Click the image to join in for some Good Times at the Gold Coast Marathon 2020

Monday, May 4, 2020

Malaysians For The Human Race Against Covid-19 Virtual Run


With the relaxing of the Movement Control Order, I'll bet lots of you running people are heaving a huge sigh of relief, myself included. It's been one crazy time being stuck indoors and having to find ways to keep the passion for running going which resulted in seeing me running almost daily around my car porch. I actually even attempted a marathon and successfully completed it, just don't ask me how many loops I ran! Yes, I'm crazy that way.

But even with being able to run outside, races are still prohibited for the moment. If you're one of those who misses the thrill of a competition, collecting goodies such as tees, medals, etc well, then you're in luck.

Twenty First Century Sports has launched the Malaysians For The Human Race Against Covid-19 Virtual Run with a two pronged theme, that is to keep yourself healthy and ready for when we can race again and secondly for a chance to run for a nation/worldwide cause by uniting the nation to come together by supporting the governments efforts and donating to fight against Covid-19.

Signing up for this virtual run will see 10% of your registration fees going towards the efforts to fight this worldwide pandemic. The event is opened to all Malaysians and you can choose from a distance of 5km right up to 50km and you'll get a host of goodies simply for signing up and completing the event. 

Now that we're allowed to run outside albeit while still practicing social distancing, this will be your chance to help out in this fight against the pandemic and have a little fun at the same time challenging your friends and strangers virtually online. Head over to the link below for a more detailed information and pricing structure of the event.

And remember to always practice social distancing and stay safe!




Friday, April 24, 2020

SCORE Stay Home & Run 5K Challenge Powered by PRIME

The current worldwide pandemic and the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) by the Malaysian government has made life for everyone extremely difficult and stressful. I don't really mind being cooped up at home and I understand the reasons but being stuck at home for an extended (and unknown) period of time can be stressful to ones well being especially if you're the outdoors kinda person.


I can't remember the last time I laced up and actually ran on the road. But being someone who loves running, I just have to make do with what I have. Not being able to run outside in public has not deterred me and I've put my car porch to good use running laps around it. Not very ideal but at least, I still get some mileage on a daily basis with an average 8km a day every morning which translates to 280 laps for a 25m loop around my porch. Not ideal running but heck, it's something to stay sane in these tough times.

If you're a run addict and miss lacing up and heading out doors, why not take part in the SCORE STAY HOME & RUN 5K CHALLENGE sponsored by PRIME apparels and supported by CHECKPOINT SPOT. The event invites running enthusiasts from around the world to attempt a 5km run in your own homes. 

More details on how to sign up and the goodies you can receive can be found in the press release below:

PRESS RELEASE 

Malaysian sports & fitness event specialist invites runners to run in their homes in the midst of CoViD-19 lockdowns.

KUALA LUMPUR - Different times call for different measures. In response to the CoViD-19 pandemic, the Malaysian government has implemented the Movement Control Order, effectively confining Malaysians in their homes. Elsewhere in the world, similar quarantine orders are put in place to help curb the spread of the virus.

Since taking effect on 18 March 2020, one of the resulting situations is that Malaysians are no longer allowed to jog, let alone perform any leisure activities outside their homes. To remedy that, SCORE Sports Management Sdn Bhd, a leading player in the running event industry, recently launched the SCORE Stay Home & Run 5K Challenge. Sponsored by PRIME apparels and supported by CheckPoint Spot, the event invites runners from all around the world to do a 5km run in their own homes.


Inspired by the Chinese marathoner Pan Shancu from Hanzhou who completed a 50km run running around 2 tables in his apartment, the challenge by SCORE is a lot less gruelling. Runners participate by signing up for free, completing a run of 5km or more in their homes, and submitting their sports tracker results to get an e-certificate and a 30% discount voucher for PRIME and BROOKS products.

“It’s a surprisingly fun way to do a run,” says SCORE Chief Executive Officer Patricia Tan, “but more importantly, we’re doing it responsibly playing our part in mitigating the effects of CoViD-19 on, not just runners but also, the less fortunate who are in dire need of help during this time.” Tan and her colleagues, most of whom are runners, have done their 5km, in their car porches, around their dining tables, up and down the stairs and more.


“I hope to see more Malaysians sign up for this run and post it up on their social media,” she says, “It will inspire the running community from around the world to join us in solidarity, staying fit, staying safe, and quite possibly, staying sane at a time like this.”

“We would also like to thank Tourism Selangor for the support in this campaign and standing together with all Malaysians in staying fit and healthy during these troubled times.”

Runners who wishes to participate this virtual event can register for free at https://cps4.me/SCOREStayHome and submit their sports tracker results for 5km or more, to receive an e-certificate and a 30% discount voucher for PRIME and Brooks products. Also available is an option to upgrade to a paid package of RM45 for a commemorative finisher medal and t-shirt. SCORE is donating RM5 from every paid participant to support the “Dana Untuk Nasi Malaysia” fund that feeds the poor, a critical need during the MCO.


Runners participating in the SCORE Stay Home & Run 5K Challenge Powered by PRIME are invited to share their photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #stayhomeandrun.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Ironman Virtual Club - Anywhere Is Possible


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



IRONMAN VIRTUAL CLUB LAUNCHES AS GLOBAL GO-TO-HUB FOR ATHLETES

- The IRONMAN Virtual Club web-based platform becomes new destination for IRONMAN athletes to train, compete, earn, and connect

- In celebration of platform launch, IRONMAN VR1 is open to the global community of athletes for free


TAMPA, Fla (April 1, 2020)The IRONMAN Group has officially launched the IRONMAN® Virtual Club™ (VC™) web-based platform today for athletes around the world. As the go-to destination for everything IRONMAN, IRONMAN VC provides athletes with a connected experience to train, compete, earn and celebrate their achievements with a global community of fellow athletes from anywhere in the world.

IRONMAN Virtual Club
  • Athlete Dashboard – The athlete’s home base within the IRONMAN Virtual Club. Athletes can log their training, see their upcoming IRONMAN® Virtual Racing Series™ (VR™) events and challenges, and view achievement badges that have been already earned. Athletes will see their point and credit counts rise the more they train and compete within the platform.
  • Events – Consisting of the newly announced IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series events and IRONMAN VC challenges, athletes will be able to view the IRONMAN VR event listing and formats, as well as an overview of IRONMAN U Master Coach Challenges and IRONMAN Global Partner Challenges.
    • IRONMAN VR1 – In celebration of the IRONMAN Virtual Club launch, the inaugural IRONMAN Virtual Race, IRONMAN VR1, will be open to the entire community of athletes for free. IRONMAN VR1 will consist of a 5 km run, 90 km bike and 21 km run. The segments can be completed in any order, but each segment must be completed in its entirety during one session. Athletes can register for IRONMAN VR1 once they sign into their existing IRONMAN account or create a new account in the IRONMAN Virtual Club for free.
    • IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge - Professional athletes will also compete in IRONMAN VR Series races through the IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge, a head-to-head Pro competition. For the IRONMAN VR1 matchup, four Pro Women will race on Saturday and four Pro Men will race Sunday. All athletes will be required to complete the same prescribed race segments as the age-group competition, with the bike portion broadcast live through the IRONMAN Now page on Facebook Watch. Professional athletes will utilize Rouvy to race head-to-head on the virtual IRONMAN® 70.3® Boulder bike course.
    • Challenges – Athletes can compete while also learning from some of the best on how to push their minds and bodies with purpose. With challenges set by IRONMAN U Master Coaches Mark Allen, Matt Dixon, Lance Watson, and Dave Scott, athletes are provided with training tips and overall great workouts that will help them train smart for their next race. Partner challenges from ROKA, HOKA ONE ONE, Ventum, Santini, and Compressport also provide a fun way for athletes to train, compete, earn, and connect with the opportunity to win prizes.
  • IRONMAN+ - The central educational destination for everything athletes need throughout their journey. Including featured video and articles on fitness, nutrition, competition, swim, bike and run, athletes can load their training toolbox with everything they need to get inspired and reach their goals.
  • Coaching - The Coaching section provides content centered around two customized digital product applications developed to provide athletes with the resources they need to be successful along their journey.
    • IRONMAN Coaching by Final Surge brings together the collective expertise of our global community of Certified IRONMAN U Coaches to share their hand-created training plans that will help prepare athletes for a phenomenal race day.
    • The IRONMAN Training Companion Powered by PKRS.AI gives athlete’s access to further expertise in training, nutrition and strength; all with the guidance of an online concierge. This experience brings the training expertise of IRONMAN World Champions Leanda Cave and Jan Frodeno to the palm of your hand.
  • Rewards - The more athletes race and train, the more Points they gain. Points are earned by distance traveled (not time) and accumulate throughout the year and showcase how athletes stack up against each other. Points also convert into Credits, which can be redeemed for rewards that are showcased in this section of the platform.
  • Watch - Features the IRONMAN VR on the IRONMAN Now channel on Facebook Watch including schedule, race recaps, and highlights. Each race weekend will broadcast a preview show on Friday followed by Professional and Age-Group live look-in coverage on Saturday and Sunday.
Full details and specifics regarding the IRONMAN Virtual Club are available on www.ironmanvirtualclub.com. For questions about the IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series, athletes can email ironmanvr@ironman.com. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Media related inquiries may be directed to press@ironman.com.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Salming Greyhound Shoe Review

Salming is not a brand of shoes you would normally see on the roads in this country but I respect their boldness and determination in taking on some of the bigger players in this huge running shoe market. One thing they have over here is a huge following in the trail running category and their trail shoes the likes of the Salming Trail 5, just to name one has been getting rave reviews from runners hitting the trails.

Now, I'm no trail runner and this review is about their road shoe, the Salming Greyhound. Crafted for hard-surface running – unleash the Greyhound in you!, that's how the Salming marketing team likes to promote the shoe. Being a true shoe geek, I'm always one to try on any shoe that catches my eye, irrespective of brands out there though I have a few of my all time favourites.


Th
e Salming Greyhound is the first true cushioned daily trainer from the Swedish brand. Coming in at US8.5 out of the box, they weigh a little under 10oz, which is a little on the heavier side of things compared to the other shoes that I use on a daily basis. But being a shoe tailored for hard-surfaces, the weight isn't really too huge of a problem for me.


What I like about the Greyhound is that the upper is a lot and I mean a lot better as compared to their other shoe models. The upper was crafted on the less is more analogy. The main body of the upper contains a lightweight one piece 3 layer construction that literally holds your foot in place nice and snug. The simplistic material of the upper also provides great breathability, something that is important to me seeing as how my feet will be spending hours in a running shoe. The upper in my opinion is definitely two steps up as compared to their other models.

The tongue is of a gusseted construction and pretty thin translating to a comfortable wrap around feel on your feet and comes with thin 'racing' laces (not sure what they mean by racing laces though). Now that's one thing I'm not really liking about the Greyhound. The laces are positioned much further back and leaves a large and maybe a tad too roomy toebox that my feet tended to move around a little more than I liked. But I have very narrow feet and someone with wider feet would appreciate the roominess.


Now, the highlight of the shoe here is the cushioning. While a lot of shoe companies hype about their running shoes being built for hard surfaces, the Salming Greyhound actually delivers on that hype. The Greyhound's cushioning actually feels like you're running on a track instead of the sidewalk or roads. This is down to the mid-sole's Recoil PLUS reactive compound that provides the superb cushioning and 20% more energy return. It feels comfortable enough without being too mushy.

The Salming Greyhound uses a Vibram outsole and is touted to be 25% more durable as claimed by Salming which after numerous miles in them is proven to be true as my pair has hardly any wear. But I find that the Vibram outsole adds to the overall weight of the shoe. The pattern of the outsole which has a somewhat racing slick like design, provides excellent traction on most surfaces I've run on such as asphalt, concrete and even some very simple trail like surfaces. The grip was phenomenal as is expected of a Vibram compound. I've not run in the rain with it though I suppose it will still provide decent traction in wet surfaces.


The Greyhound has an internal heel counter that wraps nicely around the heel, maybe a little too nicely as it took me a couple of runs for the heel area on both sides to get a little more pliable that it stopped digging into my Achilles. But a slightly higher socks than my usual no shows helped with that issue.

So, is the Salming Greyhound worth your ringgit? I'd say yes. If you're someone that does a lot of mileage on concrete or asphalts, they're a superb shoe based on the fact that they're highly cushioned. In fact, while I'm in my current recovery and rehabilitation mode, they're the go to shoe for me based on how cushy they are and yes, with the Vibram outsole, I'd even wager they're good for the less technical trails too.


I've tried them for short runs, longs runs, both slow and fast and while they're not really built for speed, they do work best for those longer runs when you need a lot more protection under your feet. To me the Greyhound embodies a more laid back, peaceful yet surprisingly functional running shoe. If a racing flat is comparable to a sports car, I'd say the Salming Greyhound is more comparable to a cruiser.

The Salming Greyhound is currently available for FREE trials at your local Salming dealers. Of course terms and conditions do apply. The Greyhound retails for RM565.00. The Salming Greyhound model I based my review on was so kindly provided by Salming Malaysia and the review above is of my own experience in the shoe and is in no way whatsoever influenced by Salming Malaysia.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Gold Coast Marathon 2019: Race (Not Really) Recap

"WE ARE NOT GIVEN A GOOD LIFE OR A BAD LIFE.
WE ARE GIVEN LIFE.
AND IT'S UP TO YOU TO MAKE IT GOOD OR BAD."
I've been dwelling for quite awhile on whether to even write this post down. I can't quite find the words or the mood to pen what I've been keeping inside. But then if I do not let it all out, I'm never going move on from this bitter and dreadful period of my life.

Surfer's Paradise

The Gold Coast Marathon has always been a favourite of mine and it's always been a race I've put my heart and soul to train for. After last years bitter experience, I was looking to bury that ghost this time around. It took a lot out of me last year and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive when I started embarking on a new training plan this time around.

Loads of questions and uncertainties plagued me right from the start but I pushed them all aside and put my heart and soul into trying making the training work. With the LHR/HMM plan all plotted out and with some company in the training plan from the training group, the long 18 week slog started. 

Maybe I was too ambitious or absolutely impatient to erase the ghost of GCM18 that I may have put too much pressure on myself. I really don't know. Mind you, these are not excuses I'm putting down but I'm just being absolutely honest about how things played out. 


First off, I may have picked a plan that I couldn't really hack at all. Right from week one, I was already struggling with it. Granted, I was able to keep waking up every morning and taking on what the plan had to dish out but that's it, it was robotic and I had to push real hard to keep going. It shouldn't have been that much of a struggle but it was and I was too darn stubborn to see it. 

By week 9 or 10, I knew I was going through the classic case of a burnout. And for this to be happening so close to the start of the training was not a good sign. After some soul searching, I knew I had to do something. I wasn't enjoying the training. I decided to make some changes. I modified the plan and also the goal which was now just to complete the marathon in decent timing. 

And it worked in a way. The morning runs had become easier and more enjoyable. I wasn't as stressed as I was for not hitting a certain training criteria anymore. Even the nagging on/off signs of my previous knee issues wasn't bothering me too much anymore. The cloud lifted and maybe, just maybe I could pull this off. 

At the Race Expo with Jamie and Philip

But in life, nothing is ever certain. About 10 days out from race day, I woke up from a nap with a persistent pain in the knee. I didn't put much thought into it and put it down to old age and besides the aches, pops and crackles aren't anything new. It was close to tapering anyway. A couple of rest days before the race and the pain was no longer that apparent.

Moving forward, it was time for our traditional Gold Coast Airport 5.7km Fun Run, something we've been doing for a few years now as our shake down run to have a little fun before the main event the next day. The weather this time around in the Gold Coast was pretty much not what it normally was. The howling winds and rain that greeted us when we landed was still apparent on Saturday morning.

With Philip just before the start of the 5.7km Fun Run

Not really dissuaded, both Jamie and me headed out to the race precinct. As fate (or arse luck) would have it, on a slow and I mean very slow easy warm up jog, my knee elicited a loud pop and shooting pain went up my entire leg! Oh crap, not the meniscus, please I prayed. I had to stop and told Jamie to go ahead as I nursed the pain. I limped to the start line with thoughts of opting out of the fun run.

The pain was still apparent with each step but I decided to start anyway (yes, I'm not really the brightest spark at times). I was already here and I could just walk the entire route and evaluate my condition later. Let me tell you, while I could still run/walk the fun run, it was really anything but fun though cos I was in utter pain till the end. 

With the Gold Coast Run Nuts ...

Not again, I thought. This cannot be happening to me again. A flashback of later year's DNS kept popping up. I cannot NOT start the marathon, not again. I was determined to toe the start line the next day. When I messaged the wife about my situation, she didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The mind was a mess at that point. I couldn't think straight. This was like a sick joke from somebody up there. What did I do so wrong to deserve a fate like this just hours from race start? Yes, I was bitter, absolutely bitter by this horrible turn of events. 

Not sure if it was an intelligent decision but I decided I'd start the race no matter what. Pumped with  some pain killers and the knee strapped with a knee guard, I was as ready as I could possibly be to slog it out for as far I could take the legs. Come race morning, I was up bright and early to evaluate the pain. The pain was subdued in big part thanks to the pain killers and some tiny bit of hope flared up. Maybe, just maybe, I could pull this off. And even if I couldn't, I would have at least tried my best.

The picture doesn't really describe the pain I was in

But fate wasn't about to let me have things easy, not by a long shot. Making my way to the start pen, the dreadful showers that greeted the half marathon runners earlier was no where in sight. In fact, the sky looked pretty clear with some sun actually peeking out in the distance. I shed all my gear and dressed as minimally as I always do for races. But just as the wheelchair category was flagged off, the skies opened up without warning.

I've experienced rain in the Gold Coast before but not in the thinnest technical vest and shorts that barely gave any protection from the elements. A collective groan was heard from everyone around me. In mere seconds I was shivering uncontrollably and was hoping the race got underway soon so I could get some heat into me. It was in true fact just a 5 minute wait to race start but it was the longest 5 minutes ever.

The gun or horn (I can't really remember anymore) went off and we were on our way. Just as I was shuffling my way forward, I saw Sophie, all nice, warm and dry. She had the foresight to keep her raincoat on and looked very comfortable. We wished each other luck and she bolted off with the rest. The start was really, really slow for me. The body was literally cooled down from the rain and I was trying to nurse the leg along.

Just around the 31km mark before the decision to DNF

There was a dull throb (the pain killers were doing their work) that accompanied each step, I was hoping it would stay that way but knew it wasn't going to last. I was still shivering and it was taking too long to warm up at the speed I was going. As we made the turn from the bridge which was about 1.75km, I stepped off the road, unpinned my bib and decided to quit right there and then.

I was feeling absolutely miserable. People were overtaking me left, right and centre. My leg was already in pain. I was shivering. My mind and soul wasn't in it. And I knew it would take years for me to hobble along, maybe even suffering the prospect of not meeting the very generous cut off time. But as the back end of the marathon runners came along, I decided that I'm not a quitter, stupid maybe, but definitely not a quitter. I re-pinned my bib and stepped back on the course with a determined effort to at least see how far I could go. Heck, the spectators were out there even in the miserable weather and I was determined to high five as many of them as I could.

Pain or no pain, the Good Times must go on!

So I moved on with a run/walk strategy. Run until I feel the pain become unbearable then walk to let it subside. The going was slow, real slow but at least I was moving along inch by inch that soon turned in kilometer after kilometer. The spectators along the route kept me moving. Even while I was walking they were so supportive and at that point I was glad that I gave it a go.

The weather wasn't letting up. It was an on/off drizzle along the way for me. It wasn't so bad when I was running but when I walked it was cold, real cold. I forced myself to run as much as I could without stopping but the leg never cooperated much. So there I was, oftentimes shivering with the wind, cold and rain. It was a battle with my pain threshold (which isn't very high, mind you) and my resolve and determination to keep going.

Somewhere around the 16km mark, Sophie called out to me from opposite direction. She was just ahead of the 4 hour pacers and I was happy to see her doing so well given her circumstances. That was the only familiar face I saw throughout the route. By this time, the pain was increasing by the mile and I had to grit my teeth and hold back tears of pain (and despair) and just keep moving. The running become shorter with a lot more walking.


But with the pain, I was still spurred on to keep trying. On and off conversations with some of the runners with me somewhat took my mind off the pain. They were very encouraging and were in fact keeping each other motivated. That's what I like about the Gold Coast Marathon, everyone right down from the volunteers, supporters along the way, random people and even fellow runners were all very supportive.

But even with the enormous and awesome support of everyone, the pain was increasing with each step and somewhere around the 28km mark, I had to make a decision. Would I want to keep going? My heart said, yes keep going. Crawl if you have to but try to cross that finish line. My head said, be practical and realistic. You want to be running till you're old and grey and pushing it may be the end of your running. I kept going not really knowing what to do. I was in pain, that was a fact but I also didn't want to quit.

Eventually as I approached the 31km mark, I listened to my head. I really don't know the actual cause of the injury and I could have already pushed it way past the point of no return for the leg so with a very heavy heart, head bowed and ashamed, I stepped off the course, taking the heart-breaking decision to DNF the race. The mind was a blank as I walked to where I thought the gang would be waiting. I really can't believe the luck I've been dealt with. Someone, somewhere must despise me so bad for something like this to happen 2 years in a row!

With our local Elite

The entire ride back to the hotel in the tram was just a blank stare at the empty (of cos, the tram was far from empty) space and rue my bad luck. What did I do wrong? I trained just as hard as anyone. I backed off when I thought I was over training. I ate the proper nutrition. I took care of my health. I sacrificed a lot. What else do I need to do? I just didn't know what to think anymore.

I tried to put the entire episode away as much as I can and enjoy the rest of what the Gold Coast has to offer. It wasn't easy but there really was no use dwelling on my failure. I'd have enough time for self pity when I get home. The gang, and a big congrats to all of them for their excellent race, were in high spirits and I wasn't about to rain on their parade.

Road trip, kinda ... :D

It was time to really look into getting the leg looked at and fixed once and for all when I get back if I was to keep chasing that unicorn dream. The dream has not gone away, mind you, it may be put in the back burner for a bit but it's still a dream I aim to achieve one day. I know deep down inside that I need to put this entire episode in a box, tape it up and bury it deep down or I'll never move on but sometimes it's not as easy as it looks. But move on I have to cos I know I'll be back for the seventh time next year to exorcise these demons once and for all, of that you can be sure!

Before I end, I'd like to thank Tourism and Events Queensland for the trust, support and opportunity they've given me these many years to keep chasing my dreams. For that I can never repay them enough. I'd also like to thank my wife who has patiently sat behind the scenes supporting me even though I know I can be difficult to deal with when I'm in training and to the ever supportive GCM Team Malaysia training mates. Training would be so much less fun without you guys along!

The Spit

Aside from the race failure, my time in the Gold Coast has been a blast like it always has been. I can never really get enough of the Gold Coast and to be honest, I could see myself settling down here one fine day. One can dream, right :D

The only consolation I have