I learnt during the marathon build up that I will take forward for future events and thought I would jot them down for reference - I hope one of them (or all of them) might be helpful to you to!

The first lesson was the most significant for me psychologically - for this build up I didn't have a set routine that I stuck to the night before a long run, or a set meal that I ate the night before a long run, or a breakfast that I ate on the morning of a long run, or a particular electrolyte drink that I drank along the way.  For me this was hugely beneficial as if one of those routines didn't eventuate leading up to race day then I would second guess every ache or pain during the event and put it down to my routine being broken.  The longer the race the more important it is that I don't panic if things go wrong.  So I continuously changed things along the way and built confidence knowing that whatever I ate or drank it would work for me.  I told myself that I had a cast iron stomach - and thats exactly how I felt on the day.

The second lesson was that when I found myself injured I still exercised for the same amount of time that I was scheduled to run for.  So if I had a 3 hour run scheduled then I walked for 3 hours instead or for the shorter run times I would aqua jog.  This really didn't impact on my race day at all - I still ran the best pace that I had planned given the heat and humidity experienced here in Singapore (although to be fair I did do the shorter event).   Thinking about this lesson led me to the next lesson...

Lesson Number Three -  I felt very comfortable turning up to the half marathon event given I had covered 23-24 km distances on three previous occasions in the weeks leading up to the event.  I knew without doubt that I would have no trouble completing the 21 km distance.  If I decide to take part in future marathons then I will consider 50km training events so that psychologically I feel as comfortable as I did turning up to the half marathon.  It is very liberating to feel so confident to the point that I was really excited about the day and enjoyed every minute of the run.  It was over before I knew it.

The last lesson comes from having for the first time (after many many years of completing running or more recently triathlon races) had an absolute blast in a half marathon.  Usually I am so stressed out thinking of the time that I want to run the race in - hoping I will run faster than the last race, wondering if I will be able to do it - and from all this anxiety/stress I burn up so much energy that there is nothing left for the run.  I want to change that and train well, be confident, relax and savour each moment.

So those are the lessons I learnt.

I am now looking forward to heading home to Auckland for Christmas - its been a long year living so far from home - but I am very lucky to have an opportunity to live here in Singapore and experience living and working in another country.  However,  trust me when I say, there is absolutely no place like home.  11 sleeps to go and then I get to see my gorgeous girl who I haven't seen for 15 weeks (I will never leave it that long again) and my extended family and friends - these are the most important gifts  in life and for which I am truly grateful.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Race Day

Well before I start my blog today, I need to make a confession.  Yesterday one of my colleagues who recently had dengue fever, tracked me down to say he wasn't feeling well enough start the half marathon and wondered if I might like his entry.  Would I???  YES I really would - thank you so much Nick.  It was such a relief as I really wasn't prepared to run the full marathon and one should really respect the marathon distance.

So it was with rather light feet this morning that I jumped out of bed at 4.30 am and sat down in front of the telly to watch the 5am marathon start whilst I enjoyed my banana and large mug of peppermint tea.

The taxi arrived at 5.30am which took myself and another one of my work colleagues, Jeremy, who lives in the same condo, to the start line at Sentosa.  Given the early start there wasn't much traffic on the road and we arrived at the start-line at 5.37am for a 6.30 am start.  Oh dear.  However, there are benefits in arriving at the start line early, especially when there are 22,000 other half marathon runners also lining up - a great starting position.

But before we knew it the starting gun went and we were off.  I held my breath for a while wondering if the ITB and the archillies tendonitis might play up but things were feeling pretty good.  I had my last run on Tuesday followed by a really good hard massage to stretch out the ITB so the legs were feeling well rested.  It was also a fairly cool morning for Singapore - so great running conditions:

I had decided the absolute best I could hope for would be to keep to the same pace going for the whole distance and keep to what I had been doing in training - run for 8 minutes and walk for 2 minutes - I had my garmin set to buzz every 8 mins and again 2 mins later so that I didn't need to keep checking the time.  This worked really well and I was excited to go through the 8km mark in 1 hour (the exact pace that I managed on really good training days given the heat and humidity).  The route was very scenic and even wound its way through Universal Studios where I managed to get a few snaps:

To be honest the kilometres flew by and I went through the 16km mark in exactly 2 hours so was still on pace - I had downloaded some awesome Christmas music to listen to on the way - and was having so much fun that I realised I was singing along out loud and was not in the least bit worried that no-one else could hear what I was listening to.

At the 18 km mark the marathon runners merged with the half marathon runners and it did get very congested (given there were 16,000 in the marathon race and 22,000 in the half marathon) but nothing could dampen my enjoyment and realisation that I was almost finished.

Just before the finish line 'the kids dash' was starting and Morag's kids, Sam and Isla, were taking part along with over 4000 other kids so I was keeping my eye out for them - that race started 750 metres from the finishing line.  In total more than 54,000 took part in one of the race day events so you can imagine the craziness at the end.

I crossed the finish line in 2.35 minutes so had picked up the pace a bit in the second half (what a well paced run).  I really had an absolute blast - enjoying every minute.  I don't even feel the slightest bit guilty that I didn't do what I had set out to do which was run the marathon.  Sometimes plans need to change as things don't always go the way we intended.   Sam and Isla were very proud of their efforts as well:

I am inspired now to build on the training I have done to date and will get ready for the Triathlon season which starts here in February - I have to see if I can improve on my third placing in my age group - lots to look forward to. 

Before signing off today I want to say a special thanks to Sue Dorman for her wonderful coaching - she always goes with the flow for which I am very grateful.  See you in Auckland soon Sue!    Also I hope that Nick (whose race number I borrowed) likes the finishing photos - I definitely beamed at every photo opportunity!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

7 Sleeps to go

With only 7 sleeps to go to the Singapore marathon, I have been reflecting back to the first marathon I ever took part in almost 30 years ago - it was the Rotorua marathon and I was scared to death!  

I had joined the Auckland YMCA marathon club a few months prior and turned up bright and early every Sunday morning to join their build up to the Rotorua event. I remember one of their 20 mile runs which went out to the airport and back from the central city and I was so exhausted afterwards I despaired at the thought of having to run a further 10kms on marathon day.  Then the night before the marathon there was a dreadful storm with hail and high winds and I sat crying in the bathroom wondering what had possessed me to sign up to such an event and what was I thinking having told people about it - now I had to start!  It really was a monumental moment as I had been a couch potato for most of my life prior to entering the marathon.  Unfortunately by morning the weather hadn't  changed and I lined up at the start of the marathon with a rubbish bag over me to protect me from the hail stones and high winds.  And then we were off. It felt quite surreal.  I plodded along in the dreadful weather conditions and did ok until the 32km mark (3 hours 30 minutes) and then hit the wall as we all hear about.  It took me an hour and 41 minutes to wade the last 10km to the finish - but you couldn't wipe the beaming smile off my face for days to come despite the awful stiffness that plagued me the following week.  It was a huge milestone for me.   A few months later I ran a 4 hour 12 marathon in Hamilton and went on to do a number of other marathons including London and New York - what a great way to see a city and one day I will break that 4 hour mark (but not next week).

So nearly 30 years on I still don't know what possessed me to enter this event as the marathon distance really takes its toll - I haven't had a great build up but there are many years of miles in the bank and many lessons learned along the way.  I have also had the great pleasure to run in many cities in the world, London, New York, Denver, Chicago, Washington, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Wellington and Auckland, so I guess it makes sense at some strange level to line up and take part in one of the biggest events in Singapore along with nearly 25,000 others.  

The Singapore marathon starts at 5am next Sunday 1 December (that's 10am NZ time).  I guess there are only a few things left to do - both these little gems seem appropriate today...


Until next week.....

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Countdown is on

Monsoon season has arrived and every morning there is massive thunder and lightning which has me pull the sheet over my head, roll over and go back to sleep - I will head out training in most weather but not lightening.   On Tuesday I had got 4 Kms down the road when the thunder and lightening started so needed to get home as quickly as possible to avoid a lightening strike.  The other life threatening challenge being faced here at the moment is an outbreak of Dengue fever - my boss was hospitalised with it earlier in the week - here is the notice in our neighbourhood reminding us about it:

So despite the challenges there is still a marathon to run.  This week I wondered whether my running shoes may be contributing to the running injuries being experienced so I headed out to running lab which is similar to shoe science in NZ to see what I could find.   The first pair of shoes I tried on felt amazing so despite never having run in this particular brand I headed home with them - amazingly they match my camelbak perfectly :)

Its not perfect buying new shoes 2 weeks out from the marathon but the way things were going it was unlikely I would make the startline - so I figure there is nothing to lose by trying new shoes.

This morning I headed out for my last long training session - 3-3.5 hours was the aim.  I wanted to eat breakfast this morning as a trial as there is no way I want to start a marathon without breakfast.  I am still eating Paleo and love this - I have it every morning.  1 apple and then a handful of each of these nuts, seeds, goji berries and coconut - into the blender and then a topping of Greek yoghurt - yum - nutritious and delicious!

Once I had eaten and loaded myself up with all it that I take with me (who knew you needed so much gear) - hat, sweatband, camelbak, iPod , iPhone, garmin, money and waistband to carry my chocolate gu):

I headed off towards Mt Faber which offers a great running trail to Kent Ridge.  Here are some pictures I took along the way:

As always I did have a bathroom stop - wow talk about the call of nature - look at this awesome bathroom I found along the trail - definitely worth a photo!

The new shoes were feeling good and pain levels from injuries was about a 3/10 so not really enough to complain about.  I walked and jogged for 3 hours 20 mins only covering 23 Kms but I finished the same distance 15 mins faster than last week.  I am definitely ready for a half marathon but as we all know I am signed up for the full marathon.  I am hoping one of the guys at work who is doing the half marathon changes his mind so I can take his spot!  The training miles are now all in the bank and its time now to rest up and freshen the legs up a bit - now I am heading off for a 60 minute massage.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Looking out a different window

There is a saying I once heard 'If you don't like the view then look out another window' and that is what I am doing this week.  Another visit to the chiropractor suggested that I won't be running the marathon in 3 weeks time - I have tendonitis in both archillies and the ITB injury is still causing pain.  As a result I have decided to 'take time to smell the roses' and walk the event.  No more complaining from me about aches and pains and slow running times - I thought this roadside sign that I saw was very apt! 

So I decided to go on a bit of an exploring  adventure this morning which took me through 'Gardens by the Bay' - I am ashamed to say that in the 13 months I have been in Singapore I have never been there despite the Gardens  being less than 5km from my front door.  It is gorgeous. 

I then decided to head up the East Coast and try to find a crossing back over the river rather than walk out an hour and 45 mins and then turn back and as luck (or perseverance) would have it I found a way across the river and wound my way back into the city.  The joys of taking time out to explore!

As I headed home I walked into hundreds of tourists watching the dragon boat racing on the river although I am sure they didn't stay watcing for long as the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down which was a great pleasure for me having walked for more than 3.5 hours in the 32 degree heat.

So although I haven't completed any 32 km runs (or walks) which I would normally have done about three times before a marathon event I am just going to head out on the day and see how things go.  I have another 3.5 hour training walk/run scheduled next week before I start 'tapering off' to freshen up the legs before 1 December and will look forward to another opportunity to explore a bit further.

In the meantime here is my new roller which is supposed to do wonders for ITB injuries - I will keep you posted.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

3 hour run today

With the stress of Soph having been so sick this week and the ongoing pain of my ITB injury there hasn't been much training going on.  There are now only 4 weeks remaining until the marathon on 1 December and despite desperate attempts to switch to the half marathon the race organisers aren't having a bar of it - they tell me its against the race rules and then send me the link to the race rules - I haven't got the time or the inclination to read them.

So this morning I decided there was nothing else to do but strap on the camelbak and running shoes and head out the door.  The run time scheduled on my training plan today was 3 hours and given the injury I decided to be even more cautious than I usually am - so for the first hour I walked 8 mins and then ran for 2 mins.  There wasn't too much pain being experienced so during the second hour I lifted the pace slightly and then did the same again for the third hour - finally I was back to running 8 mins and walking 2.  

The other interesting observation is that the fat adaption continues as I am still enjoying the real food I eat on paleo - I didn't eat breakfast before I left for my run this morning and I didn't get hungry while I was out.  I took 1.5 lites of electrolyte with me and also bought a litre of water while I was out - that helped to wash down the 2 chocolate gu's that I had at 40 minute intervals starting after I had been out for an hour and 40 mins.

I also decided that given the amount of time I needed to be on my feet I would to explore parts of the city that I haven't covered before and I attach some photos I took along the way - similar views but taken from different angles.

I was finally relieved to arrive back home with my watch showing that I had been out for 3 hours exactly- however, only 22 Kms was covered - goodness me - ar this rate I will be out for 6 hours on marathon day - I will need to take a packed lunch!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A week I hope will never repeat!

Well things weren't so bright last week but they were about to get a whole lot worse.  For those of you who know me well you will know that I always imagine the worst possible outcomes to situations especially if my gorgeous girl gets sick but even I hadn't imagined what would eventuate this week.

I mentioned last week that Soph had got the chickenpox - hers turned out to be one of the worst cases that the Doctor had seen.  The older you get the worse it is.  By Tuesday her temperature was 39 and the spots were raging everywhere - her gums, ears, head and entire body - even her hands and feet - the Doctor said there was no way she could sit any of her remaining 3 exams and I suspect the message was received with a mixed reaction given all the work that had gone into preparing for the exams but also balancing that was the realisation that she couldn't study or get out of bed to attend an exam.   

On Wednesday she was having trouble standing up and I wondered if it was due to her ongoing low levels of iron.  Then her spots started turning black.  Thankfully one of her wonderful friends took her into the hospital where she was admitted.  Her resting heart rate was 168 and an ultrasound of her heart showed the valves had collapsed.  She was so severely dehydrated that she needed 4 litres of fluid pumped into her.  If she hadn't gone to the hospital when she did she was told she would have gone unconscious and her kidneys would have begun to fail.  

While all this went on I was quite unaware of how serious things had become.   Soph had called me to say that she was just going to get her spots checked at the hospital and then that she was being admitted overnight but neither she or I had any clue as to how serious things were.  Although I guess in hindsight you don't get admitted to hospital these days unless things aren't looking good.  

A number of times I have wanted to jump on a plane home (as any parent would) but Soph has been adamant that I don't come as I have not had the chickenpox and she says she couldn't cope if she thought she could pass it on to me.  So I have had to stay close to my phone so we can skype morning and night and text during the day - thank goodness for technology.

The good news is that Soph was given medical clearance to fly home to Auckland today where she is now tucked up safely with grandparents hovering around.  I am hoping now that she can rest up without worrying about exams and packing up her Otago flat for the year that she will get her energy back up.  Oh and plenty of fluids!!

Here is a picture I took of her whilst we were Skyping once she was released from the hospital.

Before signing off I want to give a big shout out to Soph's wonderful school friend, Olivia Harland, who went above and beyond this week with the incredible care she provided my gorgeous girl - she stayed by her side for hours on end despite needing to sit her own exams - Olivia, I will be forever grateful - and Soph, its so good to know you are now home safe and sound - 7 weeks and counting till I will be home with you xxx

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Out of the running?

Its been a whirlwind week with ups and downs....mum flew into town for 3 nights on her way from London to Auckland - one of the great pleasures of living at a halfway point in the world...I thoroughly enjoyed her visit and was spoilt with some great massage.  We also got to wine and dine at some lovely spots both in town and locally.

Just as mum was about to get in the taxi and head for the airport my gorgeous girl Soph called to ask what might be the cause of the blisters that were starting to break out all over her skin - my mother immediately said chickenpox - and this was later confirmed to be correct - chickenpox is not nice at any stage but can be awful when you are 20 years old and in the middle of end of year exams.  Soph is not sure yet what this means for the exam she is due to sit later this week e.g. will she need to sit in a room on her own - or will she be well enough to sit it at all - I guess we will find out when she talks to student health on Tuesday.

Then I had the chiropractor tell me that I mustn't run for a week due to my IT band which is thoroughly overused and very painful - not good with 5 weeks to go to the marathon - I have had four days off so far and the pain is lessening but I am becoming concerned about running on it again and causing permanent damage - time will tell.  Might be the wake up call I need to stick with triathlon as I never got injured doing multi sports.  I am contemplating walking the marathon distance at this point - after all what's another hour or two out on the course!  

The most exciting news is that in less than 8 weeks time I will be home for Christmas - not that I am counting or anything but bring it on - I just can't wait.....after all there is just no place like home :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Some new toys

This week has had some ups and downs - I have been waking up in the night with an aching hip and both ankles in pain so I decided I had to find myself a chiropractor.  Thankfully the chiropractor I had seen in Auckland earlier in the year had given me the name of someone to see here, so off I went to see him.  Apparently the band between my hip and knee is wound up very tightly and the chiropractor also said I was standing on a 'lean' so needed a few adjustments so I can stand up straight again.

Anyway I have my running programme now for the next four weeks which is the most challenging part of the marathon build up and with the distances building I decided to try a new toy to help reduce dehydration issues:

The camelbak worked really well and I carried 1.5 lites of electrolyte (nuun), stopping after one hour 40 mins to refill it with water and to eat a chocolate gu. 

Another challenge is working out which products are best - I heard my chocolate gu has caffeine in it and my other electrolyte tablets have sugar.  Who knew there was so much to look out for!

Anyway, the good news is that I ran 19 kms this morning in 2.15 which 3kms further than I ran last week on my 2 hour run and I was a km ahead of schedule.  

So what was different today? It was 3 degrees cooler than last week at 7am although the temperature steadily rose as the morning progressed.

Also, usually I run without having breakfast but today I had a banana before my run and then the chocolate gu at the hour 40 mark.  I also took on 2 lites of fluid - 1.5 lites of which was electrolyte.  I will review all this information as the marathon date gets closer to make sure I have the best day out I can (and it may well be a whole day out at my current pace!)

So it's off for a massage this afternoon now that the hard work has been done for the day. Awesome!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tracking well

Well its Sunday again and I just finished my two hour run - I am tracking consistently at 4 Kms per 30 mins, so managed 16 Kms comfortably in the 2 hours today - 1km an hour slower than I would be tracking if I was in Auckland.  The temperature was up 5 degrees on last week - my water consumption went up accordingly and despite stopping to buy more water I had run out before the 90 minute mark. Not good but I won't have that problem on marathon day with water stops every 3 Kms (so I am told).  

There are 7 weeks to go now till the marathon  and the next 5 weeks are the most important as this is when you put the miles in the Bank - I expect I will be lifting my distances by almost double between now and mid November.  

A few of my colleagues in my new company are also taking part and the most common fear is dehydration - other colleagues are refusing to do more than the half marathon for this reason.  I am tempted to join them due to my slow pace but will assess things nearer the time.

I also finished the  Paleo 30 day challenge  this week but will keep the eating regime up as it really works for me.  I am not sure the scales truly reflect the weight loss so I took this picture this morning showing my trousers have a lot more room in them - I am happy with the result.

Anyway - a great run which I finished comfortably just outside our local cafe - Flock - where I picked up a freshly squeezed orange juice - YUM!

What a great way to start a Sunday morning!  

Friday, October 4, 2013

One year anniversary

Well its hard to believe but 1 year has now passed since I arrived in Singapore and so much has happened over 12 months.  I have travelled on business to Hong Kong, China, Japan and Australia and also been lucky enough to get home to NZ three times to celebrate Christmas, Easter and my dad's 80th birthday.  I have competed in triathlons (getting two podium finishes - 3rd place), aquathons  and duathlons and am now registered for the Singapore Standard Chartered marathon in December.  I have had more visitors staying with me in Singapore than I ever did in Auckland - which is just awesome. So has it been a good move?  Yes, it has.

When I look back it was a fairly risky decision to leave a good job and head to a country I knew little about - but as my cousin Geoff often says - Life is a Daring Adventure or nothing.  I am now on contract till June 2014 and then will reassess what is next.  My daughter, Sophia, has been accepted to attend university in France for the second half of next year so I may look at options in the UK for a short contract so we can enjoy some fun in Europe together - who knows what the future holds.  Exciting times.

Anyway, back to the marathon which is now 8 weeks away.  I flew along on my run this morning and wasn't sure whether it was due to the Paleo diet (day 27) the training plan or what.  However, when I got home I checked the temperature and suspect that as it was about 8 degrees colder than usual (and raining) it may have been due to that - although the diet and training plan are clearly contributing.  It was exciting to feel so good though!

It is also a 'rest' week from a training perspective and I only had an hours run scheduled - the easier week is a pleasure but I am sure training ramps up again next week and will continue to do for the next 6 weeks or so before tapering off before the big event.

I am also excited that a few people who I am now working with are also training for the marathon so its great to be surrounded by people with the same interests!  I hear there are 25,000 people who participate in this event and that the pace is fairly slow given the numbers - well that shouldn't cause me any concerns :)

Anyway, after my run I enjoyed my Paleo breakfast of bacon, eggs, mushrooms and avocado - I have got very used to this type of breakfast and despite the 30 day Paleo challenge coming to an end I doubt I will ever stop eating this way - I feel and look leaner and eating this way is now becoming a normal part of life.  So, here is to the second year in Singapore - I wonder what might it bring?

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Wow, I wish I could run at the speed that I jumped out of bed this morning - although the speed was due to the 'flight or fight' reaction as an electrical storm was well underway and the thunderbolt that woke me must literally have been overhead - what a noise - plus the lightening was pretty violent too.  

Anyway, it was very early Sunday morning and I had a two hour run scheduled - not ideal in such stormy conditions - although it was still fairly warm outside at around 28 degrees.  I thought I would take my time in the hope the storm would pass, so sat with my iPad checking Facebook and reading the NZ Herald with a large mug of steaming peppermint tea.  The storm did finally pass and I headed out the door at around 7.30am.

I am on the 21st day of the 'Paleo 30 day challenge' and getting used to low carbs / high fat eating and hoping the body is 'fat adapting' so I headed out today without eating breakfast (usually any run over 90 mins I would have eaten first).  I had with me my trusty floe bottle filled with icey electrolyte drink so was well equipped.  I felt like exploring a bit today as 2 hours is the longest I have run whilst living here in tropical Singapore, so I headed off to Mt Faber where I had taken mum and dad last weekend and ran across this bridge and into the bush - it was a lovely start to the run.

I am still using the walk 2 minutes and run 8 minutes technique which seems to work well for me and I will continue this through the marathon - the only issue is the lack of speed....I am only covering about 8 km an hour which is not ideal.

I am always confused when people ask what my training pace is and what my race day pace will be......for me with the marathon distance they are one and the same!  42 Kms is a long way and a lot can happen between the start and the finish - pacing is everything and the long run on Sunday is the opportunity to get the pacing right.  The thing that worries me the most is how long this marathon may take in the heat and humidity but something my mum said yesterday resonated well - she is in London now after her 2 weeks here and she says how good she feels being able to breathe again in the fresh air - she said she had found it really hard to get her breath the whole time she was perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on myself and just use this event as a learning experience in how to finish the 42km event in hot and humid conditions as comfortably as possible.

The good news is I finished my 2 hour run (without having breakfast) very comfortably - I re-filled my floe bottle at the halfway mark as I ran passed a Subway store and stopped briefly to buy some more water, dropping in an additional electrolyte tablet and carried on.  The not so good news was that my Garmin watch indicated I had only covered 15kms - although to be fair the Garmin does take its time picking up the satellite in the mornings so it may have taken a while to get started (that's my story anyway).

I was starting to get pretty hungry and really enjoyed my Paleo breakfast....mince with mushrooms, onions, tomato, fried eggs and roasted purple Kumera - YUM - that was worth waiting for.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Formula 1 Motor Racing

Well it's all go on the sporting front this weekend with the Amercias Cup Racing in San Francisco and the F1 Racing here in Singapore.  Possibly not the best weekend for my Dad to arrive in town - the city is literally rocking with visitors.  I decided to head down town early this morning on my 100 min scheduled training run to have a look around and see what was going on - 

I guess it was a little too early for any action but great to see so many Porsches all in the same place at one time.  It was a bit of a mission getting around the city with all the road closures (even for those of us out running so early in the morning).

I was trying out a new drink bottle today (the Floe bottle)  in preparation for running the marathon in hot and humid temperatures.  Firstly I made a slushy out of ice that I had frozen with my electrolytes in :

And then poured this into my floe bottle....

I have to say it was wonderful being able to drink an icey cold drink along the way - great for cooling purposes -  usually its only a matter of minutes before my water bottle heats up and warm fluids are not nice to drink on a really hot day.  So a thumbs up on this water bottle.

I am also very pleased to say that on day 15 of the Paleo diet I finally had an amazing run - my legs had felt like concrete since I started the 30 day Paleo challenge and it was with some trepidation that I stepped out the door this morning.  I kept the walk / run routine going - amended it to walk 2 mins and run 8 mins and this approach worked wonders.  If felt great for the whole 100 mins.  Perhaps my body is getting used to fat adaption (and believe me there is plenty of fat to adapt to fuel - although a bit less now after 15 days of Paleo eating).  

And one really can't complain about this new way of eating - after my long run I jumped in the pool to cool off and then sat down to this amazing breakfast - poached salmon, 3 fried eggs (fried in coconut oil) and roasted Kumera.....YUM!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The first week of Paleo

Well thank goodness training is over for this week - I am hoping now that I have gone through all the withdrawal from no wine and no dairy on this 30 day paleo challenge that I will start to feel so much better.  However, its hard to know if the tiredness follows the jet lag from the flight back from Auckland last weekend or the total change in diet - both  take a week or so to get over!  Perhaps the combination magnified the effect.  Anyway I have completed 7 full days on Paleo.  I am feeling leaner so will continue along for another 23 days and see how I feel. 

My coach, Sue Dorman, has suggested I trial a different approach in training for this marathon which includes running for 10 minutes and then walking for two minutes during my longer runs and this is also what I will do on the day of the marathon.  It gives the legs some respite from the constant pace that in a marathon can go on for 4 hours or more and can get very painful.   Yesterday I had an 80 minute run scheduled  so headed off to try the new approach.  I realised as soon as I started the run that it was going to be hard work - I felt like my legs had concrete in them - a feeling I am used to at about 35 Kms in a marathon not at the start of a training run.  It was 31 degrees but I am used to training in the heat now.  As mentioned above I guess this could be a side effect of this new eating programme. 

I managed to keep the alternating run/walk going until about 65 mins.  I had finished a 750 litre bottle of water with a Nuun tablet to replace lost electrolytes and was very tired.  I think I then changed to walking 10 mins and jogging the last few minutes and was really glad to get home - I even had to lie down for a while to recover.  Very unlike me.  In future I need to make sure I eat a Kumera or a banana before heading out on the long runs as I usually run without eating if the session is less than 90 minutes.  But this didn't work for me today.  Thankfully I have mum staying who is a wonderful massage therapist and gave me a great massage in the afternoon.  Very rejuvenating.

This morning I had an aqua jogging session in the pool which was a welcome relief and I was feeling much better so hoping my body is now adapting to using fat as a fuel rather than carbs.  Mum and I then headed down to our local cafe 'Flock'  for a great  paleo breakfast  of bacon, eggs and mushrooms - we are both feeling good!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back on the Bike

Well today it was time to get back on the bike - literally!

I have recovered well from my calf injury following the 10km run in the North Shore Marathon event held in Auckland almost 2 weeks ago and I am now in receipt of my new training programme which takes me through to the start line of the Singapore Marathon on 1 December.  The programme includes cross training - biking, aqua jogging and swimming to ensure I don't get any further injuries from too much running.

Today it was a 45 minute session on my bike - named 'Blue Beauty' (she is blue in color after all and the name 'Blue Beauty' sounds like 'You Beauty' - which she always is when I take part in triathlon events).

With all the traffic lights in the neighborhood I prefer to ride my bike on the wind trainer in the apartment - so I set myself up next to the sliding doors so that I could get some air circulating - even if it is hot, humid air.  I plugged in my earphones to listen to some good music and also turned the TV on with the sound muted so I could watch the morning news.  It is always helpful to have something to distract you when the effort required on the bike is getting a bit tough!

I think Blue Beauty is a welcome addition to the lounge :

I have to say it was a bit of a shock getting back on my bike after about 3 months - I have been travelling a bit for work and its easier and more enjoyable to put running shoes on and run around a new city exploring than it is to sit on a stationary bike in a hotel gym.

However, despite the time away from Blue Beauty I did manage to finish the 45 minute session in one piece and I have to say that it felt great to be back in the saddle.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Paleo 30 day challenge starts today

Well I am now back in Singapore after a whirlwind visit to Auckland.  It was a very long day yesterday  flying back via Sydney to take advantage of Qantas and Premium Economy - and yes I would do the trip again despite the 4 hour layover in Sydney.  It was a pleasure having the extra leg room to enjoy the 3 movies I watched.  Have you seen 'The Call' with Halle Berry?  It was great.

Before leaving Auckland, I managed to catch up with my wonderful coach, Sue Dorman, who is currently adjusting my marathon training schedule after the injury last week so that it includes some cross training to take to load off my calf muscle which is still healing well.

We enjoyed a coffee at one of my favourite places in Milford - Hamic which is a small local cafe.  Then it was on to a phone catch up with nutritionist, Mikki Williden, who has put me on the 30 day Paleo challenge.  I had lost my way from a food perspective and it is time to get back on track.  Mikki will help me on this journey and she suggested I download the app 'EasyDietDiary' so I can keep track of what I eat and then email it to her!  No pressure!   There is also another great app 'Paleo Central' and if you are not sure if a food is 'Paleo' you just type in the name of the food and it gives you a 'green tick' for 'yes' or a 'red cross' for No.  My good friend Kirsty, is joining me on the Paleo challenge - we start today if you want to join in too!  The biggest challenge for me is no dairy (I was eating a kilo a day) and no wine!  I am not sure how I will manage but trust me, you will hear all about it!

So it was off to the Tiong Bahru market this morning for fresh fish, meat, vegetables and eggs which make up the Paleo challenge.  For those of you who know me well, you know I don't shop in local markets.  I shop at the ex pat supermarket where it is air conditioned and smells fresh.  But Morag and Kirsty's mum (Dianne) is staying and she took me to the market this morning and I was blown away at how fresh and how cheap the food was in the market which is less than 5 minutes walk from the front door.  You just need a 'peg' to block your nose.

First we went to the fish market with the fish having been delivered directly from Norway:

Then on to the meat section - the beef is delivered directly from NZ and Australia:

On to the chicken section (I left off the photo as its a bit disturbing - put it this way, the chicken was very fresh)....

And then onto the vege stall:

Here are the contents of our purchases:

and then we found the organic eggs which had been laid yesterday:

And home we came with our trolley laden which cost less than $100.

So I started the day with 3 boiled eggs for breakfast followed by raspberries and some coconut milk.....Paleo suggests only three meals a day which is another challenge for me - so I will head off shortly for my long Sunday run and will be back in time for lunch - fresh salmon and asparagus.

I got on the scales this morning and am now not allowed back on them for 30 days - so it will be interesting to see what happens.  Watch this space.....