Click the image to join in for some Good Times at the Gold Coast Marathon 2020

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Salming Greyhound Shoe Review

Salming is not a brand of shoes you would normally see on the roads in this country but I respect their boldness and determination in taking on some of the bigger players in this huge running shoe market. One thing they have over here is a huge following in the trail running category and their trail shoes the likes of the Salming Trail 5, just to name one has been getting rave reviews from runners hitting the trails.

Now, I'm no trail runner and this review is about their road shoe, the Salming Greyhound. Crafted for hard-surface running – unleash the Greyhound in you!, that's how the Salming marketing team likes to promote the shoe. Being a true shoe geek, I'm always one to try on any shoe that catches my eye, irrespective of brands out there though I have a few of my all time favourites.

e Salming Greyhound is the first true cushioned daily trainer from the Swedish brand. Coming in at US8.5 out of the box, they weigh a little under 10oz, which is a little on the heavier side of things compared to the other shoes that I use on a daily basis. But being a shoe tailored for hard-surfaces, the weight isn't really too huge of a problem for me.

What I like about the Greyhound is that the upper is a lot and I mean a lot better as compared to their other shoe models. The upper was crafted on the less is more analogy. The main body of the upper contains a lightweight one piece 3 layer construction that literally holds your foot in place nice and snug. The simplistic material of the upper also provides great breathability, something that is important to me seeing as how my feet will be spending hours in a running shoe. The upper in my opinion is definitely two steps up as compared to their other models.

The tongue is of a gusseted construction and pretty thin translating to a comfortable wrap around feel on your feet and comes with thin 'racing' laces (not sure what they mean by racing laces though). Now that's one thing I'm not really liking about the Greyhound. The laces are positioned much further back and leaves a large and maybe a tad too roomy toebox that my feet tended to move around a little more than I liked. But I have very narrow feet and someone with wider feet would appreciate the roominess.

Now, the highlight of the shoe here is the cushioning. While a lot of shoe companies hype about their running shoes being built for hard surfaces, the Salming Greyhound actually delivers on that hype. The Greyhound's cushioning actually feels like you're running on a track instead of the sidewalk or roads. This is down to the mid-sole's Recoil PLUS reactive compound that provides the superb cushioning and 20% more energy return. It feels comfortable enough without being too mushy.

The Salming Greyhound uses a Vibram outsole and is touted to be 25% more durable as claimed by Salming which after numerous miles in them is proven to be true as my pair has hardly any wear. But I find that the Vibram outsole adds to the overall weight of the shoe. The pattern of the outsole which has a somewhat racing slick like design, provides excellent traction on most surfaces I've run on such as asphalt, concrete and even some very simple trail like surfaces. The grip was phenomenal as is expected of a Vibram compound. I've not run in the rain with it though I suppose it will still provide decent traction in wet surfaces.

The Greyhound has an internal heel counter that wraps nicely around the heel, maybe a little too nicely as it took me a couple of runs for the heel area on both sides to get a little more pliable that it stopped digging into my Achilles. But a slightly higher socks than my usual no shows helped with that issue.

So, is the Salming Greyhound worth your ringgit? I'd say yes. If you're someone that does a lot of mileage on concrete or asphalts, they're a superb shoe based on the fact that they're highly cushioned. In fact, while I'm in my current recovery and rehabilitation mode, they're the go to shoe for me based on how cushy they are and yes, with the Vibram outsole, I'd even wager they're good for the less technical trails too.

I've tried them for short runs, longs runs, both slow and fast and while they're not really built for speed, they do work best for those longer runs when you need a lot more protection under your feet. To me the Greyhound embodies a more laid back, peaceful yet surprisingly functional running shoe. If a racing flat is comparable to a sports car, I'd say the Salming Greyhound is more comparable to a cruiser.

The Salming Greyhound is currently available for FREE trials at your local Salming dealers. Of course terms and conditions do apply. The Greyhound retails for RM565.00. The Salming Greyhound model I based my review on was so kindly provided by Salming Malaysia and the review above is of my own experience in the shoe and is in no way whatsoever influenced by Salming Malaysia.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Gold Coast Marathon 2019: Race (Not Really) Recap

I've been dwelling for quite awhile on whether to even write this post down. I can't quite find the words or the mood to pen what I've been keeping inside. But then if I do not let it all out, I'm never going move on from this bitter and dreadful period of my life.

Surfer's Paradise

The Gold Coast Marathon has always been a favourite of mine and it's always been a race I've put my heart and soul to train for. After last years bitter experience, I was looking to bury that ghost this time around. It took a lot out of me last year and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive when I started embarking on a new training plan this time around.

Loads of questions and uncertainties plagued me right from the start but I pushed them all aside and put my heart and soul into trying making the training work. With the LHR/HMM plan all plotted out and with some company in the training plan from the training group, the long 18 week slog started. 

Maybe I was too ambitious or absolutely impatient to erase the ghost of GCM18 that I may have put too much pressure on myself. I really don't know. Mind you, these are not excuses I'm putting down but I'm just being absolutely honest about how things played out. 

First off, I may have picked a plan that I couldn't really hack at all. Right from week one, I was already struggling with it. Granted, I was able to keep waking up every morning and taking on what the plan had to dish out but that's it, it was robotic and I had to push real hard to keep going. It shouldn't have been that much of a struggle but it was and I was too darn stubborn to see it. 

By week 9 or 10, I knew I was going through the classic case of a burnout. And for this to be happening so close to the start of the training was not a good sign. After some soul searching, I knew I had to do something. I wasn't enjoying the training. I decided to make some changes. I modified the plan and also the goal which was now just to complete the marathon in decent timing. 

And it worked in a way. The morning runs had become easier and more enjoyable. I wasn't as stressed as I was for not hitting a certain training criteria anymore. Even the nagging on/off signs of my previous knee issues wasn't bothering me too much anymore. The cloud lifted and maybe, just maybe I could pull this off. 

At the Race Expo with Jamie and Philip

But in life, nothing is ever certain. About 10 days out from race day, I woke up from a nap with a persistent pain in the knee. I didn't put much thought into it and put it down to old age and besides the aches, pops and crackles aren't anything new. It was close to tapering anyway. A couple of rest days before the race and the pain was no longer that apparent.

Moving forward, it was time for our traditional Gold Coast Airport 5.7km Fun Run, something we've been doing for a few years now as our shake down run to have a little fun before the main event the next day. The weather this time around in the Gold Coast was pretty much not what it normally was. The howling winds and rain that greeted us when we landed was still apparent on Saturday morning.

With Philip just before the start of the 5.7km Fun Run

Not really dissuaded, both Jamie and me headed out to the race precinct. As fate (or arse luck) would have it, on a slow and I mean very slow easy warm up jog, my knee elicited a loud pop and shooting pain went up my entire leg! Oh crap, not the meniscus, please I prayed. I had to stop and told Jamie to go ahead as I nursed the pain. I limped to the start line with thoughts of opting out of the fun run.

The pain was still apparent with each step but I decided to start anyway (yes, I'm not really the brightest spark at times). I was already here and I could just walk the entire route and evaluate my condition later. Let me tell you, while I could still run/walk the fun run, it was really anything but fun though cos I was in utter pain till the end. 

With the Gold Coast Run Nuts ...

Not again, I thought. This cannot be happening to me again. A flashback of later year's DNS kept popping up. I cannot NOT start the marathon, not again. I was determined to toe the start line the next day. When I messaged the wife about my situation, she didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The mind was a mess at that point. I couldn't think straight. This was like a sick joke from somebody up there. What did I do so wrong to deserve a fate like this just hours from race start? Yes, I was bitter, absolutely bitter by this horrible turn of events. 

Not sure if it was an intelligent decision but I decided I'd start the race no matter what. Pumped with  some pain killers and the knee strapped with a knee guard, I was as ready as I could possibly be to slog it out for as far I could take the legs. Come race morning, I was up bright and early to evaluate the pain. The pain was subdued in big part thanks to the pain killers and some tiny bit of hope flared up. Maybe, just maybe, I could pull this off. And even if I couldn't, I would have at least tried my best.

The picture doesn't really describe the pain I was in

But fate wasn't about to let me have things easy, not by a long shot. Making my way to the start pen, the dreadful showers that greeted the half marathon runners earlier was no where in sight. In fact, the sky looked pretty clear with some sun actually peeking out in the distance. I shed all my gear and dressed as minimally as I always do for races. But just as the wheelchair category was flagged off, the skies opened up without warning.

I've experienced rain in the Gold Coast before but not in the thinnest technical vest and shorts that barely gave any protection from the elements. A collective groan was heard from everyone around me. In mere seconds I was shivering uncontrollably and was hoping the race got underway soon so I could get some heat into me. It was in true fact just a 5 minute wait to race start but it was the longest 5 minutes ever.

The gun or horn (I can't really remember anymore) went off and we were on our way. Just as I was shuffling my way forward, I saw Sophie, all nice, warm and dry. She had the foresight to keep her raincoat on and looked very comfortable. We wished each other luck and she bolted off with the rest. The start was really, really slow for me. The body was literally cooled down from the rain and I was trying to nurse the leg along.

Just around the 31km mark before the decision to DNF

There was a dull throb (the pain killers were doing their work) that accompanied each step, I was hoping it would stay that way but knew it wasn't going to last. I was still shivering and it was taking too long to warm up at the speed I was going. As we made the turn from the bridge which was about 1.75km, I stepped off the road, unpinned my bib and decided to quit right there and then.

I was feeling absolutely miserable. People were overtaking me left, right and centre. My leg was already in pain. I was shivering. My mind and soul wasn't in it. And I knew it would take years for me to hobble along, maybe even suffering the prospect of not meeting the very generous cut off time. But as the back end of the marathon runners came along, I decided that I'm not a quitter, stupid maybe, but definitely not a quitter. I re-pinned my bib and stepped back on the course with a determined effort to at least see how far I could go. Heck, the spectators were out there even in the miserable weather and I was determined to high five as many of them as I could.

Pain or no pain, the Good Times must go on!

So I moved on with a run/walk strategy. Run until I feel the pain become unbearable then walk to let it subside. The going was slow, real slow but at least I was moving along inch by inch that soon turned in kilometer after kilometer. The spectators along the route kept me moving. Even while I was walking they were so supportive and at that point I was glad that I gave it a go.

The weather wasn't letting up. It was an on/off drizzle along the way for me. It wasn't so bad when I was running but when I walked it was cold, real cold. I forced myself to run as much as I could without stopping but the leg never cooperated much. So there I was, oftentimes shivering with the wind, cold and rain. It was a battle with my pain threshold (which isn't very high, mind you) and my resolve and determination to keep going.

Somewhere around the 16km mark, Sophie called out to me from opposite direction. She was just ahead of the 4 hour pacers and I was happy to see her doing so well given her circumstances. That was the only familiar face I saw throughout the route. By this time, the pain was increasing by the mile and I had to grit my teeth and hold back tears of pain (and despair) and just keep moving. The running become shorter with a lot more walking.

But with the pain, I was still spurred on to keep trying. On and off conversations with some of the runners with me somewhat took my mind off the pain. They were very encouraging and were in fact keeping each other motivated. That's what I like about the Gold Coast Marathon, everyone right down from the volunteers, supporters along the way, random people and even fellow runners were all very supportive.

But even with the enormous and awesome support of everyone, the pain was increasing with each step and somewhere around the 28km mark, I had to make a decision. Would I want to keep going? My heart said, yes keep going. Crawl if you have to but try to cross that finish line. My head said, be practical and realistic. You want to be running till you're old and grey and pushing it may be the end of your running. I kept going not really knowing what to do. I was in pain, that was a fact but I also didn't want to quit.

Eventually as I approached the 31km mark, I listened to my head. I really don't know the actual cause of the injury and I could have already pushed it way past the point of no return for the leg so with a very heavy heart, head bowed and ashamed, I stepped off the course, taking the heart-breaking decision to DNF the race. The mind was a blank as I walked to where I thought the gang would be waiting. I really can't believe the luck I've been dealt with. Someone, somewhere must despise me so bad for something like this to happen 2 years in a row!

With our local Elite

The entire ride back to the hotel in the tram was just a blank stare at the empty (of cos, the tram was far from empty) space and rue my bad luck. What did I do wrong? I trained just as hard as anyone. I backed off when I thought I was over training. I ate the proper nutrition. I took care of my health. I sacrificed a lot. What else do I need to do? I just didn't know what to think anymore.

I tried to put the entire episode away as much as I can and enjoy the rest of what the Gold Coast has to offer. It wasn't easy but there really was no use dwelling on my failure. I'd have enough time for self pity when I get home. The gang, and a big congrats to all of them for their excellent race, were in high spirits and I wasn't about to rain on their parade.

Road trip, kinda ... :D

It was time to really look into getting the leg looked at and fixed once and for all when I get back if I was to keep chasing that unicorn dream. The dream has not gone away, mind you, it may be put in the back burner for a bit but it's still a dream I aim to achieve one day. I know deep down inside that I need to put this entire episode in a box, tape it up and bury it deep down or I'll never move on but sometimes it's not as easy as it looks. But move on I have to cos I know I'll be back for the seventh time next year to exorcise these demons once and for all, of that you can be sure!

Before I end, I'd like to thank Tourism and Events Queensland for the trust, support and opportunity they've given me these many years to keep chasing my dreams. For that I can never repay them enough. I'd also like to thank my wife who has patiently sat behind the scenes supporting me even though I know I can be difficult to deal with when I'm in training and to the ever supportive GCM Team Malaysia training mates. Training would be so much less fun without you guys along!

The Spit

Aside from the race failure, my time in the Gold Coast has been a blast like it always has been. I can never really get enough of the Gold Coast and to be honest, I could see myself settling down here one fine day. One can dream, right :D

The only consolation I have

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Training Recap Week 4 - Believing In Yourself!

Today marks the end of one month of the LHR (Luke Humprey Running) Plan and so far I've been able to cope with the intensity save for some days when I question why I keep doing this. 

The mileage this week capped out close to 75k, a slight increase from last week. Nothing much really change in the plan this week save for the 800m intervals on Tuesday. The Thursday tempo remained the same and I may have run that a tad too fast (dumb, Nick, dumb) and made the next day's easy anything but easy with the very, very tight and achy calves. 

But keeping things on a really, really pace the next two days after the tempo helped me recover enough to take on this Sunday's long run. While it's only 15km and might be nothing to some, to me, 15km can be daunting, especially mentally where I'm still pretty weak but have been working on being mentally stronger. 

As fate would have it, I happened to read a tweet from Hal Higdon that said "Do not expect every run to be perfect. If you try to run hard or fast every day, no wonder you struggle. Start gently. Pace yourself. Walk." and that set things into better perspective, especially for this morning's long run. The 15k this morning was spot on with the pace and what the plan called for, which was a faster second half paced run. A perfect way to end Week 4 and the month of March.

Week 5 will see a bump in mileage and also an increase in both Tuesday's interval and Thursday's tempo distances and also the weekend's long run will see an increase to 20km. Looks and sounds daunting but hardwork always is and I keep repeating this mantra over and over again when things look bleak - BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Training Recap Week 3 - Keep Showing Up!

Today marks week 3 or 21 days into the plan, depends on how you want to look at it. So far I've been coping with the exception of this morning's first long run of the plan. 

Week 3 was more or less the same intensity as the previous week but with one difference. This week saw the inclusion of a tempo run at marathon pace thrown in. That makes two SOS sessions for the week. Things are not going to get any easier from here on out. 

Overall, the week has been good. The easy runs were handled well, with the focus on keeping the runs real easy, after all it's called an easy run for a reason and even the older aunties and uncles in my neighbourhood have been seen running faster than me ... hahaha!

I've in the past made the mistake of not taking these easy runs seriously and have been running at anything but an easy pace. This time around keeping the easy runs slow has been beneficial to my recovery and also be able to have enough to take on the intervals and tempo sessions. I guess we all learn from our past mistakes and impatience.

The interval on Tuesday called for a 8 x 600m session and I managed to handle that with the pace spot on save for one rep towards the end where the pace dropped from a lack of focus. Overall though, the session was a success. Next week's 6 x 800m will be 'fun'!

The first 10km marathon paced tempo of the plan was a little tougher to handle though. The haze that morning which was not very apparent in the dark morning made the session a little tough on the lungs. While I managed to hit paces that were a little faster than my planned pace, I won't lie, the going was tough, so much so that I had to stop to walk at least three times for a few metres. But in the end, I'm happy that the legs still remembers how to run at that pace. I was a little apprehensive even before the session whether I could pull this off though, truth be told.

Week 3 also saw the first long run of the plan at 15km and boy, did I suck at it. It was easily one of my worst runs since I started the plan. Right from the start I knew it was going to be tough going. The route, one which I totally despise, didn't help much. I could hardly keep going, the legs felt like they were lined with lead and I made the mistake of forgetting to bring along any hydration or even cash and I paid for that dearly. 

I was grateful for the company of Choon Yuen though, otherwise I probably would have just given up. The chatter and jokes along the way kept the mind occupied and somehow, I still managed to just keep at the threshold of the pace requirements and squeeze in a faster session on the way back which was what the plan called for anyway, so I guess that's something. But I was totally drained and there was nothing left in the tank!

I considered the run a failed session but my wife told me that if you ran and completed it without giving up, then that's not considered a bad run or failed session. A failed session according to her is giving up and not finishing what I started. That makes me feel a little bit better though. I guess I just have to keep showing up every single day!

Next week will more or less be about the same mileage and same intensity as this week so theoretically I should be able to pull it off without too much trouble. I'll let you know how it went next Sunday but one thing's for sure, I'm not giving up and believe I can only get better from here on so here's to Week 4!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Training Recap Week 2 - A Step Up!

Another easy 13km to end week two on a route I totally abhor for its infamous rolling hills. The training has been going according to plan so far. I've stuck with the schedule religiously, kept to the required paces and the body and legs were coping real well. There were times though when I was tempted to up the easy paces a little but that would have been foolhardy on my part. The easy's are meant to give the body enough recovery and build up for the harder weeks that will no doubt come real soon. 

This week has also seen the start of the SOS session, a 12 x 400m speed intervals on the road. I was a little apprehensive about it. The previous Hansons plans I've been following has never seen me starting any SOS sessions at least until week 5 or so. Having to do it so early (week 2) of the plan had me doubting myself on whether I could pull it off. I've not done an interval or even attempt the pace required for the session in a long while, months even, so the skepticism was apparent. 

But I was surprised when the legs and lungs actually remembered what it was like to run at that pace. The paces were spot on consistent throughout and the pace alerts I set up on my Garmin were quiet all through the session, not once beeping to tell me I was too slow or too fast. Suffice to say I was pretty happy after the session. But there's still a long to go so I'm not being too overly optimistic but it's a good confidence booster for week 3 where I'll be facing two SOS sessions in the form of a 8 x 600m interval and a 10K tempo.

While the going is going to get tougher and demand a lot more from me, I'm taking it all in stride and just going one mile at a time. Onward to week 3!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Skechers GOrun Razor 3 Hyper Review

With Nike being all the rage these days (and with good reason too) but I'm a shoe geek and I simply love getting my hands on any brand out there that catches my fancy. One such shoe was the Skechers GOrun Razor 3 Hyper. It's probably common knowledge among those who know me that I'm a Skechers fan boy so when news of the Razor 3 came online, I was wide eyed.

Now, hoping that Skechers Malaysia will bring this in or that someone will magically say that they have the shoe for sale over here is like hoping for it to snow. So I turned to the online market as usual and managed to snag one from Running Warehouse on a slightly reduced price, I was ecstatic, yeah the postage and tax would make the shoe a little more pricey but heck, it would still be pretty reasonably priced.

The shoe arrived within a week or so and I couldn't wait to get them on. What really caught my eye about the Skechers GOrun Razor 3 was the overall look of the shoe. It screamed fast, what with the huge "SPEED" emblazoned on either side. I've both the GOrun Ride 7 and the GOrun 6 and in all honesty, they were very subdued visually. I like my shoes loud and the Razor 3 was all that. But then, that's not really what makes a shoe good though looking good does help in some teeny weeny way.

I've read so much about the shoe and its new super springy, ultra lightweight Hyper Burst midsole. That's where Skechers has concocted some magic with the shoe. I'll get into that a little later. I've not had the pleasure of running in its previous versions so I really can't make any comparison with its older siblings. 

Taking it out of the box, I was in awe at how lightweight it was. My size US8 was in the range of a little over 6oz and looking at the shoe you might not believe the weight. I know I didn't at least until I picked it up. That's when I wondered how would they keep the shoe cushioned enough, what corners did they cut to make it this light? After all, they touted this shoe as being more light weight and more cushioned than the Razor 2. Light weight and cushioning doesn't really go well together.

But Skechers Performance managed to pull it off without sacrificing anything. Like I said earlier, the magic was in the new Hyper Burst midsole technology, a super springy, ultra lightweight and long lasting midsole. The Hyper Burst feels like a spongier BOOST but is a heck of a lot lighter that the BOOST. It's 15% lighter, 30% more durable and more resilient than Ultra Flight, which succeeded FlightGen on current models.

The Skechers GOrun Razor 3 is really light. It's amazing how the new Hyper Burst material has managed to increase the amount of cushioning while decreasing the overall weight of the shoe without compromising anything in the process. I absolutely love the energy return from the midsole. You'll get just the perfect amount of give on your landing with enough rebound to make your stride feel livelier. For a shoe with more than enough cushioning for use daily, the weight is short of insane!

Instead of the knit material found on the previous models, the upper of the Razor 3 consists of a seamless, non stretch light mesh material. The ripstop mesh provides good breathability and basic support for a snug fit, maybe a tad snug. Will come to that in a bit. This shoe screams Speed and is built for the faster paced runs and the very minimal tongue and laces support that statement. The overlays are printed on and the heel collar is lightly padded with a simplistic design that keeps things uncomplicated. 

Like I said earlier, the Razor 3 run a little narrow and snug. I'm a US9 for most other brands except Skechers where I have to size down to a US8 for all their models. Strangely though, the US8 for my Razor 3 felt a tad too snug and the first time I ran in them, I felt a hot spot on both my outer small toes. Granted, I was in pretty thick socks but it made the run a little uncomfortable. The second run in them with way thinner socks felt a whole lot better but they somehow still felt a tad too snug though no more hotspots were apparent. This is a little strange and sizing up by half a size would have been perfect. 

The outsole, where I've always questioned the durability of all my Skechers Performance shoes sees a lot of rubber added on. While this outsole rubbers doesn't nearly look thick or durable enough but in true fact, they're actually pretty durable. The normal wear I see on all my Skechers shoes are non apparent on the Razor 3 and I'm guessing the Skechers GOrun Razor 3 Hyper will see a lot of miles before any apparent wear is noticeable. 

I've run with the Razor 3 in both slower and faster paces and while the shoes works just as well when you're out smelling the roses, it's when you take it up a notch is where the Razor 3 excels. One of the most notable feature of the Skechers GOrun Razor 3 is the midsole consistency, the same fresh springiness is found underfoot, no matter if you're on mile 1 or mile 15. 

A good shoe elevates your performance regardless of how fast you run. Much lighter shoes with extremely responsive midsoles will make any stride all that much more efficient and the Razor 3 does just that. The Razor 3 is a 4mm drop shoe is the perfect option for someone who needs a lot of cushioning but likes their shoes light and as speedy as possible. At RM480.00 and with no fancy carbon plates or crazy overlays, this makes the Razor 3 an affordable cushy light weight daily trainer that will shave some seconds off your pace.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Training Recap Week 1 - The Easy Peasy Stage

Today's group run with the GCM Team Malaysia crew concludes week 1 of the advanced Hansons Plan. The going has been surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. I was a little intimidated choosing the advance plan cos it looks a little daunting, but what's life without some challenges thrown in.

Waking up early to start the plan this week wasn't too much of a bother because I've never really stopped running and have been waking up early consistently every morning during maintenance and base building. In fact I was enthusiastic to start the plan (ask me if I still am enthusiastic in a few week's time and I might reply differently ... hahaha!).

I had a wide pace spectrum for the easy runs and I mostly kept my paces on the slower end of the spectrum which made the runs pretty easy but a little boring. I've ditched running with music for quite a while now and running at a much slower pace than I'm used to can take some doing. But I wasn't about to deviate from my plan one bit. 

There were days though when it got mind numbing but there were days when I was joined by a regular runner around my neighbourhood who kept me company with some chit chat for a few kilometers or so, which was much welcomed. 

Always nice seeing the all green highlight for the week :D

Overall it's been a pretty good week and sticking to the plan was beneficial for my daily recovery, what with having only 1 midweek break. Week 2 looms and the first of the SOS session comes on Tuesday next week in the form or a 12 x 400m speed interval session which in all honestly I'm kinda looking forward to.

Here's looking to a successful week two!

Monday, March 4, 2019

A Leap Of Faith

Today marks the first day of a brand new 18 week plan that will lead me down the road to the Gold Coast Marathon in July. This will be my 6th continuous year that I'll be returning for the marathon there and hopefully, it'll be a more successful year.

After the perplexing, strange and unexplained malady that struck me on the last week of training last year which resulted in a DNS an hour before race start for me, the road back hasn't been without its own set of troubles and issues. I lost all self confidence in my running. I ran without a purpose and was too afraid to even sign up for races which in turn was affecting my recovery back.

It took a lot out of me to purge the past and with some help from the wife and my running buddies, I slowly put all that self doubt behind me and finally moved on from holding on to the past. And what a relief it was. The running slowly improved from day to day and the confidence and motivation levels were slowly but surely coming back, just right on time to take on a fresh new challenge.

A little tweaking with the nutrition plan which I felt was not nearly good enough the last time round and taking a leap of faith, I switched from the Hansons beginner plan and opted for the advanced plan after a little prompting from the wife who kept saying, "how long are you planning on being a beginner?".

I'm as ready as can be and the next 18 weeks will undoubtedly be tough, what with work and family life thrown in but then success doesn't come easy and you have to work for it. Sacrifices will have to be made and hopefully it'll bear fruit come July 2019 in the Gold Coast.

Speaking of the Gold Coast Marathon, this will be my sixth year there. I've grown to love the place ever since I first stepped foot there. With the race falling mid year, every year, it's the perfect mid year break for the wife and me. I mean, what can't you not love about the Gold Coast Marathon? The perfect winter weather with lots of sunshine, the PR capable flat race route, a certified Gold Label marathon, running by the pacific ocean, lots of crowd support along the way and the excellent volunteers from start to finish.

That's just the race alone, I haven't even even touched on the beautiful and exciting places to visit or just chill after the race. To really experience what the Gold Coast Marathon has to offer, you really need to experience it yourself. Early bird entries are still open till end April 2019, so there's still time for you to sign up. Take it from me, once you experience the Gold Coast Marathon, you'll want to go back for more! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Salming Miles Lite Review

Before I even go further with this review, I really need to apologize to Salming Malaysia for sitting on the Salming Miles Lite review for so long.

With Nike being all the rage these days, a lot of smaller shoe brands are oftentimes overlooked and they do produce some gems of running shoes sometimes and Salming happens to be one of them. More popularly known for their trail shoes over here rather than their road shoes, Salming has been quietly producing some pretty decent road shoes.

My first experience with a Salming was with the Salming Race R21, review here, a racing flat (I've always loved racing flats) and I loved that Race R21 a lot. It was fast, it was light, it was simple and it worked! It was a No Nonsense shoe.

My second experience with Salming was the original Salming Miles but I had a bittersweet experience with it. I found it too heavy and it felt bulky. I could run with it but it didn't endear to me. A couple of months back, Salming Malaysia buzzed me and asked if I would like to give the Salming Miles Lite a spin. I wasn't too sure cos my shoe reviewing brains weren't really working but being a shoe geek, I couldn't say no 😁.

The Salming Miles Lite is basically an update of the Salming Miles. Like I mentioned earlier, while I could run the original Miles it felt heavy and bulky. If I recall correctly, the Miles was in the region of 11oz or so which for someone like me who's more accustomed to much lighter shoes, was really heavy. The fit was also another issue that made the entire Miles feel bulky, constrictive and clunky.

The Miles Lite on the other hand addressed both the fit and weight issues and made the shoe a lot more livelier on the feet. The upper lost all that unnecessary extra overlays of the original and replaced it with a simpler but a lot more effective mesh upper with just one minor overlay on the toe cap. This in turn helped reduced the overall weight of the Miles Lite to just 9oz and made the shoe a lot less clunkier than it's older sibling.

With a simple yet functional upper, a lightly padded collar and heel counter which complements the thin yet cushioned tongue (unlike the older Salming models that tend to have much thicker tongues), the Miles Lite epitomizes the "No Nonsense" tagline.

The Salming Miles Lite has a midsole stack height of 23mm heel and 19mm toe and equipped with Salming's proprietary RECOIL™+SoftFOAM™ to provide the necessary cushioning for this 4mm drop shoe. While the cushioning is firm and forgiving it is far from being a "soft" shoe. The Miles Lite is catered and built for a runner who likes a little feel of the road and the RECOIL foam adds a little snap during toe off.

The outsole is laced with lots of extremely durable rubber and I've covered close to 140km in them with hardly any wear so durablity shouldn't be an issue at all. Besides the outsole rubber provides pretty good traction even on wet surfaces.

As mentioned above, I've taken them out close to 140km and used them in all kinds of road surfaces and in wet conditions and I'd have to honestly say they're a huge update to the original Miles. The Miles kept tugging at the back of my mind on all my runs while the Miles Lite disappeared from thought after a kilometer or two. While the upper could still do with a little more improvement, the cushioning was definitely on the plus side for me.

The Salming Miles Lite is a capable no-frills daily trainer that can be used for those easy, long run days but can deliver the goods should you need to ramp up the pace a little. If you like a little firmness underfoot, the Miles Lite fits the bill nicely. Firm yet with enough cushioning but short of being mushy or energy sapping, the Miles Lite can work for any distance.

Would I recommend the Miles Lite? Well, with the current going rate of some shoe brands out there, the Salming Miles Lite is really an affordable option for those looking for a reasonably priced shoe that can be used on a daily basis for a lot of kilometers and in various road conditions. It's reasonably light, has good cushioning, affordable and extremely durable. So yes, I'd recommend them. The Salming Miles Lite is retailed at RM420.

Salming Malaysia also has a host of different models that are highly rated overseas such as the En Route 2, the Race 6 (a favorite of mine which I've been eyeing but yet to actually try), the Speed 6 and their trail models, the Trail 5 and Elements which are available locally. For more info on Salming shoes, apparels and accessories, check out

This review is based on my own personal experience with the shoe and is in no way influenced whatsoever by Salming Malaysia. The Salming Miles used in this review is kindly provided by Salming Malaysia.