Sunday, February 19, 2012

So Much Running, So Little Time ...

My mileage this week has been absolutely pathetic. I've been gradually increasing my mileage in anticipation of running my first ever marathon at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon in June. This week I only managed a measly 29K which in my opinion is chicken feed! I've downloaded a marathon training plan from Runners World a few months back but totally ditched it deciding to follow my instinct and my own capabilities.

It's really hard to follow a prearranged plan when your work commitments get in the way, especially in the line of work I'm in. Work comes in at the very last minute just when you're packing to go home for a run or having to go back to work in the middle of the night to supervise and help out with installation work. Most days by the time I'm back, I'm either too exhausted from work or time just doesn't permit me to go the distance. Then there is the weather factor as well.

I could go out running much later at night after getting home from work or even in the mornings before work (which is kinda difficult for a sleepy head like me) but I don't want to be doing junk miles just for the sake of putting in the mileage without it doing some good for my performance.

I have this philosophy, if I'm going to run, I want to maximize the run and get the full benefits of the run instead of just running aimlessly to add the miles which in the end won't do me any good in improving myself. I like to come back, look at my data and see where I can improve to make my runs more efficient. You can ask the wife, she's probably fed up of listening to my ramblings about my pace, heart run, strides, etc, etc, after each run ... LOL!

Which is why I'm kinda disappointed over this week's mileage. The week has been stressful work wise which saw me having to forgo some planned run sessions which in turn resulted in poor mileage. I've always strictly followed Jamie's 'time on feet' advice as part of my training to prepare for my marathon and hardly being able to put in decent runs is no way that advice is going to be beneficial.

I try to put in decent, beneficial miles during the work week and reserve the Sunday's for a nice long run but sometimes the tension and stress of the lousy work week just sticks with you like a huge burden on your shoulders and you end up hitting the wall and no matter how much pleading, screaming and threats you throw at your legs, it'll just refuse to budge, like what happened today.

A planned 25K was cut short to only 14K cos I just couldn't push on anymore. The way I felt today during the run has left me really doubtful about my capabilities to run the marathon, let alone complete it. I was huffing and puffing by the 5th KM and by the 10th KM, I was wondering when this torture would end. At the 14th KM when I saw the wife, I decided to call it quits and join her for a nice long walk back to the car.

It's days like these when I really doubt my capabilities and whether I'm really up to the challenge of running a marathon. The SCKLM is just four months away and I've still got a lot of hard work to put in to even dream of crossing that finish line let alone get a decent timing, which would be a bonus.

Good thing tomorrow is an official rest day and I'm looking to doing some better and much longer runs next week, work and weather permitting that is. If only I was working in a nice, regular 9-5 job, now that would be awesome for my running plans!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brooks Half Marathon Familiarization Run

The alarm went off at 4.00am and as I was sleepily reaching to shut it off, I kept asking myself just why do I torture myself on Sunday mornings to drive at least 10KM away from home with the wife just to run for 21KM? I must be insane!

But then, the moment your feet starts to hot the pavement, all that is forgotten and I'm wondering instead how could anyone sleep in on a beautiful Sunday morning and not be out on the roads running. Well, that's how I felt anyway this early morning during the Brooks Half Marathon Familiarization run.

We reached the meet location, which was the Bukit Jalil National Stadium around 5.10am, a 10 minute drive along the nearly deserted Kesas highway. When we arrived there, the place was already filled with a sizeable amount of enthusiastic runners chit chatting among themselves.

Got ourselves ready and the marshals reminded everyone to take it easy seeing as how it's not a race. I immediately set up mind to keep to a slower than normal pace as I've never run this route before and don't really know what to expect. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise seeing as how the darned route was littered with inclines that could have given the notorious Ammah hills a fight.

I was panting up the inclines like some pervert on steroids! At least now I know what to expect come race day and adjust my pace accordingly. The route is pretty tough and it's really going to be a challenge come race day. Oh well, what's a race without a little challenge, right :D

The run was basically not too bad. It took me a while, at least 3-4K to really get warmed up and clear the kinks and tightness out of my legs. That was a cue for the legs to automatically speed up. But the thought of running an unfamiliar route brought the pace down considerably to conserve energy for the entire route, afterall this was not a race and better to save the speed for the actual race day.

The only drawback during the run came at the 16K or was that 17K mark when I had a horrible stomach ache to the point I couldn't run. But some kind running gods up there must have had pity on poor souls like me cos there just a few hundred meters away, Restauran Al-Madinah stood out like a shining star! You should have seen me running gleefully to the toilet. I think that was my best pace the entire race ... hahaha!

Overall I can't really say I'm liking the route all that much, somehow, I just don't 'connect' with the route. I liked the Newton Challenge route, though it humbled me considerably, so much better. But that's not saying this route is easy, it's equally crazy, if you ask me. The route was a little messy though at some parts with rubbish and construction debris that is going to make it a little painful for barefoot runners to negotiate.

At the end of the day, was it worth getting out of bed at 4am to torture myself? You can bet your bottom dollar it was! By the way, everyone there today was some super duper runner and had pace that left me smelling their rubber soles! Good god, what do you guys eat, la?

Before I log off, I'd like to offer a big thank you to the organizers for the effort they took in putting this familiarization run together. The water stations throughout the run and the refreshments consisting of sandwiches and 'kueh-kueh' at the end of the race was greatly appreciated! Last but not least, thanks also goes out to those RELA boys who did a good job with traffic control.

A Sunday morning well spent if you ask me :D