Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Day in the Life of...

Last night, I managed only 3 hours of sleep worrying if a screw up at work late last night may have been my fault. I woke up at 6am, wrote a letter to my boss to defend myself, and spoke to him on the phone before emailing the letter off. I needed to fix my teeth, so I paid a visit to the dentist in the late morning. I’d bought the new Nikon D300, a few days ago, so while I was out, I also met up with a nice lady to sell her my D200. Back home for a quick lunch when the office called to tell me that they needed me to fly to China early tomorrow morning. I had a photo deadline to meet tomorrow. Since I wasn’t going to be around, I gave a call to the printer to see if my slide had been scanned. It was, so off I went to collect the scanned image. Back home again and I went for a quick run. I needed to maintain my training for a 100km run next April, so out the door I went, even though I was dog-tired. After a quick shower, I worked on the scanned image for Lonely Planet Publications who might use the image for one of their guidebooks next year, and sent it off. Dinner, and a quick chat with an Intellectual Property rights lawyer for some advice, and I’m back at the computer again, writing this blog. After this, I’ll need to pack for my trip to China, hit the sack and get ready for a 5am wake up call.

Ok, anybody keep count of how many times I used the word ‘quick’?

Photo: Flight Level ThreeSixZero. Altitude readout at sunset over South Korea. Taken with a Sea & Sea 1G/Ricoh GX100

Saturday, November 24, 2007

From 0 to 100: R & R

This series of articles tracks my progress to run a 100km Ultramarathon from zero training in just 4 months. Present weekly mileage: 25km

My training plan called for 25km in the first week, 30km in the second week, and followed in the third week with a week of rest. However, after the first week of 25 km, I was so tired that I had to take my second week off. Pathetic!

Fortunately, I was rather busy with work and it would have been difficult to stick with my training plan. Anyway, I thought I’d talk about some ways to get some R & R:

Shower with Hot/Cold Water
A masseuse can expertly move blood and waste products around the body, but another way you can do this is to take a shower alternating between hot and cold water. In cold water, blood is shuttled to the vital organs to protect them, and in hot water, blood moves back to the skin to cool your body. It’s uncomfortable, but it works!

Cross Training
Swim, bike, rock-climbing... do anything other than running to revitalize you. Also consider gym work. Working out in the gym is a two edged sword. Running doesn’t work out the upper body much, so on the one hand, gym work brings those body parts back up to par, and helps prevent injuries when I participate in other sports. On the other hand, the wrong type of training can bulk you up and add unnecessary weight, a big no-no for ultra distance running. The trick is how to work out. I like Core Performance by Mark Verstegen.

Food
I down my post workout drink within 30 mins after my run, and consume my main meal about 2 hours later.

Sleep
Regular and sufficient sleep would put me on the right path to recovery. Unfortunately, with my present job, I get none of those. Ah well, only 2 more weeks before I start my new life !

Photo: View To A Different World. Osaka Aquarium, taken with a Canon Ixus 850 IS.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nikon D300 Launched in Singapore

The D300s are available in stores from today! Street price is about SGD$2500 (USD$1720) before GST, or about SGD$2700 including tax. Man, I’m still on my trip to the USA. I hope they keep one for me...

Monday, November 12, 2007

You Can’t Go Back

Last week, we revisited the Ketam Mountain Bike Trail on Pulau Ubin. I wanted to buy a Sea&Sea DX-1G / Ricoh GX100 and bring it along on this ride, but my wife said I needed a ‘cooling off’ period of 1 week before I would be allowed to buy it.

I felt my Nikon D200 was a little too big and heavy to ride with and I didn’t want to risk smashing it up should I crash (a very real possibility). So I pulled my Canon 350D with the 10-22mm lens out of the dry box. After playing around with it for about 15 minutes though, I was thoroughly confused and frustrated. To cut a long story short, it reminded me of why I switched back to Nikon in the first place.

Disappointed, I put the 350D back into the dry box and I reluctantly pulled out my D200 and tried to think of a way to carry my camera, have it protected and yet not interfere with my ability to ride.

I ruled out putting the camera into my hydration pack because of leakage worries (my bladder blew out he week before and leaked lime squash all over my back. Yuk!). Other options for carrying the camera included putting it into my camera backpack (too big), fanny pack (still too big). In the end, I put it into a Lowepro Topload Zoom case and slapped on a 2-inch wide waist belt.

It worked out very well. With the case pushed behind me, it didn’t interfere with my riding at all. All I had to do to access the camera was swivel the case to the front. Needless to say, I’m very happy with this system for riding. Anybody want to buy a used 350D?

Photo:
Take A Closer Look. Aloysius Wee takes a closer look at a Yellow Orb Web Spider. Taken with a Nikon D200, Nikkor 12-24mm lens.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

From 0 to 100: First Steps

This series of articles tracks my progress to run a 100km Ultramarathon from zero training in just 4 months.

Gear Up
First of all, my shoes are about a year old, so I’m probably due for a new pair. Midsoles lose their cushioning over time and it’s better to retire shoes too early than too late. I usually buy 2 pairs at once, and I rotate them to even out their use. Runner’s World has good information on shoes, foot types and what shoes will suit you.

Technique
This is a good time to work on my technique before I start racking up the heavy mileage. I like Danny Dreyer’s Chi Running .

Training Program
Next, I’ll find a good training program. Most training programs are based on the principles of Periodized Training. Training programs are good motivators, but I’ll cut workout days for rest days if I feel I really need it. It’s a fine line between training hard and training TOO hard. I think it’s better to arrive at the race a little under trained than over trained. Hal Higdon has an ultramarathon training program here and a marathon training guide here.

Photo:
Running Disco Ridge. Taken during The Gobi March, a 250km foot race across the Gobi Desert of China. Taken with a Pentax Optio 43WR.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

From 0 to 100

I’ve just agreed to participate in a 100km charity run organized by The North Face (Singapore).

Although people think of me as a runner because I’ve participated in a couple of ultramarathons, I’m not. I haven’t run any real distance in over a year amd My mileage for the past week has been zero. I’ll literally be going from 0 to 100km in just 4 months, and putting myself head to head with the best endurance athletes in the country. Yes, this scares me. It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed, and even afraid. This is going to be tough, and the chances of injury due to overtraining are high.

Still, I believe it can be done, and I’m going to write about my thoughts and progress over the next 4 months.

Wish me luck!

Photo:
Running MacRitchie Trail. Taken with a Pentax Optio 43WR.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sea & Sea DX-1G

Holy Captain Nemo, Batman! And it comes in black too! Is that cool or what?

If this camera looks familiar, it’s because it’s the Ricoh Caplio GX100 dressed up with a Sea & Sea badge and slight modifications. It’s called the Sea & Sea 1G . The underwater housing is the Sea & Sea DX-1G and is good down to a depth of 50 m.

Sea & Sea sells the housing and camera as a set, and together they cost SGD$1450 (about USD$1000) including GST here in Singapore. The Ricoh GX100 costs SGD$824/USD$569 (including GST).

The thing is that Sea & Sea won’t sell you the housing on its own. Which means I’ll need to buy the Sea & Sea 1G version of the GX100 if I want the housing.

Decisions, decisions…