Wednesday, December 28, 2011

That Was Fast!

The year end is almost upon us. It's amazing how fast the year went by. If you ask me to recall what I did the entire year, I'd be hard pressed to recollect all of it. It seemed like only yesterday it was January and I was eagerly waiting to take part in my first race for the year, in April, which unfortunately had to be the Energizer Nightmare Run and now it's four days to the New Year and I'm already eagerly waiting in anticipation for my first race for next year, the Newton 25K Challenge which falls on New Year's day.

This will be the first time I'm ever going to actually run, let alone take part in a race on New Year's day itself. Obviously there's not going to be a late night party session for New Year's eve cos I'll be tucked in bed pretty early. The Newton Challenge is something to be respected and partying the night before is like taking a flying leap off a tall building! But then, I can't think of a better way to usher in the New Year than by running it in :D

All the preps for the race has been done, the route has been recced and run (at least the hill sections anyway) and it's every bit as challenging as it's made out to be. This is also going to be my longest distanced run to date and is the perfect stepping stone for me to embark on my marathon quest for next year.

The only apprehension I have about the race is whether the injury I'm saddled with at the moment will act up on race day. It's healing just fine and feels much better than last week when I pulled up in pain and was unable to even walk back properly. The cautious, short and slow 10K I did on Christmas day gave a promising indication that the leg was healing just fine and Ive been resting it since then with no runs scheduled for now.

But I'm not taking any chances on race day though. I'm going to run a conservative race and keep an eye on the leg. I'm planning a race strategy that will see me starting from the middle or back of the pack, keeping to a slower than normal pace of 6:00 - 6:30 for the first two and a half sections of the route (I've broken the route into 3 sections) and then if things are fine with the leg, maybe up that pace a little in the final half section of the race. It's all in theory though, that might just go to hell on actual race day ... hahaha!

The wife is also eagerly looking forward to the race, especially after totally out-running me during our recce session two weeks back ... LOL! She's been training hard for the race and I'm sure she's going to do just fine :D She's been taking part in every race I've been to this year and she's improving from strength to strength with each race. I foresee her doing loads of PB's next year :D I'm glad she's as passionate about running as I am :D

With that said and done, I'm now going to take a nap and enjoy the rest of my holidays, which will be until next year. If the weather permits, I might take a short run later this evening to take the legs for a little test run.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Good Tidings To You ...

Wishing all my running buddies a blessed Christmas and a beautiful New Year. Here's to a year of PB's and lots of enjoyable running :) Have fun, party wisely and most importantly, be safe.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ammah Redemption Run

After the debacle of having the world's worse stomach ache and having to suffer for 2KM looking for a petrol station, discovering I ran the wrong hill and then being totally outrun by the wife, I just had to go back today and find the right 'Ammah' hill and run it.

Well, I'm glad to say that even though I only trial ran a tiny fraction of the Newton Challenge route, I managed to take 'Ammah' and one of her daughters both ways, front and rear ... hahaha ... that really, really, really sounds disgustingly perverted!

You know all those horrible things you heard about about 'Ammah' and her daughters? Well, I can tell you that every single one of those horror tales are absolutely true! The hill was as daunting and challenging as it's made out to be and even though I only ran 10KM section of the route, practically 70% of it was uphill.

But surprisingly, I kinda enjoyed the route and the hilly challenges it posed. It was tough workout running up those darn hills nonstop but you felt a sense of satisfaction everytime you reached the peak which was so close to heaven you could practically wave at God ... hahaha! Yes, the inclines were that steep and what's worse was that it was a nice slow, long gradual climb that had your heart beating like a drummer on steroids the moment you reached the peak.

But heck, I enjoyed every moment of it and though I know my calves are gonna protest tomorrow, it was thoroughly worth it. At least now, I know what I need to do to get through 'Ammah' and her daughters.

On a serious note, the route is extremely challenging and it will be my longest distanced race so far. After the run, the wife and me took a drive along the entire race route and it looks downright challenging. What little flats there were, were so few and far between that you'd be practically running uphills at least 70% of the time, based on the sections I ran and also the sections I drove through.

I foresee a problem for myself just as you turn towards Kinrara Uptown after coming down 'Ammah' and heading for the first of two roundabouts. That stretch is utterly long and absolutely boring. Boring stretches like that tend to take a lot of out me. The hills may be challenging but they're far from boring and has its own character unlike that stretch. We'll see how it goes on race day.

At least now, I have a picture of the entire race route and what's ahead of me, which will make planning how I run the race much easier. No guessing about how long that hill stretch will be or how long more before I reach that roundabout for the final leg of the run. I can now plan how to pace myself properly, when to slow down, when to speed up or when to charge to the finish line. Most importantly, I know where the darn petrol stations are in case I need to make an emergency pitstop :D

Overall I would say the experience was well worth it and at least now the wife can stop teasing me about how she outran me yesterday ... LOL!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Break And A Hill

I'm on a self imposed 4-day running break and to be honest, I'm actually enjoying the break. It's been a while since I've rested the legs for this long. Though I've been itching to go for a run but this break is also partly to give a dull throbbing ache that developed during my last run some time to heal.

The ache has pretty much subsided (hopefully it doesn't recur) and I'm looking forward to this weekend's challenge to take on that infamous 'Ammah' hill. The fresh and well rested legs are definitely going to be a big boost. The Newton challenge is just around the corner and after all the tales of horror I've heard about the route and its challenges, what better way to ease that fear than to do a trial run along the route.

It was actually the wife who is more interested in trying the route. She has this attitude that if something challenging is in the way, take it head on and show it who's boss. I suppose her positive enthusiasm has caught on and we've decided to tackle it this weekend.

I probably won't run the entire route, maybe just a section of it but that 'Ammah' hill section would definitely be on the menu. After seeing a few mind numbing pictures of the incline that awaits me on race day, I really want to get a feel of the struggle before race day.

Since it's a new route for the two of us, I'll be running at a slower pace than I normally do to run along with the wife. I don't trust leaving her on her own in an unfamiliar route. Better to be safe than sorry. Besides, I'm planning to run at a leisurely pace to just get a feel of things to come on race day. I don't plan to over exert myself. I'll leave that for the actual race itself.

Taking heed of Jamie's advise, I'll be decked in gear that provides protection from the sun and will strap on my Camelbak filled with iced cold Gatorade for my hydration needs and a gel or two tucked away for some late energy needs.  Hopefully everything goes as planned.

With that said and done, I'm eager to run the route though I still have to figure out the directions to get there first :D

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sniff, Sniff, Cough, Cough

I haven't been running the past couple of days due to being down with intermittent fever and a sickening cough. While the cough isn't so bad, the intermittent fever that comes and goes is the main culprit that makes my bones ache in every conceivable joint. The combination of a clogged nose, an itchy and sore throat coupled with this feeling of weakness makes running the last thing on my mind right now.

The wife and me were supposed to do an LSD this morning but since my fever attack came on last night, she strictly forbade me from waking up early to run today. Wanted to do an evening run but I had to work today, which had me supervising a 3 ton lorry wrap under the blazing hot sun this afternoon and by the time I got back I was just too exhausted to do anything let alone run.

We're planning for an early run tomorrow, hopefully I'll feel up to it. She's been kind enough to skip her run sessions to keep me company at home though she's been itching to run so I'm hoping to repay the favour by accompanying her for her LSD.

It's a good thing there aren't any races at this time of the month. It's going to be lights out early for me tonight. Hopefully it'll also be good running weather tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MPSJ 10K 2011 Race Review

My last race for the year is over and done with. While it's only a 10K and nothing to shout about compared to you guys running the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, I'm still pretty happy with my run.

I've been looking forward to this race for personal reasons as well as the fact that it's just a stone's, well maybe three or four stone's away la, from my house. I ran this race by myself last year and am was glad to run it with the wife this year. Once again, that woman amazes me. She took off a whopping 4 minutes off from her Nike 10K time last week. She's getting faster with each race and I'm thoroughly overjoyed for her :D

Seeing as how the race was near our place, we woke up later than we do for other races, took a nice slow 10 minute jog from home to the start line to loosen and warm the muscles. By the time we reached the start line, the place was already filling up with people and we didn't have to wait long for race start.

The crowd was much lesser than last year, probably due to the many races that were being held elsewhere. The weather was pretty decent which was a good sign for me cos I intended to just kick into top gear the moment the gun went off, remembering Jamie's words of 'whacking' short distanced races like these.

Training and running this route on my run sessions was a huge advantage for me. I knew each and every pothole, every uneven road surface, where to speed up and where to slow, which I used to good advantage. The route was actually a darned easy one anyway.

The start was as usual with most races, swerving in and out to get pass the other runners. It took quite an effort to get past them during the first 1K and then things started spreading out a little more after that. I managed to get into an effective but fast paced stride. Nothing much to write about from this point onwards as the race was quite straight forward.

After a short battle at the end with two runners from my category, I managed to cross the line in a time of 50:40 minutes and was pleasantly surprised when an official stopped me and shoved a piece of token in my hand stating that I came in at position number 14 and was eligible for a limited finisher medal. I didn't expect it but was darned happy anyway :D


That brings the number of races I've done this year to a total number of 15. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every race and here's looking to next year's races :D

But I have one little complain (it just wouldn't be me if I didn't have at least one complain la ... LOL!). I wonder who the genius who came up with the idea of having the refreshment station right before the finish line by the side of the track. Imagine the amount of people crowding that refreshment station with the runners having to avoid them just to cross the finish line. Pure Genius!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nike City 10K Run 2011 Race Review

This post should rightly been titled 'The Nike 10K Annoying Teens Run'.

Before I even get into the gist of this post, let me start with the good things about it. The race was well organized as can be expected of something organized by Nike. The route was a nice and easy one that made running enjoyable. The hydration stations were well spaced out and very adequate. Traffic control was pretty good.

From the word go and after negotiating my way around hordes of runners, the run became a pleasant stroll through the city. Most of you season runners probably know this route pretty well seeing as how it's the usual route for most runs starting around the Dataran Merdeka/Padang Merbuk area so I'm not going to elaborate much on the run.

My whole race plan was to just go out and enjoy the run which I did by keeping an even and steady pace with more emphasis on monitoring my heart rate rather than pace, which in turn lead to a pleasant run. Crossed the finish in a time of 53:20 which was decent timing and felt like I could have run another 10 kilometers more.

Once again, a big congrats to the wife for shaving 6 minutes of her personal best 10K time. I tell you, that woman is awesome! I'm mighty proud of her as always. She's now eager to shave off more time in next week's 'home ground' run, the MPSJ 10K and I believe she can do it.

The race memento was this shoe shaped USB device which is slightly more useful than last year's toy ... LOL! A medal would have been preferable but no complains from me. It's not the medal or memento that draws me to races anyway. Kudo's go out to the Nike organizing team.


Now comes the fun part. Before I head into it, I advise a whole lot of you out there to PLEASE go and read Jamie's race etiquette posting. It will come in handy in your future races if you intend to continue in this sport of running.

This run organized by Nike was geared towards the younger generation, the teens. I mean, Nike is more synonymous with teens than any other running brand. If you're a teen and you don't fall into this annoying teen category, my humblest apologies but a lot of you (teens) are just plain rude, selfish and don't practice common sense.

While we're all excited about running the race, please for gods sake not push your way to the stating line by barging through without a word of apology. Why didn't you just get to the front instead of doing it at the last minute and irritating the rest of us who patiently made our way to the front. You tread on peoples shoes, shove us in the sides just to get in front and do what? Let's face it, if you're going to win the race, then by all means, squeeze your way through, if not, please line up according to your ability (race etiquette number one in Jamie's post).

I'm not even going to talk about the screaming and giggling and horrendous noise some of you were dishing out. I'll put that down to the excitement of the moment but god, it was so darned annoying. You should really hear yourselves.

Then we come to the part about not making the entire length of the road your own by lining up in one straight line, walking, talking and giggling all the way. There are some of us who are running and trying to negotiate around you by having to move slightly outside the cones could get us knocked down by cars whizzing by. It's not a closed race, mind you and the cordoned off area is not that wide.

Race etiquette number 2 in Jamie's post - Stopping suddenly, don't! Yes, please don't. You could get someone in serious trouble when you stop suddenly to tie your laces or whatnots by having them crash into you which is what happened to me.

There I was nicely concentrating on my run, when this young girl decides that she'd just like to stop right there and then in the middle of my path (and on a downhill stretch at that) to tie her laces which had me crashing into her. Luckily I managed to keep on my feet and not stumble and hurt myself on that hard tarred road or something.

I'm really sorry that I uttered those expletives at you and humbly apologize but you seriously deserved every single word I uttered to you back then. Please, in future, move to the side if you need to tie your laces, drink or whatever. Remember, there are people who are running behind you. I'm not going to even touch about the spitting, hacking and throwing of your drink cups. All I can say is please look before you do any of those.

This last bitch is on behalf of the wife. There she was, in a long queue at the end of the race to get her memento when this teen comes up and asks the most obvious (and stupid) question - 'do I have to queue too?' No, we just enjoy standing in a long line after a hard run race! LOL!

Other than that, I seriously enjoyed myself thoroughly. After three back to back 21K's, this short 10K was a nice change of pace :D Maybe next year Nike could consider going longer, perhaps a 21K? Would be nice :D

We stayed back a bit after the run to watch Mizz Nina perform. It's not always you get to watch live performance for free :P



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Year On Fast Forward

The year end is coming up pretty quick with the new year just looming over the horizon. Where did the time go? One minute it was January and the next thing I know is it's going to be the end of November in about a week or so.

Work wise, it's been a frantic year, with loads of ups and downs, thankfully it was more ups than downs :D Running wise, it's been a heck of a year. I can't even remember the number of races the wife and me took part in, which was a huge increase from last year.

If someone told me a year ago that I would run 5 half marathons this year and countless other shorter distanced races, I would have told them to get their head examined. In fact I would have got my own head examined if I told myself that I'm going to be attempting my first full marathon next year!

Running has taken over a huge part of the wife's and my life these days. What started out as just wanting to be healthy has turned into a huge passion for us. We're enjoying ourselves running so much so that when we don't run, we feel lousy. We look forward to races so that we can put all that hard training sessions to the test to see how we fare.

I'm mighty proud of her though, she gives her all in races, be it a short 5K race to a grueling 21K in hot blistering sun. Who would have thought that just a little over two years ago, a girl who didn't like running at all is now actually enjoying running half marathons. She's done three half's this year alone, one after the other and she's come out better and faster in each and every one of them. It won't be long before she one day says she want to attempt a full marathon. You mark my words :D

There's only two more races left for the year for the two of us, with the first one coming up this weekend which is the Nike City run and then followed immediately by our 'home ground' MPSJ run, both 10K events, something short and simple to end the year.

We'll be starting the year with the Newton 25K Run on the first day of the new year itself and then followed by the MPIB 12K run the week after, if I'm not mistaken. Though I've heard some nasty things about the route (Newton) having the grandmother of all hills and then some, I'm actually looking forward to it. It'll be a great way to kick off my marathon preparations for next year.

With that said and done, here's wishing all the best to everyone running the Desa Park City and Nike runs this weekend.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

CICM 21K Responsible Care Run 2011 Race Review

The recently concluded CICM race started out with lots of negatives for me. I'm glad that it's over and that I managed to cross the finish line in one piece. Things for this race started to go wrong as early as one week ago when both the wife and me fell horribly sick which resulted in me completely missing the entire week of training.

I even contemplated not turning up for the race but the fact that we paid good money for it prompted me to abandon that line of thought. Both the wife and me woke up a little late today. We normally like to reach race locations early so that we can prepare ourselves well in advance and also to get decent parking as near to the start/finish as possible.

But bad enough with waking up late, I forgot to fill up petrol the night before and had to make a pit-stop along the highway for a fuel top up. Then when we reached the Setia Alam toll plaza, there was only one cash lane open with a long line of cars queuing to pay for toll.

I forgot to top up my smart tag and had to join the long queue of cars to pay the toll. Had an earful from the wife about topping up my smart tag way in advance the next time. There we were stuck at the toll with the clock ticking away to race start and when we finally got through the toll, finding parking was like nearly a kilometer away from the start/finish ... siggghhh ...

Took a brisk walk to the start/finish and we reached there with barely 5 minutes to spare cos while in the midst of a warm up session, the gun (or was that an air horn) went and I was scrambling to start the race. Darn, I wasn't even fully warmed up yet. I knew I was going to pay for this later.

Because of that, I kept the start pace real slow to get the body parts all warmed up and optimized for the race. The first 10K was surprisingly a good run. Kept to an even steady pace, not too fast to preserve the legs for a later charge which was not to be. The route was relatively unknown to me though I did a cursory recce during the race kit collection.

I think I said it was a nice flat route but it was far from it. The inclines were so minimal but long that you don't realize that the road ahead is slowly leading to heaven and you only realize that fact when you start gasping for air and wonder why the heck that is happening when you're supposed to be on a straight flat.

After discovering that fact the hard way, I started changing my pace to suit those 'invisible' inclines better. It worked for a while up to KM11 or so and then first of many coughing fits started. Had to stop, spit out a huge load of phlegm and then carry on which totally ruined whatever momentum I had. It's really hard to get back momentum once you stop but I pushed on.

Was a little startled at KM 12 when Ray called out to me. Finally managed to get to meet him in a race after a few missed opportunities. A little further down, Kah Yen called out and it was good to see more friendly faces.

Then a kilometer or so more, I managed to see the wife across the road running up the incline with total concentration on her face. Waved at her and gave her a thumbs up sign to spur her on (first time I actually saw her while running a race). Before I go further, congrats to the wife who did a personal best by taking a whopping 5 minutes off her precious time during the PJ half two weeks ago. Bloody proud of her. You must remember, this is only her third ever HM in her entire life. Amazing job, babe.

By this point the coughing fits started getting more frequent and stopping to clear the phlegm from my lungs was taking up precious running time and also putting me out of synch with the race. I knew there and then that it was going to take a huge effort to get to the finish and decided to change my entire strategy to just complete the race, to heck with the time.

The last 3K was like hell on earth for me. The sun was out with a vengeance and Ray caught up with me by then and asked if I was holding up okay. Told him I wasn't but that I would be okay. He headed off and I pulled out everything I had in me to get to that finish line. At the end of the day, I barely crossed the line in 1:58:59 and was bloody surprised that I managed to come in in under 2 hours! Not too shabby a job considering I was still unwell.


I thanked whatever running gods up there looking out for badly coughing runners like me and gladly accepted my finisher medal with much relived joy. The hard days work was finally completed and I came out of it, though slightly battered but overall unscathed from the race. That's my final 21K for the year and thank god the next two races are shorter distanced ones.

The route was a challenging one (in my opinion anyway) and was littered with cow dung and construction mud at certain points. Had to keep an eye out on where I ran for fear of stepping in a cow-pie :P I did see some shoe marks emerging from some flattened cow dung so I pity the poor fellows who stepped in them ... LOL!

Overall, it was an acceptable performance considering being sick and not running the entire week before the race. The legs were thankful for the freshness of the rest but the body and mind just weren't quite up to speed yet. Like Ray said, there's always more races ahead.

Congrats to each and everyone out there who ran the race today.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cough, Cough, Ptuuiii ...

I'm running the CICM 21K Responsible Care Run early tomorrow morning in Setia Alam and truth be told, I'm totally not ready for it. I've been down with the flu and cough the entire week and have not even taken one step out on the roads this week for any training runs.

In fact, I'm not 100% recovered yet and am still stuck with smatterings of cough and spitting out globs of gooey yellow green phlegm (ok, ok, I know that's not a pretty picture but I just had to share my sufferings with you guys ... LOL!). I don't know how that's going to affect my run tomorrow but I know it can't be good. I'm probably going to keep to the extreme left in case I need to stop and spit out more of that yellow green gooey phlegm (ok, ok, I know I should stop describing my phlegm but heck, I love describing my phlegm, lucky I didn't post a pix of it ... hahaha!).

But seriously, I'm not having any expectations of doing well in this run. Before I fell sick and when I went to pick up the race kit, I recced the place and was excited that it was pretty flat. Just the right terrain for a fast run to see if I could get a new PB for a 21K. I was telling the wife, this time I'll make sure I have a proper breakfast, and carry loads of energy gel (unlike the PJ Half) and see if I could pull of a faster 21K than I did in the previous race. But now, after falling sick, even divine intervention ain't gonna be much help. I'll be happy if I can come in in 2 hour and 30 minutes!

It was really bad timing that both the wife and me fell sick together this week. It screwed up our training the entire week. At least she managed to squeeze in a quick 10K yesterday though she was even more sick than I was, while I missed the entire week. I guess I'll just take an easy run and try to enjoy the run and just concentrate on finishing it.

There's only two more races for us to go after this which is the Nike 10K and my 'home ground' run, the MPSJ 10K and that will be it for the year. I'll be starting my new year with the Newton Run and followed by the Multi-Purpose run, though I have yet to register for it. Hope I'm not too late though. After that I have no idea what races are in store but I've kinda limited my participation to races that are distanced over 15K next year. Need to keep an eye on my spending. Races are not cheap and we can't really afford to take part in every race so the 10K races, save a few, will have to be sat out.

Anyways, here's wishing all the best to everyone running the CICM tomorrow. Hope the weather will be kind this time round.

Friday, November 4, 2011

LSD

It's going to be a nice long 3 day weekend and I can already hear all you runners out there rubbing your palms together with glee at the prospect of doing 2-3 days worth of nice LSD's :D Let's hope the early morning weather will cooperate cos it has been two rainy mornings so far. Hopefully that inflammation of the left shin I had in last night's short run session heals by tomorrow morning.

If it doesn't then I'm just going to skip the run, accompany the wife and offer moral support for her LSD :D The wife and me are planning to head out of Subang for a nice LSD session tomorrow (haven't decided where yet) and then head back to pick up our race kit for the CICM Responsible Care run that's slated for next Sunday.

I don't even know where the location is and am not really looking forward to this race. We signed up on a whim and am now not too keen to run this race but since it did cost quite a bit, no sense letting the money and the race go to waste by not showing up, right? I'm already letting the Desa Park City run go to waste since I'm running the Nike 10K instead. Anyone want my bib for the Desa Park City run is more than welcomed to it for free :D Just email me if you do want it.

The race I'm really relishing to participate in right now is the Newton 25K which I signed up for two days ago. I've never run the Kinrara route and have read about how challenging that route is, littered with loads of inclines and a hill Jamie and many of you runners call the 'Ammah Hill'. I'm no fan of hills but it sure sounds pretty challenging to me and next year is all about challenge for me.

Next year is the year I start my foray into running a full marathon, something which if you asked me a year ago, I would say that I could never run a marathon and wouldn't even dare attempt it. But this year though has been the deciding factor for me in running. It has shown me that if I set my mind to it, train right and most importantly believe in myself, I can do anything and running a marathon is one of them. Besides, my wife who is my number one running buddy believes that I can do it, so who am I to argue with her ... hehehe ...

Looking at the distance, it sure looks pretty daunting but heck, running isn't about having it easy. It's about pain and suffering and what's waiting for you at the end of the finish line. That feeling of self accomplishment at being able to do something that you once thought you couldn't. I still don't know if I'll cross that finish line or pull a DNF but one thing I know is I sure as hell am going to try my darnedest!

The pain and suffering will have to be endured, part and parcel of the sport, I say. If I didn't want to experience the pain and suffering a marathon would dish out, I would have taken up something simpler and less painful, like boxing for instance ... LOL!

With that said and done, once I finish my last race for this year, I'm going to head into a strict marathon training programme with no deviation from it. No more trying to outpace myself every single time I run. That won't work in a marathon, I'll simply kill myself in the first 10K. I'll need to work on staying on my feet for as long as possible and keep going. I just want to cross that finish like with my head held high and finally tell myself that I did it.

Yes, I'm really excited at the prospect of running my first marathon next year and any bits of advise from you seasoned pro's would be greatly appreciated :D

Sunday, October 30, 2011

PJ Half Marathon 2011 Race Review

The PJ Half Marathon, probably one of the oldest half marathons in this country made a comeback today and the turnout for it was pretty good. Didn't expect to have that much of participants but it made the run all the more merrier.

This event holds fond memories for me of the time when I first started my foray into the running realm more than 22 years ago. Back then, when I used to run this event it started in the Padang Timur field (Opposite AmCorp Mall) and used the entire Federal Highway into Subang and back. This was the first time I was actually running this route for the event. I ran the 10K the last time it was ever held years ago and never got to experience this route.

Not that I'm complaining too much. The darned sun made the end part of the race totally harsh and running the last, what, 6K with the sun right in your eyes is not a great feeling. The race in general was decent. The start was on time and the earlier part of the route (before the sun came out) was pretty okay. After the first incline at the start, it was relatively flat which gave me the opportunity to do some pretty fast times.

But one thing I learned today is never skip a light breakfast before your run and always, ALWAYS, carry an energy gel cos by the time I hit the 17K mark I was totally out of steam. It's a good thing Jamie caught up with me and gave me a spur to push on though he did blazingly disappear into the distance after that. Man, that guy is fast :D Well, that did the trick and I gathered whatever reserves I had in me and pushed on till the end.

Once again, I could rely on my earlier faster pace to keep me within the sub 2 hour mark even though my finish was much slower. I managed to cross the finish line in a time of 1.55.17 which was a huge improvement from the recent PNM. Not to shabby seeing as how I hardly ran the entire week save for a run on Deepavali day. The best part was, no crampings, must be the new shoe ... LOL!

My medal model a little lazy with her posing duties today :D
I was actually hoping the night before that it would rain but unfortunately it didn't and that made the race a hot one. Other than that, I thought it was a decently organized race. The water and sponge stations (which was godsent in the second half of the race) was where they were though I felt a pang of sadness when passing that poor hardened dead dog along the airport road (I have a soft spot for dogs).

The only complain I have is maybe they could have had the drink station much nearer when you crossed that finish line. It was way over the other side and lots of people didn't even know it was there. Imagine a parched throat and no water in sight. I had to walk back all the way to the car to get my stock of Gatorade.

After the race, I caught up with Jamie, Frank, Neoh and Kah Yen while waiting for the wife to come in. Congrats to her for posting a PB and beating her previous time by a huge margin. Awesome run, babe :D Congrats to all the runners out there who did an awesome job given the harsh conditions. Looking forward to next year already :D

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Depleted Allowance

I'm really positively, definitely, absolutely banned from buying anymore running shoes by the wife especially since I just went out and got myself the Brook Launch a couple of hours ago even though I very recently bought the Pure Connect hardly a month ago. The wife has threatened to throw all my shoes away if I buy another pair of running shoes, well at least until the other pairs are completely worn off.

But you can't really blame me for buying a new pair of running shoes. I initially wanted to get the Brooks Launch just after the Siemens run and when I went to the Brooks outlet in Sunway Pyramid to get it back then, they were pre-launching their Pure Series. Now, what could a guy who absolutely adores shoes that are produced by Brooks do? The shoes were there for me to hold and drool over. They only had limited pairs available and fortunately my shoe size was one of them, so I bought them and told the wife, I'll skip getting the launch.

But heck, I've had my eye on the Launch for quite a while too but was warned about getting another pair so soon. But today as fate would have it, we were at the Brooks outlet in the Curve cos she wanted to get something there for her running. And since the shoes were on display there and the color was right and the size was available and, and, and ... urrrmmm, and since I really, really, really needed it, I bought it albeit with a word of warning that my allowance for buying shoes are totally drained for the year ... hahaha!

 
And here I am, a proud owner of a new pair of lightweight trainers which I'm seriously contemplating using for tomorrow's PJ Half. I'm an advocate of not running in brand new shoes though I did run in a brand new untested Green Silence during the Shape Night run and thankfully came away unscathed from that experience.

Up to this point I'm still undecided on what shoes I'll be using tomorrow. So far, until the Launch came into the picture, It was a toss between the Green Silence or my Mizuno Precision 10. I haven't used either of these shoes for a 21K before and was thinking of putting one of it to the test, but now I'm not so sure. The Launch looks like a good bet to be on my feet tomorrow.

And speaking of the PJ Half, I'm a little skeptical about how I'll do in the race tomorrow. My training this week has been short of pathetic with only one 15K run done over the Deepavali holiday. Rain and especially work has been playing havoc with my schedule. I'm just going to take things easy tomorrow and not push myself too much. Thankfully the route is a pretty forgiving one and has loads of flat stretches with two or three inclines. The only worry would be the sun. Hopefully it rains tonight and the sun decides to sleep in a little.

Anyways, to all running the event, have fun and all the best :D

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

The PJ Half Marathon is just around the corner and I'm forseeing a horrible week leading to the race with a huge chance of me not getting in much training for it. One reason is cos of the daily evening rains and the other is the tight work load that awaits me this week.

And don't even ask me to wake up in the early mornings to run. The only time I do that is on race days and weekends. Other days, even an earthquake with a magnitude of 10 on the Richter scale wouldn't even budge me!


At least the coming Deepavali holidays would give me an opportunity to run in the morning. Somehow, I can actually wake up on holidays that fall during the weekday ... LOL! It's either that or I don't get in any running at all before the race. I suppose there is a good side to not being able to run before the PJ Half. The legs would have enough time to be well rested and I'd be totally fresh for the race.

But not being able to run and seeing other people running is plain cruel! There should be a law against it ... hahaha! I'm looking forward to the PJ Half though, seeing as how the route looks pretty 'easy' though somewhat boring. I'm going to go along with Neoh's idea of seeing if we both can run on the Federal highway faster than we can normally drive which judging by the usual daily crawl along that stretch is entirely doable :D

I'm just hoping the race is going to be well organized and the water stations are adequate cos the entire stretch is pretty barren and once the sun comes up, which is kinda early, the weather is going to get a little hot and the need for hydration is going to be pretty important. I drive along the race route for work daily and it's really direct sunlight without much shade. So, finishing the race fast would be a good idea too. Hope to see all the usual faces at the race this weekend :D

With that said and done and if I don't get the chance to get online, I'd like to make an early wish to all my Hindu buddies wishing them a beautiful Deepavali.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Putrajaya Night Marathon 2011 Race Review

The long wait for the Putrajaya Night Marathon has finally come and gone and I think I'm beginning to dislike night races. I'll list my reasons later.

The wife and me checked into the Pullman Putrajaya around noon. We decided that we would spend the night in Putrajaya after the race cos I was too lazy to drive home and besides, it would be good to spend some 'just the two of us' time together once in a while, though we were both too bummed out to do anything much about the 'just the two of us' time that we had ... LOL!

Aside from the initial screw up about our room reservations that had us waiting close to 45 minutes to get checked, everything else ended up fine. We both took a short nap before heading to the event location.

As usual, I wanted to get there a little early to get the best parking spot. The place was already starting to fill by the time I got there. Coincidentally, I parked next to one of my blog readers, Tony, who recognized me. It was nice to finally meet you Tony, at least now you're no longer a faceless blog reader :D And speaking of meeting fellow runners, I finally got the chance to catch up with Kah Yen too. We both headed over to wish Neoh the best of luck for his marathon and then I headed back to wait for the start of the half marathon.

The race started in time and I was fired up for it. The legs were fine and I was nicely pushing through with my planned pace targets. Managed to even do a personal best at the 5K mark with a 23.29 timing. The route was pretty challenging with loads and loads of inclines littered after the 13K mark. Decided to slow down the pace a little more since I had a ways to go. Up to that point, things were going well. At the 12K water station, I removed my 2XU calf compression guards cos they were feeling uncomfortable. In hindsight, that was really a bad decision.

Not long later, disaster struck. I started feeling twitches of muscle tightness and by the 15K mark, I was almost immobilized with a painful cramp along the right leg that had me cringing in pain and stopping for a few minutes to stretch and ease the cramp away. From that moment, I knew my race was screwed big time.

Decided to carry on, with a much reduced pace hoping the cramps would not recur but it just wasn't my day and the route at that point decided to get hilly which didn't help alleviate the pain one bit. I was hobbling along and had to stop every kilometer of so to ease the pain. At this point, I must give my utmost thanks to this runner bearing the bib number F2140 cos he came along with some much appreciated encouragement and even ran along with me to keep me from stopping. Bless your soul, sir.

At that point, the theme of the run, 'Define your inner strength' sure rang true as I had to look deep into me and find whatever inner strength that I had left to hobble all the way back to he finish line. I must say that I am happy that despite all the agonizing pain I went through for the final 6K, I still managed to squeeze in a sub-2 hour run, thanks to the faster paced times I put in at the start of the race.


Somewhere down the last 3K, I must have left that unnamed F2140 runner behind, cos while waiting for the wife to come in, I saw him again crossing the finish line and he was so happy to see me there, that he came up to me, congratulated me and even hugged me! Once again, my utmost thanks to you F2140 for the part you played in getting me through the run. Runners are really the best people in the world cos they never put you down and will always have a word or two of encouragement when they see someone in need of help or a little push.

Ok, now let me stress on why I think I'm beginning to not like night races. In all the night races I've run, which includes the dreaded Energizer Night Run, The Shape Night Run and this current race, I've always developed cramps and not done too well in the runs, timing wise. My conclusion is because I believe the body is not as well rested as in the early mornings. True, I may have to warm up a little longer for morning races but heck, I'm much fresher in the mornings than I am in the evenings. I'm going to be looking into future night runs and decide if I want to run one again or not.

With that said and done, kudos goes out to the organizers, Twenty First Century Sports for a race well organized. Good job Nithi (director of Twenty First Century Sports and a personal friend of mine) and team for a job well done, enjoy your well deserved off day tomorrow. I wish I had the liberty of taking the day off tomorrow too ... LOL!

With that out of the way, I'm eager for my next 21K, The PJ Half, which has a much tamer route compared to the PNM. It's a route I'm well familiar with as I drive through it everyday for work and will make it easy for me to plan my race strategy. I'm a technical runner and like to plan how I tackle every single kilometer, when to speed up, when to slow down, when to conserve energy, when to crawl, etc, etc, etc. Knowing this particular route is going to be a big plus for me :D

Friday, October 14, 2011

Butterflies, My Tummy & The Night Run

Slightly a day more to go before the Putrajaya Night Marathon and I'm having butterflies in my tummy. In fact I'm feeling a little apprehensive about the run. The wife keeps telling that I'm only running the half marathon and I've run half marathon's before so I shouldn't really be feeling apprehensive about anything, especially running. She say's I'll do just fine and to just go out there and enjoy myself.

I know she's right and I know I should be able to run the half without any major hitches but heck, these butterflies are hard to quell! I guess it must be the excitement of the entire thing. I've been looking forward to this event ever since the day I signed up for it and ended up being the first darned participant to sign up and had to go through an unexpected video interview at the organizers office, which was downright embarrassing ... LOL!

Anyways, like I said, I'm nervous but excited at the prospect of running tomorrow night. A training run is just a training run and there's nothing that can describe the feeling of an actual race event running alongside a host of other fellow runners. It's really a great feeling to see a mix of all kinds of people, the big, the small, the tall, the short, the hunky looking, the sexy model like, all there for one thing, which is to have fun and run. All the best to everyone participating.

I've yet to decide on what shoe I'll be wearing for the event. Right now, it's going to be a toss between my Green Silence and the Pure Connect. The Green Silence is a proven shoe for races while I've only used the Pure Connect for one race which was the KOTR two weeks ago but judging by the fact that it went through a 16.8K run with nary a problem, the chances are I'll risk it for the PNM tomorrow. But just in case, I'll bring both shoes along.

So far, I've only used the Pure Connect three times in total and it's been a pretty positive outlook for the shoe. The only thing I noticed about the shoe (for me anyway) was the achy calves after each run. I guess, the lack of cushioning and the fact that I'm doing more natural midfoot running with the shoe must play a part in the calf aches. At least I know the leg fatigue issues I had with my more cushioned but heavier Ghost 3 doesn't seem to manifest anymore, thanks to the much lighter weighted Green Silence and Pure Connect.

With that said and done, butterflies and all, I can't wait for the run tomorrow night. See you guys there and holler out if you see me cos I'm a little blind at nights ... hahaha!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Adidas KOTR 2011 Race Review

First of all, a big congratulations goes out to the organizers for a race well done. I don't think anyone would or should have a bad thing to say about the race. Kudos Adidas. For me, this was one of the better organized races that I participated in this year.

With that said and done, the race was a good one for me. Decked with my untested Brooks Pure Connect, I was all eager to put the shoe through the test. And I'm happy to say that if I had four thumbs, it would get a four thumbs up! For a start, I hardly felt the shoe. It was snug, it was light, it was airy and for a 'minimalist' rated shoe, it had just enough cushioning to support these old legs of mine. Money well spent :D

The race itself was an awesome one for me. The weather was just about excellent for a run and the route was pretty darn challenging for an expressway. What I really liked about the race was the absolutely lack of cars with crazy and impatient drivers honking their dissatisfaction for runners ruining their beloved Sunday drives.

The entire expressway was off limits to traffic and it was bliss not having to endure the usual harassment from these drivers and suffering through exhaust fumes. If you ask me, they should just close all roads completely during races like these but then we all know that's never gonna happen.

The race started right on time at 6.45am and this time I made sure I was out there in front and not have to fight my way through the starting crowd. Because of that front starting position, I managed to do the first 4-5K's at an average of 4.54 - 5.00 minute pace. But I wasn't intending to maintain that pace throughout cos I was aware of the first killer incline looming at the 6K mark and slowed the pace down. Kept to a steady pace and attacked the hills (which almost had me on the verge of crying ... hahaha) and rested on the downward stretch.

That was to be my strategy throughout the balance of the race and I was happy to come in with time of 1.26.34 and still able to walk and smile at the end of it all ... LOL! I don't know if it was the shoe or all that training I've been putting in but I didn't feel a single pain or ache throughout and even after the run. It's bliss running pain-free and I intend to keep it that way :D

My medal modelling dog (and enjoying it too)  ...
As mentioned earlier, the race was well organized. The water stations were exactly where they said it would be and the water was dispensed properly without having to wait for the volunteers to fill up the cups like what I experienced in some previous races. I don't know about the rest of you but in every water station that I came across, they were handing out the cups to the runners making it easy for us to keep on running without having to stop and breaking the rhythm.

There were more than enough distance markers to let you know how far you need to go thus being able to pace yourself better. Got bogged down a little at the 15K mark (or was that 14k?) when the 10K runners merged with the 16.8K runners and had to expend a little more energy swerving in and out to avoid them. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the race and would do it again without hesitation if they held it in the same venue next year.

Congratulations goes out to each and every runner out there who completed the run be it 10K runners or the 16.8K runners who had to endure the inclines :P It was nice seeing so many people who shares the same running passion that I do. Hope we get many more people interested in this crazy sport called running!

Ok, now I'm off to get a much needed nap :D


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brooks Pure Connect

I couldn't wait. I had to go out and get the Brooks Pure Connect the moment I heard that it was launching today. I've been eying this shoe ever since I first got wind of it. And I'm happy to say that I'm now the proud owner of a Brooks Pure Connect, the lightest shoe in the Pure series weighing in at 7.2 ounces though I think my Green Silence (weighing in at 6.9 ounces, according to Brooks) is a little bit lighter than the Connect.

The Brooks Pure Connect
 But nevertheless, it was love at first sight. The moment I laid my eyes and hands on this piece of beauty, I was smitten. Once I put it on, the deal was sealed. It felt a little weird at first cos of the way it pushed up my arch up but after walking around a little, things settled down and everything felt natural.

The mesh like outer skin that's bound to keep the feet cool on those long hot runs ...
 I'm not going to bore you with the details and specs, lots of other running enthusiasts do a better job of reviewing a shoe than me, so I'll leave that to them. Besides, I haven't tested out these babies with a run yet and will be doing the unthinkable of running in an unbroken shoe for tomorrow's King Of the Road. I don't expect any problems, well at least I hope not and will come back with some feedback after the race.

The Podular (as Jamie put it) like outer sole ...
But based on my personal opinion, the shoes seems to be all it was touted to be. I like the overall look and feel. In fact, I practically didn't feel it around my feet and my Thorlo socks felt heavier than the shoe ... LOL! I know color really isn't a criteria in judging a running shoe, but heck, the fact that it came in that color scheme was a huge plus point for me since I'm in love with all things green. Looking forward to putting it to the test tomorrow :D



Friday, September 30, 2011

My First Triathlon!

It's been a really busy work but I still managed to find the time to run a triathlon! And boy, was it a stretch to finish it!

Ok, ok, I didn't run a triathlon, not that I could even if I wanted to cos the moment I hit the water, I'll sink to the bottom. So, what do people who have delusions of wanting to do a triathlon but can't swim for nuts do? Why, they just log on to their PC and play Extreme Triathlon, that's what they do ... LOL!



I was about to head for work yesterday when I saw the younger boy (who skipped school cos of fever and cough) playing this game called Extreme Triathlon and I was instantly curious about it. It had all the elements of a triathlon - swim, bike and run. And it looked pretty darn cool too.

So, when the opportunity for a little free time came up, I gave it a try and though it was a pretty cool game, one thing's for sure, I can't swim for nuts even in a game, I think I came out last ... hahaha!

Well, at least now I can say I took part in a tri without leaving my desk! Oh and apparently that little brat actually came out in first placing and put me to utter shame ... hahaha!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Siemens 10K Run 2011 Race Review

It's a great feeling to be running a race again with a whole bunch of other runners. The weather was beautiful (though a little hazy) and the run was a good one. The only thing that caught me off guard was the last minute change of route to avoid clashing with another race being run nearby.

As usual, the wife and me got to the race location a little early to make sure we get some decent parking nearby. I was a little worried about the race cos both of us only had about 3 hours of sleep and we both woke up feeling like zombies. Didn't want the lack of sleep to hound me throughout the run so once we reach the race location, we parked the car and snoozed for 20 minutes.

While waiting for the race to start, an announcement came that got me worried. They made a last minute change to the race route (maybe they did send notices but I sure as hell didn't get any) to avoid clashing with the Pudu Charity run. No big deal really but I had my mind tuned to the original route and had all my race pace planned for each section of the race and this sudden change really had me running blind as I had no idea where the new route would take us.

The race started exactly on time and I was cursing the moment I hit the Jalan Parlimen stretch as it was a 1KM incline with a horribly cambered road that made running up that stretch pretty uncomfortable. By the time I hit the top of that stretch I was panting for breath. Thank god for the short decline immediately after that.

From that point it was pretty flat but I decided to keep it at a steady pace to prepare for anymore of those goddamned hills that may litter the route further up ahead. And my guess was right cos from KM6 or so, the route hit the stretch behind the National Mosque and I knew I was in for a tough hilly stretch which I've never run before.

It took quite an effort to negotiate that stretch and once I was out of the Bukit Aman area and heading back into Jalan Parlimen, I thanked whatever gods that watch out for 'poor aged and totally on the verge of collapsing runners' like me for the downhill stretch to the finish line.

Actually the finish line was like about 2KM away but heck, a downhill stretch is always welcomed. From that point, after a short slow down in pace, I picked it up for the last 1.5KM that saw me hitting a sub 5 minute pace to the finish line coming in with a time of 52.29 in position number 57 to pick up my much deserved medal.


Overall the race was organized pretty well. I have not a single complaint, well except for the sudden route change, about this event. The wife had one complaint though and it isn't at the race organizers, it was aimed more towards the drivers who had to wait in traffic that was blocked by the cops to let the runners pass by. According to her, they kept honking and harassing the runners for ruining their Sunday morning drive for getting stuck in traffic.

I don't know la, you people knew there was going to be two runs in KL and notices were posted weeks in advance so it's your own fault for wanting to drive through the race route. Besides, give the runners a break la, we're busting our asses out there running while you're sitting there in your air-conditioned cars and you can't wait till the runners pass? It's not like we do this everyday!

With that said and done, congrats goes to the wife for a personal best for her 10K and here's looking forward to next weekends Adidas KOTR.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Sabbatical

It's a National holiday tomorrow for Malaysia day and normally I'd be delighted cos of the opportunity to do a longer morning run for three consecutive days. I don't do morning runs on weekdays simply because I can never wake up. But it's a different story entirely when it comes to holidays and weekends cos I'll be up at an ungodly hour of 4am to pound the streets.

Unfortunately, the next three to four days is going to see me hitting zero mileage as I'm going to be pretty tied up from morning till late night with some stuff that needs to be done by Sunday. Though I could try to squeeze in a run, I know it'll just be an effort in futility. I don't think I'd have the energy to run let alone walk. Might as well just give running a miss for the next couple of days, at least until I get everything done.

Besides, it'll give the tired legs some time to get refreshed before the Siemens run next Sunday, followed by the Adidas KOTR run the following week. While I'm not too concerned about the Siemens run, which goes through a nice leafy route, I'm a little skeptical about the Adidas KOTR run cos I've never run the NPE before. It's practically shadeless and there are some pretty long inclines along the way.

It's been quite a while since my last race, the Shape Night run and I'm itching for a race. The Siemens run will be quite a good warm up before taking on the Adidas KOTR, The Night Marathon (21K), The PJ Half and the CICM Responsible run (21K) with the Desa Park City 10K as the final race for the year. It's going to be a pretty tight schedule seeing as how almost all the races are just two weeks apart. Hope these old legs can hack it.

Next year will be a pretty interesting year for me as I attempt to try my hand (or rather legs) for my first full marathon. I haven't identified which event I'd like to attempt the FM just yet. I'd probably give it a go with the SCKLM, if they don't cancel the event that is. It looks like a nice setting to come out and run myself silly for 42.195 kilometers. Any suggestions on a race I could use as my inaugural FM?

With that said and done, if you're maximizing the long weekend with running, have fun and as the Brooks motto goes, run happy :D

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Much Should A Race Cost?

A conversation with a client this morning.

Client: I heard you're into running.

Me: Yeah, I do a little running now and then. 

Client: That's good, I used to run quite a while back.

Me: Cool, not running anymore?

Client: No la, races these days are too expensive.

Which brings me to my question for today. Are races really on the expensive side these days? I don't know, I'm in two minds about this. Yes, I do think races are priced pretty steep these days but then, as a person who comes from an advertising background and have been involved in organizing events, the cost to organize a race with an average number of participants ranging from anywhere between 5,000 to 20,000 people doesn't come cheap. The logistics involved can be pretty phenomenal at times.

Besides, in my humble opinion, no one forced me to pay the exorbitant race fees anyway. I did that on my own free will cos I relish the opportunity to run with countless other runners. Training runs on your own are one thing, but running with a host of people is a total different feel altogether. It's where you put all that training to the test. So yeah, though I do think that races these days are on the high side, I will still pay to take part. Of course, next year, I'll only take part in select few races because of the cost involved.

The conversation with my client went on to the point of him saying that all the stuff are sponsored anyway so why do we have to pay so much. Back in the old days, races were only RM6-RM10. The key word here is 'back in the old days'. Heck, these days, Chinese tea alone cost RM0.60 compared to when it cost only RM0.20 'back in the old days'. You really shouldn't compare the cost of races from back then with now. Everything has gone up in price, so it's only natural that the cost of races would go up as well.

Like I said, I'm in two minds about this. With the cost of taking part in a race being on the steep side, it might just turn away lots of would be runners from taking up the sport, which would be a sad thing cos we need more healthy people in this country. Maybe the bigger corporations that sponsor these runs could look in subsidizing these races a little more. I know they already do, but go a little further to encourage more people to take up the sport without being turned off by the cost.

So, what do you think? Are races just too expensively priced these days? What would you think a reasonable cost for a race should be?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm a Runner: Drew Carey

I'm a huge fan of Drew Carey and his 'Whose Line Is It Anyway' and The 'Drew Carey Show' back when they used to air on TV over here. I wouldn't miss a single episode and would really laugh out loud, not the 'LOL' kinds you find here ... LOL!

Back then, I remember him as this fat (no offense to any fat people out there) and funny guy. Then the series stopped being aired in these parts of the world and I totally forgot about Drew Carey, that is until a month or so back.

I buy the Runner's World magazine every month and glanced through a short article about this runner named Drew Carey and actually didn't realize it was the same Drew Carey from the 'Whose Line Is It Anyway' series. It wasn't until the wifey told me that it was the one and the same Drew Carey that I was totally stunned.

The Drew Carey I saw in Runner's World was half the size he was from before and looked way healthier and younger and to top if off, he's a runner these days. That got me interested and I dug deeper and was amazed that he lost close to 85lbs (or maybe more) and is now happily interested in running :D

Then and now ...
And what made him decide to get fit and loose all that weight? 'I got sick of being fat!', was his reply. I'm seriously happy for him. He's now the host of 'The Price Is Right' and he's looking pretty good and healthy and so much younger than what he used to look. He's so far run the Marine Corp half marathon in 1'57", two whole minutes faster than my SCKLM time (damn him!) and is already scheduled for a full marathon this October.

He's featured in the October edition of Runner's World so be sure to get one today if you're a fan of Drew. If not, you can always read about him here in their online edition. It just goes to show that if you really set your mind to doing something, you can and will achieve it with hard work. Excuses like 'no time', 'it's not for me', 'I'm too old' and many more are just that, excuses!

Now excuse me while I go see if I can find an online site where I could download those old 'Whose Line Is It Anyway' episode. I simply love that series.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hydration On The Go

I popped over to the Running Lab today to see Frank to get myself a fuel belt. I normally don't carry water on me when I run and most times, though I know hydration is important, my runs turn out fine. Besides, during races, there are hydration stations along the way (well, most races anyway). But there are days, especially on longer training runs, when the weather is hot and the air is drier than the Sahara and halfway through the run, when the throat feels like sandpaper and craves for hydration is when I long to have water with me.

I'm not the kind to hide bottles of water along my preplanned route or to even hold a bottle in my hand while running. The routes I run also don't pass any convenience stores or sundry shops where I can stop for some fluids so most times I just struggle along in thirst.

A couple of months ago, I bought a Camelbak Fairfax and though I've tried using it on three long run occasions, I found it to be a little distracting and bothersome. While I enjoyed the benefits of having ice cooled (along with the ice cubes) water/Gatorade at my disposal, I was really distracted by the water sloshing sound and the shifting (no matter how tight I pulled the bungee) of the Camelbak. The unit has been lying in my wardrobe collecting dust since then. I don't know, maybe the Camelbak is just not for me.

So it was back to running without the benefits of available fluids. I do most of my runs in the late evening when I get home from work and it's a touch and go thing, especially with the weather. Evening runs can be pretty darn hot, humid and dry, especially if you live in my area where the traffic is heavy in the evenings with people heading home from work. The body will start craving for hydration pretty fast and the throat can dry up in a jiffy unless of course, it rained earlier, then the weather would be just about beautiful to run, with or without fluids.

Running without fluids tend to affect my performance and I finally decided to cave in and go look for something that I could bring fluids along in my longer runs on a hot evening that wouldn't be too much of a distraction and settled for the Fuel Belt Helium 4. After checking with Frank who told me he had stock, I went over today and got it from him.


I like running with the least amount of stuff attached to my body and having this four bottles attached around my waist was giving me the hibby jibbies. I was pretty darn skeptical but couldn't wait to give it a try. So when evening came, I filled two bottles with Gatorade and the other two with plain H20 and headed out the door. It was pretty odd having four bottles hanging around me as I ran and I felt so darn self conscious. The wife said I looked like a suicide bomber ... hahaha!

Well, the verdict is, while it was a tad heavy, especially when full, it did serve its purpose of providing fuel on the run, though I'll only be using it for my really longer runs on a particularly hot day. I still like the feeling of running light. I find the fuel belt to be a little distracting and though the website said it would fit really snug, it still moved around as I ran, as Frank said it would. But at least now I'll have an option besides the Camelbak on a really hot long run session. Besides, the wife said she'll smack me on the head if I just keep it in the wardrobe since the thing is not really cheap ... LOL!

Anyways, what do you guys think? Is having hydration at your disposal albeit it being a hindrance a good thing or not? What do you do to solve your thirst on a particularly long and hot run?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Color Of Silence

Man, this waiting to run a race is really killing me. It's been a while since my last race and my feet are itching to run one. The next race is about a month away, which is the Siemens 10K and I'm looking forward to it. The race will be flagged off at Dataran Merdeka, which is my least favourite race route but it does have some pretty cool hills amidst some nice lush green scenery running through the neighbourhood of the luxuriously rich folks :D At least I think that's where the race route will be anyway.

Besides, I haven't used my Green Silence for a race in quite a while and what good are racing flats when you can't use it for races. Unfortunately it's only a 10K race and I still can't put the GS through its pace for a longer distanced race, at least until the Adidas KOTR. I've run with the GS in a few short 10K training runs and it's absolutely all its touted to be. Light with just the right amount of cushioning and practically keeps you landing on your midfoot everytime without even trying.

The Green Silence has so far been pretty good for me on the only two races that I used it for, which was the Orange run and the Shape run, and it came through with flying colors. I hardly felt it on my feet and there was so much less fatigue on my legs compared to when I was using the Ghost 3 for races. Comparing the GS with the Ghost, it makes the Ghost seem like a block of wood!

But that's really an unfair statement, the Ghost 3 is a heavily padded trainer and has served me well for lots of miles and it should never be compared to the GS. I still use the Ghost for training runs and I still love the shoe but I feel I need a shoe that will give me more speed with less leg fatigue during races. The Ghost can tend to tire your legs out much later in a race and you end up spending a lot more effort to finish the race.

For now, it's a waiting game for a nice long distanced race to really test the GS but Jamie assured me the shoe will hold up to at least 15K or more, so I'm putting my faith in that. I have this worry about how a certain shoe will affect my legs. I tend to get injuries pretty easily and having the right shoe is very important to me.

The good news is all my injuries that I was suffering from has completely healed and I'm finally running pain free again, which is a feeling I treasure. I'm not pushing myself too much these days and am just simply enjoying my running. I don't want a recurrence of any of those excruciatingly painful injuries especially now since I'm already in the midst of starting my marathon training programme. Getting injured at this stage will really put a spanner in the works.

Friday, August 12, 2011

PJ Half Marathon ... Twenty Two Years Ago.

I was going through my old stuff this evening and came across my old race number bib from 1989, my first ever half-marathon run. It brought back some happy memories of running. Twenty two years ago, on the 6th of August, I was a skinny wee lad of 22 waking up at an ungodly hour of 5am to follow my best buddy down to the Padang Timor field in PJ, which was the race start/finish location to run in a half-marathon that I practically never trained nor prepared for.

Race number bibs of bygone days ..
I wasn't really unfit, at that time I was pretty heavily involved with the martial arts of Tae Kwon-do but that didn't mean I could actually run a half-marathon. I only went because I thought it was a fun thing to do (I was delusional). I even ran with my martial arts Gi bottom under my track pants, yes I actually wore a martial arts Gi and track pants to run the event ... hahaha! At the first sponging station, I soaked myself silly and my clothes ended up weighing twice its weight!

Well, suffice to say, I practically struggled throughout the 21KM and was literally crawling through the finish line 22 seconds from the cutoff time of 2:30:00! I came in with a time of 2:29:38, to say I was cutting it close would be an understatement. But, I was exhilarated for even crossing the finish line and not giving up. I ran/walked/crawled but I didn't give up and swore that I would do better the following year.

2:29:38 ...
The week after that event, I started training in earnest for the event the following year. I put my heart and soul into running and having a best buddy to run with and against paid volumes for me. We were constantly pushing and spurring each other to do better with each run. I was also young and could take the punishing regime of training on a daily basis back then.

The retro looking programme book ...
All that paid off for me in the next installment of the PJ Half Marathon the following year and I managed to cut my qualifying time by a whole 20 minutes! I was ecstatic. I knew from that moment that running was all I wanted to do. I did take part in a few more races but work and other commitments (namely being lazy) got in the way and I put running on the sidelines for years. I did try to revive my running a few times but it didn't last long.

That was until last year when the wife and me decided that we need to get fit again. Well, with that first step of starting again, I would say the rest is history. I'm running better and faster than I ever was in my youth, though I wish I had taken advantage of this when I was much younger, who knows, I could be running even faster than I am today. But all that aside, I wonder how I could even put running on hold for so long.

These days, I don't think a day goes by without me thinking about running, yes I do think of you too, honey ... LOL! But going through all my old running stuff sure brought back some fun running times I had with my best buddy. Those were the days.

Now though, I can start a whole new chapter of running with the wife and maybe one day when we're old and grey and we're not running (god forbid!) anymore, we can sit back on that rocking chair in the porch as the sun sets and reminisce about our running days :D

With that said and done, does anyone know if the PJ Half Marathon for this year is going to be held at all? I read about it months ago but now there's just deafening silence. I would give my right arm and left toe to participate in it again.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Marathon Preparation

The month of August is going to be a barren month, race wise that is. Either I'm totally in the dark or there really isn't any races scheduled in my part of the world this month. Even the wife is complaining about lack of races ... LOL!

The earliest race that we have scheduled is The Siemens 10K which is only in September and even then it's closer to the end of the month. If anyone does know of a race in August, I would be eternally grateful if you keep me in the loop.

Anyways, at least the lack of races will give me time to work out a decent marathon programme for myself. I'm thinking of trying to run my first ever FM either before the year end or the beginning of next year at the very least. Other than reading through online marathon tips, I have no idea how to prepare for one.

I probably could run a FM in my present state but heck, I'd probably suffer just trying to finish it. I have this mindset of only wanting to attempt the FM when I'm completely ready and know for a fact that I can do it in a comfortable time. I want my first ever FM to be an enjoyable one and not something that I want to do just for the sake of having full marathon status under my belt.

And for that reason, I've been reading a lot about full marathon preparation. Like I said earlier, I have no idea how to prepare for a full marathon. I've done some research online and while there is a whole load of full marathon training programmes, they're all totally different in their approaches. It confused the heck out of me. Which one to follow? Which one not to follow? Is this the best training programme? Will this work for me? So many questions and so little answers.

In the end, I'm just going to go with the gut feel. I'll work on the basis of a progressive training programme. Slowly but steadily build up the mileage with more regular days of running, some speed and hill work with a few 30K long runs under my belt and learn to listen to what my body tells me. I don't know if that will work or not but I suppose I'll know deep inside when I'm really ready for a full marathon.

There are a few things on my 'to do' list and one of them is to complete my first ever full marathon soon. The other is to one day (and it's a big one day) to try my hand or rather legs in an ultra-marathon event, though let me just get through my first FM before even thinking along those lines ... LOL!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shape Men's Health Run 2011 Race Review

First of all, a very big congratulations to wifey for completing the Shape Men's Health 12.3K run which was also her one year anniversary run in one of her personal best times :D And looking through her Nike race data later also showed some pretty fast splits. That girl can run pretty fast la these days :D

It was exactly one year ago when she picked up the running bug and this race was her first so it held special meaning for her. After running the fun run last year, she was eagerly waiting all year for this event to try the 12.3K and I can tell you it's well worth the wait for her cos she was smiling all night long ... LOL!

The race for me was a pretty great race. As with most races, I thoroughly enjoyed myself though there are few peeves which I will list at the end of this post. We got to the race location in Putrajaya a little early. I was anxious to get and ended up leaving the house a wee bit early. We had nearly two hours to spare before race start so we sat in the car for an hour before putting on our race gear and heading to the start line.

After the usual warm up show routines by the organizers, it was time for race start. I managed to meet Neoh before the race start :D It was nice meeting you finally :D Both wifey and me managed to squeeze our way in right to the front to avoid the mad rush of runners when the gun goes off. The gun went off on time and the race for me began.

Before the race I had psyched my mind to do a constant easy pace throughout and then whacked it (as Jamie would say) at the final stretch toward the finish. That went to hell in the first kilometer when my Garmin buzzed me on the 1K mark telling me I was doing a 4.54" lap! Immediately slowed my pace cos I didn't think I would be able to sustain that pace all through the 12.3K run.

I also decided from that point to run by 'feel' and not look at the Garmin 1K auto splits that I programmed the watch to display. I just wanted to enjoy the run and not make it too technical a race for me. The race route was pretty flat with the exception of the area behind PICC that had an incline. I was prepared for it and sprinted my way up the hill and rested on the downhill stretch. The first water station was at this point.

The legs gave a little problem after this section with a tightness behind the left calf which went away after a kilometer or so and from that point on it was blissful running with both the legs and lungs working in perfect unison :D It probably was one of the better and more enjoyable runs I did in quite a while. I wasn't pushing myself like I normally do and even managed to enjoy the night sights of Putrajaya which apart from the lighted bridges were really nothing much to shout about la ... LOL!

To avoid boredom, I decided to play a game with myself and see how many shoes of the other runners that I could recognize which was pretty hopeless cos I couldn't tell one model from the next ... hahaha! But it kept me busy and before I knew it, it was the final two kilometer stretch and I picked up my pace a little towards the finish line.

I crossed the line in 1 hour 5 minutes and 33 seconds in 38th 36th (after viewing the official online race results, I was ecstatic to know I was two places earlier) position for the Men's Junior Veteran category. I was a little surprised when an official stuffed the position number in my hands and told me to go collect my finisher medal. 'Medal? You mean, I got a medal?' was running through my thoughts. The medals with limited to a certain number of finishers so I was ecstatic to even get one :D



This was the second time I had on my Green Silence and I must say I'm falling in love with the shoe more and more :D I do my training runs in my heavier Ghost 3 or Mizuno Wave and using the Green Silence on race days is like just running in my socks. Yes, the shoe is that light! I only have to watch out when I'm running downhill stretches and not stomp my feet too hard cos I could feel the impact all through my legs. The cushioning of that shoe isn't all that great but it wasn't the shoes fault, it was my own for stomping down the hills. After I corrected that issue, the shoes were simply superb!

As usual, after the race I went to get the goodie bags and drinks and then wait for wifey to come in. Overall, the race was pretty good and I'm looking forward to next years addition already :D

Ok, now comes the peeves:

Peeve number one - Please for gods sake, if you want to spit during a run, look and make sure no other runner is near you before you spit. I nearly had three runners spit right into my path and I even told one of them off. There are others running along with you and taking a look on your left (or right) before spitting can't hurt, can it?

Peeve number two - The same as peeve number one. Look before you throw that cup full of water away. There are other people running. I had a nice half full cup of water thrown right at my shoe soaking the heel and made me feel like smacking the idiot on his head. Have some race etiquette la people.

Peeve number three - How can a title sponsor the likes of Gatorade make people buy the drinks with the silliest of excuses like they ran out of sampling products. This really is not the first time you guys sponsored a run, you know. I managed to get my free Gatorade cos I came in early but wifey had to buy hers when she came in. I really don't know which part of the word 'sponsors' they didn't fathom. I made a complaint to the race organizers who were equally pissed at the Gatorade people. I hope they managed to sort the issue out cos there were still loads of thirsty runners coming in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sniff, Sniff ...

I'm suffering from a case of the sniffles right now and it doesn't bode too well for the Shape Men's Health Night run this Saturday. I hate falling sick cos I take like forever to recover. I got this passed on from my older boy who just like any kid that didn't want to lose his coolness by having to use a raincoat, decided to walk home in the rain last Friday and ended up falling sick.

As much as I tried to stay far away from him, I guess them silly germs just decided to find me and latch on to me ... arrgghhh, damn you germs! It's been progressively getting worse since this morning and now my nose leaks worse than a drippy faucet ... siggghhh ... The rain today, though very welcomed didn't entirely help matters for me.

This thing better go away by this weekend cos the last time I ran with the flu was during the Nike City 10K run and let me tell you that running with the flu is like asking for trouble. The 10K felt like it took forever to complete with me cursing myself all the way for trying to be macho and thinking I can run even while sick.

The thing is, I don't want to miss the run this weekend cos it's wifey's anniversary run. This was the run that got her hooked on running a year ago and I wouldn't miss running it with her for the world. Last year, she took her first steps into running by joining the fun run and this year she's taking part in the 12K run with me and I'm excited for her :D

So, flu or not, rain or shine, earthquake or tsunami, I'll be there so I'd better get well real quick!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

BHP Orange Run 2011 Race Review

It feels good to be running again, especially in a race. I've been on a one week break due to injury and was back pounding the roads this morning in this year's installment of the BHP Orange run and I must say that I had a great time. The injuries didn't materialize one bit and the entire run was a good one for me.

Wifey and me arrived at the race location rather early, around 5.45am cos we wanted to make sure we got decent parking which we did. We parked at e@Curve which was right next to the start/finish and then walked around for some warm up and stretches. The women ran 10 minutes before the men so I wished wifey good luck and headed out to wander the start area and bumped into Jamie. Chatted for a bit and then it was time to start.

Now, I was a bit apprehensive before the race cos I was actually wearing my new Green Silence without ever trying it out for a run prior to this. I've never run in an unbroken shoe and this would be my first. I also had on the 2XU compression calf guards, which was also a first time for me. To my relief, they both came through better than I expected and needn't have worried about it too much.

The shoes performed beautifully and was so light that I hardly felt it. It was like running in my socks ... LOL! The legs held up nicely with hardly any leg fatigue and was I even able to perform better in the final few kilometers. That's the way I would love all my races to turn out :D

The route was something I've never run before so it was basically running blind and not knowing what kind of terrain and elevation was waiting ahead though I knew there would be an incline or two along the route. Caught up with wifey somewhere around KM2 or 3, I can't remember. I kept to an easy pace for the first half of the race, conserving energy for the second half of the route which I generally knew to be pretty flat.

Overall, it was a nice route except for having to pass a stretch that was under construction and was littered with sand and whatnots. The first water station was a little far off at somewhere around KM5 and on an incline some more. Since I was still well within my pace limits, I stopped, took two cups of Gatorade, stretched the legs a little and was off in under 40 seconds. I was seriously expecting the water station much sooner than that. There was another station at the 8KM mark, at least I think it was 8KM la.

Crossed the finish line in 57 minutes and was feeling really good :D Went through the usual collecting of free goodies and drinks and then proceeded to wait for wifey to come in. Caught up with Jamie and Frank for a bit and also managed to meet Suren Haris there. Good to finally meet you, Suren :D

Before I sign off, I have one bit of complaint to make in regards to this idiot who queue jumped in front of patiently waiting runners to collect their goodies. All of us were tired but yet everyone queued patiently. This idiot who is a staff from BHP with the tag number 'J5' just cuts in and doesn't even bother that there were people lining up, just to get his free goodies. BHP, if you happen to read this, you should really teach your personnel proper queuing etiquette and some manners!

With that said and done, I'm looking forward to the Shape Men's Health Putrajaya Night run next Saturday :D