Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In which my immune system fights off some invaders, and a few surprises

Remember how I said I was training kind of half-heartedly for a sprint tri, and that I'm not really a speedy sprinter? Well, my body was in the mood to deliver some surprises.

This past week and a half have been kind of a headless-chicken period at work, in which I finished four stories and a commentary, covered a conference, and have been hovering just on the verge of coming down with a full-blown cold. As in, not sick enough not to do any work - and in fact thanks to the adrenaline rush I felt fine - but tipping over the edge of properly sick.

On Friday night I got off work at 9 and chickened out of a dear friend's birthday shindig, because I didn't really want to be a plague vector. Then I had a quiet, early night in with hot tea, Archer and some vitamins.

On Saturday I felt ok enough to drag my arse out of bed for a slow run. (How slow? After 7km I started walking and looking at the birds in the canal - ooh, herons...) That night I went to another friend's farewell party and went home early to sleep.

On Sunday I did the Metasprint aquathlon. It's the first in a series of sprint events: swim and run, run-bike-run, and swim-bike-run; I signed up for all three (talk about getting your money's worth) because I did the tri last year and they were so incredibly well-organised.

Improbably, my body delivered. I think it has a mind of its own.

I always start the swim all the way at the back and to the left, because I'm not a strong swimmer and I manage to get to swim training about once a month. This time, I was so startled when I realised I was overtaking people that I nearly stopped swimming.

The swim course was an M-shaped out-and-back-and-out-and-back - super calm and warm! A couple of minutes in transition (seriously, I need a race belt). Then we took off on the run, in which I managed to pick off several other women before one or two picked me off.
least awful of the race pix. that timing chip strap also gave me an abrasion which was a total nightmare in the shower later while i was also washing off the salt water...

I completely failed to see the 4km sign (not the organisers' fault - just me being dopey) and didn't have time to get up a good sprint before I was confronted with the finish line. Oops. At the end I was VERY surprised to also see a new 5K PR (26:40). Apparently my secret to a short-distance run PR is to take a long, slow swim first?  (This also happened in the Singapore Biathlon last year, when I broke an hour for 10K for the first time...after swimming 1.5km first. No, I have no idea how this works, but thanks!)

proof. i'm a slow swimmer...  

Some thoughts: I make a lot of mistakes during short sharp races:
1. I don't go out fast enough. If anything I'm too conservative.
2. I never race hard enough to blow up. (Gotta take chances!)
3. I always let my thoughts drift and never focus. Trying to look cool for the cameras? Guilty as charged.
So one of my goals is to be more aggressive during short races(5 or 10K), and really race. There's a 5K coming up next weekend...

Sunday afternoon we went to the National Museum with a friend, Marta; I wanted to see this exhibition  -'Being Together', a photography exhibition by Singaporean lensman John Clang, involving modern technology and Skype witchery. But we walked right into this indie craft/ food fair and I had a milkshake that tasted like an orange creamsicle. (Singapore peeps: this is from Once Upon A Milkshake, hands down THE best milkshakes in this city.)

The best part? Because of the indie festival/ open house, all the exhibitions were FREE! 'Being Together' turned out to be excellent. GO AND SEE IT. I PROMISE.

Tuesday track (got there late, did most of the set on my own): 2km (2:10-2:17 per lap), 1.6km (2:05-2:15), 800m (2:01, 2:07), 400m (1:48)
Saturday: 'Long' run - 10km double canal, really easy because I was still trying to get over that cold.
Sunday: Aquathlon race day! 750m swim, 5km run.
Monday: Recovery run - 5km eeeeeasy - plus core work
Tuesday morning: 1km repeats at the track: 5:20, 5:15, 5:15, 5:14, 5:09. (Was that supposed to be 10k pace? Felt good all the way to the end, for once. I'm a morning person. Don't judge.)


  1. Do you do a good warm-up before you race a run-only? [Like, ~10 minutes of easy running and a few pick-ups, within 20 minutes of the start? I know. It's hard here. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it AND make it into the starting chute.]

    It takes your body a few minutes to reach maximum efficiency (heart rate increase, respiration rate increase, etc.), and during that time, you aren't operating at peak level. However, throw in a 750 meter swim before your run, and suddenly, you hit the run without TOO MUCH muscle tiredness, but an aerobic system that's functioning at its peak. BOOM: PR.

  2. HM. Maybe I should try that next time. I haven't really done a short sharp race in a while. Genius. :)