I recently came across a theory called the “Heartbeat hypothesis”. It basically suggests that every living creature has a limited number of heartbeats before death/failure occurs. Also, several studies have shown that a lowered basal heart rate equates to longevity.
Some people have taken this heartbeat hypothesis and applied it in a very interesting way.
“So if I don’t do any physical activity and keep my heart rate low, I should be enjoying a longer life! Exercise like running increases my heart rate to crazy levels over long periods. I am sure to die earlier by exercising!”
The above does sound rather logical but it doesn’t take into account the lower basal heart rate that fit and healthy people enjoy. We also don’t really need a lot of time doing exercise anyway.
I had a rather sedentary lifestyle in February and didn’t run at all for 6 months before that. As for now, I am running an average 271 minutes a week, which is tougher and way higher than the health ministry’s recommended 150 mins of moderate-intensity cardio exercise.
Here’s a simple but fair comparison of myself to find out the amount of beats my heart had over a period of 30 days.
There are many real world factors that can influence both numbers in bold, but most of them only make the gap between the two larger. For example, walking used to raise my heart rate to about 110 but I hover around 90 now. Same activity, less effort.
Increase fitness also made my heart recover to resting rates much faster. A 800m dash to 178 beats per minute (bpm) would have needed 400m of light jogging before I recover to 136 bpm. Now, I get to 136 bpm in 150m.
So if you do believe in the heartbeat hypothesis, why not pick up a good cardio exercise like running and watch your resting/basal heart rate plummet in the best of ways?
About 400,000 years ago, the first ancestors of the anatomically modern humans appeared. These humans needed the means to hunt and to survive. Since weapons were not invented till about 200,000 years later, they gathered every day to do push-ups, lift heavy rocks, and did pull-ups on low hanging branches. After gaining a lot of strength, they wrestled animals to the ground for meat and punched predators in the faces to survive.
We hunted by running. We survived by running.
Without weapons, we can only get animal protein by scavenging carcasses. That wasn’t enough as the other scavengers are much stronger than us. We can’t run as fast as a cheetah, but over long-distances, there is not one animal that can beat us. We ran animals down and ate them for protein to evolve our brains and body.
There was nothing to use for defense except for sticks and stones, and that wasn’t much. We survived by running, climbing and hiding.
We ate just enough to fuel ourselves and kept our bodies lean. Being lean ensures that you don’t waste energy carrying excessive weight in fat or muscle. Being lean makes you faster. Being faster gets you more meat and keeps you alive.
Everyone ran. The men, the women, the children and even the old. You had to or else you wouldn’t be able to eat or to stay alive.
Even after the first weapons came about, you still had to run to club or spear an animal to death. Tools are useful, weapons are clever. They made our lives easier but they also slowly took away the very reason why we survived.
It is simple. You and me, us humans, survived as a species because we ran and we were bloody good at it too.
(This article is not intended to make fun of weight lifting. Weight lifting gives nice bodies and strength. I’m trying to say that running was and is more important in the context of survival.)
The 2.4km run. The bane of many SAF regulars, NSFs and NSmen. It’s pretty much the most hated segment of the IPPT (Individual Physical Proficiency Test).
“Why can’t I run fast enough?” is the question that most ask.
It’s also the question that leads to people treating every training run like it’s an IPPT test.
“If I run as fast as I can each time I train, I should be able to run faster.”
What if I said that it’s not your speed that is the problem?
It’s not as straightforward as what I am going to say below but do hear me out.
Any untrained individual can probably run 100 metres in 15 seconds or less. Let’s just say that you are really that slow and can only manage it in 20 seconds.
2,400 metres / 100 metres * 20 seconds = 480 seconds = 8 minutes.
So you, the “slowpoke”, can theoretically run a 2.4km in 8 minutes! In case you have been living under a Singapore rock, 8 minutes for 2.4km nets you a Gold award in every category.
You don’t lack speed. You lack stamina. You lack the stamina to maintain a pace of 20 seconds per 100 metres for the distance of 2.4km.
So, work more on your aerobic ability and not spend all your time on anaerobic runs! The long-distance running guidelines are perfect for the IPPT run. 80% of runs should be done slow. The other 20% can be spent on your fast runs like intervals, tempos and fartleks.
Of course you still can improve doing fast runs all the time but you risk over-training, injuries and most of all, you waste efficiency.
Good luck for your next IPPT!
For as long as I can remember, I preferred to run at night or in the evenings. Waking up is a chore and waking up early to run is a bigger one. It’s also perpetually summer all year-long where I live – in sunny Singapore – so it’s comfortable to run at night.
So why do I run in the mornings now?
#1 – Fresher Air
Parks are irritatingly small for distance running so I run a lot on roadsides. The air in the mornings have lesser vehicular exhaust, dust and whatever impurities that is kicked around after the rush hour in the evenings.
#2 – Backup Plans
There are times when it’s impossible to run safely due to thunderstorms or haze so it’s so much better to plan for a morning run and have the choice to switch it to a night run if the weather is really bad.
#3 – More Energy
We all know how tiring school or work can be, and even if you overcome the mental barricades to step out for a run after a long day, your body might not perform well for the run due to fatigue. I know I can do runs up to 1.5 hours on an empty stomach and if I need more fuel for a longer run, I just wake about 30 – 40mins earlier to consume something.
#4 – Better Diet & Sleep
Having to wake earlier means having to sleep early and you don’t have to read much to know that it’s good for the body.
Post-workout nutrition is important so I used to end up having late meals after a night run. It’s quite unhealthy and difficult to sleep early with a full stomach and a post-workout body state.
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and what better way to indulge after a morning run?
#5 – Getting it Out of the Way
This has to be the biggest reason for me to switch. I spent as much as 2 hours each time, running about 4-5 days a week and that means sacrificing time with my fiancée; and she wasn’t too happy about it. Having my runs in the mornings ensures that I have a “normal” life to do things in the evenings. To her, it doesn’t even seem that I am not around on the weekends as I finish the runs before she wakes up.
It’s tough to wake up early to run in the mornings and depending on your work or school, you might even need to wake up at 4 – 5am to squeeze in a run. I realize that waking up early is not the most difficult thing about this change; sleeping early is. All the electronics that I use before bedtime keeps me up and I have to overcome it by having a routine to make myself sleep earlier.
Good luck if you are trying to make a switch! Do share any tips to help with waking or sleeping earlier.
Meat. It’s controversial and yet plays a very big part in almost everyone’s lives. Fact is, it has been a very big part for mankind since the beginning but it has only been controversial in modern times.
Let me set things straight first by saying that I love meat. It shouldn’t be so but meat forms the 2nd largest base of my food pyramid. Besides the nutritional value and the availability, it’s just absolutely fucking delicious. Char Siew (BBQ Pork), Roasted Pork, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Seafood, Beef stew, Lamb Kebabs, Steaks…; glorious bloody steaks.
Vegetarians and animal activists will be scowling at the above but if I was knee-deep in restricted waters, I’m diving right into it from the next paragraph.
I’m already ingesting all these animals, why shouldn’t I consider eating dolphin, dog, cat, rabbit, or even a nicely grilled hamster? Why is it illegal to sell/consume dog meat in my country when the equally intelligent pig is sold by the tons? Is the difference due to domestication? Go search YouTube for “pet pigs”. Don’t get me started if the reasons are nutrition or taste because I will bet my last dollar that almost every animal you don’t eat can be comparable in both areas.
I personally don’t eat dogs or cats because I see them as cute friends/pets. I remember reading about the consumption of dog meat in Korea and China as a young teen. With my pet, Junior, a Maltese-Shih Tzu looking at me, I expressed a shared disgust with my Mum at how horrible these people are. How can these humans eat dogs? Why would they even do that to such loving, smart creatures?
We then probably sat down to a meal of roasted meat and other delicacies.
Here’s my point to this whole blog post. As long as I eat meat, I am a murderous human being. I am the very reason why billions of animals are killed each year with many in cruel fashion so that they end up on my plate. Blood is not on my hands but it might as well have been.
The best thing I can do as a non-vegetarian is to shut my big mouth up when I hear of the consumption of animals that I will never eat. I plead for you omnivores/carnivores like me to do the same.
If you see or hear someone who consumes dog meat, don’t be a hypocrite and call it cruel/disgusting.
Former meat eaters who turned vegetarian because of animal cruelty are awesome. It’s really not easy.
Will I every turn vegetarian? Maybe, but I am being honest to say that it won’t happen soon.
As early as 2011, I’ve been thinking of ways to propose to Ruifang and I finally decided on how to do it about 5 weeks before the marriage proposal date on 18th August 2012.
There hasn’t been a doubt that she will say “Yes” to marrying me as I do believe that I speak for the both of us when I say that we have a rock-solid relationship. In fact, we did the Singaporean thing by applying for a HDB flat way before the proposal. That is part of the reasons why I wanted to make this a big proposal so that she deservingly feels the romance despite the realities of getting a flat at an opportune time.
She had been hinting and sometimes even half threatening me about asking for her hand and her friends will nod their heads furiously in agreement about her readiness for marriage. I knew that she will expect it if I didn’t plan this correctly so I had to throw multiple bluffs/lies at her.
“We are going to get married anyway, so why do I need to ask?”
She knows that I don’t really believe in marriage so it was easy to plant the idea that I won’t ever propose since there’s no point to it. 2nd August is our anniversary so I purposely planned the marriage proposal date to be after that.
I knew her very well so I manipulated her into thinking that it was her idea at the very start to model for my fake project for Oasia Hotel. I just said that my “client” needed non-professional models for a corporate online video and she almost immediately volunteered herself and her two great friends, Josephine and Reena. This set-up ensures that she will be filmed for the whole time without the need to hide cameras. Using this approach, it was also easier for me to set up meetings and arrange for logistics for the video shoot. It was half the truth after all.
Josephine & Reena were let in on the plan and they took it upon themselves to bring Ruifang on a roller-coaster ride of emotions as they pretended to be disinterested or have cold feet about the video shoot from time to time. They were also the one who managed to get her ring size for me. At one point in time, Ruifang was so angry at Reena for having cold feet that I felt really bad but I had to pretend to be all business like.
Ruifang and I live together at her parents place so communications was the biggest worry for me. We don’t look at each others phones but we know each of our passwords to them and to our email/social accounts. My iPhone was also a huge concern with the pop-ups of text and emails and I didn’t want to hide them to arouse suspicion.
I created a new email address and found a way to lock specific apps with a special way to unlock them so that there is no way of her stumbling onto the emails. Communications with Oasia Hotel, MINI Habitat (Story here), JannPaul Diamonds & all our friends and relatives were almost all done exclusively on that channel.
The biggest challenge of it all was to get 40 relatives and friends to attend the proposal without her finding out at all. Two weeks before the actual date, I contacted the guests and set very specific instructions to where and what time they may arrive at the 22nd floor of Oasia Hotel. An accidental text or Freudian slip from any of them could have foiled the whole plan but everything went well despite a few hiccups. I still had many sleepless nights though.
There were other bluffs I threw like having a staff at the hotel send her an official email of work engagement, casually looking around at ring designs to show that I have not even bought one and asking friends to check if she had plans for the proposal date.
The Marriage Proposal Day
I barely slept for 3 hrs but I knew I was in good hands for the video and photo coverage with Derek Foo, Song and Melvin Ho leading the shoot. After doing a “car scene” at the hotel, I pretended to leave for another event so Ruifang and the crew went upstairs while I waited at the lobby till they are in the room.
My Mum & Aunt came too early and spotted Ruifang from afar and headed in the opposite direction. Later, I was extremely lucky to catch them before they went up. I also had another group of friends who drove by too early and amazingly, Ruifang found the car familiar but did not think that it was her friends in it.
I wanted the beauty of the sunset for her walk-in but the clouds didn’t help me that day. Nonetheless, it was fair weather and I am grateful for that.
She took a lot of time before she realised what was going on and at my sight of her reddening eyes, I couldn’t help but teared uncontrollably even before she stepped onto the platform where I was.
I did plan what to say but my mind was blank and I could only say what I really meant while struggling hard to not choke on my own tears. The premise was simple; Love before marriage. Marriage is empty without Love but Love is never empty without marriage.
Our vows were taken before marriage and that is “to Love and Honour each other till the end of our lives.”
I am thankful for all the extra miles that Oasia Hotel put in to ensure a smooth execution. I have countless queries from friends on where the venue was and how pretty it is. The venue is perfect for ROMs and small weddings. (Contact for the Oasia Hotel here.)
I am thankful for all the relatives and friends who had to keep such a big secret and act along.
I am thankful for the wonderful photos that Melvin took (My future bro-in-law). He not only captured wonderful moments of the both of us but also of my guests. (Melvin’s Facebook Page, Melvin’s website.)
I am thankful for the expertise of Derek and Song who refined upon my ideas for the video and added so much more dimensions and story telling to it. (Derek’s Facebook Page)
I am especially thankful for finding a woman like Ruifang and her appreciation for all the little things that I do for her.
This “big” thing was my gift for my fiancée, my dear Ruifang.
Way before I met my fiancée, she fell in love with the MINI Cooper ever since she saw the movie “The Italian Job”. She is also a big fan of convertibles so I knew I had to get a MINI Cooper Cabrio for her engagement surprise.
I hooked up with the folks at MINI Habitat and they kindly provided me a sexy red one for the proposal!
I have never considered buying a MINI before as I am rather practical (and broke…). Most models sit 4 but only have 2 doors and how will the back seats have space for passengers? After a weekend in the MINI Cooper Cabrio, I am totally a fan of the car now. I had to pry my own hands open to return the key to MINI Habitat on Monday.
I don’t have to say much about its looks. The style and design makes it a head turner even if the one I was driving had another colour. I felt the need to be dressed up at least moderately well to even drive out to the wet market.
The insides are just as aesthetically exciting with the huge speedometer on the dashboard and all the mechanical flips and switches. Every detail exudes class with an interesting mix of classic and modern touches.
The most important thing that totally bowled me over is how it drives; the power of the engine and how it handles the road. Bear in mind that I wasn’t even driving the Cooper S version. The acceleration is fantastic and simple things like how it throttled the speed when I let go of the accelerator ensures that I have a smooth ride without the need to use my brakes excessively. I found myself wanting to go faster at corners just because it handles turns like a knife through tofu (Updated expression. Butter can be quite hard you know).
It’s small but packs power in your hand that can be controlled and unleashed if you wish.
I am grateful for my fiancée’s dad’s sedan that I get to drive around often but boy I am missing the MINI Cooper so much.
The front seat and head room is spacious for a 1.77m dude like me but I still think the back seats are impractical. The locations of some of the switches are really strange, like how the side window switches are at the bottom of the dashboard instead of the door side but I don’t really care now.
It’s a car that you conform to for its style and statement.
The way it drives will make you want to head out for no reason at all.
It was supposed to be for the fiancée but if I ever get one again, I’m going to be holding the key tightly.
Drool at the MINI offerings here: http://www.mini.com.sg/
It has been a nerve-racking 5 weeks of conceptualising, planning, meetings, secretive emails/texts, lying and living in fear of being exposed but it all turned out imperfectly perfect at the end.
Ruifang and I are now engaged!
It might have been overly elaborate but her joy and appreciation of it all was all worth it. (she’s still crying happy tears now and then.)
At least 50 people were involved and I owe it all to the folks at Oasia Hotel, Josephine & Reena (Ruifang’s two best friends), Melvin Ho (Photography), Derek & Song (Videography), MINI Habitat, and all the loved ones and good friends who made time to come for the big surprise. It wouldn’t have worked out if not for the fact that everyone did what was asked and more than I wished for.
There’s a lot of details but in short, Ruifang was tricked into thinking that she was doing a corporate video for the hotel. While she was happily being a “model” (and totally oblivious), family, friends and I were waiting for her at the beautiful 22nd floor to give her an unforgettable surprise.
No stress to Derek and Song but I can’t wait for the video so that I can explain everything in detail and not forgetting about the gorgeous engagement ring I bought from JannPaul Diamonds.
Meanwhile, Melvin has already did a quick video of stills which I adore for all the emotions he captured of our guests.
Thanks for all the well wishes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & texts! I am trying to thank everyone properly but it’s overwhelming for now and I do apologise if I missed anyone out.
Saw a man making a scene at SingPost (Ang Mo Kio). Apparently, he was expecting a package weeks ago and till now, he has yet to get it.
He channeled all his anger at the staff there and said pretty nasty stuff to a personnel servicing him but she took it rather well.
Unfortunately for Singpost, another colleage said aloud and along the line of, “If you want to complain, write in to complain!”. That sparked another customer to shout, “Do your job and we won’t have to!”
Singpost could have showed great customer service by continuing to be apologetic and helping the man find a solution but an idiotic colleague spoiled it all.
The customer could have reeled in his anger since the staff there had little to do with his late package and having a good but stern attitude could have helped him get things done willingly and easier.
So much for customer service and common sense.
If I encountered this once, I might attribute it to an honest staff but I actually experienced this thrice from 2 different outlets in Singapore over the years. On all occasions, I was ready to buy a product but the staff readily suggested that I wait for an upcoming promotion in a week or so.
Maybe it’s just me but my general shopping/dining experience in SG is that I will miss out on an upcoming discount or worse, a current card discount promotion if I do not ask the staff about it.
Kudos to the staff of FANCL Singapore, especially to the ones working at the Jurong Point & the Bishan Junction 8 outlets. Great honesty and awesome attitudes when serving customers!
While I was cleaning up the codes for this blog, I had to go through quite a lot of old entries dating as far back as 2008 and the amount of cringe I had while reading them almost had me shuddering like it was winter. Thank goodness I lost the entries between 2004 to 2007.
I never had the habit of keeping a journal so I guess this is the closest I can get to reading my own immature thoughts and writings. Unlike a private journal, everything is public here and I’d admit that it was very tempting to delete some of those entries but I didn’t. As horrible as it is, that history is part of me and who the hell wants to look through old entries except me anyway…
DON’T YOU DARE!
Apart from the horrible presentation and feeble attempts of self-deprecating humour, I fondly remember the memories of trying really hard to be heard in the social space. Of course I still want to be heard. Anyone who produces content on a public social platform wants to be heard by many and be loved by most. Apart from trolls of course. Trolls feed on negativity.
I feel a little rusty from the lack of writing full length posts but I hope that all the copywriting and reading over the last 2 years will help me ease back in this neglected route.
Some old readers of mine will probably miss the old style of mine but trust me. Transformer cartoons stayed awesome in my head until I tried to watch them recently.
I am agnostic and I do understand religion but I find it rather irritating if anyone I follow blogs/tweets/post about Christianity almost all the time. I could have tried being politically correct by saying “about religion” instead of “about Christianity” but I don’t find my Buddhist or Muslim friends rave about Buddha or Allah all the time. In fact, they hardly mention a thing about their God(s).
Being someone who takes pride for being impartial to almost any situation, I asked myself if I would irritate or offend someone if I only post about something I really love.
If I post of nothing but running, I will probably offend a group of people who absolutely hate running/exercise.
If I post of nothing but my gf, I will probably irritate a significant amount of people who dislike romance and those who are single.
If I post of nothing but gadgets, I will probably offend all the neo-Luddites. But then again, a neo-Luddite wouldn’t be on Facebook.
Also, if I only post about one particular thing, I’ll just bore every damn person to death.
What if I put myself in a Christian’s shoes? I love God. I love Jesus. I love to share about my experiences with Christ. I love to share little snippets about the bible. I love to pass thoughts about Christianity to people who follow me. Maybe if I post about Christianity more often, I might convince more people, especially my loved ones to convert to Christianity. After all, heaven is only open to those who believe in God, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and repent for their sins. Sharing is caring.
But wait. Assuming that Wikipedia is right; 18.3% of Singaporeans are Christians and 17% are non-religious, which leaves 64.7% who follow other religions. If I have 500 friends on Facebook, I risk offending 324 friends (64.7%) and irritating 85 of them (17%). Why would I want to irritate and offend more than 80% of my friends?
Some might tell me that if I don’t like it, I should just unfriend/unfollow the person on Facebook/Twitter or just stop reading the blog. Sure, I can do that but I follow or befriend someone online because I am either a friend in real life or I am interested in the ongoings of his/her life. As mundane as it sounds, I want to know what they eat, where are they going, what are they doing and what views they have. There’s no simple way for me to filter things especially when they say things like:
“This chicken rice is delicious, I thank God for the food.”
“Made a trip up Mt. Kinabalu. God showed me the way.”
The Buddhist will thank the effort and cycle of life for the chicken rice and good karma for his safe climb.
The Muslim will thank Allah for the chicken rice and safe climb.
The non-religious will thank the chef for the chicken rice and his own legs for the climb.
There are reasons why any considerate person will refrain from talking about religion when amongst friends with mixed beliefs in the real world.
One problem is that every religious slanted update/post will have statements that will offend the other religions because it isn’t true in their beliefs! Having someone who blabs nothing but religious statements online is like having a friend physically in the same room with you, talking about his religious thoughts. I can try to ignore some of your religious thoughts or try to be accepting but it’s hard when everything said is about it. So do I be nice and sit in the same room and ignore you or do you be nice by restraining your religious thoughts?
I want to be your friend but for the 23rd time, that damn chicken rice didn’t come from your God.
P.S.: Of course this post has the potential to offend with the seemingly un-religious thoughts but if you read it as I intended, only a small group should feel offended.
Contrary to popular belief, I did have rather good and smooth looking skin back then you know. I clearly remember the strange and sudden outbreak when I was 17/18 years of age. Strange because I had already went through a round of puberty when I was 15/16. Sudden because in a matter of weeks, the clear face of mine turned into a map of pus-filled acne clusters that threatened to erupt at any time.
The suddenness of it all had me doing everything but the right thing. I woke up with blood and pus stained pillow sheets. I pop the “ripe” ones that fly like missiles onto the bathroom mirror. I buy over the counter acne creams that does little for my problems. I buy facial washes for “acne-prone” skin that does nothing but worsen my skin condition when my skin dries out.
I can’t remember whose golden suggestion it was but after a year of World War III on my face, I finally sought proper help at the National Skin Centre in Singapore. The waiting time was horribly long but it was well worth it. The doctor made a few injections on a few large coin-sized pulsating pus-mountains of doom and I started to look hideous; which was a marked improvement from grotesque.
I also started on a year long oral medication of Isotretinoin which was a real life saver. I stopped having acne and pimples even a few years after I stopped taking the drug. It had a few side effects like sun-sensitive skin, dry lips, light wallets (damn bloody expensive drug) and quite the list of scary ones that I hope I didn’t get but it was better than what I was facing before (pun intended).
The two main points I am trying to make are these:
Seek (professional) help.
Don’t rely heavily on over-the-counter drugs/creams/wash. There are some that I personally recommend but it’s best to just head to a good dermatologist to help you with the acne.
If you want to ask advice from friends, DON’T ask those who always has blemish-free skin. It’s like asking war advice from a shiny armoured general who has not ever been in a fight.
Don’t pop the acne/pimples.
It’s the simplest advice but you know it when I say it’s the hardest damn thing to follow. No self-aware individual will want to meet fellow humans with a huge pulsating zit on his/her nose and much less with many ripe ones all over.
So what do you do? Pop it? Unless you have good genes or shit loads of money, acne/pimple scars will stick with you permanently so apply something and live with the pimples for possibly a few days rather than the danger of scarring after you pop them.
To bring you up to speed on my current skin condition before I dish out my product recommendations; I have multiple scars on my face and upper neck from World War III (see para 3.) I still have the occasional pimple, probably from my oily skin which would have made me a very rich man if sebum has practical uses.
The best facial wash for me after years of looking around is the Dermal Clay Cleanser by Dermalogica. It’s strong enough to have my face cleaned and most importantly, it’s mild enough to not strip my face of moisture. DO NOT buy harsh facial washes. They clean thoroughly but they leave your skin dry and irritated which makes your skin work overtime to produce more sebum. I buy it from sunnanz.com.sg as i4 is much cheaper than buying it from local shops.
I am relatively lazy with my facial upkeep; hardworking compared to nerds, lazy compared to women. I found that my skin was at it’s best when I cleanse, tone, moisturize and mask.
One really helpful product that I stopped taking because of it’s cost is the collagen drink, TenseUp EX by FANCL. Recommendations from ex-colleagues had me drinking it for a few months and after 1-2 months, the skin looks and feels so much better. The effects are not permanent so you do have to ingest it daily.
There is this awesome product that I discovered quite recently is the Nexcare Acne Patch by 3M. If it only existed 12 years ago, I might have saved myself from quite a lot of scarring. I put it on a pimple before I sleep and by the time I wake up, the miracle patch would have sucked up most if not all of the pus. I haven’t looked up on how it works but I am guessing that microscopic aliens use the patches as a landing pad and work with complex machinery to extract the pus.
This is not a sponsored post by any of the brands or products I’ve mentioned. I just want to save as many teens/adults as I can from the four letter word called Acne.
It’s hard to “pen” my thoughts down for this as I am feeling almost as sad when my dog passed away 2 years ago. Yuniko, the cat in the office, has just been adopted by a family and I didn’t have time to say my goodbye. It feels as though a loved one has went away for good and I wasn’t able to see him one last time.
Due to various reasons, Yuniko’s owner couldn’t keep him anymore and she had to find another home for him. I wanted to adopt him but time was not on my side as I am only able to only do so when my house comes in 2014.
I’ve known Yuniko since 2009 and for those who have been seeing Yuniko in my other social presences, one might think that he was my cat but he is actually owned by my business partner. Yuniko and I shared a very special bond and he amuses me with no end. He is a cat but he has the grace of a fat dog and the greediness of a pig.
I’ll miss his morning greetings; his meowing and purrs as I come into the office. I’ll miss his manja-ness; his way of getting attention by parking himself in between my monitor and my keyboard. I’ll miss his dog-like ways; his licking and actually coming to me when I call his name.
I’ll miss him so much.
I didn’t expect him to be adopted so soon so I unknowingly spent my last day with him yesterday. I gave him a good comb and said to him, “Yuniko, somebody is gonna come visit you tomorrow. You better be good.” It was a good day spent with him but I wish I spent it knowing that he’ll be gone today.
Goodbye my dear Yuniko. I hope your new family treats you well. May you always have food on your plate but for goodness sake, lose some weight.
Goodbye my dear friend.
[Update]: The Period to a Story.
I have had the pleasure of holding on to the LG E2360 for so long that I sometimes forget that I have to return it soon!
Work and life have been keeping me from playing games on the PC to really test out the monitor but I’ve been spending a lot of time (as usual…) on the PC and my eyes really love to work on the newer LG E2360 compared to the LG W2486 who is sitting on the side as my secondary monitor.
My usual habit is to utilize both screens so that I can see more at once but over the last few weeks, I find myself using only the LG E2360 and sometimes even forgetting to turn on the other monitor. To explain this break of habit, I guess it’s due to the colours and the overall better display quality.
If only I can hold it on to it longer to play some games that will shine with the specs!
Read more about my first impressions of the LG E2360 here!
[Disclosure]: The LG E60 monitor is on loan to me for reviews with the option to purchase it at a small discount should I choose to.
It’s been 16 months since I first shared shared my experience in Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) and since I just passed the 1,000km mark 2 weeks ago in these strange looking minimalist shoes (I refuse to call them “barefoot shoes”. You are either barefoot or in various kinds of footwear.), I’d like to share again on my journey thus far.
The two ailments I had in regular shoes prior to switching to VFFs were plantar fasciitis and knee aches/pains. Knee aches have been non-existent so far. As for plantar fasciitis, the only times when I will feel slight pain is when I haven’t been running for a period and I MIGHT feel a little pull under the left foot during the 1st to 2nd run. So I can safely say that I am rid of these two problems for good every since switching to VFFs
Besides the period of time last year when I went got top of the foot pain (suspected tendinitis), probably from switching to VFFs much too soon without a transition plan, I was completely free of any injuries. Apart from a good, progressive training plan, the most important thing for any runner is to be injury free. An injury can set you back for weeks, months & even years of progress in fitness and being free from that ensures that you can constantly improve even if you are just inching forward.
I wish I had found some way to measure my feet before switching to Vibram Five Fingers; especially the bridge of my feet because I can almost swear that the arches of my feet have risen slightly over time and they feel more muscular as well. I remember being identified by a “shoe specialist” that I am leaning towards being flat footed and I have not encountered any problems from “the lack of arch support”.
I have 3 pairs of Vibram Five Fingers now. One pair of Classics that I use to walk in on an almost daily basis and 2 pairs of Bikila that I rotate for runs. Note that I don’t rotate them because of cushioning; I rotate em so that they have time to be dry from sweat and wet weather.
How long do these thin shoes last? I run mostly on cement and tarmac and manage to clock 600km in my VFFs KSO. I could have continued to run in them but I don’t want holes in my socks when a section of my socks started showing through the bottom of my KSO. I read of others like this dude who clocked over 1,200km in a pair and still going strong!
I really don’t see myself running in anything else but minimalist shoes and will recommend it to anyone. But along my journey, I have also came to a bigger understanding that the saying of “If it ain’t broke, do not fix it!” applies to shoes as well. If you never had a problem running in shoes or even landing on your heels, I’d say that you are a lucky man/woman.
Else, if you are willing to forgo the concept of cushioning and structured shoes or have been getting injured, I will highly recommend you to give minimalist shoes a try and run like how we humans are engineered to. Remember to transition slowly!
Here’s a screen-shot of a recent barefooting article by My Paper where I gave a short blurb on running with minimalist shoes.
Link to article (Page A16)
Feel free to contact me to discuss about VFFs or running! I always love to make another friend who enjoys this misunderstood sport. I can be reached via my contact form, on Twitter and through Facebook.
I will start chronicling my training data and methods here from race to race. One reason for this is to serve as a running diary and the other is for anyone who might be interested to know how I train. I am only an amateur long distance runner and I definitely will not say this is the right way to train but I collect a lot of data and I am seeing good results from my training.
*Warning* This will be an extremely boring post for most, so do not read beyond this line if you are not interesting in running data.
Training period: 26 Jan 2011 – 28 May (Sundown 2011, 21.1 km)
- Distance ran (Excluding racing distance): 473.25 km
- No. of runs: 59
- Highest Weekly Mileage: 48.55 km
- Average running distance: 8.02 km
- Time spent: 46 hrs 47 mins 31 secs
- Max. distance ran: 20 km
- Avg. speed: 10.1 km/h
- Avg. heart rate: 157 bpm
- Avg. cadence: 166 – 174 steps/min.
- Calories burned: 32,233 kcal
- Weight change: 67.8 kg (9 Feb) – 64.5 kg (28 May)
- Lowest measured weight: 63.2 kg (29 May)
- Resting heart rate change: 63 bpm (30 Jan) – 56 bpm (12 May)
- Lowest measured resting heart rate: 52 bpm (24 Mar)
- Race Name: Sundown 2011
- Distance: 21.1km
- Time: 2 hr 02 min 13 sec
- Avg. Pace: 5:48 min/km
- Avg. Cadence: 164 steps/min
I train mostly in heart rate zones. The zones are defined by assuming through calculation that my Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) is 192 bpm and my Resting Heart Rate (HRrest) is measured once every 3-5 days. I measure my HRrest 1st thing in the morning before I get out of bed and it’s at least 24 hrs after the previous run.
These are my heart rate training zones with a HRrest of 56 bpm:
The bulk of my training is of Long Slow Distances (LSDs) and the rest are Tempo Runs, Short Intervals & Long Intervals. I chose to adopt a 10-day training cycle instead of the more common 7-day cycle because I didn’t want to run 4-6 days straight with just 1 or 2 days of rest. The 10-day cycle also allowed me more flexibility in the event that I had to skip a session or two and was still able to keep to the important scheduled Long Run.
This is one real example of my 10-day cycle:
- Day 1: Warm-Up Jog – 1.5 km, Short Intervals – 800 m x 6
- Day 2: LSD – 8.8 km
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Warm-Up Jog – 1.5 km, Long Intervals – 2.7 km x 2
- Day 5: LSD – 8.8 km
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: Warm-Up Jog – 1 km, Tempo Run – 6.6 km
- Day 8: LSD – 8.7 km
- Day 9: LSD (Longest Run) – 20 km
- Day 10: Rest
- Total distance (including jogging laps during intervals): 71.79 km
Types of Runs:
LSDs: These are ran in Zone 3. I will divide the distance as equally as I can into 11 parts (Zone 2.7 to Zone 3.7) and slowly allow my heart’s bpm to rise as I jog the distance. Barring sections on routes with down and/or up-slopes, my speed will naturally increase as the effort of my heart increases which results in a overall negative split.
Tempo Runs: These are ran in Zone 4. I will divide the distance as equally as I can into 12 parts (Zone 3.7 to Zone 4.8) and slowly allow my heart’s bpm to rise as I run the distance. As with LSDs, the overall timing of each run is a negative split.
Short & Long Intervals: After reading about efficiency of interval training distances by Arthur Lydiard, I mainly do distances of short intervals (800 m) and long intervals (1.5 km & above). I run as fast as I can (entering Zone 5) with the last session’s timing as a guide for each lap. Upon hitting the end of a lap, I will slow jog until my heart rate hits Zone 2.9 before I start my next lap.
Race to race comparison will show a very skewed improvement this time because the races are so far apart (almost 2 years).
As my LSDs are done with the same effort (heart rate zones), I shall compare LSDs of similar distances over a time period.
Seeing that I manage to finally complete a training period and run a good race, I’ll be adopting the same concept in my build-up to Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon (21.1km). However, my planned mileages are in preparation for my 1st full marathon in Dec for Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.
The folks of LG has once again sent over a monitor for my grimy hands to play with and this time, it’s the E60 series.
I was hoping that it will be a monitor with an even larger screen estate because the previous one they sent to me was the LG W2486 and has a 24″ widescreen; which I had eventually purchased and it has been my primary monitor with a dual monitor set-up at home.
The slight disappointment with the smaller screen estate of the LG E2360 was quickly overwhelmed when I unboxed it and realized it was so thin and light compared to the now bulky looking LG W2486!
I quickly moved my old Samsung monitor to the shelves; demoted the 24″ LG W2486 as my secondary monitor and assigned the sleek looking LG E2360 as my primary monitor. Pardon my messy desk but I have to show how it barely accommodates the 2 huge LG widescreen monitors.
First impressions upon using the LG E2360? Colours were impressive and the contrast of images and video on the screen were even better than the already impressive LG W2486. The other specifications are impressive too!
LG E2360 LED LCD Monitor Specifications:
- Screen Size: 23″
- Panel Type: TN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Brightness (cd/m2): 250
- Contrast Ratio (DFC): 5,000,000:1
- Response Time (GTG): 5 ms (Typical)
- Viewing Angle: 170º
- Display Colors: 16.7 M
- Panel Surface: Anti-Glare, 3H
The recommended retail price of the monitor is S$298.
I will be holding on it for a little while more and I’ll share more about the LG E2360 later!
[Disclosure]: The LG E60 monitor is on loan to me for reviews with the option to purchase it at a small discount should I choose to.
My last race was at Singapore Bay Run (SBR) in Sep 2009 for the 21km run and since then, there was this running curse that plagued me since then. Getting to the starting line of Sundown 2011 proved to be an obstacle itself with the insane traffic jam leading up to Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC).
From my observations, the only people who got to the starting line in time were those who planned to arrive insanely early and those who travelled via motorcycles that can weave through the snail-paced vehicular jam.
The awesome KuKuNehNeh drove me to Expo where we parked and we took a cab down to CEC. A drive from Expo to CEC on any other day that will take 20mins, took almost 1hr that day. And that was only to the junction leading to Aviation Park Road. We got off the cab and away from the clearly pissed cab driver who most likely regretted picking us up even when I gave him 4 extra dollars as compensation. We then walked at a fast pace towards the starting line which took us another 25-30mins. Scores of runners and supporters lined the streets on route to the starting line as well.
My personal best (PB) was 2:43:32 at the SBR in 2009 and I aimed to do a 1:59:00 and set off at a good average pace of 5:36/km for the 1st 10km. The pace was tough to maintain not because of the speed but for the waves and waves of human traffic that I had to weave through because I started 30mins past the official starting time. Walkers hogged both the left and right extremes and sometimes even the centre. There are also groups of runners that probably know each other and thus formed various formations that I had to circumnavigate.
Most of the time I had to silently find opportunities to overtake as I didn’t want to say “To your right!” for the whole of 21km and ended up bumping into a few elbows and arms while overtaking. I did say my “Sorries” though.
The water/100plus stations were overcrowded and I only managed to grab a cup of 100plus at the 4km mark and another 2 cups of water along the way to the 17km mark. My mind and body broke down at that point and I walked to the 100plus station and took a cup and walked. It was tasty life going down my throat and I actually walked back after 5 metres just to grab another cup and walked for another 300 metres.
Upon checking my watch and remembering what I set out to do, my mind rebooted and I ran my way to finish in 2:02:13 with an average pace of 5:30/km for the last 3.65km. I was really spent, pushing myself through the last 500m and my right calf cramped up. The photographers at the last stretch probably have all pictures of my face in various states of agony.
I didn’t achieve what I set out to do but I am still extremely pleased at breaking my race curse and shaving off 40+mins off to set a new PB.
This is only my 2nd race since starting long-distance running in 2009 and there’s a wealth of lessons learnt. I can’t wait to start training for my next race!
A poor location to organise a running event of such scale but kudos to the Sundown 2011 volunteers that lined the route and the water stations who were extremely cheerful while saying/shouting words of encouragement as I ran my heart out. I can’t imagine the amount of work involved in cleaning up the event site and route which was littered with cups and other rubbish as well.
A big THANK YOU to you volunteers! (and also to KKNN for driving and accompanying me there. Though she said it will be the last time she is gonna do that due to the horrible traffic. LOL)
Update: The official results are out at Runpix! http://www.runpix.info/wrace2/00/sun11/ge.php?ln=
Here’s my comparison between Sundown 2011 & SBR 2009
I had 3 out of 63 runs in this training cycle that failed to meet my expectations and on hindsight, I’m pleased to have had them because the lessons learnt are priceless.
There was this failed attempt to go for a long jog in the evening after spending a tiring morning at Sentosa’s MegaZip. The other 2 failed attempts was because of my choice at an overzealous pace at a recent 10km and 12km run. These 2 fast paced runs were the most enlightening because it emulated race conditions.
Looking at the data from the 2 runs, I know that I will fail to keep the pace when my heart starts to beat above 175-177 which is about 91-92% of my MHR (Maximum Heart Rate). After I hit that threshold, I will only be able to keep the same pace for about 2-3km before my body and mind tells me to give up.
I did the 12km run in 1:05:53 and it sounds like a respectable timing at a pace of 5:29/km but it was an extremely crappy run. The initial 7.6km was ran at a pretty constant pace of 5:08/km and I couldn’t keep it up after that. The rest of the run was at paces ranging from 5:41/km to 6:27/km. It felt so bad that I really wanted to just give up.
So for races beyond 3km, I know that I need to keep a watch on my heart rate (pun not intended) and adjust my speed accordingly to leave enough fuel to finish the run at a constant pace and a strong finish.
The other lesson learnt is to know my strength and not push it too much.
Oh well, I train like a robot for most of my training. A little fun and challenge now and then should be fine.
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