Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's A Wrap!

A new year beckons and a whole lot of new running goals await me in 2016. Whether I'll achieve them or not is a story for another day. I was about to write one of those usual New Year posts and reflect on the year that was but thought otherwise. Instead I'll take the time to reflect a little about the people behind the runners, namely the spouses/partners.

About a week ago, during a Christmas barbecue with the gang, the wife made a statement that had me thinking. She mentioned that all of us in the group were so in tune with each other and were cheerily chatting away about all things running but all of our spouses were sitting quietly in the background away from the 'limelight' by themselves.

Jamie giving tips on the proper way of eating capati :D ...

She had a valid point. One thing in common between all of us in the group, aside from the strong friendship we've formed, is that we all love running. We're practically out running on our own during weekdays and as a group during weekends (and public holidays) while our spouses are left at home waiting for us to get back from whatever crazy mileage or route one of us has cooked up for the week.

My wife has been very patient and supportive of my passion for running but maintains a very discreet presence in the background. Yes, she runs too but is not as 'competitive' as I am and my daily training and leaving the house every weekend to meet up with the gang for our runs can sometimes be pretty hard on her. I'm perpetually tired after my runs and can be a grumpy old chap and a grumpy Nick is not someone easy to deal with.

Yet through it all, she has been there for me, supportive of everything I do when it comes to running. She's the source of my encouragement. She never fails to believe in the things I do and is the one who keeps me grounded from signing up for insane things, though there are time I don't listen to her. She has waited hours on end for me to finish my races, even as long as 8 hours or more while I crawl through a 52k race in the hot blazing sun. She has been there for me as I cross the finish with a personal best/personal worst to share my joy or grief. She has stayed up through the night while I insanely run around the Penang Island. Yet never once has she wanted to be anywhere in the forefront of things.

There must always be some crazy picture anytime the group gets together ...

My wife is an extremely private person. She doesn't like to mix around much. It's not because she's stuck up or anything, that's just her. She doesn't even let me post pictures of us together, so you can imagine how private she can be. It took a long time for her to finally meet up with the group. At least now I can blame them for me being away for long hours on weekends and she'll know who to find ... LOL!

It is because of her that I'm pursuing a few goals within the next two years. It's because of her belief that I can do it is why I don't give up on my dreams. Yeah, I would like her to step up into the front with me at times but then, that would take away everything that she is. When she's ready to be as vain as I am, then I guess she'll finally make an appearance but until that day comes, I am glad that she stands behind me silently urging me on. It means a lot to me knowing she's there with me for the long haul.

And so I dedicate the new year to you babe and to all the other spouses/partners who are contend to let their other halves shine and leave them alone at home almost every weekend running at some godforsaken hour of the morning. You guys are truly awesome!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Rest In Peace, Super Kew!

Q, SuperKew, Mr. Stark, IronKew, Ironman or simply Kew as he was affectionately known among the group has left us for a better place. I've known Kew for only a short 3 years or so when I first met him at the GCAM training session back in 2013 and a strong friendship was formed.

One of our first group pictures together (Kew is the one squatting in the middle left with the peace sign)
Pic courtesy of Jamie.

Training together week on week as a group and racing together only made that bond stronger. I never knew back then what he had gone through or was going through but always thought of him as a strong runner and a person I looked up to. Now that I know what he had to endure, he really was the strongest and toughest amongst us.

One of the first times we ran together, I was struggling up a hill and he came to me and said firmly 'Come on, Nick, it's only a small incline, you can do this!'. I'll never forget those words of encouragement.

Pic courtesy of Jamie.

I have no words that I can say nor write here that will make the pain of losing a good friend any easier. I'm not an emotional person, but I could not hold back my tears when I got the news of his passing as I was making my way for our training run this morning. Knowing that he will no longer be running by our sides only made the pain worse.

Pic courtesy of Jamie.

I am blessed to have known him and to have ran by his side in the short time I had with him. You have taught me a lot of what it means to not give up and keep on fighting no matter how tough things got. Now it's time for you to finally rest Super Kew. I will sorely miss you and your cheery disposition on life. We will 'run' together again one day. Till then, keep on running in the heavens, my friend!

RIP Kew, and may the Lord grant you eternal peace! #FTT

Pic courtesy of Jamie.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SCORE Cupid Run: The Glass Slipper Trail 2016


Valentine's Day is synonymous with people showing appreciation for the people they love or adore. Some take their loved ones for romantic dinners while other may choose this day to propose or even get married. Many others may give greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry or even flowers, particularly roses to their partners or admirers on Valentine's Day.

But if you're a runner and would like to do something even more special with your loved ones on Valentine's Day, then you're in luck. The SCORE Cupid Run: The Glass Slipper Trail 2016, a 4km fun run will be held on the 14th of February 2016 at the Kepong Metropolitan Park.


The SCORE Cupid Run infuses an endearing fairy tale theme to encourage more people to take up running - professionals, running enthusiasts or fun runners alike and provides an exciting, recreational platform for a convenient and great cardiovascular exercise.

Runners of all ages and background will get to enjoy and participate at four pit stops - Cinder, Fairy Godmother, Pumpkin Ride and The Dance along a path aptly named the Glass Slipper Trail. You'll find balloon and tutu giveaways along the trail, a 'fairy Godmother' granting you wishes, photo ops with beautiful decorated backdrops and also some dance activities await you as you traverse the Glass Slipper Trail.


The beautifully scenic landscape around the Metropolitan Park with its large lake and shady trees add to the mystical and fairy tale atmosphere of the SCORE Cupid Run. An expected 5,000 number of participants that encompass friends, family, running buddies and groups, partners and/or spouses, loved ones and individuals will find themselves among the fairy tale setting searching for that perfect fit on this enchanting day. Male and Female participants who complete the Glass Slipper Trail will receive a unique 'for-him and for-her' finisher medal.



Hurry and book your spot for you and/or a loved one on this special day and make it a Valentine to remember by running the SCORE Cupid Run: The Glass Slipper Trail 2016 by clicking the registration link.

For more details on the run, you can visit the official SCORE Cupid Run:The Glass Slipper Trail 2016 page. HAPPILY EVER AFTER BEGINS WITH A RUN!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Press Release: 30 Days Countdown to MPI Generali Run 2016

Kuala Lumpur – MPI Generali Insurans Berhad is hosting a cocktail session to count down the 30 days to its fifth community run. The 30 Days Countdown Cocktail will take place at Pacific Regency Hotel on 10 December 2015 from 4:00pm.


Previously known as the Multi-Purpose Insurans Run or MPIB Run, MPI Generali Run 2016 is expected to be bigger, bolder and brighter than the previous Runs by bringing family-sized fun to its participants.

Project Leader Jayne Liew explains: “With four runs under our belt, we have established a base of loyal followers among runners, corporate supporters, sponsors and partners, and our colleagues. Adding the family “flavour” is our way of showing our appreciation of their loyalty. We hope to make our fifth community Run a true communal event where our followers, their friends and loved ones can gather together and have some good, healthy fun.”

The Cocktail also serves as a way for the Run Organiser to show its appreciation of all its sponsors and partners and to name a few: New Balance (Official Apparel), Revive Isotonic (Official Isotonic), Pacific Regency (Hotel Partner), Running Malaysia (Media Partner – Magazine) and Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur (Medical Partner).

Project Good Deeds will continue to be featured for Runners to recycle their still wearable sports shoes and T-shirts for a good cause. Started alongside the 2014 Run, Project Good Deeds collects pre-loved running shoes and sports T-shirts for the Orang Asli community.

Members of the media are invited to join the Countdown. To register attendance or for enquiries kindly get in touch with Natalie Hau at +603 2034 9888 Ext: 7807 or natalie_hau@mpigenerali.com.


MPI GENERALI INSURANS BERHAD

MPI Generali Insurans Berhad (“MPI Generali”), formerly known as Multi-Purpose Insurans Bhd, is a strategic partnership between Multi-Purpose Capital Holdings Berhad, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of MPHB Capital Berhad, a public-listed company, and Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., one of the largest global insurance providers with a rich heritage going back to 1831. MPI Generali Insurans Berhad’s core business is underwriting of general insurance.

MPI GENERALI RUN 2016

Back for the fifth year, MPI Generali Run 2016 (formerly known as Multi-Purpose Insurans Run or MPIB Run) kickstarts the Malaysian running calendar on 10 January 2016. This annual community run will once again take place at Padang Merbuk, Jalan Parlimen, KL. MPI Generali is proud to position itself as the pioneer general insurer in organising a community-based run in Malaysia in 2012. The inaugural event successfully gathered 3,750 runners, and for the second and third years in 2013 and 2014 respectively, 5,000 runners participated – an increase of 33% from the inaugural run.

MPI Generali Run’s theme of Healthy Lifestyle – Work-Life Balance strikes a timely chord for modern lives. The Run’s objective is to inspire a love for running among members of the community.

Pre-race day running clinic sessions are organised for new and seasoned runners to familiarise themselves with the run routes and to encourage first-time runners to take up running as a sustainable recreational activity.

The sponsors and partners for MPI Generali Run 2016 include New Balance (Official Apparel), Revive Isotonic (Official Isotonic), Pacific Regency (Hotel Partner), Running Malaysia (Media Partner – Magazine), Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur (Medical Partner), Affin Hwang Capital, BP Healthcare Group, Mamee, Sworke, Magnum, NestlĂ© Fitnesse, NestlĂ© Milo, Pilatique, Garmin, KT Tape, Leong Adjustment Sdn. Bhd., Massimo, Penyelarasan Angkasa Sdn Bhd, Simply Juice and Sugar Kid Malaysia.


PROJECT GOOD DEEDS

Project Good Deeds is the corporate social responsibility initiative that has complemented MPI Generali Run since 2014. The project collects pre-loved sports shoes and T-shirts to be donated to the Orang Asli community. The number of beneficiaries has increased from two settlements to four.

The past six beneficiaries of Project Good Deeds are Kampung Orang Asli Bakok, Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Damar, Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Jenuk, Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Lalang, Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Mai and Kampung Orang Asli Ulu Yam.

The present Project Good Deeds will benefit Kampung Orang Ali Air Terentang, Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Baja, Kampung Orang Asli Tanjung Rampai and Kampung Orang Asli Ulu Tual Pos Sinderut.

Collection for Project Good Deeds will be made at the Fellowship Run at Sri Hartamas playground on 12 December 2015, during the Race Entry Pack Collection days and on the Race day itself (before and after the Race).

Monday, November 30, 2015

Putrajaya 100 Miles: 52K Category Race Report

After the suffering and pain I went through last year with Jamie, I swore I would never sign up for something as crazy as this ever again but there I was on a warm hot humid Saturday night along with hundreds of others about to get ready for another 52km run around the hard, painful and humid streets of Putrajaya once again. The wife actually rolled her eyes and said she doesn't believe me when I said that I would never sign up for stuff like this again. I guess she was right. Intelligence was also never one of my stronger traits.

Signing up for the Putrajaya 100 Miles 52km category didn't come easy. I was toying with the idea of signing up for quite a while. Jamie wasn't too keen to sign up again, smart fellow, and I didn't want to run it alone yet I wanted to run this for the memory of a good friend/avid ultra runner, the late Zg Zackaria. Then Foo said he wanted to sign up and now I had company so I signed up for it before I changed my mind and that was it.

My ever loyal medal model ...

Little did I know that Jeanie also quietly signed up for this on the sly. It was to be her first attempt at taking on an ultra marathon and when I accidentally found out about it, I offered to pace her through her attempt. Putrajaya can be a daunting place to run an ultra marathon on your own, especially one that flags off at 10.15pm and runs through the wee hours of the morning. And besides, now we had three GCAMers running the race.

I didn't really have much training nor enough mileage leading up to the race. I've just dived into marathon training and this race falls right smack at the start of my training plan and there I was going to be putting high mileage in only my third week of marathon training. But the company was good so I was sort of looking forward to it.

The wife was there last year to show support for me and stayed at the race location the entire 8 hours I was out running. She wanted to do the same this year but with the race starting at night, I didn't want her waiting around all night on her own. So I checked her in at the Everly and told her at least I know she'll be nearby and safe, that was good enough for me.

Jeanie and Foo came over to Alamanda and I joined them for dinner before we all headed to the race location for them to pick up their bibs. I had picked up mine much earlier after the strict scrutinizing of the mandatory items.

For the entire week before the race, there has been thunderstorms practically every evening. Chances of a thunderstorm on race day was very high. Unfortunately that was a totally wrong assumption. When we got to the race location, the weather was hot and extremely humid and I was sweating profusely just standing there. This wasn't going to bode well for the race.

Gear wise I went extremely light and minimal just skirting the legal limits of the mandatory item list. I had my custom GC tee and UA shorts, keeping things loose and comfortable. My shoe of choice was the Skechers GOrun Ultra Road, which was the most cushioned shoe I had. For hydration, I had a hand held bottle. No hydration vest cos I hate the darn things and a Puma waist pouch that I somehow squeezed all my mandatory items in!

Foo, Jeanie and me just before race start.

After getting all our gear in order and doing the usual 'picture taking before race' thing, Jeanie, Foo and me got ready for the start. The start was in waves of 20 and Jeanie was in the first wave, We told her we'd catch up since we were in the second wave. Both Foo and me ambled along at an easy 7:30 pace looking out ahead for Jeanie. It was to be a long night and we were not going to be sucked up by the crowd and speed along with them. With the speed some of them were doing, I was sure I'd be seeing them again.

After a kilometer we still couldn't find Jeanie. So we upped the pace a little cos we were sure she was on a faster pace. We finally caught up to her and pulled her pace back down. We needed to keep things easy if we were going to get through this with the least possible pain. I was looking forward to hitting the Palace of Justice area cos I knew some of the team would be there to run along with us for a bit. True enough, I saw them there waiting just as we got to POJ.

As always is the case with them, the fun started from there. Soon enough Jeanie pulled away again on her own. I raced off to the front to peg her pace back down and this time I made sure I stayed with her. Just as we reached the Mosque u-turn we saw Frank who was running the 100km on his final 5km stretch. We all stopped to chat and it was unanimously agreed that the team pace along with him back to the finish. He could do with their support more than the three of us at that point.

Race start. Pic courtesy of 99c ...

So, the team went along with him but not before assuring us they'll see us down the road again later. The pace from that point was nice and easy. I made sure Jeanie was keeping stride with me and Foo leading up the rear. We were both determined to make sure she gets through this just fine. After all, this was really all about her.

The first 9.7km or so was pretty okay though the night was stuffy and humid. Just as we reached CP1, we saw the team there waiting for us and our spirits were lifted. I had already informed both Jeanie and Foo we'd take 5 minutes at the CP and head out again. I wanted us moving as fast as we could on fresh legs before the fatigue of the second half of the race would start slowing us down.

I asked the volunteers where do I check in and they said no need, just keep on running. I was a little surprised cos last year we had to log in our bib numbers manually on paper and though this year we had timing chips but I didn't see a timing mat. The volunteer told me the next u-turn would have one. I took his word for it and we headed out in 5 minutes on the dot, this time with the team tagging along with us. The company and support was totally welcomed as we ran along the second stage of the route along the Putrajaya lake. This wasn't a stretch I was looking forward to cos of the hard concrete surface.

About 3km before our u-turn point, the team bid us luck and headed off back to their cars. We were sad to see them go but was thankful for the short time with them. The three of us got back to focusing on the race and made our way along slowly. We finally got to the u-turn point and once again I was asking where the timing mat was and was told to just make the u-turn and head back to CP1, which doubled up as CP2.

Pic courtesy of Rany Tan.

Alarm bells started ringing in my head. With no record keeping of checking into the CP's, the opportunity to cheat or take short cuts were aplenty. Nevertheless, we kept on moving. With the time slowly ticking to midnight, my eyes were getting heavy. I hardly had enough rest prior to the race and it was beginning to show. Foo was also looking sleepy. Jeanie was the only one amongst us that was all wide eyed and awake. She kept talking to keep me awake and it helped.

We finally made CP2 and I decided to fill my handheld with coke. I really needed the caffeine and sugar it provided. Again I said we'd stay at the CP for 5 minutes before heading out. After gulping a few cups of ice cold coke, swallowing a sandwich or two, we were off again. Slightly longer than the planned 5 minutes but no big deal.

The next stage was my favorite cos it was a short 6km out and back stage. Again we made our way along the opposite side of the lake. This was where I had to shout at many runners who were lost or going the wrong way or just didn't know how to get to the next CP. This was also where I was confused last year so I know how they felt. I wasn't going to be like some people last year who just kept quiet knowing that Jamie and me were going the wrong way.

I told Foo and Jeanie to wait up a bit and take a breather while I go tell the confused fellow runners how to get to the next CP or to just follow us there. Most were grateful for the guidance and we all made our way towards CP3. Foo decided to 'wake up' at this point and was a chatter box again much to Jeanie and my relief. He started 'recruiting' fellow runners to run along with us and was a source of encouragement to everyone, urging everyone along.

Pic courtesy of Rany Tan.

We had quite a posse running with us by the time we got to CP3 which we all agreed we would take 10-15 minutes of rest before heading out. The journey thus far had been tiring but well on track. After the extended break, it was time to head out again. But our spirits were much better cos now we were on the way back. Half the journey was done.

Jeanie was holding up pretty well. She hardly looked tired and gamely ran with not an ounce of complain. We ran when we could and walked when we had to. Foo was again falling into his zombie mode (his own description) and Jeanie and me were left to keep ourselves entertained. We ran/walked back to CP4 and I was dreading the next stretch.

At CP4 we made a decision for a 15 minutes rest again as Foo needed to take a power nap. Jeanie said she'll start off first with a few other runners, I told her to go ahead and I'll catch up while I waited for Foo to top up his bottle. Suddenly the tummy started acting up and I told Foo we needed to head out cos I know there was a toilet about 1km down the road.

We caught up with Jeanie and I left Foo with her while I ran ahead to the loo. I told them not to wait for me and just keep going. After sorting my tummy issues, I ran off after them. It gave me an opportunity to run at my marathon pace to play catch up and just as I was 400 metres out I realized I left my handheld in the toilet! Damn, I had to double back and had to really up the pace to catch up with the two of them since they had quite a sizeable head start.

I was surprised but happy that I could still pull off a 5:00 minute pace with bloody tired legs to play catch up. It's good to know that I could call on some speed even when fatigued. Storing that in mind for later analysis, I caught up with Jeanie and Foo who decided to wait for me further down the road. This next stretch was torturous. It was never ending and the u-turn could not come fast enough. My legs were tired, absolutely tired from the hard torturous pavement. Foo went on ahead to find the u-turn mark and wait for us.

When Jeanie and me finally got to the u-turn, I was surprised that there was no one at the u-turn save for a small almost obscure sign. If Foo hadn't already spotted the U-turn I would have just dragged Jeanie along even further. I had memorized some landmarks when we first hit this u-turn hours ago but my mind was already zoning out and trying to remember where the landmark was, was a point of futility.

Now it was back towards the last CP and then we could finally make the journey back to the finish. This last 6km was really pushing my pain tolerance level to the max. Even with the GRUR, my most cushioned shoe, the legs were absolutely fatigued. I'm not used to heavier and thicker shoes for long distances at the pace we were doing. We were all tired and sleepy (except Jeanie who was like a night owl!) and more walking was done than running.

Pic courtesy of Rany Tan

About 3km before we reached CP5, I told Jeanie and Foo that I really needed to start running to get the pain off my feet and said I would meet them at CP5 for the final trek back together. They urged me on and I took off. At times like these, running faster was a lot easier on the legs than having to walk. I made it to CP5 and topped off my bottle, munched on some sandwiches and waited for the two of them. It wasn't long before they turned up. I waited for them to get ample rest and we were finally off for the last leg of the journey, the final 9km or so.

Before making our way out of the final CP, I messaged the wife to update her on my status. I told her earlier that I may not be able to update her much cos my reading vision is horrible without glasses, especially at night. I knew she would be worried nonetheless. I was not surprised to receive a reply text from her at that hour of the morning as I knew she was a light sleeper and would have been up or at least half asleep waiting for some news from me. Once I got her reply to keep fighting, I got off my butt and steeled myself for the next leg.

This last 9km was where Jeanie excelled the most, Foo and me were already on our last ebbs of energy. We were all dead tired and yet she didn't let that get to her. We were shuffling along at a turtles pace and in fact slowing Jeanie down more than we were helping her. She strategized that we should run 4 lamp posts and walk 4 lamp posts. Without waiting for agreement from us, she started off on the first of her 4 lamp posts run. She was on to something with the strategy and her enthusiasm got me going again.

I pushed whatever fatigued I had to the back of my mind and strutted off along with her. Foo said he'll back us up from behind. With the 4 lamp post run / 4 lamp post walk strategy, I was starting to feel alive again. My feet started to wake up and I was back in it. We slowly started overtaking those in front of us again, one by one. Foo would constantly chase us down and keep our rear safe. We were set to make her an ultra marathoner by the end of this run.

By the last 5km, I could tell that Jeanie was beginning to feel fatigued even more. But she gamely pushed on. No letting up whatsoever, she was determined to finish this! We modified the 4 run / 4 walk strategy to a 4 run / 6 walk one, giving her more time to recover before the running. She kept telling me to go ahead since I was back up to speed and not let her slow me down. Nothing doing, I told her. I promised to start and finish the race with her and that's what I would do even if we had to crawl to the finish.

Just at the last 1.5km mark, the smiles started appearing on all our faces again. The finish was in sight. Just a couple of minutes more and the pain and suffering would end. Oh and Jeanie's lamp post strategy saw us overtaking 11 runners (by my count) as we made our way to the finish!


We were finally down to the last 200m or so of the finish. The relief was so apparent on our faces as the three of us crossed the finish together, stride for stride after more than 9 long hours slogging it out there. Jeanie was now an official and bonafide ultra marathoner! A huge congratulations goes out to her for the determination and success! Well done, Jeanie, now we can prepare you for the 78km one next year ... LOL!

As for me, I was a happy man. I signed up for this race to improve on last year's outcome and though I never achieved that, I am more than happy to have helped a fellow team mate and  good friend to her finish. That's good enough for me anytime. Personally for me, I take a lot of positives out of this in preparation for my upcoming marathon early next year.

I started this race without any special needs or gels whatsoever. I practically had no food or supplements in my pouch. Hydration was in just the form of plain water and coke and whatever food I had was obtained at the CP's. In all I think I had 9 small sandwiches, a couple of watermelons and that was it. I experienced no cramps or any other race crippling discomforts save for the achy legs that are common with long distance running.

Overall, the race was pretty good. The Pacat team did a good job as always in making this a memorable race for the three of us. But that said aside, I have a few observations and suggestions that I'd like to add here that may help make the next edition better.

The signages along the route were a tad too small. Yes, I know that we're supposed to know the route but I saw a lot of runners being totally lost about where to turn at certain points especially towards CP3. I stopped to direct as many as I could on the proper path for as long as I could but slightly bigger signages would have helped a lot more. I memorized the route and also knew the route from last year's experience but a lot didn't bother to memorize or study the route and bigger signages would have been a little bit more helpful.

The check point signing in also was solely lacking. None of the check points required any of the runners to log themselves in unlike last year. I'm not sure about the other categories but the 52km had only one timing mat at CP3 and that opened up a lot of room for cheating or short cuts along the rest of the route.

Aside from that it was basically a good race. You guys did a superb job in organizing an event for newbies to get a feel of what it's like to run an ultra marathon in as safe an environment as possible. A good job also to all the finishers and fellow runners who urged the three of us to keep moving when we were crawling along. And most importantly, kudos to the volunteers for a job well done in tending to our needs!

Will I sign up again? I said no way when I crossed the finish but ask me again when the pain ebbs away in a few days time!

MPI Generali Run 2016 Update

MPI Generali Run is a community run that precedes the My First Run Clinic (MFRC), a two month programme leading up to the actual race day. The MFRC is a programme that's ideal for the general public to learn some more about running in general.


MFRC has seen five sessions already and has had some very informative talks from fitness and running experts such as Dr. Effareza Abdul Rahman, a cardiology specialist, Mark Williams, head coach of this year's Standard Chartered KL Marathon, Oon Kian Khong, Clark Hatch Fitness Centre coach and Jamie Pang, marathoner and shoe expert.

Dr. Effareza Abdul Rahman

Oon Kian Khong

The programme will continue on a weekly basis till the 12th December 2015 at the large playground located just a short walk away from the Petronas station along Jalan Desa Sri Hartamas 1 (GPS 3.155964, 101.647603) and starts with a short run at 7.30am folowed by the talks from the Guest speaker of the week. Do turn up for some great tips on running.

Mark Williams

Jamie Pang

And lastly, don't miss out on the last clinic on the 12th December 2015 as there will be a Fellowship Run followed by a pot luck breakfast. Do come and join in the party cos running is also meant to be fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Salming Race R21: Initial Review


Salming is not a running shoe brand many of you would be familiar with in Malaysia. In fact as of May this year, the shoe wasn't even available in Malaysia. I came to know about the Salming brand when Stefan Albinsson, one of the ambassadors of Salming Running started writing reviews of the shoe on his blog, The Running Swede. Being a shoe geek, that piqued my interest and I was hoping to get my hands on a pair of Salming to try on.

It wasn't until this year that I finally got my hands on a pair of Salming running shoes. After a quick round of messaging with the local Malaysian distributors, I purchased the Salming Race R21 model from them. I love trying out new shoe brands and I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on a pair, especially one that falls into the racing flats territory.

When I first picked up the shoe, what caught my attention, aside from the color was how light it was. From the pictures I've seen of them, I'd have expected them to weigh much heavier than what I had in my hands. I was impressed. I've always loved light weight shoes. The US8.5 (which I sized up from my regular size 8) I had in my hands weighed a paltry 6.5 oz! It felt almost as light as the 5.2 oz Saucony Type A6 that I had! In fact, the Race R21 was almost similar to the Type A6 in many ways but with cushioning. The Saucony Type A6 can be tough on the feet but the Salming Race R21 is a much more forgiving shoe.

The upper of the Race R21 features a 2 layer construction which adds durability while keeping the weight at a minimum. A breathable mesh is overlaid by something Salming calls an Exo-Skeleton that hugs the foot, adding some extra stability and support. I don't really like too many overlays on a running shoe cos it'll just make the shoe less breathable but the Race R21 welded Exo-Skeleton construction didn't pose any breathability issues, in fact, it was decently airy during all my runs in them. I also like how it locks your foot in place nicely enabling a quick and responsive running experience.


The 2 Layer upper construction

The fit of the shoe was another surprise. It looks a little narrow but once you slip your feet in them, they don't feel as narrow as they look. But that said, they're not also the widest shoe on the block. I know I'm contradicting myself but it's a little hard to describe, they're somewhere in between, though it fits my feet real well. Then again, I'm blessed to have feet that fit into almost any kind of running shoes.

The upper of the Race R21 sits atop the proprietary RunLite™ midsole that features a special high abrasion injection EVA that's designed to flexibly respond to the road surface in order to get a race like feel. Built into the midsole is something called the Torsion Efficient Unit™, a lightweight carbon fibre plate similar to the ones found in the Skechers GOspeed series. The TEU adds some sturdiness to the shoe giving it a bit of a snap on takeoff.


The Salming Race R21 is a 5mm drop shoe but feels a lot closer to the road than the drop would indicate. This is due to the extremely low stack height of the shoe. I can't find any info on the measurements of the stack height though I can attest that it rides lower to the ground. Like I mentioned earlier, it feels like a Type A6 and you can feel the road but has that added bit of cushioning for protection and comfort.

The outer sole is made up of an improved lightweight rubber compound material that provides remarkable grip even on wet slippery surfaces. All my runs the past week have been on wet after rain road conditions and not once did the Race R21 lose traction even when I ran on slippery pavement.


The outsole flexibility like all racers are a little on the firmer side so you can toe off much faster during your runs. Just above the TEU, you'll notice the numbers 62/75°. This represents the distance from the heel to the ball of the foot which Salming puts at 62% of the shoe is designed for extra stability and ends at the so called 'ballet' flex line, at a 75° angle. From this flex line, Salming has equipped the shoe with greater flexibility, assuring that the 62/75° feature bends in exactly the right places to simulate the foot's natural forward and lateral movements.


TGS 62/75° 

The heel cup has a nice snug fit. The collar and tongue provide just the right amount of cushioning that it doesn't 'squeeze' on your foot. The laces are the rounded kind and I always have this fear that rounded laces tend to come undone easily but in all my runs, the laces stayed knotted. You can slide the laces through the band on the outer top of the tongue with the Salming logo which keeps the tongue in place securely.

I've so far used them covering a distance of close to 80km and have come to love the shoe. The Salming Race R21 is in my humble opinion an excellent racer, built low to the ground but with ample cushioning to protect your feet as you speed along the roads. I would normally not recommend a racer for long distance races but with the Salming Race R21, I'd say it could easily take on a half marathon (and a full marathon if you've strong legs) without too much trouble. But for the shorter and faster runs, the Race R21 simply excels! It's also ideal for tempo and interval sessions on the track and will now play a huge part in my rotation of racing shoes.


I can't attest to its durability cos I've so far only used them for slightly more than a week but based on what I see, I'd say they're a pretty durable pair of shoes. Even after more than week with them, the outsole still looks pretty new, unlike a few other brands that I know. But with the mileage I'm doing these days, let's really see how durable they really are after a few weeks.

The Salming Race R21 is clearly a well thought out shoe. It's comfortable right out of the box and takes very little getting used to. It's lightweight with just the right amount of targeted support for your feet. If you're looking for something different in a racer, I'd say give the Salming Race R21 a shot. But, as with all minimalist and racers, some conditioning of the feet is needed to be comfortable in them so as to avoid any injuries down the road.

So far, I can't find anything negative to say about the shoe cos it simply works, for me at least. The only negative thing I can really say about the shoe is that I had to buy it myself ... Hahahahaha!

At present, Salming running shoes can only be purchased online through the official Salming distributors here at Salming MY-KL. Drop them an email at salming.my.kl@gmail.com for more information on their range of running shoes and apparels. If you're in the Klang Valley, you can make arrangements with them to view and get your right size for the shoe cos I suspect you might have to size up from your current regular shoe sizes.


There is currently a promotion going on for a few specific models (Speed/Xplore/Race), so hurry on over and check them out. My pair of Salming Race R21 was purchased at a promo price of RM280.00 from the original price of RM350.00, a pretty good deal if you ask me and with a free pair of socks thrown in! Now I've got my eye set on the Salming Distance/Distance A3 and Speed models as next in line.

Disclaimer: This pair of Salming Race R21 was purchased personally by myself for this review.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

MPI Generali Run 2016 Updates

The MPI Generali run (It was known as MPIB back then) has always been one of my first race events that I take part in for the year. I've ran it twice and volunteered for it three times including the 2016 coming edition. I've always loved the race both as a runner and a volunteer.


That said, please take note that the registration for MPI Generali Run 2016 edition will be closing on the 30th of November 2015, so please hurry up and sign up cos you really don't want to miss all the fun.

For those who have already signed up, kindly take note that the REPC dates have been changed and moved closer to race day. The new dates are as follows:

Thursday, 7th January 2016 - 12.00pm to 8.00pm
Friday, 8th January 2016 - 12.00pm to 8.00 pm
Saturday, 9th January 2016 - 10am to 6.00pm
Location: Sports Hub (or Arena), 3rd Floor Lot 10 Shopping Mall.

There will be NO REPC collections at Padang Merbuk, so please take note, ya.

Another bit of news that you need to be aware of is that the My First Run Clinics (MFRC) has now been moved to a new location since Padang Merbuk is filled with events almost every week. The new location is at the Large Playground along Sri Hartamas 1, just a short walk from the Petronas Station. (GPS Coordinates 3.155964, 101.647603)


This will also be the location for this weekends MFRC which will see guest speaker Mr. Oon Kian Khong sharing his knowledge on strength training and the importance of building core muscles in running. He will also be demonstrating some exercises to improve core muscles and touch on the importance of stretching. So please remember to bring a MAT along for the exercises, unless of course you like lying on the roads :D

The clinic starts at 7.30 am with a short and easy 3km run around the large playground before the talk so please do turn up cos you'd come away with a lot more knowledge and tips on running.

And finally before I sign off, running doesn't always have to be so serious. There will be fun, food, games and lots of laughter awaiting you at the fifth session so do turn up and join in the fun too. In fact, tell all your friends and family about it, the more the merrier!


Be part of the excitement – register fast at https://mro.myraceonline.com/mpib16/registrations before the 30 November 2015 closing date!

Don't say I never tell you guys things :D

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Long Road


The recent bad hazy spell that has been enveloping the country has really scuttled my comeback training plans quiet considerably. Runs have been very sporadic to say the least. I may be passionate about running but I also take my health very seriously and will not step foot out there to inhale anymore of that bad smoky haze than I have too.

These are times when I wish I had access to a gym but I'm not willing to pay the exorbitant gym fees and ridiculous contracts that come attached with it. Lots of races with some high profiled ones, have either been cancelled or postponed with many disgruntled runners screaming bloody murder at the organizers for making the decisions to cancel these races. Some of the rants are justified and some are just plain stupid but everyone has a right to say what they want I guess.

Personally, the cancellations hasn't affected me race wise, save for one cos I hardly sign up for races these days. With two confirmed marathons lined up three months apart the first half of next year, I'm putting more effort into the training that's required for it.

The evening heavy rains the past couple of days has been very welcomed. It has at least cleared a huge chunk of the haze and made the mornings absolutely beautiful to run. I've been getting some very consistent mileage again since the rains started and I'm hoping that the haze has finally gone away for good so I can really get down to a proper training plan which I need to draw up real soon.

Fitness wise, with the sporadic training I've been having before the rains, I'm far from where I was prior to my stress fracture injury. While the legs have not forgotten how to run and I'm still able to kick up a decent speed for the shorter runs, the endurance and stamina has taken a considerable beating but with the current consistent running I'm doing, my endurance and stamina seems to be improving steadily. A lot of work still needs to be done but I'm quietly confident that I'll get up to speed in time.

That said and done, I still have three races that need to be fulfilled for the year, the Mizuno Wave run which has been postponed because of the haze, the Amnig 'I am Warrior' run and the Putrajaya 52K. The first two events mentioned are no biggies but the P52K on the other hand is another matter entirely. I'm definitely under trained for it and only signed up cos of a certain 'chef' who wanted company to run, though if you asked him, he'll tell you otherwise. The GC group will see three runners including myself running the event. I'll won't name them in respect for their privacy but at least I'll have company throughout the night.

But in all honesty, I'm doing the P52K in honour of a running friend who recently passed away, Zack Zakaria. A nice fellow with a friendly disposition who shall be sorely missed. I'm not holding out much hope for my performance during the P52K. I'm just planning to have fun with my two partners in crime and hopefully that 'chef' fellow will be able to keep us awake through the night with his stories :D

Thursday, October 15, 2015

MPI Generali Run 2106 My First Run Clinic

It's that time of year again, folks. The MPI Generali Run 2016 running clinic back!

Date: 24th October 2015 - 12 December 2015*
Location: Padang Merbuk Car Park, Jalan Parlimen. 
Time: 7.30am

Besides the numerous talks from professionals in their field, running tips and health benefits you'll reap from the clinic, MPIG are also giving away free exclusive training vests on a first come first serve basis (and while stocks last) during the clinic so mark the dates in your diary or calendar now. 

See you all next Saturday bright and early.

* Session date, venue and time are subject to change with notice.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Press Release: Amnig | I Am Warrior 10km Run

6th August, 2015: Selangor was the official launch of Amnig | I Am Warrior 10km Run. Organized by AG Lifestyle Sdn Bhd and officiated by Mr. Colin Cheang, the Chief Executive Officer of Amnig, this event returns for the second year after a very successful turnout for Amnig | Run To The Max 2014.

Inspired by last year’s event, this year’s theme – I Am Warrior 10km Run’s vision and aspiration is to promote not only running as a healthy lifestyle but also to instill a spirit of warrior facing every challenges with full commitment and endurance to the last. Incorporated into this year’s run are fun activities before and after. We have received many sponsors to collaborate with us.


Before:
Warm up session by E-Fitness.
Warrior face paint challenge.
Taping for prevention by WQ Park. 

During: 
Beverage by Suntory at various interval drink station.

After:
Light refreshments & Suntory Beverage 
Amnig mini runway show. 
Prize Giving. 
Face painting challenge result. 
Lucky draws. 
Amnig : wheel of fortune. 
Speed Kick challenge demonstrating speed, agility, strength. 
Therapist demonstration of preventive and recovering of injuries. 
E-Fitness displaying their services. 

And that is not all, goodies bag full of surprises – for starters a specially designed Dry-Fit running T-Shirt awaits you.


With the 4 categories opened for registration, the event has received encouraging response from the running community. The Organizer target to register 2,000 runners over the two (2) distances – 10km and 5km.


Amnig | I Am Warrior 10km Run is scheduled to be held on the 6th December 2015, at West Garden Boulevard, ONE City, Selangor.

Online registration of Amnig | I Am Warrior 10km Run can be made at The Marathon shop.

For group registration with discount, register at www.amnig.com or email to care@aglifestyle.com.  

Don't forget to  'Like' the event page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/499920650162887/ for up to date information on the run.

Race Entry Pack Collection
Date: 3rd & 4th December 2015 (Time : 12pm – 8pm); 5th December 2015 (Time : 10am – 6pm)
Venue: Amnig Concept Store @ 83A, Jalan 21/37, Damansara Utama, PJ. 

About Amnig: 

Amnig (a private label) is a sportswear focusing on performance and sports-inspired lifestyle design and make for running, training, wellness / fitness and team sports. The high quality De-Hydrato fabric is used in our “Amnig Maxforce Compression” line for HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) sports e.g. mixed martial arts, boot camp and triathlon. Amnig’s emblem, the contour of the face of a race horse, symbolising speed, agility and strength inspiring our workmanship/ innovation in material and design to new boundaries by fusing , sports and lifestyle to creating comfortable sportswear for warm-ups (pre-workout) and fashionable for high street lifestyle (post-workout). Shop online at www.amnig.com at an affordable price.

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In conjunction with the race, Amnig has so graciously offered readers of my blog 9 complimentary entries to participate in the event on the 6th of December 2015. To get one of the 9 slots, just leave a comment here stating you'd like to to run and I'll send you the registration details. Please leave your valid email in the comment section (or private message me your email if you'd like to keep your email private) before the 31st October 2015. That's all you need to do for a free slot. Easy peasy, rig? Only the first 9 comments will receive the complimentary entry.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Larian MPSJ 10K: Race Report

The Larian MPSJ 10K was a race I signed up for prior to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and was looking forward to it for a few reasons. One was because it's considered a home ground race for me what with my house just a few stones throw away. Secondly, I was in need of a new 10k PR and this race seemed ripe for a new one.

Here we go again ...

All that changed with the stress fracture I picked and I wasn't even sure I'd recover in time for the race. Thankfully, I managed to recover pretty well but all hopes of a new 10k PR was out of the question. The race would now be used to gauge my fitness level after the 8 weeks layoff.

The wife, my younger boy (who was running the 7k category) and me met up with Jamie, Choon Yuen, Zijill and Choo at the pre-arranged spot. But it wasn't without drama though. Just as we were about to leave Choon Yuen called and said he forgot his shoes and whether I had any shoes to lend him. Shoes, I had plenty but I'm a size smaller than him. I grabbed two pairs that I hoped would fit him or else we'd be seeing him bare-footing today. Thank god one of the pair fit him.

Hoping the one in pink will be clicking the #GCAM16 sign up button ...

We all made our way to the MPSJ track where the main activity was. The start would be just outside the track. The flag-off was slated to start at 7.30am and most of us weren't really too happy with it cos that would mean we'd be running back in the blazing morning sun. I personally would have preferred a 6.30am start or even at the latest 7.00am. I run around these parts daily for my training runs and I know how hot it can get if I were to start a training run late.

Is the race even going to start?!

But late start or not, the show had to go on. I was prepared for it and had my shades on cos we'd be running back facing the sun. The flag off was right on time and the plan was for a conservative run. At least that was the plan. The route was familiar to all of us and wasn't demanding at all, pretty flat save for a few short climbs.

We all managed to keep to a pretty decent pace. I managed to keep up with the rest though my calves were still as stiff as steel! Overall, the pace was pretty manageable and though my lungs were struggling to keep up, things were generally fine. No signs of the SF injury were apparent which was a positive sign.

The 7km start ...

Just before the 5km u-turn, we started counting the women runners on the way back. There were just 10 women front-runners after the u-turn. Jamie then decided that we could slowly pull Zijill along faster and get her into a top 10 finish. Of course, we didn't let her know. We just surrounded her discreetly and started dragging her along at a little faster pace. Soon we got her past 2-3 more women runners. Jamie and Choon Yuen were on fire. I was having a hard time keeping up. A little way ahead, I saw my younger boy just making the 3.5km u-turn for his category. I slowed and tried to drag him along but he gave up and I took off again after the trio in front.


They were too far gone. I was totally not fit enough to play catch up and just decided to make it to the finish as best as I could. The sun was already blazing in full glory and the faster I got back, the faster I could get under some shade. The last 1 plus kilometer was a little hectic with some bad traffic management and cars were honking and trying to drive through the runners. I was more worried for the little kids running along than anything else. Most of these drivers were an impatient lot!

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I reached the track and sprinted the final 200m to the finish. The wife was our photographer for the day and was happily snapping away. Collected my medal, a goodie bag, grabbed some fruits and drinks and made my way to some shade. Joined up with the gang and we all traded race stories before heading back home.


Overall, it was a decently organized race, save for the later start and traffic management at some points. The route was nice and familiar and I enjoyed the run with some great company. But most importantly, I now know where I stand in the fitness department and have some doing to get back to where I was before. The pace is still there, the legs still remember how to run but the stamina is what is solely missing at the moment.

Our very own running Member of Parliament, YB Ong Kian Ming

But I'm not rushing into getting back in shape. I don't have any major races coming up, save for a 52k end November, so I can concentrate on slowly building up the endurance again with no pressure. I'm a little more wary about injury these days and have stopped being so gungho in the way I train and run. Injuries suck and no running sucks even worse.

I'm not exactly sure of the younger boy's timing but am glad he signed up to run the race anyway. I'm hoping he keeps on running after this and signs up for more races. He has potential but can be lazy to put in the training. If I can't qualify for Boston one of these days, maybe he can do it for me!

A pic with our very own YB Hannah Yeoh is a must but Foo will tell you I just like taking pictures with women ...