Sunday, September 23, 2018

Run for your life, run till you fall

The journey 

The total travel time to reach the destination was 9 hours 30 minutes with a transit of 02 hours. For me the race begins when I step myself to catch the flight. Here are some guidelines I followed during traveling.

1 - Initial meal from the airport, a sandwich 
2 - Liquid fast on the flight, only water to stay hydrated. Do note that dehydration is a common problem when we fly for long hours. The most important thing is to drink enough water and go to the loo. (I know it is not easy to move over the next passenger to go to the toilet)
3 - Transit in Singapore was feeding time again with a small sandwich
4 - Kept myself on liquid fast through the second flight.

I am a believer that unhealthy eating patterns as carb loading leads up to bloating more than loading carbs. As a second rule our body cannot cope with excessive carbs to store it as reserves for the race.

Before the race 

Upon arrival I understood that the weather was really bad at the location, in fact it was in one of the alert area for a typhoon. And the race director of Spartan Race Philippines issued a plan B if the race (Beast) could not take place on Saturday, it will be done on Sunday and Super and Sprint will move on to Monday. Later in the evening the race director announced that the race is pushing forward as scheduled.

In the morning I prepared myself for the race packed my hydration with gels got my gear on and was ready to move to the race venue, normally my pre race meal is simple just two slice of whole grain bread and a cup of tea. It was windy with heavy rain and the typhoon was hitting the area. As I was stepping on to the car I came to know the race has been called off for the day and to wait for further news. I was expecting the race to be moved to the next two days, Sunday & Monday! 

The news 

Went back and after a brief nap, woke up to the most unexpected news. The TriFecta Weekend becomes TriFecta Day. The race director announced that all three races will be back to back with some serious cut off times.

Start time for 21km+ Beast as 0730hrs, and to complete Beast and 14km+ Super before 1400hrs to be able to start the 8km+ Sprint, where the race course will be shut down at 1800hrs. The 6 hours for a Beast and Super cut off was a tougher call than an Ultra Beast cut off! Having no choice started carefully preparing myself mentally to face it.

Race day 

Finally a beautiful day on the Sunday morning with the normal preparations methods I was at the start line up to kick off the first race. The only thing I was telling myself was “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, RUN TILL YOU FALL”. I had some cut offs in my mind and was running to meet it.

It was brutal, tough, painful and mentally exhausting!

1 - Paced myself at 7km/h to make sure that in worst case scenario I will be done at 4hours for the Beast.
2 - Decided to run three races without wasting time to fill up the pack, therefore started heavy carrying all hydrations and food for three races.
3 - Decided to run on the elevations no matter how strong the burn was on my legs.


Completed my Trifecta in a day, an amazing race and an amazing adventure. The catchy thing about the race was I nailed to finish all the races much earlier than the cut off times.

03 hours 17 minutes Beast (40 minutes faster than my best timing)
02 hours 11 minutes Super (This is my average Super Finish time)
02 hours 02 minutes Sprint (Slower than my average Sprint time, I took it easy)

It was great to know how much I can push myself and how much the body can cope with the right training and nutrition.

Photo: #paksitphotos #IwearthReeofme 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Trans Fat

Trans fat is known as the silent killer, as many of you would have heard a thousand time “trans fats are bad” and “trans fats can cause many harmful health problems”. Lets look at what trans fat really is, what are the top 07 foods to avoid if you would want to avoid trans fat from your diet.

Trans fats are known as trans fatty acids. These fats acts quiet similar to saturated fat but in larger scale. What it does is it increases the “bad” LDL-cholesterol level in the blood, at the same time it can decrease the level of “good” HDL-cholesterol. This is the simple process that may occur deep inside you which will have harmful effects on your body in the long run. 

If you look at the nature of trans fat there are two different ways one can consume trans fat. 

1 - It’s found in lamb, pork, beef, cheese, milk in small amounts. Although there is little evidence that shows these can make things worse, its good to be careful. 
2 - Partial hydrogenation (solidifying vegetable oil) is the industrial form of trans fat, a process the food manufacturers find useful in production of fried and baked food. 

If we have a good look at the above two points it’s very clear that eating dairy and red meat should not exceed the daily recommended value. To make it simple consume it on small volumes and bigger precaution should be avoiding the industrial form of trans fat which is found in processed food. 

Let me give you a quick guide on the worst foods which are very rich in trans fat. 

1 - Popcorn, I know corn is healthy but the oil/butter coating on it on the process of production makes it rich in trans fat.
2 - Vegetable oil - whatever the label says the process of refining and heating makes it the wrong choice 
3 - Deep fried fast food - potato chips, nuggets, deep fried local short eats!! I am sorry if I sound rude but this is absolute rubbish to put inside your body. 
4 - Frozen spring rolls, crumbed chicken or fish fingers are added with a high number of industrial trans fat. 
5 - Packet cake mixes
6 - Pastries such as croissants, pies etc
7 - Fried canned snacks such as potato crisps, crackers, biscuits and cookies!

Make right choices, food rich in trans fats are not good for you and also to a growing child. 

Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) for Beginners

Obstacle course racing is not easy, it’s tough it’s challenging both mentally and physically. Having said that I can also say you do not have to be a top class athlete or be in top class fitness to run your first Obstacle race. 

If you are looking to just survive your first race you might not enjoy the race, hence it is important that you prepare yourself with gaining a reasonable amount of endurance and strength. I can guarantee if you are prepared you will end up having a lot of fun. 

Choosing your first race is the tricky part, running a short race can leave you sore, if you are a newbie get on to the shortest race. I can still remember my first ever race which was a Spartan Sprint 5K+ 20 obstacles, I finished the race soaked in mud running inside the trails and crawling under the barbwire with thick mud. I had the time of my life, it was meditation at another level. 

Training for the first race! 

I hate to say this, but if you think you hate running and you could love obstacle racing you are thinking wrong. obstacle racing requires running long distances, you will need to move those legs as much as you could and build good base of aerobic fitness and endurance for this adventure. This is the number one requirement. 

Imagine yourself running through the trail and facing a 10m long monkey bar station which you have to conquer before you move into running again, there are a lot of such powerful obstacles inside the route which you will need to complete to successfully finish the race. This requires strength on your upper body, core and also a reasonable amount of agility and coordination.

What I am saying here is simple, obstacle racing is aerobic as well as anaerobic you will need to build up strength and agility at a similar level.

If you are looking to get started, here is how!

Train the same way you be performing.

Cardio training:
Do as much as running as you could and try getting a feel of a terrain. Avoid running on roads and chose to run more on sand and grass. If you are training on a treadmill vary the treadmill height, chose many different degrees of incline during your training.

Strength training:
As a new comer to the sport start to train with bodyweight, exercises like dead hangs, pull ups, chin ups, push ups, planks, air squat, lunge jumps, planks and hip bridges could be a good way to start.

What I have given here is just and idea of how you could get started, in the coming days I will be posting beginner OCR programs.