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