Monday, December 19, 2011

Malakoff KL 2011 Race Report

This is a yearly race organize by PACM. I took part in last year 7km and I can only eyeing on the 12km finisher medal. When the registration opened this year, I straight away register myself for the 12km category. I am taking this a part of my marathon training, so no plan to go very fast or PB.
As per my training plan, the menu for the Sunday morning is 19km. To make up the mileage, I arrived the venue early, started my warming up loop by 6am. The warm up loop done in 7 min pace, no stress at all except the 2 killer climbs right before the start and the end of the loop. I alerted some Rela, guess they may thought the race had started early. After complete the warm up loop and back into the Event area, the distance still short for 1km, so I continued to run a bit inside the resort area.

The time passed 7am, I took a short break when the ladies 12km category flagged off. Took a PowerBar from the sampling booth, and bounced into a very old friend before the men category flagged off. The starting line is jammed with runners. I can’t recall if we have so many runners in year 2010 version, but the congestion tolled 2 minutes from my gun time. Btw, I have no pressure and no target for this race. I just take it easy to walk until the gantry.

I felt comfortable with the slow start. I kept the very slow pace from the starting line until the end of the 1 killer climb. Then I pick up some speed from all descending and tried to maintain the speed on all climbing. I skipped both water stations on the first loop, as both were jammed up due to insufficient of manpower. I think this is a terrible mistake. I ran with my 500ml bottle during my warm up loop (which normally enough for 15~20km), took the PowerBar and finished the bottle before the flag off. I think it will be either my warm up session or the PowerBar lead to some extra demand on hydration. I felt slightly dehydrated with mild headache throughout the rest of the day. The 2nd loop is just a repeat but I actually felt thirsty and stopped at both water stations. Think next time need to plan my hydration properly.
Finish line. Photo by Jason.
Overall speed maintained around 6:10 min/km and finished the race in 1:11’56”. I ran slower compared to the 12km at the Men’s Health Night run. May be I found some other things from this race, the extra 7km I did before the start, or my ultimate aim isn’t here, I actually feeling great about this race.

On the race event, everything are well organized and the traffic control is ok. But we need to have a bit more volunteers at both water stations instead of the finish area (medal and goodie collection). Saw a photo that En Rustam was pull out from the race and to help the 1st water station, I am confident that we will have an even better 2012 edition.
This is the last running event I had for 2011. For sure, this event is a very good finale for my 2011 running journey :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2012 New Year Resolution – Part II

How to run a Sub-5 Marathon?
We joked on the 4:12:11. But will this be my FM finish time?
What is the average pace for a sub-5 marathon? 7min/km. I think most of the regular runners will have no problem on this pace for 20 or even 30km, but the challenge is to do it for the whole 42km. From my observation and study on the web, I need to work on 2 main components.
1. Working on Top Speed
As we improving our short distance top speed, the body will learn how to perform efficiently. But eventually the body will need lots of repeating interval in order to pick up a faster pace. So, the classical speed work will involve few repeats of 1km or 1mile, pushing the body to accept the fact that it’s needed to run faster. My current speed work is very ad-hoc and involved very limited repeats.   
2. Working on Endurance
Endurance plays a major part for long distance running. It will allow the body to running on high gear for longer period of time. This involved 2 types of training, Tempo run and Long run. Tempo run working on the threshold of the lactic acid that body can produce and burn out efficiently (more reading: Here). Long run will basically let the body get used to the exercise duration and distance. My current endurance level still lagging after 30km point and the Tempo run is too short to really challenge the threshold.

Instead of blindly drafting out my plan, I downloaded one from RunnersWorld, with the SCKLM in June 2012 as target race event. The plan give some 4 workouts per week and weekly mileage increased slowly from 35km to peak at 79km. Compare this with my current simple workout routine, the plan look great and it will ensure some recovery interval between top and low intensity. You can make your own plan HERE. Btw, the 29 weeks training plan is just… boring… Let see if I can follow it for the first 2 months, then I will review the effectiveness again.
The tough part will be maintaining the pace and interval along the Speed work and Tempo run. The GF405CX will able to help. You can plan you workout via the Training Center, push it to the unit and load it (via Advanced Workout on the unit) to guide you thru the session. The ease run and the Long run will be guide by Virtual Partner from the unit too. Hope the GF405CX can last for another 7 months without problem.
I need to cut 44 minutes from my FM finish time for a sub-5 marathon. This is definitely not an easy target but I think it is still achievable. You may ask, how about the target to sub-1 hour for 10k and sub-2 hours for HM? The result will come naturally if I stick to the training plan.

Dream Big, Work Hard & Play Hard!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2012 New Year Resolution – Part I

The year 2011 is about to end. I clocked so far 1790km, with the few more week to go, I think I should concluding year 2011 with 1900km. It’s hard to belief when I looking back on my training and running. I completed 15 races (and 1 more next week) in year 2011, with 3 full marathons and 5 half marathons.  The experience on running is fantastic and it gave me the chance to see the city & town on foot. On races wise, although some time we have some limited medal to chase for, but ultimately your only competitor is yourself. We learned how to face the demon especially in long distance running, keep ourselves focused and not gave in. We learned how to plan and play the game of running, so we can had the most fun (or torture you may say) out of this activity.

Now, it is time to plan for next year. I more or less promised to myself and the family that I will only join the race once a month, so planning is very essential. Ultimately, I would like to:
1. Complete at least 4 Full Marathon (tentatively, SCKLM, RJM, PNM & PBIM)
2. Achieve sub-5 in a Full Marathon
3. Achieve sub-2 in a Half Marathon
4. Achieve sub-1 in a 10k race

I had put in some tentative plan on the races I wish to do next year (based on their 2010/2011 event date). There are still some blank to be fill up, but I am not in hurry to fill them up. You may not know if some very good events only come out last minutes.
Jan 2012
New Year Newton Challenge 25km
Feb 2012

Mar 2012
Brooks Half Marathon
Apr 2012
Bidor Half Marathon
May 2012

June 2012
Standard Chartered KL Marathon
July 2012
Seremban Half Marathon
Aug 2012

Sept 2012
River Jungle Marathon
Oct 2012
Putrajaya Night Marathon
Nov 2012
Penang Bridge International Marathon
Dec 2012
Malakoff KL

By doing this, I can also avoiding the depression feeling as the Up Coming Registered Events list get depleted towards the end of the year. I don’t know about you, but I felt the emptiness after a big event passed. I need some other thing to look forward and I can focus myself to move on.

By putting up the planning, I can also do better financially. I am thinking of doing Standard Charted Hong Kong Marathon in year 2013, and bring my family to visit the Disneyland when I am doing my marathon. I need to start saving money for the trip now :P

Yup, I described my targets. Part II will be about how to achieving it. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Standard Charted Marathon Singapore Race Report

This is the major event for all my 2011 races and my 3rd Full Marathon. This is a short trip, arriving on Saturday noon, run the FM, and heading home on Sunday night flight. Surprisingly the Firefly offered good price on their ticket (SBZ-SIN-SBZ, RM210 all inclusive fare), so I don’t need to take the trouble of travel to KLIA or LCCT.
Walking  from MRT to Marina Bay Sands
Race Expo Entrance
82 counters to serve runners
I stayed in Little India for this trip. Race Pack Collection for SCMS is at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. There is no direct access of MRT to the luxury hotel, and we need to walk some distance to the Marina Bay Sands hotel. This eventually tuned my mind to walking mode. Why not just walk back to the hostel after the race pack collection? The distance on the map doesn’t look that far. Spent some time looking around in the Expo, shopping mall, and sure inside the Casino (didn’t try my luck in the casino because the exchange rate is killing the mood on that). Started to walk back to Little India around 6pm. Had my dinner at Bugis Junction and back in the hostel to prepare the running gear, and hit the bed on 9:30pm.
Christmas Tree at Marina Bay Sands Shopping
Complementary 300ml water from Casino
Perfect size for my running hydration
The rain finally stopped
On my way walking back to Little India
The Finish Line already set!
The Padang is ready!
The AWA area is ready!
The race day start at 3am. Prepared myself and start walking/jogging to the Orchard Road starting point. Reached the baggage deposit counter around 4:30am, the queue is very long. I spent 50 minutes to drop my bag. I was a bit tension when it getting close to 5am flag off, but after that, I realized this is just part of the race experience, so I waited patiently with other Singapore runners. As I slow jog from the hostel, I don’t do any warm up and proceed to the starting line. It took another 15 minutes to finally cross the timing scanner at starting line. Its 36 minutes late from the flag off. So I will not achieve sub-6 hours according to gun time, but my mind was clear that time. No need to talk about gun time, I only need to prove this to myself so I will only look at my watch for the total time. Btw, I am still secretly hoping that I can achieve sub-6 from gun time (and subsequently a great 5.5 hours net time), so I fixed my pace to 7:15~7:45 minutes, chase mode ON. I am ok to maintain this pace until the 27km (where the banana station located). I walked some short distance while consuming the 2 bananas and managed to restart the engine to continue running.

Finally, the dreaded ECP came to the end. When we ran into the construction area around 31km, I don’t know why but I lost the momentum to continue running. I am fully agreed with some opinions voiced by other runners, why on earth that we need to run in the construction area? There are surely lots of other interesting places in Singapore for the Marathon. The balance distances were covered by running 1.5km, walk 0.5km between water stations. I knew that I will not make it back before 6 hours from gun time. So I just enjoyed myself at a slower pace. And finally, cross the finish line by 6:18’57”, it’s just 30 seconds behind my finish time on PNM and the net time is 5:43’45”, a very happy sub-6 result!
From official photographer
At the Finish line, by Tey
Real time tracking system
Race result analysis, started late and ended up with passing lots of runners
Official Result
Overall, this is a very well organized event but it’s just too crowded.
1. Supportive crews along the route. The ladies were cheering words of encouragement, gave extra boost to me (but how come I don’t remember hearing of guys cheering? May be there are some, but my mind just unable to register it :p ).
2. Sufficient water stations on every 2km. Although some of the stations were extremely jammed, but the supply never ran out. Btw, I felt like the water station around the construction stretch were located more than 2km apart, but this could be my perception as that time I am walking!
3. Hassle free baggage collection post race (directly opposite with the baggage check-in).
4. Apart from the ECP and the Construction site, the route is great; we covered some famous area in Singapore by foot.

1. Overly crowded for 20k FM runners. Especially the 20km on East Coast Park, bottleneck on every water station.
2. Missing or no distance markers especially on the ECP and the construction area.
3. Finish line joined with other categories. So far this one I can only imagine as the Full Marathoners who do 3~4 hours will hit the peak wave of human wall from HM and 10k at the 37km mark until the finish line.

Btw, when I look back to this Singapore trip, I guess I did too well. I am actually walked 4km from the Marina Bay Sands back to hostel on Saturday, walked/jogged another 4km from hostel to Orchard Road starting point, and walked 2km from City Hall back to hostel on Sunday. If the walking counted, I should logging an Ultra Marathon with total distance >50km :p (walked lots too after the race for shopping at Bugis area). Running in the compression tight definitely helps, at least I am still able to walk normally after the marathon.

I am very happy on accomplished my sub-6 marathon. Now, it’s time to plan for next step.