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Monday, July 30, 2012

Zero KM

This week is going to be a very low mileage week for me. I'm down with the flu, cough, sore throat and entire usual suspects that come along with it. While I'm not too happy about falling sick (who does) it does give me the chance to give the legs some much needed rest.

I've been running with a slight persistent knee injury the past two months and it's only beginning to really heal the past week so this 'forced' rest is pretty much welcomed. I can be a stubborn mule when it comes to having to rest and let injuries heal. I can dish out advice for people to rest and let their injuries heal but heck, I just won't follow my own advice!

The only times when I'll really take a break to heal from injuries is when the pain is unbearable, when I fall sick or when the wife threatens to (in her own words) 'pecah both my kneecaps' ... hahaha! The break should do my legs a whole lot of good, that much I'm sure. That persistent knee injury is almost totally gone. I didn't even feel it during yesterday's PAR8 relay run.

Speaking of the PAR8, it was my first ever relay run and I must say that I did have a good time, despite being bogged down with the flu and cough. The entire idea to participate in this run was mooted by Kah Yen, our team captain who unfortunately had to pull out at the eleventh hour due to an injury of his own.

Good thing CK Au agreed to take his place or we would have ended up with a no show for the team. Lina and Neoh were the other two members of the team known as Team Daily Milers. The event was at Lake Gardens and upon arriving, saw many familiar runners there who were all in such a happy mood. Only an avid and passionate runner can be so insanely cheerful at that early hour of the morning just to run for 3KM each :D

Team Daily Milers (L-R) CK, Lina, Yours Truly and Neoh ...
Most of the familiar faces there were all speed demons and any chance of coming out first (hahahahaha ... not in this lifetime, Nick) was quickly flushed down the drain. We decided to go with the fun aspect of running and just enjoy ourselves. While it was only slightly over 3KM for each runner, the stairs that lead to heaven and beyond at the 2KM mark felt like a bloody 10KM in itself!

The start of the staircase to hell!
What made it worse was every runner had the same strategy of cranking up the pace for the first 2KM and then reaching those blasted stairs which saw practically every runner, save for a few inhuman beings who ran up those stairs, struggling and walking up all the way, myself included.

The face of complete and utter exhaustion at the top of those killer stairs ...
Thank god the rest of the final stretch was a nice downhill to the finish. I even managed to stop and get into a pose for a photo op with KF Chong. First time I ever stopped running just to pose for a camera ... hahaha! (You have no shame, Nick!).

Runners waiting for their team-mate at the baton hand off point ...
In the end we came in ranked at position 44 out of 80, which was not too shabby for a fun run :D Ok, I'm only categorizing it as a fun run to make the results seem not so bad ... hahaha! But kudos to the team on a good job, especially Lina who was fasting and couldn't even grab a sip of water after the run unlike the three of us who greedily grabbed up the after run goodies on offer.

The team in action ...
I wouldn't mind taking part in more of these fun run relay events in the future but of course without any killer staircase as part of the route this time! The run was dedicated to our injured team captain Kah Yen, but sorry la Kah Yen, we're keeping those cool Transformer medal for ourselves ... LOL!

The cool Transformer medal ...
That was the last race until at least September where I'm signed up for the Adidas KOTR, the Be A Giver, Be A Runner Charity run and also the BSN Putrajaya Night marathon where I'll be attempting my second marathon, this time with personal goals and targets thrown in. The training for that begins in earnest right after I recover from this bout of flu and cough.

The only race that I'm taking part that is not a run is the 3rd Putrajaya International 12 Hour Walk where I'll be joined by the wife and my best buddy, Sean (hopefully he's signed up for it, that is). While it's not a running event, it's still something not to be taken lightly and besides it's as close as I'll come to doing an 'ultra whatever' ... LOL! I'm actually kinda excited about it. Jamie, you did this before, didn't you? Do you think I'm insane in doing this?

I know it's going to be pretty daunting and mentally challenging, especially in the early hours of the morning, when you're tired, sleepy and hungry but heck, I aim to give it all I've got and collect that much deserved finisher medal at the end of the 12 hours! Besides I'll have great company in the form of the wife and my best buddy Sean :D

*Photo credits goes to each respective owners of the images ...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Skechers GOrun Ride: The Review

I've had the GOrun Ride for close to two weeks now. I was planning to put in a lot more mileage on the shoe before coming out with a review. But then, after using the shoe for the past two weeks and even putting it through a short 12.4K race last week and with the shoe covering a total of 60KM or so, I thought a review would be appropriate. The wife has also been running with the shoe and this review will cover her views and opinions on the shoe as well as mine. I did an initial out of the box take that you can check out here.

The GOrun Ride is basically a second edition (so to speak) of the original GOrun. In fact, aside from the slight variation in design motifs on the sides of the shoe, you wouldn't even know it was a shoe with entirely different characteristics. It still has the nice soft breathable upper mesh of its predecessor and is just as flexible. The Resalyte outsole albeit with some difference in technology is still there though the GOrun looks slightly sleeker.

The GOrun (top) & the GOrun Ride (bottom)
The main difference of the GOrun Ride is that it basically has more cushioning than the original GOrun. There are two things that I first noticed immediately about the shoe. The first was the very noticeably less 'bump' in the arch that was very prominent in the original GOrun. The second was the lack of ground feel. I'm so used to the GOrun and it's more minimalist feel that the lack of ground feel was pretty obvious to me. Though it's a little heavier than the GOrun, the weight difference was hardly noticeable.

The outsole still consists of the same independent circular sensors of its predecessor albeit with the sensors spaced out a lot more to minimize pebbles getting caught in between which was an issue with the original GOrun. It worked pretty well too with only two or three pebbles getting caught in my outsoles the entire times I've been running with the shoe.

The extremely durable and harder GOimpulse pods are also basically located in the same locations with the exception of an additional two nearer the front and one at the toe, which I thought was a good idea based on the wear of my older GOrun which didn't have one. The five pods in the centre are linked together and was branded 'Mickey Mouse' by the wife ... LOL!

Since the wife had her shoe two days earlier than me, she gleefully took it for a spin. She loved the cushioning of the shoes and said it felt like walking on marshmallows (her own exact words). She didn't feel the pounding of the road unlike the GOrun. In fact, with the GOrun Ride, she even recorded faster running times and was pretty ecstatic about it. The only thing that spoiled it for her was the blister that cropped up and ruined her run.

The blister on the wife's foot ...
She thought it was the insole problem cos I messed with it the day before and didn't really put it back properly which she said made the shoe feel lopsided. But after adjusting the insole and changing her socks to a pair of Injinji's for the next run she still developed blisters on the same spot. Once again, she recorded faster times until the blisters cropped up. To say she was disappointed was putting it mildly. While she loved the shoe and found it perfect for her, she just couldn't take the blistering issues.

My shoe arrived two days later and I took it for a test run the moment I got home. Excited la ... LOL! Upon hitting the roads, the plush, cushioned feel came into play immediately. It was very easy on the feet with the added cushioning. The cushioning for a shoe this light was pretty amazing! Took it slow and easy to really get a feel for the shoe.

I didn't notice or encounter any issues with it and was running comfortably throughout. The plush, cushioned feel was a welcome relief when you get tired and decide to stomp your feet cos it absorbed the impact of 'lazy feet' nicely. Finished the run with legs that were still pretty fresh. I must say that I'm actually loving the shoe!

The only problem I initially had with the shoe was on my first run, it got a little hot on the feet and I don't mean that in the sexy kinda way. I could relatively feel the difference in temperature compared to the GOrun. But I put it down to over eagerness to test the shoe and the fact that I ran in blistering evening weather and with a pair of black socks to boot. Subsequent runs proved to be otherwise and the fact that I ran in basically wet conditions probably helped with any 'heat' issues that I had on that first day.

The bigger side motif of the GOrun Ride (bottom) ...
I found the shoe kept water out pretty well too, in part due to the larger side design motifs, whether by design or by luck, I don't know, since the next couple of runs in the shoe were in wet weather conditions and the insides were hardly wet even though I purposely ran through puddles of water.

The grip was just as good as the GOrun and I was confident enough to up the pace without the worry of slipping on the road. The GOrun Ride was also able to handle sudden changes in pace without any noticeable effects on the legs. At the time of this post, I'm actually liking it as a nice pair of trainers cum race shoe and would recommend it to runners who like the GOrun but found it a little too thin or minimalistic for their feet. This would be the ideal shoe for them.

Now, the wife still wasn't satisfied. Since we're both more or less the same running shoe size, she decided to try mine and the first thing she said to me was, 'honey, your shoe is nice and wide, mine is a lot more narrow!'. She decided to try running in mine the next day.

The wife's 'narrower looking' shoe (left) compared to mine (right) ...
She came back from her run smiling ear to ear and with NO blisters. She felt more comfortable running in my shoe which gave her feet more room and wasn't as narrow and tight on her feet. I'm suspecting her version is one size too small for her which makes the shoe seem narrower and tighter on her feet, hence the blisters.

Well, since she likes the shoe so much, I've let her use my pair to run in until I can get a size up for her, but until then I guess I'm going to have to share my GOrun Ride with her since it suits her well.

The GOrun Ride is slated to be out in stores early next month according to Skechers Malaysia, so if you're on a lookout for a good pair of shoes, wait till next month, try the shoe before deciding on anything else. I highly recommend this shoe. Hopefully, the shoe would come with a wider color range.

The two pairs of review shoes the wife and me got were so kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia though this review is from my own personal experience with the shoe and is in no way influenced by Skechers Malaysia.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Craze Ultra 100 Miles For The Insane!

Ray, whom I think is really some superior alien being from some distant planet disguised in a human form is organizing an ultra LSD called the 'Craze Ultra 100 miles' on the 1st of September, starting at 3am and finishing at 3pm at the Palace of Justice towards PICC, the Putrajaya Mosque and then heading back towards the Palace of Justice covering a loop of 11KM. The first batch of runners start at 3.00am and the second starts at 5.30am

You can run as many 11KM loops as you want from 3am to 3pm as long as your legs can take and as long as you're crazy enough to actually do the entire 12 hours ... LOL! There won't be any medals or fancy schmancy finisher tees, goodie bags and the like at the finish but the satisfaction of being labelled as certifiably insane ... hahaha!

But hey, if you decide to give up on your sanity and go, remember that it's a potluck kinda event where you can bring whatever you want to be shared with everyone present cos everyone else will be doing the same thing.

I'm actually seriously contemplating going, starting out with the second batch of not so insane runners at 5.30am and covering maybe 30-40KM and then call it quits. I don't think I have it in me to actually do the entire thing. Besides I still have my sanity intact!

But I guess it'll be fun to actually do an LSD with a host of other runners, especially Ray, that suspiciously alien being who will probably be lapping me every which way. So, if you're interested in some fun running amongst whom I'm sure are some equally fun company, then, as Ray said, be there or be square!

Head over to Ray's blog to get more details on the event.

Update: I have decided to attend and give up on my sanity ... LOL!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Men's Health Shape Night Run 2012: Race Review

The Men's Health Shape Night Run, one of the only three night races in this country (at least I think it is) came and went and though the route was a much more difficult one compared to last year, I did thoroughly enjoy myself.

This race holds special meaning for the wife and me, sort of like an anniversary run if you must, for us. This is our third year of participating in this event. Three years ago, this event marked the first time we ran together which sparked her interest in running and rekindled my passion for the sport

The fact that both our entries were so kindly sponsored by Skechers Malaysia was also another factor why I was looking forward to this run. Before I go further, the wife and me would like thank Skechers Malaysia, especially Ivan and Adeline for the entry sponsorship and also the kind hospitality they showed us even though they were both pretty busy at the event.

As always, the wife and me headed to the race location early to avoid parking hassles. Found a nice parking spot but was a little worried about break-ins since that place is pretty synonymous with thefts. Was a little relieved to see quite a bit of Rela personnel on hand at the parking lot but even then, just to be safe, I didn't bring any valuables with me.

Just as we were walking to the start, Jamie honked at us, parked his car and caught up with us in no time, that fellow is simply a speed demon ... LOL! The weather was excellent, which was surprising really seeing as how the afternoon was blistering. Headed over to the Skechers booth, met up with Adeline and Ivan and a few of the Skechers big wigs.

Jamie and Calvin, whom I'd just met were going for a pre-run 10K, I opted out cos I had the BHP Orange run the next morning which I DNS'ed in the end anyway. Caught up with Neoh when I went to get something from the car. Chatted for a bit and then headed to find the wife who was loitering around the place ... LOL!

The organizers called the runners to the pen and I headed in immediately cos I wanted to start nearer to the front. I wasn't really intending to have to weave through the slower runners cos I was aiming for a decent finish and grab one of those limited finisher medals on offer (since my category had only a measly 100 medals on hand).

The race started rather unexpectedly and off we went. Set myself up to a nice initial pace and then Jamie came alongside. Tagged along with him for a bit as Jason just whizzed past us, barefoot no less. Decided to let Jamie head off on his own cos I couldn't keep up with his pace and stepped back into my planned pace of between 5:15 to 5:30 which was a a good idea cos little did I realize the hilly torture ahead of me.

Was running comparatively easy till the hills came along which then turned the run into a hard run. I'm actually glad that I kept my pace on the hilly sections to a manageable 5:30 to 5:45, lungs working hard but still running up those blasted hills. I kept saying to myself, 'Nick, for every uphill there is an equal downhill, so shut up and just run!' That worked and I was able to do reasonably well on the hills.

The route was nice, quiet and scenic for most parts. I especially loved the view of the reservoir with the reflections of light cascading across the still waters that I think my heart rate was instantly lower and calm around this section ...LOL!

Once we reached somewhere around the 10K mark, I recognized the area and knew instantly that no way was the route going to be 11.8K which was true cos my Garmin showed 12.24K upon crossing the finish. I decided to up the pace at this point to make a flying finish to end. Came in with a time of 1:07:09 in position 42 for the Men's Junior Veteran, which was not too shabby for a 45 year old :D

Oh crap, no treats in the goodie bag for me this time ...
Picked up my medal, cam whored for two camera persons (trying to be politically correct cos one was a camera woman) and then headed to pick up my goodie bag and headed to the Skechers booth to wait for the wife. Caught up with Jamie and Calvin again, chatted with a few other Skechers sponsored runners while observing the interest being generated by the shoe.

From what I saw, I'd say the shoe got some much overdue and deserved interest. I'm sure sales are going to pick up after this which is really a good thing. It's time to associate the brand name Skechers with real running instead of the not so good perception of the Skechers brand name that most people have. The Skechers team is basically on the right track with their direction and promotion of the shoe, in my humble opinion that is.

Once the wife came in, said my goodbyes to Adeline (of Skechers Malaysia) and headed home satisfied for a job well done. Decided that I'm giving the BHP Orange run a miss cos I rather sleep in! I could always go for an evening run later if I still wanted to clock some mileage anyway.

I ran with the new GOrun Ride that will be out in the stores sometime next month. This was my second run in the shoe, both covering a distance 12K each time. Overall, it's a pretty good shoe and I'd recommend it off hand to runners who want a light but more cushioned shoe than the GOrun. It's pretty comfortable to walk in even. I'll come up with a more detailed review on it after a few more miles in them, so look out for that.

I should get paid for these modeling jobs ...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Skechers GOrun Ride: Out Of The Box Initial Take

I'm pretty envious of the wife today cos she's got a new pair of Skechers to play around with. She's pretty excited about it too.

I dropped by Skechers this afternoon to pick up our Men's Health race kits and also picked up two pairs of new shoes today. One was a new GOrun for myself to replace my worn out pair and the other was a totally new model for the wife, the Skechers GOrun Ride!

They only had the women's version at the moment so none for me to take home to play with for now. The wife was pretty excited upon hearing the news that she's got the GOrun Ride to test out and couldn't wait to hit the streets unfortunately for her, it was raining all evening over here.

Okay, truthfully, I was as excited as her to put the shoe to the test but will have to wait a little longer for the men's version to arrive. A more detailed review of the shoe will come from her after the Men's Health run this weekend since this will be her race shoe but here's a little initial out of the box take from me.

Visually, you'd be forgiven if you thought this was the GOrun cos it looks almost identical to the GOrun. In fact, aside from a little design variation, I would have mistaken it for a GOrun if I wasn't told it was the GOrun Ride.

Looks identical to the GOrun save for the slightly higher profile ...
The GOrun Ride is essentially the same shoe with more cushioning and is basically an ideal shoe for those seeking a more padded alternative to the GOrun. The GOrun Ride has a 4mm heel to toe drop, feels a little bulkier and also slightly heavier than the GOrun.

I have a confession to make, since the wife and me share more or less the same feet sizing, I put on her pair of GOrun Ride to get a 'feel' for the shoe. The first thing I noticed was the lack of ground feel compared to the GOrun which had a much thinner sole. That trademark GOrun bump was reduced considerably and hardly noticeable at all, which should make the shoe more bearable to walk in.

The outsole looks a little different compared to the GOrun and the circular pods are spaced a little more further apart than the GOrun, which according to Skechers solves the problem of pebbles getting stuck in between them. They've added extra padding at the toe section which I thought was a good thing cos looking at my old GOrun on the left, you'd notice the considerable wear on the toe section of the sole.

The slightly more spaced out pods ...
The wife was pretty happy to get to test the shoe cos as much as she likes the GOrun, she wanted a little more cushioning and this shoe is perfectly right up her alley. I would say the GOrun Ride is perfectly suited as a lightweight trainer in the likes of the Brooks Launch, though it's a heck of a lot more flexible and way lighter than the Launch.

For those of you who like the GOrun but feel that it's too minimalistic for you and need a little more cushioning, my guess (it's still a guess since I haven't run in it yet) would be this is the shoe for you. Light weight and flexible yet amply padded. But a little patience is needed cos the shoe isn't available in Skechers outlets just yet.

Extremely flexible ...
For now, I can only envy her when she puts it on tomorrow for a test run on the roads. I'll write a more detailed review on the shoe based on her experience of it after the Men's Health run this weekend.

On behalf of the wife, thank you Skechers Malaysia for the trial pair of the GOrun Ride for her to try out and also for the cool running attire which I'll be sure to try out on race day. For all those running the Men's Health Shape Night Run this weekend, all the best and most importantly, have fun :D

P.S - Ignore the crappy pix since I snapped them using my cell camera with no editing.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

NTV7 Feel Good Run 2012

The rains came down around 4am this morning which made it perfect running weather for the NTV7 Feel Good Run later in the morning. The wife and me were up by around 5.15am to get ready and then head out to the race location. We always go early to get the best parking spots which will enable us to leave at the end of the race with the least bit of hassle.

It was still drizzling when we got to Bandar Utama. I had a bad case of tummy ache, so I took a quick walk to the Shell Station nearby to take care of it. Upon reaching there, it looked like I wasn't the only one with tummy issues, cos there was a line of other runners waiting their turn.

The race route this year was the reverse of last year with some modifications to it bypassing all the residential homes. The start and finish were separated with the start being in the same place as last year and the finish in the park across Bandar Utama which I thought was a much better idea. No crowding at the various sponsors and goodie bag tents unlike last year. The goodies were also pretty neat, if you're a dog or cat lover that is. Loads of freebies for the furry fellows.

Met up with my good buddy Sean just before the start. Managed to also catch up with Surin. Was so engrossed in idle chat that we only realized the race started when we saw people running way up at the front. The wife was the smart one, she left us to our idle chat and went to the race pen much earlier.

Immediately took off to follow the crowd. Was cursing myself a little cos I wasn't even warmed up and the cold, rainy weather wasn't much help in getting the legs ready. Struggled to get the legs working. Good thing the very crowded roads with all those fun runners was not conducive for running fast, so I used that 3KM stretch as a warm up.

Just as the legs got nice and loose, we came to the 3KM mark. By this time, the runners were already spread out and the running got easier, or so I thought. Just after the 3KM stretch, we were greeted with this crazy mother of a hill, no let me rephrase that, crazy mother of a mountain! Though it was about 400 metres or so, it was 400 metres of hell on earth. It made Ammah hill pale in comparison. But I resolved to keep running up the mountain no matter what.

I was almost out of breath at the peak of it and that water station right at the very top was heaven sent. Grabbed a cup of water and another filled with 100 plus, took two nice swigs and with the way being devoid of the earlier group of runners, it was time to make up for lost time. Good thing it was a downhill stretch of at least 750 metres which made the going nice and fast.

Stepped up that last 3.5K with an average pace of 5:00 till the end, even managing to squeeze out a best pace of 3:38 somewhere in there (probably wind assisted ... LOL!). It wasn't one of my best 7K time but heck, after having to dodge countless other runners, wait patiently for clear roads and with that humongous monster of a hill thrown in, I was happy with the outcome.

Thank you NTV7 for the free snacks, at least I don't have to pose with his stupid medal this time...
Overall, the race was well organized, much better organized than last year if you ask me. The earlier rains kept the temperatures cool and the crowd were having a blast. After collecting my medal, I headed over for free burgers from Burger King but was too lazy to queue for the free San Francisco coffee. Just headed for the goodie bag tent, caught up with my buddy Sean for a bit and we both waited for the wife to finish and then headed for home.

Kudos to NTV7 and Twenty First Century Sports for the organization of the event cos it was exactly what the theme said it would be, a nice 'Feel Good Run'. Judging by the success of the race, there will definitely be more runners signing up next year but remember to bring mountain climbing gear next year to tackle that hill ... hahaha!

Now to get ready for my next race, the Men's Health Shape Night Run next week followed by the BHP Orange run the very next morning! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 610

Just about a week or so ago, Jamie posted in Facebook about the Garmin Forerunner 610 having battery and charging issues. I knew about the battery issues of the watch from reading a few forums but wasn't really concerned about it, that is until I read that Jamie's 610 basically couldn't seem to charge after only 10 months or so of having it.

Now that got me a little worried too. I've had my 610 less than a year as well. So far I've had no issues with the watch. It's an excellent watch for a runner and I take care of my watch with kids gloves. I make sure I wash it thoroughly immediately after each run and wipe it completely dry with emphasis on the contact points before even attempting to upload the data. I have a nice soft special cloth that I place it on as storage, safely tucked in my wardrobe even. I'm very careful with it.

So far, aside from the corrosion at the back of it, which had me rather pissed, the watch has been basically working well. No battery issues (at least not yet anyway) whatsoever. But I had the shock of my life yesterday when upon returning home from my run, I rinsed it as usual and as I was wiping it dry, the blasted strap came off! After looking at it, I managed to find the cause which was the pin that holds the strap moving out of place causing the strap to come loose.

Upon closer inspection, I think the pin had slowly moved out of place with time and the hole that the pin is attached to seems to be kinda loose from the pin slowly coming off, which I am pretty much confident is going to slip off again sometime soon. I've just got to keep and eye on it while I run.

Thank god it came off while I was drying it, imagine if that happened while I was running! It could have slipped off my wrist, fall on the road and shatter its glass face! For a RM1,200 watch, the build quality is really horrible. First it was the corrosion on the back cover, now the strap, I'm expecting the thing not to charge soon.

A cheap looking pasar malam watch ...
Notice the corrosion and scratches where the red arrows are? Even the entire Garmin words and stuff are complete wiped out of the backing. If there wasn't a Garmin logo on the front face, you'd think this was a cheap pasar malam purchased watch and not something costing RM1,200. The red circle is where the pin hole is in the strap which is kinda loose now.

Come on Garmin, for the price I paid (and a host of other people too), the least you could do was make the watch more durable and not start falling apart after less than a year. The wife's Forerunner 210 is so much more durable looking than mine and way cheaper as well. If I had known, I'd just have bought that model instead!

I really don't understand why the corrosion is beginning to show up, especially after 10 months or so. I've had this Casio G-Shock the wife gave me as a gift 13 years ago and it's still in very good condition, no corrosion, no straps dropping off or breaking apart.

It's still in pretty good condition even though I've been using for work practically everyday for the last 13 years. It only recently gave out on me and even then, it wasn't the fault of the build. The electronics were totally shot after 13 years of nearly 18 plus hours of usage almost everyday. But for it to last 13 years shows how good it was and though the wife till today will not tell me how much she paid for it, I'll bet it wasn't any where near as expensive as the Garmin 610.

I'm already making plans on what replacement to get should the 610 die on me, which I hope it won't though. Since it's still under warranty, I'm going to take it back to Garmin in the next week or so and see what they can do about the corrosion and the strap cos I have a feeling it'll come off again. The only good point is that I don't see any battery or charging issues just yet. (Keeping my fingers and toes crossed).