Monday, February 26, 2007

No Skate Scootering...

... No Skate Scootering?!? (is there even such a word?), No Roller-blading, No Pets, No Skate-boarding, and even No Studying?!?! This sign we found at the Airport (viewing gallery) is a classic - I can't help but take a picture of it because it reminds me of just how "anal" Singapore can get. Good thing it did not say anything about screaming kids playing "A-E-I-O-U". :D (Have you played A-E-I-O-U before? Kewl game - you freeze after the "catcher" shouts "A-E-I-O-U" and run like mad once someone touches the catcher)

On the training end, I almost met my training plans at the bottom of my last post:
  • Mon: Rest
  • Tues: 7km Fun Run with R1
  • Wed: Strength Training - Leg Press, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull-Down, Push-ups, Abs Crunch with Twist.
  • Thurs: 10km Run planned, but ran 9.2km instead (primarily because I got up late) :(
  • Fri: 2km Swim planned, but skipped in lieu of dinner with friends at the airport (see video above)
  • Sat: 50km bike / 5km run planned, but did swim drills instead - kicking and Stroke Per Length (SPL) drills
  • Sun: Fun Run or Ride with R1 planned, but did 53km ride / 4km run instead

I am heading to India tonight for the entire week, so I am aiming to run Intervals on the hotel treadmill and maybe get in a strength training session. Travelling to India always wears me out, so this trip I will try to rest a bit more. Was hoping to get in a swim before I leave, but R2 found some poo in our apartment pool last night, so I am a little apprehensive about getting in the water before the cleaners come tomorrow. Maybe I will drive out to the club pool later...

Until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Year of the Pig

Have you ever had "leave me alone to wallow in my self-pity" days? That pretty much sums up my Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays. We are having our annual increment rounds at work, and I was stupid enough to muck it up just before the holidays, so two of my guys have had to work during the CNY holidays to help rectify the error. Not exactly the clever thing to do when my boss is trying to figure out my increment for the year. :(

On a brighter note, the kids had a great start to CNY this year, as it fell on a Sunday. A great chance to compare costumes 1st thing in the morning before the visiting began. So happens one of the gals came in a matching costume so I could not resist taking a picture of the lil' ones.

On the training side, my Polar HRM tells me that I have been burning less than 1000 Kcals a week for the last 3 weeks (my target is to burn more than 2000 Kcals a week) and I'm afraid it is showing in my waistline. I discovered to my dismay that I have to loosen my belt by one notch!

Went for a run with R1 on his bike yesterday (3rd day of CNY) which turned out to be a 7km slow run with lots of stops - R1 had to adjust his pants, take a drink, stop to look at stuff, etc - and some climbing (slopes too steep for R1 to bike up/down, and some stairs in between). As you can see from the HRM graph, it was like mixing in a bit of everything - slow running, intervals, climbing and even a little strength training (carrying R1's bike). :) In retrospect, not too much of a workout, but the "quality time" one-on-one with R1 was priceless, so I really can't complain. In fact, I am thinking of making this a regular Sunday afternoon activity. :)

Next week I go to Delhi so I am trying to get as much training into this week as I can:
  • Mon: Rest
  • Tues: 7km Fun Run with R1
  • Wed: Strength Training - Leg Press, Seated Row, Bent Elbow Lat Pull-Down, Push-ups, Abs Crunch with Twist.
  • Thurs: 10km Run (planned)
  • Fri: 2km Swim (planned)
  • Sat: 50km bike / 5km run (planned)
  • Sun: Fun Run or Ride with R1 (planned)

Pretty ambitious training plans (for me), but I'm hoping that I can stick to 'em. Until next time, train safe and God Speed!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year!

Yup, Chinese New Year is on 18 Feb (Sunday) this year and this is the year of the PIG! If you were born on 1947, 1957, 1971 or 1983, there's a good chance that you were born in the year of the pig, which is really not a bad thing, as the Chinese associate the pig with being happy and honest (straight forward).

Chinese New Year (CNY) is a huge thing in Singapore. You literally cannot get any of the Chinese race here to work on CNY eve and the 1st two days of CNY. Some local businesses will even take the entire week off as this is the only time of the year that they take a break.

In line with Chinese New Year festivities, R2 made this nice dragon for us in Art Class - a very handy decoration as it is traditional to put up some decorations on our front door, and I really don't like the rather "gaudy" red and gold commercial items. :) The poor boy has got the fever and the runs today - he may have to skip most of the Chinese New Year goodies (sweets & cookies) this year. In fact, we may not be able to do the usual visits to relatives tomorrow unless he gets much better very soon.

R1 made this slightly more sophisticated version (of the dragon) - we're keeping this one indoors. He has got a chesty cough, so may also be missing most of the goodies too this year.

With the kids being sick (and me still having that tiny bit of sorethroat and runny nose), this week has been a rest week. All I did was intervals in the hotel gym on Wed (4 X 1.6km run / .8km recovery), and aiming for some strength training tomorrow. Perhaps the silver lining is that next week (CNY week) could actually be a training week instead of the planned rest week, since we may not be doing too many visits and gatherings this year.

Well, we're off to our CNY eve Reunion Dinner at my parent's place. It's a bit like Thanksgiving, where the entire family comes together for dinner and grandpa/grandma whip up all the family's favourite dishes. A good time is usually had by all and I'm looking forward to it! :)

Until next time, train safe everyone and God Speed in the Year of the Pig!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why You Should Never Swim with a HRM...

... at least not on a hot sunny day. And yes, it does go all the way to the front, but that would be indecent exposure. ;)

Quick training update then...
  • I managed to get in both the swim and the bike/run last Sat and Sun as planned, but the distances were a little shorter than planned - I did 1.6km swim and 53km bike / 4km run against the planned 2km swim and 50km bike / 5km run.

This week may also slip from a training week into a semi-rest week as I am feeling a tiny bit of sore throat and runny nose. My plan is to do run some intervals in the hotel gym and maybe some strength training this evening and see how I feel after that.

Mrs Nitrox and I have always thought of Valentine's Day as an artifical occasion created to boost cards, chocolates and flower sales. :) Well, this Valentine's I will be alone in Manila, but my thoughts will be with those who are dear to me.

Train safe, God Speed and hope you have a great Valentine's with your loved ones.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Faith is so much more than coincidence...

... It's my evidence!

I've been having these fanciful thoughts in my head about getting the Toddlers (3 years old and below) in the playgroup at church to kick start our worship service with a dance. So last Sunday, I taught them to dance to "You're The One" from Hillsong Kids, Jesus Is My Superhero CD (track 9) and the best part is, some of them actually did pretty good! :)

Come Monday, I sent my fellow teachers an email saying "... There is something very innocent, joyful and powerful when kids worship..." and suggesting that we get the toddlers in front of the congregation. Then Tuesday, I started having doubts - "What was I thinking?!?! That's gonna take a lot of time and practice! I don't have time for this.." - and I started thinking let's put the whole thing off. And that's when it hit.

First, I got word that one of my fellow teacher's kids are down with chicken pox, then shortly after I got word that another of my fellow teacher's 1+ year old son has got a bad case of the stomach flu and is hospitalised and on drips as he cannot hold down any food/water. Then when I got home, R1 started having a fever, and R2 fell while riding his bike (yes, he still has training wheels on so I am not sure how it happened), and got a nasty cut on his head! (Given that there are only four regular teachers for the Toddler's Playgroup, that's a pretty good "hit rate"!)

We rushed R2 to the doctor's, blood dripping from his head onto his T-shirt, Mrs Nitrox and R2 both in some level of shock... Praise God for tissue glue - no stitches needed, the doctor just glued the gaping wound together. We got home to discover the next day that R1's fever has grown to a high fever and a full blown stomach virus attack!

Later I found out that a number of other kids in our extended Care Group were also down with sudden high fever... Wow, what happened there? Coincidence? A bout of nasty stomach flu? (Wouldn't explain the other sick kids and the nasty cut on R2's head.)

Sometimes, you know you are on the right track when things seem to start going bad. Psalm 8:2 says:

"From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger."

I still don't know if it is my pride talking (please pray for me!), but I reckon that if the foe and the avenger is trying to discourage us or distract us through the little ones that are dear to us, he must be really worried about what we are doing with the Toddlers. :) PRAISE GOD! Not sure if we will go ahead with putting the toddlers in front of the congregation soon, but this Sunday I am "subbing" for the teachers with sick kids, so I will be getting the toddlers to DANCE! HALLELUJAH!

On the training front, I managed to get in both the 10km run and the 50km bike /3.5km run last Fri and Sun as planned. This week, I got a little side tracked by what happened to the kids, so here's what I did:
  • Mon/Tues: Rest (and frantic rush to doctor's)
  • Wed: 10.6km run (PR this year - 1:09, ok not fast but a PR is a PR, and I got it while praising and worshiping the Lord as I ran!) :)
  • Thurs: Rest
  • Fri: Strength Training - Leg Press, Seated Row, Abdominal Crunch with Twist, Chest Press, Standing Bent Elbow Lat Pull Down
  • Sat: Swim 2km (Planned)
  • Sunday: DANCE with the Toddlers, 50km Bike & 5km Run (Planned)

Next week, I travel to Manila and then week after is Chinese New Year, so I will try to push myself a little harder this week and especially the next, and call Chinese New Year a rest week. Train safe and God Speed everyone!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Warp Speed

Seems like everytime I am away from Blogger, life flies by at Warp Speed (or is it vice versa?). :) So much has happened that I will just give some quick snapshots:
  • Polar "Resurrection"
    Totally unrelated to the latest software upgrade, but my Polar S625x sprang a leak (one of the retaining screws came loose) and died in the midst of a swim. Product-wise, this is not good, especially as this is the second leak I have experienced in about a year. Thankfully, the folks at Polar Singapore continue to be excellent at customer service and I now have a new front case and motherboard (despite having an expired warranty). I simply have to give a shout out to Mr David Loy, service technician at Polar Singapore. His professional and helpful demeanour has restored my confidence in Polar despite the problems I have had with my HRM (2 leaks, 2 motherboards and 1 front case replaced). This is truly a case where customer service makes up for product qualifty - my next HRM will still be a Polar! :)

  • R1's Missing Front Teeth
    Yup, R1 has finally come of (elementary/primary school) age and lost the other front tooth, to make it a complete gap. :) He is reasonably proud of this latest development and is quick in telling everyone about the big news. Poor kid has to go to bed at 7:30pm and wake up at 6am daily - Mrs Nitrox gets him ready for bed while Ol' Nitrox here snoozes on to a more decent hour. Yes, yes, shame on me, the plan was for me to drag myself out of bed, help a little, and get in some training before going to bed. I'm stil working on it... :(

  • Daily Bible Reading
    While I am still in "confession" mode, I am still not consistently reading the Bible daily. I am keeping up with prayer, but still struggling to make bible reading a daily routine. It feels weird that last year I was okay with bible reading but not praying enough, and now it seems to have gone the other way. Sigh... "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty." Zechariah 4:6
    Holy Spirit please help me grow in intimacy with you!

  • Training Update - Last week
    Only managed to get in a 6km run (intervals) at the gym, a 1.6km swim and the usual weekend 50km bike followed by 3km run. :(

  • Training Update - This week
    Monday & Tuesday: Rest
    Wednesday: Run Intervals in Office Gym - 1km warm up, then 3 sets of (1km @ 10.5km/hr, 500m @ 8.5km/hr), and 2 sets of (1km @ 11km/hr, 500m @ 8.5km/hr). I think I might have gone too slow in the 1st 3 sets, so the last 2 sets I sped up abit. Could it be that I am finally running a little faster now? ;)
    Thursday: Strength Training (still in Anatomical Adaptation phase) - Squats (with dumb-bells) 20 reps X 3 sets, bent elbow lat pull down 20 reps X 3 sets, leg raise (knee extension) 15 reps X 3 sets, plain old push ups 20 reps X 3 sets, seated pulley rows 20 reps X 3 sets, suspended abs crunches 15 reps X 3 sets
    Friday: 1.6km Swim or 10km run (plan)
    Saturday: Rest (plan)
    Sunday: 50km Bike / 3.5km Run (plan)

That's all folks. Until next time, train safe and God Speed!