Thursday, August 21, 2014

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

Ten days to go ...

Grilled salmon with salad - the skin was not crispy enough.

Nothing much has been happening on the culinary side of things. No new recipes nor food experiments, merely eating for the sake of eating. Cookie baking has become a habit, twice a month, just because ... uhm, I am probably too reliant on cookies to go with my coffee or tea.

The only recipe I have managed to tweaked so far is the steamed glutinous rice with chicken, realising that in no circumstances should one scrimp on dried shrimps (heh bee). No, no, no. It is the key ingredient. (A non-meat version would only have Chinese mushrooms, shallots and dried shrimps. Cooking wine is probably not necessary. Best to garnish with chopped chilli or spring onions then, for added fragrance in terms of taste.)

Last weekend was spent helping a friend (or should I say 'mate'?) move out of his rented place to his new home. He rented a 3-tonne truck with no movers (to save cost :D) and it took 2 trips that day. I was helping his wife with her stuff and unpacking them in their new home. 

I made a bet with the guys that we would finish unpacking the kitchen before they'd even assemble the beds. We won, of course. Muahaha!

Everyone was quite exhausted by the end of the day, except for the two little munchkins who were so excited to be in their new home and having guests over. We haven't seen them since ... we had brunch together early last month. The kids are growing up quickly but their cheeky grins never fail to make me smile.

I was hoping to keep my next event as hush-hush as possible, but who would have expected the race director (who is a friend on Facebook) to happily declare to the world of my registration.

The thing is, 100km is a different kettle of fish altogether. (Erm, is that the saying? I can't for the life of me remember the exact phrase!)

I had toyed with the idea of running jogging crawling 100km sometime this year. We had plans to run the Surf Coast Century 100km in September but after Buffalo Stampede, we decided to rethink it. With bigger plans in the pipeline (new house, new job, holidays, etc) we decided that we would forgo SCC. 

A couple who runs can be a pricey thing, and to spend AUD$1,000 on a weekend alone can be really painful. (It's just a rough estimate: registration fee of $298 per pax, accommodation and food, petrol, etc. A big ouch.)

Deep in my heart of hearts, I know that I can do it. But no matter how strong my faith or belief is, the training has to be double the faith or belief. What's the point of believing something so strongly but not working on it?

A few friends had disbelief etched on their faces when I shared with them my possibility of signing up for the event. That pissed me off but I don't blame them.

But it made me more determined to prove them wrong, that by hook or by crook, I will complete the damn distance!

The problem is, the cut off time is 12 hours, and I think I need 13 to be comfortable. Hmmm.

So the hubs tells me to prepare for the worst case scenario. He reminds me how terribly upset I'll be if I fail, and this time round, would it be any different? I hmm-ed for a while and replied that I will be OK as long as I get past 80km.

Are you sure? he asked.

Long pause.

I will have to, won't I? I said reluctantly.

Reality is such a bitter pill to swallow.

Tried the GU gel the other day, as much as I liked the taste, it was too thick. (AUD$2.40 each)
Clif Bars are AUD$2.95 each, and Winner energy bars are AUD$1.95 each.

If I thought registering and doing a race was expensive, I forgot to take into account the training expenses as well.

From train rides to power bars and power gels to a pair of new shoes, I've yet to calculate the cost of it all. I was the only fool running around the Tan with a hydration vest, and I envied runners who were running light with just their phone or iPod in hand. 

The splotch of sunshine I'd see every time I run at the Tan during office hours. :)

Did I tell you that the Chocolate Almond Fudge Clif Bar tastes like Play Doh? Ugh. And the White Chocolate Macadamia one tastes funny, too. I've yet to try the Blueberry Crisp or the Chocolate Chip ones, but I really hope they taste OK.

If I had noticed the Winners energy bars earlier, I would have stuck with them as they are cheaper!

It never fails to amuse me when I arrive at the Tan with high hopes and sheer determination, only to start running and realise that, shit, why did I sign up for this? The first lap is always a misery lap, the second one a 'suck it up, big baby' lap and thereafter, I resign myself to the torture and go on auto mode.

Distance training wise, running 21kms regularly is great. Running 42kms regularly and making it a sweet spot, I can comfortably grimace and say that it's OK. Running 50kms is still bearable. Running beyond that, I will tell you after the 31st August.

I have been training to run with fatigue and/or on a lower calorie intake. The former is an excellent way of training my legs to keep moving, be it a shuffle or a plod, or a walk when exhausted. 

On nutrition, well, we all know that I am hopeless at this. I definitely need a huge breakfast beforehand for my 4-5 hour runs. I'll bring enough energy bars and energy gels for run but I do my best to make sure I go home with a surplus.

On good days, a gel, a bar and gummy bears are enough to sustain me for a 5 hour run. On bad days, it will be double or triple the amount.

On good days, I will fly and pat myself on the back. On bad days, I get stressed out and worry that my failure is imminent.

One such bad day was when I was planning a 7 hour run, only to cut it short at 5. The groin strain was too much to bear, and no amount of Endurolytes and electrolytes could make the cramps disappear. I contemplated walking the rest of the 2 hours just to get my mileage, but it would have been rather stupid to torture myself that way.

I wanted to cry. 
I was scared.
Does failing your long run reflect how shitty your race will be? I tried to check the internet for such information but I can't remember what I came across. I decided that I didn't want to know.

I had to remind myself that being injured is worse than failing a training run. Three months ago when I started my training, I developed a hamstring strain on my left leg and I was out for 2 weeks.

I know I am rambling, but I am absolutely terrified. My greatest problem is cramps and so far, it's the only thing I have never been able to deal with. Think Melbourne Marathon 2013 and Buffalo Stampede 2014. Oh, and Putrajaya Night Run 2012


Now that it's taper week and my poor legs can rest, I look back and realise that despite my efforts, I am still under-trained. Race day is definitely going to be tough, and going beyond 60km is going to be harder. 

So, I am hoping to draw inspiration from my mad friends attempting Starlight Ultra this weekend. Good luck, peeps! :)


  1. You can do it speed demon... You're one running demon! Go Go Go

    p.s. leave the crawling part to me.


    1. thanks, anyway!
      but i do crawl home after my long runs, you know. :)

  2. Mad, they definitely are!

    You'll do fine la. At least you've put in way more training than I could ever hope for. Just keep going, one foot at a time and soon enough, you'll see the finish.

    But don't listen to me though. I'm talking like as if I know what I'm actually talking about ... hahaha!

    Oh and that pic of the grilled salmon looked like Siew Yoke to me :D

    1. yeah, i am surrounded by mad people everywhere!

      i don't know what i'm talking about, actually, but sigh, i will do my best to keep going, as you will, too!

      mmm, siew yoke ....