Thursday, April 28, 2011

My 1st half marathon distant

Previously, I did 2 times on the PACM LSD from Bukit Aman to Sri Hartamas, both ended up else way instead of the Petronas Station in Sri Hartamas. Last Sunday 24/4, I plan to run this route again all by myself. Fewer runners expected on this route, there are two races on this date (Bidor Half Marathon and Kinara Metta Run). I did my LSD for 2 hours with 14km on the Saturday, I don’t think I can run very fast. So I planned to arrive in Bukit Aman @ 6:30am and target to complete the route by 3 hours. Anyway, as usual, I was late @@, only reach the car park around 7:10am. Quick warmed up and start my trip around 7:20am.

I followed the previous route all the way to Jalan Duta. Surprisingly there are still some runners using this route. I actually tried to pace with a couple who started together, until reached Bukit Tunku when the lady is slowed down. I logged a decent pace of 9.3km/hr for this 5km stretch. Cross the Jalan Duta via the underpass traffic light junction near Perhentian Duta and continue my run alone towards Sri Hartamas. There are plenty construction site with heavy traffic in and out. I think on my way back it will be kind of dusty.

I entered Sri Hartamas area and one runner passed me in the underpass near the Duta toll. He kept running and I remembered I saw him from far, which he turned right on the traffic light at the Hartamas Shopping Centre. So when I reached the junction, I followed, and ended up running inside the inner road in the shopping complex. What a great experience! I saw there is a 7 Eleven, I figured if I can’t find the Petronas Station, I will need to get some replenishment from here. The 500ml Gatorade bottle I carried is about to finished, and I will need to have some snack to replenish my energy. Come out from the shopping complex, I continue the straight road all the way to the half point destination: the Petronas Station! What a great relief when I saw the green logo, and the time is already approaching 8:40am, I would not able to reach Bukit Aman before 10am.

I brought a new bottle of Gatorade and a beard to fill my stomach before it get hungry. Have some food in the mid way of long workout distant really help! I felt energized and heading back to Bukit Aman direction. I basically took the same way back, but only detoured to cross the Jalan Duta at the mid of the road (which normally used by other runners). I felt this is really an unsafe location to cross the road. The traffic is non stop flowing from the highway! I also decided not to take the double hills challenge, told myself I just need to head back via the same route… cause not much energy left, and my foot start to gave some mumbling (pain) from time to time.

Finally, reached my car few minutes before 10am! And I completed my 1st half marathon distant!

Throughout the run, I kept my steps rate around 170 steps/min and kept a decent pace. But the overall speed is slow, I think I need more tempo run and speed work to improve this. I started to push myself on 4km tempo run this week. I hope to kept the pace at 6min/km or 10km/hr in coming race. More training required :)

Btw, the legs (hamstrings area) and knees are very painful and tired after the long ran. Things get better after my weekday's run on Tuesday; I guess that is why people need to have recovery run after really hard workout like marathon...

PACM New Balance 15km will be held in Putrajaya this year on 5/6/11. Registration is now opened.
See you there!

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Balance 905

I started my running in cheap shoes (Admiral Shoes brought from Jusco @ RM75) and I got my NB1226 in October last year. After putting a nice 700km on it, I start looking for another pair as spare or replacement before it broken down completely. My NB1226 still in rather good shape, it only lost all its outsole grips on the “Ndurence” part (proven heels striking big time…).

In fact, after broken into this shoe, I kind of like its response on the forefoot and the support on the ankle and arch (which I love since my first trial on it). But it had two major short falls: Pricey and Heavy! It still cost RM400+ at New Balance boutique and marked as “New Arrival” without discount. Come on, this model released about a year now and will be replace in June 2011, still “New Arrival”!? It also weighted 360g each side, and I blame it on slowing me down… :P

It will be good if I try something lighter, and perhaps cheaper. With the poison I got from <Born to Run>, I also wish to try something flatter and closer to ground. Tried Brooks Shoes (good brand with nice 30% discount for PACM members) but it light weight racer don’t have 2E width. I felt just nice with the D width, and I know it will turn into a pain when I ran. My 4th toes on both of my foot often come underneath my middle toes and cause some blister. Even with Injinji socks, it will happen after long run. I don’t want to risk myself to open the blood-ly socks after each of my exhaustion runs. Looked into Adidas Adizero Mana5, but the outsole is very soft and make me concern on its durability.

Finally my hunt of new racer ended with NB905. Its still the lime-yellowish shoes (first released color), the new color is not available in Malaysia. Come with very long SureLace, and with 30% discount during sale, it only cost RM237.
Size, width
US 8, 2E
US 9, 2E
Height (Forefoot)
Height (Heel)

Tried it out on the 16/4 morning, for a short run before the Energizer Night Race. The first impression when I put on the shoes, it felt lighter and lower to the ground. And the arch support I love in NB1226 is not there. After I ran for 1km, I felt a sharp pain from the bottom of my right foot. It may be the plantar fascia caught problem again. Since I tried to use more forefoot or midfoot strikes, I often experience the similar but much softer pain after my LSD at 8~12km point. But this sharp one come with just 1km ran, may be due to the lacking of arch support (as I used to get plenty from NB1226). I do notice that during my transition from heel strikes to forefoot strike, my right foot doesn’t get much feeling, response or hard time like my left foot. I always have the perception that my left foot is more flexible to my right, but the right foot doing better this round!? Now I look back, I may not really make any change on my right foot strike yet, and it’s still weak and needed the extra arch support.
TSS Support

I used it for yesterday morning workout too, 30 minutes of tempo run. The similar pain returned just about the same distant it covered, but this round it’s softer and bearable. I pushed on to complete the total 6+km as per plan, and the pain vanished around the 3rd km. After the workout, when I reached home and took off the shoes, I couldn’t stand on my right foot (and completely rest on my left foot) for about 5 minutes. The sharp pain came back! But it totally gone after that, and I can walk and stand as normal. I have no idea what really happened. The temporary remedy I have will be performing more strengthening exercise, to the core and plantar fascia. All my long run will stick to NB1226 until I am comfortable with NB905. Only once or twice a week in the weekdays’ workouts will be running in NB905.

It’s only a few KM in NB905, and its hard to conclude whether I got the wrong shoes or not. I will update this post from time to time for my progress to break into this shoe.

Update 29/4/11:
Completed 3rd run today on the NB905. Its feel great! The strange feeling still observed as the foot is constantly adjusting itself to the new surface. Anyway, the strange feeling didn't turn into pain on my plantar fascia. Guess the strengthening training helped! The great difference between wearing the 1226 and 905 will be the heels height, I felt like I am running with some flat shoes. Planned to put more mileages into this shoes, may be 2 weekdays' runs every week (8~10km per week) will be fine. Hope to train it up to handle the coming half marathon in June, 58 days to go!

Update 9/5/11:
Completed 4 more workout with NB905. The switching between NB1226-NB905 gave some variety to the run. So far, I only completed 7km the most in each ran with NB905. The feeling like your feet are "Less Protected" from NB905 help to kept my running gaits in good shape, and I will try it for the coming Saturday long run (tentatively ~15km). I will do another 21km Bukit Aman - Sri Hartamas solo LSD this Sunday, then will be resting and tapering time for the 22/5 Kuala Kangsar 14km race. Should have no problem to complete it by 1:30 (the qualifying timing), but the main challenge will be the NB905. With the raising of adrenalin during race and in NB905, I may push myself too fast too soon, and burn out towards the end. Another 13 days to the race.

Update 13/6/11:
So far, I had spent 2 months with this shoe and I am getting used to the lesser support (comparatively with NB1226). I didn’t manage to use it in the Kuala Kangsar 14km, I am sick the week before the race, so I played safe. NB1226 still used for the PACM 15km race, this is mainly because I wished to retire it faster. I am now spending most of the time with NB905, even during the weekend LSD and yesterday adventure to peak the Bukit Kledang. I will use it too in my first half marathon in 12 days time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Energizer Night Race / Nightmare…

There are just too much of complaints and bad comments on this event. I wrote “Worst Event Ever” on their FB wall too… No point to focus on the bad things (Google it if you interested to know more), I will just update what is related to me and running on the event.

I had my dinner earlier @ 5:30pm, hit the road earlier and reached the venue by 6:15pm. Like all other runners experienced, the horror story start when we arrived at the car park. I should skip that and fast forward… I walked around the mall area, snapped some photos, before heading to the “tunnel of death”. And again need to skip and fast forward…

After placing my bag into the baggage handling area (yeah… I walked into that area and place my own bag, not volunteers or crews insight), I proceed to the starting line. We shared the joy and excitement during the flag off of the FM. I really feel my spirit raising and eager to start my 11km. Proceed with my warm up stretching and slow ran, then enter the race circuit for 11km flag off. On the starting line, the annoying headlamp flashed everyway. I don’t put on mine and don’t think I need it to run with ~5000 people on the race circuit. It is only necessary to have that if you are running for HM or FM which need to run outside the circuit. Anyway, I think it will be a challenge for me as I have astigmatism, the flashes really disturbing my vision.

At 8:15pm, the horn finally blew and we are off and going. As predicted, the runway is packed as many people are walking instead of running. I had a hard time to keep passing people safely. Only after about 1km, the track started to ease up a bit. I am ready to zoom to my target pace, but then I felt my dinner… I regretted to have dinner at 5:30pm. Whenever I want to speed up, my stomach wont allowed, I felt the cramp inside. This is the first time I ran with my dinner (or after a heavy meal). Most of my routine trainings are in the morning which I only down a cup of coffee and some biscuit/snack, then go. And my perception of a flat course in F1 circuit is WRONG! I am not a F1 fan so this is the first time I really see how the Sepang F1 circuit is looked like (how moron I am to assume this…). The first up climb caught me off guarded. But this is not really a big deal compare to the overall 11km we need to complete. I kept looking at my pace, and passed the one and only water station at 4thkm without stopping. I finished my first loop in 35 minutes, and thru the finish line like headless chicken. There are not traceability on how many loop we completed… I should claim I had finished my 11km by then with a super fast pace and don’t think the inexperience officers will even border to challenge me. But running make good people, and serious runners are well self disciplined. I kept my honesty and continue my 2nd loop. Finally finish my 11km by 1:16:30 hours.

Asked few “officers” at the finish line, but no one seem to know what’s next. Then I walked back to the pit stop area and saw the looooong queue. I then decided to rehydrate myself and collect my bag first before joining the queue. Baggage counter finally have crews/volunteers now to get my bag. Heading to the Gatorade station at the stage area (no way closed to the finishing line) and gulps in many cups of Gatorade (loss count, may be 10 or more) and walk to the end of the 500m queue… skip & fast forward again… in short, the run ended with no Certificate, no finisher medal, no rehydration station at finish line, no goodie bag, no light refreshment. Everything at the stage area needed to pay (except Gatorade).

500m Queue after race, taken from the end of the final hair-pin turn...

To leave the padlock area, you need to gone thru the dreadful “tunnel of death” again. Good thing is the walk before the start made me mentally buffered and stayed clam on my way back. Any normal person can easily freak out by packed and stuffed tunnel when the event is over, lucky we all are self disciplined runners. Walked another 2km to collect my car, what a night packed with tough challenge. Traffic heading out from the area is bad; traffic police are regulating the traffic flow as the FM runners have not finished their 5 loops. Its not ease to run in such condition, and I am glad to know some of my friends are actually made it thru and survey the FM with few water station missing/malfunctioning/ran out of water.

Lesson learned:
1. I should go without dinner or have it earlier at around 3pm, and take a PowerBar or banana before the race start.
2. Bring more water; pack them within reach and some spare inside the car. Although I gulped in plenty of Gatorade after 11km, I still feel thirsty especially queued for 1 hour and ended up with nothing.
3. Think twice before joining an event which ran by some “events organizer”, which isn’t a running club. We are not cat-walking on the route, we need some one with better sense on what runners are “doing” on the route.
4. Practice more; my current state is definitely not sufficient for half marathon, more LSD to 18~20km over the weekend.
5. Focus only on the good things during race (and properly in daily life). The bad things on this event ruin my weekend too. I felt really guilty and regretted I didn’t push myself out of the bed on Sunday morning for some run and let the bad taste stay on until now. Guess if I ran yesterday, I should have regained the passion of running.

Before & After the 11km, sorry for the darkness in the After photo

Update (22/4/11): Got email confirmation from Energizer, please update your personal detail (if applicable). They will arrange the refund and postal of the Certificate, Finisher Medal and the rest according to the updated database after 5/5/11.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another Long Slow Distant

Yesterday joined the LSD organized by PACM. Target to get up 5am but turn the alarm to 5:15am before go to bed… guess this is the start of a failure. Next morning, reach Bukit Aman only 6:40am. There are not many people this round (or may be I am late), as I had the idea on the first half of the course, I ran with consistent pace until the first water station. The scene and feeling of running in KL town area early in the morning is magnificent. It carry a difference feel compare to run around the housing area, but I found it hard to describe the differences. May be it’s due to some one is running along (in front or behind of you) towards the same direction, or may be it’s just the feeling of running on an unfamiliar ground.

It’s felt really good to have some one pacing you (whether you know that person or not). I had that good times often in MPSJ track which some of the runners are really good and consistent. Pacing with them (just follow behind them lah, I am not very sociable person, I don’t know any of them) give me extra boost on my speed and consistent pace. Often I did my extra long speed work by following other LSD for half an hour. I am not sure about the effect, and I am still a slow running to date. Once I completed the track part, I will run alone in the housing area. I had difficulty to keep my pace then. The Hearth rate monitor do provide some indication on my speed, and I maintained at 140~150 BPM (which is my aerobic zone) for LSD.

Back to the Bukit Aman – Sri Hartamas LSD. At the first water station, I followed a pack of uncles/aunties who also leaving the water station. I am not really familiar with the second part of the course, so I wish to follow some experienced runners. How ever, they turned into Taman Duta at the Hockey Stadium. I confused a bit as I roughly recalled that we should turn into opposite direction to Sri Hartamas. But I still follow them as I need some one guide me (and perhaps pace me too). Later, ended up with running few challenging climbs and eventually I dropped out from them and go on my own and got myself loss again in Taman Duta. U-turned, ran back to the water station for some refill. The water felt extremely tasty after some dehydration run of 12km. After the water station, I venture into the double-hills route and back to Bukit Aman. Covered about 19km with some walking in 2:34 hours. May be I will run the course again myself. There will be not water station but I can get some refuel from the Petronas station at the end of the first 10km. There are many people running this route every weekend, I guess I can just pace with some one along the way.

After the first every 19km run, my foot felt like broken in the afternoon. Both knees felt painful and I could barely walk up the staircases. But after some stretching and strengthening exercise this morning, the pain felt like it’s about to over and I am eagle for more. Guess my recovery power had improved or my body starting to adapt to the running regime.

Sorry on this blog only had my mumblings with minimum picture. I promise I will take some photo on coming Energizer Night Race. As long as I kept my phone power up, I will plenty of time to take photos. The race for 11km only start 8:15pm and I planned to reach Sepang F1 Circult before 6pm (avoid heavy traffic and parking issue).

Until next time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Random update, Weekend plan and Brooks Green Silence

Last week, it has been a whole week of good weather for me to adhere to my training plan. I had been sticking on my 30+km per week plan. But I need to hold on before I add on the mileage as next Saturday will be the Energizer Night Race. I aim to improve my time to 54 minutes. Anyway, as PACM organized the Long Slow Distant this weekend, I will try my first 20km run on Sunday. So far, I only did few times of 14~15km run and all of these are jammed up with some speed works in MPSJ track. I belief for pure LSD, I should be able to complete the whole 20km without too much of stress. Refer here for the running route in DailyMile. Join us if you are free this Sunday.

I was sick since Monday, flu plus some headache. I think I overstressed myself over the weekend. The QingMeng, driving back to Ipoh, LSD and not enough rest are certainly jamming me up. Anyway, I still stick to my weekdays plan, ran on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Now I can tell that feeling on running workout when you are sick. It’s fun and enjoyable as usual, but the after effects are dreadful. I felt sleepy and lost focus the whole day. Headache and body-ache stayed even after taken the paracetamol. Btw, I didn’t push too hard and all ran are at ease pace. I am still recovering from the flu, tomorrow will be another ease run (may be 10km). I think I need to save some fuel for the Sunday 20km LSD. I am not worried about the 11km race, and the weekdays plan for next week will be continued (4~5km on Tuesday to Thursday). And after the Saturday race, I will pump in more mileage to 40+km per week and 50+km per week (after the 14km race at Kuala Kangsar in May) to prepare my coming half marathon in June.

I am sourcing my next pair of running shoes. I planned to wait for the New Balance MT10 but can’t stop myself to blog-walking for other similar shoes. I found this <Brooks Green Silence> on famous runner/photographer Jamie Pang’s blog. Also I read the review on Runblogger Pete. I want to have a try on the shoes. Headed to The Curve today on lunch time and bring along my Injiji toes socks for fitting too. At the Brooks boutique, measured my feet size and tried the US9 and US10. I would say the fit is pretty comfortable, but I need more room on my toes box. The shoes only offered a standard D width, and I feel just nice on my little toe at size US9. My right foot’s forth toe are keep go under my middle toe even in my NB1226 2E width plus the Injiji toes sock. I think it will be disaster to my toes if I ran on this fitting. The size US10 is just too long for my leg, but only offered limited extra space for my toes. In this case, even with the 30% discount for PACM member, I will have to turn down the offer, and walked out the boutique empty-handed plus disappointment. Saw some good review on the Brooks Launch and the sale lady do ask me to have a look on it too. As I need to rush back to office, I shall return with some other time to try it out.

Until next time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Running, own performance analysis

Lately the weather has been changing. In the morning, some time its rain and some time its look like going to but is only a test on your wills on running. I skipped some weekdays training in March mainly due to raining. As long as its clear, I ran, even it means a straight 3 days workouts from Friday (~5km) to Sunday (normal Saturday + Sunday LSD, 11~14km).

I felt so good about myself after all the running, and my forefoot/midfoot strikes working fine although the knee pain are still there. I can’t imagine what going to happen (will I got injured?) if I continued on heel strikes running form. Anyway, after 10~11km my foot felt tired and aching (possible the plantar fascia area), and it vanished with some rest. I guess I need to do more core strengthening training.

In March, I ran total of 130km with 1 race (Bareno 2011, 10km). Below some comparison to my pass 3 months running data (from my Sports Tracker, from top to bottom, January to March).
Feb ran lots more but slower. Btw, while I recheck the stride length by the steps rate and distances covered, the Feb have longer stride length. By running more, my heel striking problem get worst and that’s could be the main reason on my knees’ sharp pain towards the end Feb.
Mar ran less with slightly faster, and higher steps rate. I am striking 171 steps/min compare to my 160 steps/min. The other significant change was the stride length, its reduced 7%. The knees’ pain didn’t get worst even with the extra 10 steps per minutes I ran. Guess the change of my running gaits helped. With the new running gaits, more Core strengthen training required.

I am confident with my running form now. Next step will be to increase my speed by higher steps rate, target will be 180 steps/min by maintaining the stride length.

Next race will be only 15 days away: Energizer Night Race 2011.
My preparation for it, so far so good. The final boost of this race preparation will be on the PACM LSD organized 10/4, I planned to complete the 20km for the LSD and I promise I will be on time this round. The target of this race will be completing the 11km with 54 minutes. It may seem too ambitious, but I think this is achievable. Sepang F1 race circuit is FLAT course, as long as I able to get a good starting position (may be 10% from the starting line) to avoid the potential jammed start, I have confident to achieve this.

Wish me luck!