Sunday, July 31, 2011

Men’s Health & Shape Night Run 2011 Race Report

This was my second night race so far. From the previous experience, this round I only took heavy lunch and took some light snack at the dinner time. The venue is the same place as NB Pacesetters 15km, with a slightly difference route to 12.3km. It’s a generally flat race with some mild climb. I decided to try out my VFF KomodoSport in this race. Most of the time I trained in VFF only the 7~8km tempo run so far. So the 12.3km will put the leg in VFF to full test, especially I planned to pia for the 200 limited medal.

Reached the venue before 7pm. Hanged around the venue and checked out some booths. Bounced into Nick near the starting line, sorry brother didn’t chat too much with you as I actually preferred a quiet time before start. It was a very packed event with many people took part. I think we will sure have a very jammed start, will need to be at the starting line earlier to get the front starting position. As my plan was only the limited medal, I only get myself about 15% from the front pack. The race started on time. All runners included myself push out from the starting line with fast pace. But very soon I realized that I am going too fast and start to regulate a bit, but really, it’s only a bit. I am pushing all the way from starting line to the finish line around 5:30~6:00 minutes pace. I completed the 12.3km at 1:10’13”, with average pace of 5:40 minutes. Btw, obviously I am not pushed enough, I finished around 205~210th place (update 2/8: official placing 223, go have a look into the result, close to 100 person crossed the line between 1:05~1:08, that why I missed my medal) and missed the 200 pieces the limited medal by 1~2 minutes.

Overall, the race is a well organized and the weather last night is very nice. The only thing I will complaint about is the after event traffic. The crews didn’t take away the traffic cons on the bridge towards the Precinct 8 when the event is over.

About the running in VFF, I felt it is similar to running in normal shoe. It’s lighter and gave some advantage on the fast churning of your legs. You will need to work on your gait to ensure the legs don’t hurt in the non-cushioning VFF. I guess the speed I did in this race will be the best for time being, from now on, I will need to change my training plan from speed to distance. More training will be in BA-Hartamas plus double hills in VFF. The next challenge coming will be 2 full marathons in September and October.

Happy running around.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Putrajaya Night Marathon 2011

It must be the Monday blue / blur and some adrenaline left from yesterday Seremban Half Marathon, I found myself signed up for Full Marathon instead of the half marathon as planned.

I shouldn’t go for FM. It’s just 3 weeks after my first marathon (River Jungle Marathon), and I am not too sure if I had fully recovered from it. Also the race start at 8pm and definitely I will not able to complete it before mid night. After the event, instead of driving back home, I think I will be much safer just bring along my sleeping bag to overnight at the Putrajaya City Hall.

Anyway, for all the reason that I shouldn’t have signed up for FM, I had only one reason for me to sign up another FM: I love the sport. I think this is good enough to drive me to overcome all the obstacles ahead.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seremban Half Marathon Race Report

As planned, woke up by 4:30am and left the house around 5:10am. Took 50 minutes to arrive in Seremban. The starting point at Seremban City Hall in the middle of the town. No issue on the parking but the police started to block the road after I passed :P

Put on NB905, slowly walked to the starting line. Do a few rounds of slow running to warm up and set the target timing to 6:45 minutes pace. Lined at starting line 6:35am, and start to wonder how come so many participants for 21km. There are many other races in KL/Klang/PD and this race announced very late (it’s actually opened only after the Klang Centro race fully registered). I will expect some hardcore runners already have other plan. I estimated about 600~1000 of us lined on the 21km starting line! I immediately drop the hope on getting my hand on the limited finisher medal. One uncle looked at my “B1” number bib and joked to me, it really make me felt ease. We flagged off right on time (6:45am).

The weather is brilliant (cloudy with wind), I managed to keep about 6 minutes pace for the first 10km and finished it right on 1hour time. Then the balance 10+km was down to 7 minutes pace. But with the effort on the first half, I managed to bet my own target timing for 7 minutes and finished by 2:10 hours. To my surprise, I finished at 97 or 98th (I can’t recall) place in category B, and had my hand on the limited finisher medal!

Overall, this is a much well organized event compare to the similar Ipoh International Run. Lots of school kids took part in shorter route (heard from some way, there is a new requirement for all school kids to have a sport as their curriculum, and this race event is qualified). The last 3km are joined with the rest of the categories, so we had a jammed ending. But I just cruised and took over (at the time I met the “traffic”, almost all of them from other categories are walking). The finish line setup on the City Hall’s padang are also well organized with clear marking on each categories.

For the event:
1. Small running event, the competition is not really an issue.
2. Cheap registration fee (RM15 for half marathon) but with plenty of goodie and very nice finisher medal (from Royal Selangor).
3. Starting line and finish line setup are clear.
4. Served plenty of Gatorade even on the 1st water station.
5. Very challenging route with plenty of hill.

1. Traffic control especially when we running on the Jalan Sikamat (N38) towards the town.
2. Only take manual registration (online registration not available).
My ankle started to give some complaint around 12km, and my toes gave problem around the same time too. But I pushed on without much thought on them. Both actually didn’t caused serious problem, and they behaved much lighter now compared to the two previous half marathon. I think running in VFF is really help to strengthen the ankle and ease the toes problem. I will race in VFF in the coming Shape & Men’s Health run in Putrajaya next Saturday. It’s just a short 12km run so I have less worry on the overuse of my leg in VFF. I also planned to do my training from now onwards in VFF, and hope I will be ready to run the marathon distance in them by end of September.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I had ran 2 half marathons with my NB905, and the base of the shoes look really weary. The outer-sole on the mid foot session are almost totally gone (but the heel section still good, indicate I am mostly on my mid foot strike now), and white colored mid-sole are pressed to almost flat too. May be the mileages I put into it is very high (counted around 400km so far), or the material is not design for long lasting (as it is between a trainer and a racer, guess the light weight do took away some of its endurance to wear-and-tear). I also have some other concern on NB905, look like it causing a problem to my right ankle. Both half marathons I ran ended up with a painful and slightly swollen right ankle. First I thought it was due to pampering gait as my left toes blister, but when I reflect back to my first few LSD from BA-Sri Hartamas (20~21km) in NB1226, I have no issue on the ankle even with similar blister problem. The ankle problem may be a result of the NB905. On the other hand, as I change my gait to more forefeet strike, I think my feet size grew and my slightly bigger right foot no longer suits the size 8 NB1226, hence I retired it. So it is again time to look for another pair of running shoe, at least to compare the impact with NB905.

It was my preference to slowly switching from thick shoes to minimum shoe. I got those poison from Christopher McDougall best selling book, and I really like the idea of building up the strength of my leg/feet instead of relaying on those cushioning. So, first thing come across my mind is the NB Minimus series. Checked with few NB boutique but the sale have no idea when will it arrive in Malaysia. When I shop around, I saw the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove selling at StudioR for RM369. Also Vibram FiveFingers had finally appointed their official retail in Malaysia (via Singapore distributor). They are selling at RM469 (VFF KomodoSport) at 1Utama (yet to check out the outlet at Bangsar) without discount. Then I remember I got the news of Running Lab will soon open in Trapicana CityMall (officially open on 15 July), and they carry the VFF too.

Reached Running Lab on their 1st day of business. They are still busy with the display rack as the apparels session not completed. Saw the VFF and they are listing the same price as RM469, but they have an opening offer of 20%. No need to think twice, I proceed to try the KomodoSport and brought a size 41 (I total forgot about my slightly bigger right foot). When I reached home and took them out for another round of “detailed” fitting, ops, the right foot is slightly tight on my 2nd toe (it is the longest amongst the toes). I called and returned to the shop and Frank is really helpful and helping me to change to size 42 (I am sorry Frank, I caused extra problem to your busy opening day).

I wear it for my Friday night shopping and movie with family, it is to let your feet get used to the VFF configuration. Then I did the first run inside the VFF on Saturday morning for about 6km. It was an amazing experience when running in VFF. The instance feedbacks from the feet keep you aware on the gait and keep your strides short. After the 6km trial, surprisingly my leg didn’t hurt! I am expecting some sore on my calf and may be on my ankle too, but none of this surfaced! Decided to run extra on Sunday. The calf actually felt tired at about 7km, and I pushed on and changing the running terrain from straight road to jogging track at playground. Happy to complete the 10km in VFF, but now the soreness in calf is the worst I ever experienced. Need to think twice now if I still want to use the VFF for the coming Sunday Seremban Half Marathon.

I am not sure whether I can make a conclusion to relate my ankle pain to NB905. As I used the NB905 for another short run on last week, I can still feel the pain on my ankle started at about 2km. In VFF, I don’t have the ankle problem for the pass two runs. May be I should reconfirm this by mixing up both NB905 and VFF for this week training, and may be using the NB905 for the Seremban Half Marathon and the Shape & Men’s Health Night Run next week. No matter how, the whole fasting month (August) will be used to strengthen my feet & leg muscles to run in VFF, and training for my first marathon. Hopefully, I will be ready to run the marathon in VFF on end of September.

*Photos are taken with VFF size 41 before I exchanged it to size 42.

Update (19/7/11):
Ran in NB905 this morning for 5km, the usual ankle pain is not there after 3~4km. Guess it was only my weak ankle causing the pain in thick shoes. Need more strengthening workout on them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life (temporary) without running

I felt broken down since Ipoh International Run. I am grounding myself since then due to ankle pain and flu. I only managed to replace last Saturday LSD into the Bersih 2.0 Rally @ KL. So look like mileage for this month will be only about 100km. Btw, I guess this is not really my concern. I missed the running and perhaps the endorphins.

My mind is really disturbed by the country in havoc (caused by you know who) since early last week. This is the time I need running the most, but I have to ground myself. Lucky, I attended the rally. You wont believed what I found from it. Apart from the Real Malaysian sprites (WE UNITED AS MALAYSIAN) I actually felt the similar feeling when I am standing amongst with other runners at the starting line and running the race! I walked in the rain for few kilometers and felt good!

Yup, as usual I am late for the rally. I only reached Chinese Assembly Hall around 1:45pm. Heard the actions are ON at Jalan Pudu and wish to join them by walking down from Jalan Sultan. Some of the crowd retrieved back from Jalan Pudu, and we joined and marched towards Stadium from Jalan Hang Jebat. We faced more peaceful FRU and police at Changkat Stadium. Waited there for about 1 hour and few leaders (inclusive Chua Jui Meng) did few rounds of negotiation with the police but still no go. We then marched back to Jalan Sultan and towards Central Market. We met up with few rounds of FRU tears gas when we turned from Jalan Sultan to Central Market. What have we done to deserve this treatment? I don’t know, we only walk peacefully and chanting Bersih. Later Wong Chin Huat leaded us to sing Negaraku, reciting the 8 requests of Bersih 2.0 and we all peacefully dispersed (btw, the FRU & Police still shooting tears gas to us).

1. Clean the electoral roll
2. Reform postal ballot
3. Use of indelible ink
4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
5. Free and fair access to media
6. Strengthen public institutions
7. Stop corruption
8. Stop dirty politics
Dataran Merdeka, 26 June 2011

Dataran Merdeka, 9 July 2011

As most of the central regions LRT/Commuter stations are closed, I walked few more kilometers to Station Bank Negara (yup, the usual station that you wont missed if you doing your BA - Hartamas LSD). Along the way, I can’t help myself to take another picture of Dataran Merdeka. It’s the venue for KL Marathon just 2 weeks ago, and now Gov decided to lock it down from a peaceful rally.

I know some runners will not like my way of mixing things up, but this is how I feel it. It’s all part of our life. No way you can separate me and running and my others interests. Running made me stronger and more energetic, so, I can spend more time to look & care those issues that touches my heart, and even contribute my share to it.

Until next time.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ipoh International Run, 21km race report

My work is picking up pace and getting very busy lately. Since the SCKLM, I didn’t get much rest. I rushed some project on last Monday night until 2am, but still kick myself up for the morning recovery run after the SCKLM. The result, the flu that lingered between my daughter and son, is now finally caught up with me. So, no more run and took rest until Sunday. I hope the sickness will get better until Sunday, but it didn’t. One good sight is the swollen ankle is seemed to be ok now. I decided to give it a go.

The race started about on time, no many HM runners, my estimation, about 500 participants. May be its just right after the SCKLM, and there are some other event in KL (NTV7 feel good run). The race is famous to challenge runner limit with minimum water station, so I had my water bottle with me (also it will help my cough and ease the flu). Started the race without the usual jammed start, and you can really see the fast runners pull out the lead. I kept my pace at 6 min/km regime, can't run slower cause I felt like there are not much runners left behind me. Don’t dare to look back even after I finished the race.

As per anticipated, the running is stimulate the body metabolism and kept my breath and throat clear. Everything is fine, and in fact I felt good for the first 9km. The toe blister started around 3km, its not yet fully heal since the SCKLM, and the ankle pain on the other leg came later on 9km. I am not too sure about the relationship, blister > pampering gaits > ankle pain/swollen or the other way round. May be I just simply not ready for the HM!? The rest of the route towards the end is just battles between the legs and the mind. The legs said we deserved some rest, the mind said keep going! Btw, saw Yim (in blue color baju Melayu) and Deo (in gray color Pajamas), that do added some taste to this dreadful run of mine. And this year IIR prepared plenty of water stations (about every 4km), and even some sponge stations! These help to ease the pain too.

Felt like running alone towards the end of the route. Lots of finishers from other categories lingered around the stadium area, it seem to me that the race is over and make me felt awful to continue running. When I reaching finish line, saw the organizer is actually taking down the cones and barrier for the finishing area, what a humiliation! This make me felt the race is not for any slow runners like me. Felt like I am here to make a fool out of myself!

Clock out the race by 2:18, the distant on my GF405CX only 20.1km, with average pace of 6:52min/km. Not a fast pace and its quit close to my SCKLM pace. I will class it as a good run on my current condition.

1. Water stations and sponge stations are adequate.
2. RM20 registration fees for the HM.
3. Friendly home town feel.

1. Still using Rela to form the Starting line, this is not necessary. I think we HM runners are well aware that the few steps a head on starting will not help at all for the whole 21km.
2. Time rushing organizer, the finishing area was taken out when I reached. Please indicate the qualification time to 2 hours if you really need to do this in next year IIR.

My legs and the flu + cough are now grounding me from any form of running. The race left some sour taste in my running and I am not able to cure it in very short time until I am fully recovered. Think the Siemens run is postponed just on time; I will now have a 2 full weeks to rest. My next race will be Seremban Half Marathon on 24 July, and I also signed up for The River Jungle Marathon on 25 September as my first Marathon. I really don’t know what to expect and train for these coming events. There are some doubts on myself, on my running ability, and my work is getting very busy. I shall just try my best, and complete the kilometers ahead, step by step.