Monday, May 30, 2011

NB Pacesetters 15KM & Seremban Half Marathon

This coming Sunday will be the PACM NB15km at Putrajaya. PACM arranged race kit collection at Sunway Pyramid N-Concept last Sunday (29/5). Its good option for me to collect the race kit collection at a near by place, so I don’t need to drive all the way to Putrajaya on 4/6. Btw, Sunway Pyramid is a famous shopping mall with terrible parking problem, and it’s also a shopping mall that will not be too full inside (you won’t feel the “packed” people inside the mall like 1-U and Mid Valley) even if its parking are full and overflowed. I imagined lots of fellow runners whom wish to collect their race kit faces parking problem there. The one tip to find a parking over the weekend, is to arrive before 11am, else you will need to loop yourself to the old parking wing (which accessible from the Asian Avenue wing).
Running Vest for NB Pacesetters 15km 2011

I collected the cool looking white color running vest with my bib number and timing D-Tag. Not many people there for the collection, but I am in hurry as my two children are will me, I think I missed the Information sheet for the event. The lady at the counter do told me that the race will start earlier at 6:30am (instead of 7:10am, on the original schedule), and subsequently En. Rustam confirmed this on PACM Facebook group. The white color running vest is very nice, but it also has the “see through” effect :p

Training mileage, km/week

I had rested for the pass 4 days again as wife went for vacation and I am taking care of the two children alone at home. Seriously thinking of early morning wee hour run, but dropped that one as I will be too exhausted on day time to take care of them. So, in general, my adherence to May training schedule is very lousy, only achieved 63.5% of the training goal. Tomorrow will be the starting of my June schedule, 57km per week. Hope I can log at least 50km per week for the whole June.

Today, I also registered for the Seremban Half Marathon. I found out from the form that we can actually register at PJ area. So I visited the Antah Health Care Group office (Google Map location) during the lunch time. They just started the registration so the PIC (Ms Jenny) is not ready, she is very nice and quickly get all the race kit and goodie ready for me.

Race kit for Seremban Half Marathon
This is also the first time I got all my race kit (cotton T-shirt, bib number and other goodies) upon register, and the race will only happen 24/7. If everything on plan, this will be my 3rd half marathon after KL and Ipoh. Btw, both Ipoh and Seremban half marathons will have limited 250 finishers medal; it will take some effort to really push myself to get those medals.

Finally, my July race calendar is filled. See you in these race and good luck.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kuala Kangsar 14km Race Report

I was sick and grounded since the 13km LSD on Wesak Day, so I didn’t really able to prepare much for this race. It will solely depend on my routine training for the coming half marathon in June. It had been a while I didn’t rest for 4 days without any running, so I don’t put too much stress on myself and told myself that I will not be able to complete this within 1:20 (about 5’45”/km pace). This is just a warming up ran after 4 days off from running, and the flu is not yet totally gone.

Drive back to Ipoh on the Saturday morning, spent some time with family and only hit the bed at almost 11pm. The main culprit is the 2+ hours dinner (the food is nice though, but the waiting isn’t). The Sunday morning alarm sounded on 4:30am, but I slap it and went back to sleep… until 5:30am only I waken in a sock! Quickly get myself ready and hit the road on 5:45am! This is my PB on preparing ME in the race day morning (it normally took about 1 hour for that, that’s why I set my alarm to 4:30am).

Reached the starting point around 6:40am, deposit my baggage and off for some slow jogging as warming up. Plan to use the toilet but the Porta-Pottys are jammed with very long queue. I ran a bit further out to some government offices building and manage my business in their public toilet. I headed back to starting line right about 7am and observed the sky is covered by dark cloud. It will be a good weather and cold race. Lots of familiar faces waited on the starting line; I saw most of them on the Bukit Aman – Sri Hartamas Sunday run and some from varies races’ photos and blogs. The race started on time. I had no game plan for this race, so I just ran with comfortable pace. To my surprise, I ran the first 5km with below 6 min/km pace and I don’t felt that stressful on my body. It may be due to the training and rest I had. The scene along the route is fantastic and the race is basically stopped traffic in the whole Kuala Kangsar town for like an hour.

First water station located at 3km mark at the road side but the ribbons are giving out on the middle of the road. As I only focused to the water station, I missed the ribbon. I only got mine after turning back from the traffic light. I stopped for water and Gatorade at all the water stations, they even have banana on the 11km water station. My throat felt even better after the race as I really gulp in lots of water/Gatorade during the race. Also there are traditional music instruments played along the route, it gave a fine tuning to this race event.

I finished the race with 1:32’25” (average to 6’18”/km pace) and 211th in my category. PACM/organizer prepared lots of fruit and food at the finish area. I gulp in few more cups of Gatorade and I guess at least half of a watermelon. I am too lazy to get the food so clear my baggage and heading back to Ipoh right after the watermelon.
Finisher goodies... Brooks technical runner-T
in white color, think it is too "see through"... :p

front view, unique design on the medal shape
from the famous handicrafts "Labu Sayong" in Perak Kuala Kangsar area

rear view, engraved 14km Finisher

I think I am kind of ready for the half marathon, and I am now pushing my speed to about 6’15”/km pace for more distant. My aim will be completing the half marathon with this pace. The first test will be next week 15km at Putrajaya, with this pace I should be completing this 15km in 1:34. Looking into my lap records, my speed barrier are now at 8th km and subsequently at 12th km. I will anticipate 2 more speed barrier before the full 21km (at 16th & 19th km tentatively). More tempo run repeats will enable the body to shift these speed barriers to a further distant.

It’s another dozen of trainings and 29 days to the half marathon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Garmin Forerunner 405CX

Finally, after a long waiting of 2 months, I got my Garmin Forerunner 405CX. My brother helped to purchased it in Singapore back in March in an Expo for SGD399. It’s still cheaper than normal list price in Malaysia for RM1300~1600, but I heard that the price is lowering now as this model is actually replaced by GF410. But the only important thing now is I got my unit :D

Why GF405CX? It is phase out model, some complaints about it Bezel, battery, etc., and it successor GF410 look cool too. I have to admit that I choose this unit mainly based on this review in Amazon and its price (as big discount for its discontinued status).

So far, I am using the Sports Tracker from Nokia phone. It tracked distance, speed and step rate. But it will be painful to gain the GPS signal and not to mansion about its accuracy. Also, it’s not really practical to tapping on the phone on the starting line and struggle to push it back to storage when the gun shouted. I need something to keep the running data effectively and less effort. And I looked into Garmin Forerunner series.

You may concluded, I am the addicted to running data, and these data keep me going. What to do? I am analytical type of person and running ultimately put my own body as a test subject to strength study. I admired those who running without any techno-gears and careless about these data. Hopefully, one day I will reach that stage. But for time being, I still need those data to prove to myself that I am Running.

I got the unit last Saturday afternoon. Open box, basic set up, create the account in Garmin Connect and downloaded the Training Center, get the ANT+ connect to my laptop, update the firmware on the GF405CX, all these activities took about 1+ hours (it can be faster if your network cable is faster). I charged the unit overnight on Saturday, and heading out for the Sunday 20km LSD started at Bukit Aman. I only switch on the GPS when I reached Bukit Aman, and it’s actually taken quit a while (2~5 minutes) to acquired sufficient Satellites signal. I don’t blame GF405CX, it took more that 10 minutes when I am using the Sports Tracker with Nokia A-GPS phone. I think it may be typical low signal spot around that area.

Garmin Connect: Activity Summary
It’s always felt good to play with new toy. I can’t stop myself to kept looking on the pace and pushing on. This caused not so slow LSD and my paces are off all the way from start. From this LSD, I think my current limit on distant is about ~16km. And this is the beauty of doing LSD on such a route like Bukit Aman – Sri Hartamas, you have not way to quit half way, and the worst thing you can do is only to walk yourself back to your starting point. I changed the mood to run-walk and felt the blisters on the toes, soaked up socks, painful knees and feet.

Exhausted GF405CX, after 20km…

After the 20km, reached home and turned on the laptop for data transfer. It does not have any issue and all transferring done seamlessly. And when I login to DailyMile, it had a function to synchronize with Garmin Connect. It was also done seamlessly, but later when I login to Garmin Connect, I found that I still need to manual upload the data from my Training Center to the web database. I just wonder where the DailyMile got the data from if I need to manually update it to Garmin Connect. It’s direct from the laptop Training Center? Or from the web database at Garmin Connect?
Garmin Connect: Playback Function
More Data...
Crappy interface on PC Training Center
You can plan your workouts on the training center and subsequently transfer it to your GF405CX. It will help to keep you on track and aligned to the training objective. I filled up the calendar with workouts schedule, and hopefully I will adhered to these schedule.

Configuration of the workout

Fill up the Training Calendar

Update (6/6/11):
Used the GF405CX for few weeks and 2 races, so far I had no complaint on it. The response time and accuracy is much better than my A-GPS phone with Sports Tracker. But as its doesn't synchronized with Sports Tracker, I have to export the training records into GPX file then upload manually into Sports Tracker. So, after I completed my May 2011 records, I had abandon Sports Tracker. My web-based tracking will be on Garmin Connect and also DailyMile.

I also encountered the frozen screen problem after yesterday NB15km race. Checked out the solution from the Amazon review above, and the problem resolved.

Link to Part II / Part III on this Device.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Coming 14km Race @ Kuala Kangsar

Today started the race kit collection at Athlete’s Circle. Drop by the outlet at JayaOne during lunch to collect my race kit. Drive thru the famous traffic jam area at the Rothmans roundabout to get to Jalan University. Look at the road works on the roundabout, guess very soon the traffic light will be placed and there will be no more roundabout along Jalan University.

At the Athlete’s Circle, not many people collecting their race kit. May be today only the first day, or may be there aren’t much outstation runners from Klang Valley. For 14km, the race kit consists of Bib Number, Timing Chip (D-tag), Safety pin and Race instruction. I love the race with Race instruction, it shown at least the organizer had consider most of the importance issues for the race. The 14km category will not get any running vest, but it will be a finisher T-shirt (from the list of sponsors, I will expect a Brooks running T-Shirt, Great!).

This is the first race I will run with timing chip. Frankly I am very surprised about the RFID technology used in Running. My line of industry still struggled to have the first generation bar code, and we already having RFID on our racing event.

As usual, the race kit had the 10% discount coupon from Athlete’s Circle. I used that coupon immediately for the LockLaces. My NB905 come with very long SureLace, I planned to replace it with the LockLaces. Also, the normal lace will absorb some sweat during long run. Those smell and sweat from the shoes lace will get to my hand every time I lacing up my shoes. Hope the water resistant LockLaces will not absorb that much of sweat. If it does, the contact time will be shorten as the LockLaces mechanism is really simple.

I have a good feeling with this race so far; hope I can fully enjoy the race in next weekend. I am doing all Tempo runs during the weekday morning runs of 4~6km. I wish to improve my speed and hopefully I can cover this 14km in 1:20 hours.

Btw, there will be another 44 days and 2 more 14/15km races to my first half marathon.

See you in the races.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Racing Season

Registrations for below races are just opened.

Basically I will take part in most of them except The River Jungle Marathon (which only have a full marathon distant, don’t think I am ready to go FM in Sept). The coming race on my calendar will be the 14km in Kuala Kangsar, and then follow by 15km in Putrajaya (NB Pacesetters) and 21km in KL Marathon. That will conclude my total of 6 races in first half in year 2011.

As Aug/Sept will be very slow months, I planned to pack my July with races. Tentatively, Ipoh International Run, Seremban Half Marathon, Klang Centro Run and Men’s Health Night Ran. The racing season will then resume by the NB Pacesetters 30km in October (I can’t make it for the Adidas King of The Road), followed by 21km in CICM Half Marathon, 21km in Penang Bridge International Marathon, and finally the first Full Marathon in Singapore Marathon. The year of 2011 should then conclude by the 12km in Malakoff run.

Guess I may be too ambitious to pack so many long distances races in the last quarter of the year. But in fact, I will take all the races before the Singapore Marathon as training, and reserve my full strength for the first FM experience. I have no target time for the FM, all my training is to ensure that I have a enjoyable experience running in Singapore.

My training plan until the Singapore Marathon:
Weekly Planned Distances
Break Down (km)
3x6 weekdays, 15/18 weekend
3x7 weekdays, 16/20 weekend
3x8 weekdays, 18/20 weekend
3x10 weekdays, 15/25 weekend
3x10 weekdays, 18/28 weekend
3x10 weekdays, 20/35 weekend
3x10 weekdays, 15/25 weekend

Hope I can stick to >85% of the plan.


Update (6/5/11): The Klang Centro Run registration is now closed, I missed the registration. :(

Ipoh International Run registration is just opened, I am still working on the registration as the online payment had some problem. This is one of the famous badly organized run (Click herehere & here to read more). I took part solely because its happened at my home town and tentatively I will be in Ipoh that time.

To my surprise, I got very fast reply from the Organizer on the payment problem. These shown some good sign on this race, and hope we have a enjoyable run in July.