Friday, December 28, 2012

The Marathon Series 2013

The Marathon Shop gave a teaser during the previous River Jungle Marathon about this new marathon that they will put up in 2013. Now the waiting is over and The Marathon Series 2013 is here! The Island Ocean Marathon will be held in Langkawi on 21 April & The River Jungle Marathon will be on 1 September.
They pack both boutique marathons into one package and giving out good offer. But if you ask me my main reason to join both marathons,  it will be the unique designed finishers medals. Collecting both medals and you can join them as one ying-yang 阴阳 symbol.
Unique Finisher Medals' Design
I had registered and planned for a family holiday along the marathon in Langkawi. Are you joining me ?

(This is a trial post via mobile blogger)
Note: the Android Mobile Blogger really suck, good enough for a simple wordy blog post but can't do much on layout editing. What you see now is edited on the laptop.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Year Resolution 2013

It is again the time to reflect back my running in 2012, before it ended in few days time, and plan ahead for 2013. Look at the training mileage, I had most of my mileage logged in the first quarter, then I started to fall back. Most likely during that time, I over trained, hit the ceiling and burned out. Over trained is a relative term, my mileage of 180~220km per month can be a normal weekly mileage for some elite’s, but hellish to me. Hopefully I am now fully recovered and ready to take on the new challenge in the coming new year.

In year 2012, I made some changes in my running. First I shifted to running full time in VFF. Then now I start running full time barefoot. Set up 4 runningtargets, but only able to accomplished 2 of them. So, I am felt a bit miserable don’t know how to set the new targets.

After putting together some thoughts, I think,
1. Complete 1 full marathon in barefoot (tentatively, PBIM or PNM).
2. Complete a full marathon in 5 hours.
3. Complete a half marathon in 2 hours.
4. Get my weight down to 66kg and maintain it.

Again I will restrict my races as 2013 will be very busy at work. Races in planning,
Jan 2013
MPIB 2013 Run, 12km
Feb 2013

Mar 2013
Brooks Half Marathon
Apr 2013
Bidor Half Marathon
May 2013

June 2013
KL Marathon
July 2013
Seremban Half Marathon or Gold Coast Marathon
Aug 2013

Sept 2013
River Jungle Marathon
Oct 2013
Putrajaya Night Marathon
Nov 2013
Penang Bridge International Marathon
Dec 2013
Macau Marathon or Singapore Marathon or MR25

I haven’t decided on some of the races in the list, (Bidor, GC and Macau/Singapore) mainly to avoid crashing with my work schedule. And not all will be racing barefoot. I will update my barefoot running status on a separate post. Anyway, I will take it easy until June/July, and get my weight down to my target 66kg. This is essential to complete the rest of the marathons lined up towards the end of the year.

So, what is your plan?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Race Report: Alliance Penang Bridge International Marathon

This is my last race for year 2012, no more races lined up until MPIB Run 2013. I was hoping to achieve my sub-5 marathon, but as my training really not up to par, the hope is nothing more than a wishful thought.

I again took the flight from Subang, but this year I skipped the hotel and doing a touch and go run. Touched down Penang about 9:30pm, I took a bus to Queensbay Mall where the starting line is. Reached the shopping mall before 10:30pm, still got time to get some last minutes supplies. The mall guards started to get shoppers out from the mall and the mall will be closed down! This was only the beginning, in the 15 hours I spent in this mall, I really don’t felt like I was welcomed. The mall management really don’t appreciated the crowd that drawn by the marathon. But nevermind, guess this will be the last time we had the starting/finish line here. We will have the 2013 version in the 2nd link bridge!

It was quite hard for me to spent those few hours before it start, the event area was not really happening. Got my usual chores completed and finally saw more runners gathered around the event area after 12am. Time flied when I catching up with some fellow friends and meet up with the BWM group for the photo before the flag off. All runners were expecting rain and a wet run, but the night was hot and humid, almost not a single breeze even on the bridge. Combined with the starting time at 2am, I think this is the toughest marathon condition I been thru so far.

The marketing placed this will be the last time we ran on the Penang Bridge had drawn lots of participants. The FM 3000 participants limit filled up few months before it closed. Hence, we had a very packed start. We ran in rather packed condition all the way to the first u-turn at 4km, and my pace was a mess, can’t pick up my pace unless I prepared to take/give lots of shoulders from/to other runners. Finally, the pack eased after the u-turn and I pickup my pace to chase the pacers. As the plan was to superglue to the 5 hours pacers, I was a bit worry cause I was just passed the 6 hours pacers group. It took me another 5km to catch the 5:30 pacers group, finally I overtook them on the bridge and those elite half marathoners overtook us.

Btw, the closers I got to the 5 hours pacers group was at the mainland side before the turning back. I saw them completed the underpass and heading back the island when I only arrived to the start of the underpass. It’s about 800m? Then I totally lost sight of them. I felt relieved to start running back to the island but I was not able to push my pace anymore. The heat wave plus the polluted air from near by factories really took out my reason to push. One thing that I can’t really tell if the organizer did it right or wrong is the giving out of 500ml water bottles. On one hand, we really don’t need that much of water during run, but those excessive amounts of water really save me from giving up. I took my first bath at this refreshment station (they giving out beard too) by emptying the whole bottle on my head.
Landmines on the bridge... (source: FB photo)
So, I readjusted my target to just don’t let the 5:30 pacers overtake me. As the route joined back with half marathon, the bridge was “people mountain people sea”. Used bottle and sponge filled up every inch of the bridge, and packed with some landmines – the bottles’ caps. I stepped on one and lucky the light footing didn’t cause me to jump. Finally get thru the peak of the bridge and again I saw Maybel and her green 5:30 hours balloon. I tried my best to keep up with her until the half marathoners u-turn point, then I had to let her go. The stomach generated too much of gas properly due to overdosed coffee/caffeine. Due to lack of sleep, the mind seems to shutting down too! I had a hard time to calculate how many kilometers and time I still need to go from the 29k to 33k u-turn point. I took two more baths along this stretch by the godsend 500ml water bottles, just to keep my heat down and the mind functioning from dozing off. Like others’ experience, running this stretch on the Jelutong Expressway is tough, straight long highway stretch with few flyovers/bridges, and after get over it, you u-turn and do it again! But as we are slow runners, we can observe the beautiful sky line changing color and the sun is coming out.

Finally, the route joined with the 10k route and heading back to the finish line. The last 3km of the route was packed with 10km runners but I think still manageable as my time don’t crashed with the fun runners and the organizer separate out the finishing stretch for FM/HM and 10k runners. Saw Lina at the roundabout (really appreciated the support and the photos taken) and really boost up my running form for the photo (die die must look nice in the photos, check out the photo on her blog, totally difference from the bottom half dead one). Completed my 8th full marathon with 5:40’47”.
Half dead... towards the finish line.
Overall, the race is very well organized.
Good things,
1. 500ml water bottle given in most of the water station, and they prepared sufficient in all water stations. We had sufficient water to even take baths.
2. Separated finish line from 10k runners. I knew this is kind of standard practice in other marathon, but you will appreciate it more when it first happened.
3. The last run on the old Penang Bridge.

Possible improvement,
1. 500ml water bottle given in most of the water station. Like I said I can’t tell if this is good or bad thing. We don’t actually need that much of water at once for hydration in long distances running. Lots of bottles abandon on the side way with just few slips taken. I used these bottles to take baths. Those volunteers look strangely at me when I ask them to help to refill my bottle, most of them just hand me another bottle (as usual I carry my own bottle in almost every race).
2. Some sections of the route are very packed, especially on the bridge (join with half marathon), after 39k (join with 10k). I saw some information about the new bridge designed with 2+1 lanes, which I think will be similar to the old bridge. May be the organizer can rethink the route in order to minimize the over lapping? Don’t restrict to start/finish at the same place. The new bridge is 26km long and if the similar routing strategy used, the first 5k from the starting point will be jammed pack like sardine. How about FM/HM starting from mainland, finish on the island? 10k and fun run can start/finish on the island side?

This concluded my 2012 races. Now is time to plan for 2013 training and races. What is your plan?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Race Report: CICM Responsible Care 2012 10k Corporate Challenge

It been a while I didn’t signed up any short distances races, and the 10k race in CICM was actually my first and only 10k race in year 2012. CICM 2010 was my first official race and first finisher medal. I missed the 2011 edition when it moved from Bukit Jalil to Setia Alam. This year, the company took part in the corporate challenge, so I ran in this special category together with another 4 colleagues. Total of 7 companies took part and the result was taken from the total time of top 5 runners from each company.
My first ever finisher medal
My colleagues are ambitious; we did some planning up front to see if we can take back the trophy to the office. There were lots of races happen yesterday and there 10k only a sub-category of the CICM race, some of the fast runners will be attracted to other race/category. We actually stand a good change to win the corporate challenge, if we all completed the 10k with a sub-60 minutes time. My last race that had closes to a 10k was the Men Health 12k and I did 72 minutes. If I pushed harder from the start, I think should have no issue to finish with a sub-60 minutes 10k. The only problem now is the flu/cold I got from the changing weather. From the experience, I know that I will be ok to start with some flu and running nose, as long as I don’t have fever. Anyway, one of my 2012 goals is to complete a 10k race in 60 minutes. Let see if I am ready.

I woke up on Sunday morning around 4:30am, happy to see the long life rain finally stopped. Reached the starting point around 5:40am, the area was crowded and we have to park on the mud filled car park. The temperature is very nice for running and I know the race will be a great and enjoyable one. Our plan is simple, run at our best and try to keep up with the fastest runner in the team (he planned to go with 5min pace, we need to at least keep him within sight). The half marathoners flagged off around 6:15am, and then we flagged off around 6:45am. The 10k route is generally flat with steady incline, only 2 significant climbs on the flyovers. The first flyover located right within the first km, the legs is still fresh so no slow down on it. The second flyover located around 4km, I was struggled to keep up with the team and I actually lost sight of our lead runners! Properly due to the flu, the heart rate was already 170BPM when I overcame the 2nd flyover. I can slow down when coming down from this flyover to regulate my heart rate, but I will drag back the team effort! So, I charged down the flyover instead of my normally slow descending style. Carefully maintaining my hearth rate at 170~175, I continued to push on to kept the pace at 5.4~5.6 minutes and kept the 2nd runner from our team within sight.
CICM 2012 Finisher Medal
Finally, I completed the loop of CityMall at 8km, and heading back to the start/finish line. Few of the top half marathoners passed me, and it’s really enjoyable to see they pushed on with their effortless strides. Nothing left in my tank and my hearth rate already warning me, so no final push in this race. I completed the 10.35km by 55’36” at 28th in category D (10k men open). The whole team was completed the race within 60 minutes as planned, and the lead runner actually finished at 50 minutes. We won the corporate challenge!
Corporate Challenge Trophy
Overall, the race is nicely organized and the route is very challenging. Some possible improvement,
1. Distances markers, very limited distances markers available along the route. For 10k and 5k, the one and only distances marker I noted is the “1km more to go”!
2. Traffic control. We are running the starting and finishing stretch on the highway, it will be great if the traffic cons placed to separate the cars and the runners.
3. Earlier flag off time for half marathon, start at 6:15am will be very hot for slow and even average runners doing around 2+ hours (sun raises around 6:50am in this time of the year). We are lucky yesterday as the sun took extra nap and only came out 7:25am.

Finally, I checked the 2nd goal out of the 4 goals that I set for year 2012.
1. Completed 4 full marathons.
2. Completed sub-60 minutes 10k race.
1. Sub-2 hours in 21k race.
2. Sub-5 hours in full marathon.

The sub-2 half marathon is out of the question as I the only race that I have for this year is a full marathon in Penang Bridge International Marathon. I will give my best to see if I can stay with 7 min pace all the way and wraps up 2012 by achieving this goal too. 12 more days to go.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Race Report: PACM Back to basic 30k

Like I said in previous post, running 30k alone in LSD is very tough and mentally challenging. So, what is better than having few hundred more people training together with you on a beautiful Sunday morning? I signed up this event immediately when it opened. The route is very challenging. We start from Padang Merbuk, the reverse double hills, and then run one round of Hartamas Height. That only counted 15k when we back in where we started, 2nd loop is there waiting for us.

I didn’t train specifically for this event, just make sure that I had my normal short runs during the weekdays and I should be ok to complete this 30k. The only concern will be the temperature. I will at least spending 3.5 hours on the road in order to complete the 30k. Looking at the recent weather, it will be on the extreme, either a very wet run or a very hot run. But we had some luck that morning, the weather is running friendly and the sun only came out 7:30am.
After the 1st loop, don't know why I am so happy :P
On the 2nd loop around 24k, can't smile anymore ;P
The event flagged off around 5:30am. Lots of participants still chit-chatting and taking picture when we flagged off. Everyone seems to have the same plan, “take it easy and have fun”. That’s what in my mind too, back to basic and have fun :)  I enjoyed every single pieces of this event. The challenging and changing terrain made the event even more enjoyable. Not much issue on the 1st loop, and I think I handled the mentality challenge posted by the 2nd loop quite well. The reason for me to signing up these long distances events/races is to see how far I can go when my energy drained off. The few marathons I did previously gave me the experience of coming back or running on reserved tank after the main one drained off. I repeated this thought whenever the mind trying to shut down the legs when the sun is high up, magically there were always some new energy coming up when I dig deep enough. This kept me going and the GF910XT only recording about 600m of walking in this 30km run (mainly over the water stations and a short distances around 28k). Finished the 30k (slightly under distance, recorded 29.62km only, may be I cut too much corners) in 3:36’45”.
As usual, plenty of food and refreshment served after the finish line. Took lots of watermelons to make sure I replenish the hydration level. Waited a bit to collect the special PACM finisher-T for SCKLM 2012, loved the design but the event was in June, it will be much better if we can have it earlier. No complain about the even, everything smoothly organized. My only suggestion will be providing icy-cold water/Gatorade at the water stations. The weather is tough after the 9am and the cold water will be great help.

Coming weekend will be a short run in CICM. Only doing 10k so I don’t over stressed my body before the PBIM. Tapering will start after that event, but I doubt that I will slow down significantly. Really looking forward to PBIM, which will be my last race for year 2012.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Race Report: Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012

This is my 7th full marathon. Like all other runners, I was expecting a wet night run in Putrajaya. The sky was so dark when I am on my way to Putrajaya and no one will belief that we will eventually don’t have a single rain dropped that night, and the whole morning before the flag-off was dry and sunny too.

Arrived the parking around 6:40pm, already the parking is filled with cars and runners. Walked around the starting line and bounced into Khoo and his family. He was volunteer last PNM but this year only come to show support. Met with Nick before we were called into the starting pen. Not much warming up for me as I think the slow pace will only do the warming up on the route. The race flagged off right on time. I ran with Nick from the start. I think we started too fast, the pace for the first 10k was around 6.5~7 minutes, which is too fast for my target (but too slow for Nick :P). I knew that my under-trained condition will not allow me to hold on to this pace, so I just slowed down at 10k water station and Nick continued to pushed on.

This year got more runners in full marathon category, the route don’t felt so lonely this time. But this time I got new problem to deal with… I felt sleepy! This is the first time I felt sleepy in the middle of the race. The sleepiness really took away my pace and I beginning to slow down to some walking break from 21k onward. We were running on the long boring stretch of the highway at this point. Used varies methods to kept myself awake, counting lamp poles, cons, cars, and people passed me; stopped at all water stations too.

Finally, reached the 30k u-turn point and collected the gel at 33k (I don’t bring gel with caffeine). I gulped in the gel and slowly ramped up my pace again. Anyway, that the hilly section of the route started, and continued all the way to the finish. I had to reconfigured my running / walking mode. Walking up all the climbs and running on the declines and the flat route. I found that I actually enjoy doing this! Slowly regain my momentum, and I started to run all the way from 40k. Crossed the finish line in 5:46’13”.

Charging to the finish line.
Overall, organizer did a great job in PNM 2012. My only request for 2013 version will be allowing more runners to join the full marathon category (only about 800 of us registered this year). Putrajaya have wide open road to handle more 42km runners, properly this can be grow to 3rd biggest marathon event in Malaysia.

Good thing from this race, my feet seem recovered or the focus on the running gaits really help on it condition. I have one more full marathon (PBIM) to test out my goal of sub-5 marathon. I will need to ramp up the training to normal level now. Can I achieve my goal in Penang? We shall see :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Just happened to browse thru the Dailymile site today, and saw this beautiful number on my total mileage. I started in Dailymile few months after I ran regularly, so I guess the total mileage since Sept 2010 will be about 500km more? I used to keep checking on these numbers especially the pounds/donuts burned, those were my motivation on my early stage of running. Rounding the world is another interesting number to looking at. I know this mileage is not really significant compared to some of the running hardcore, but I just wish to keep a record to mark down the distances I went so far. Hopefully, the running journey will continue until I rounded the world few times :)     …. btw, how far is it around the world?

Less than 48hours to my 7th Full Marathon.
See you guys in Putrajaya!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Race Report: KRI Anniversary Run 2012

This is my first ever bandit into a race. Incase you are not aware what is bandit a race is all about, it means running in a race without registration. Why I did this? I did that just for fun and I planned to support myself all the way from the starting line. The only resource I used is the marshals and traffic control, so I think it is ok to try it out. The initial feeling is ok, but I don’t really felt great after bandit a race. I quite agreed with the blog HERE. Guess this will be the first and the only bandit race I got for experience sick.

The right feet still feeling some pain, I grounded for few days to see if it will heal by weekend. But sadly the pain was still there when I did my 7k on Saturday morning. Anyway, as I need some long distances run to see if I can go for next week Putrajaya Night Marathon, I decided still give it a go. The drizzling started about 30 minutes before the race flag off, just nice to wet the road and give some nice cooling ambience to start with. I started with very conservative pace, stay with the 6:45~7 minutes pace all the way to 7km. This is to test water to see how my feet doing, and I need to save the water in my Gatorade 500ml bottle until 17km.

The route is actually very flat with only an overhead bridge at the start and the end. Great PB route but I am really not in condition to push for one. Btw, Jalan Kuala Kangsar is really not very good for runners and traffic is heavy even in the Sunday morning. When we directed to cross a traffic light @ 7km into the Tasek Industrial Park, I found that I am running all alone and the traffic police under lots of honks and pressured me to go faster. The right feet straight away complaining right after that, I need to slow down and adjusting my landing to see if I can continue. Lucky, the pain subsided after a while and I continued my 7 minutes pace without issue. After the industrial park, we got detoured to a housing area for another u-turn. Then back to the main road, I stopped by the Shell petrol station @ 17km for a Gatorade. Without much hesitates, I up my pace to 6.3 minutes and hold it up until finished with 2:22'17".
Running with the free t-shirt from MPIB 2013 Running clinic
Great things about this race,
1. Great organizing especially on the water stations, the supplies are plenty (eventhough I didn’t use any of the supply).
2. Route is relatively flat, good if you aiming for PB.
3. Ipoh race, plenty of lenglui (pretty girls) running in this race. You always got a reason running right in front of you to run faster to chasing them.

The only thing to improve will be the traffic control, especially on those traffic lights crossing points. Saw a near miss for the 10k lead runner stopped for traffic.

Overall a great event and I will come back next year to run as an official participant. On a side note, the registration fees for this event is actually on the high side. Lets hope that next year they will improve on this too.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Race Report: River Jungle Marathon 2012

A long overdue race report.

Finisher Medal (Front)
This is a very stressful race, eventhough this is my second time running on this beautiful route, but my physical condition don’t allow me to enjoy very much on the scene. I rushed back from Ipoh on Saturday night and can’t sleep well after prepared my race kit for the next morning. The alarm sounded on 2:45am, and I need to force myself out of bed and get ready to the starting point which is about 50minutes from my place.
RJM Route
Reached the venue about 4am and the parking were quite full. There are 400+ runners this year. Saw lots of familiar faces in the starting line, we took some photos. James briefed us about the route, promised the “fun” will begin from 17km (the Bukit Hantu) and some surprise along the route. The joke eased my stress a bit. Then we flagged off on time, and we heading to the 1st u-turn around 2.5km. The route is dark but I had less worry about the potholes issue as the roads seem to just resurface recently. I kept a very consistence pace @ 6.5 ~7 minutes all the way to 17km water station, right before the Bukit Hantu. The first stretch completed in 2hours as planned.
RJM Route Elevation
Stopped for some drinks and collected the energy gel for later. I took up the climb by slow jog. The mist still very thick when I start climbing, felt really great running in such cooling weather. The first km still manageable, but I had to slow down to walk as the elevation increasing, and finally reached the peak @ 20km. Charge down the descent at about 6~7 minutes pace and finished the 2nd stretch of the route in 51minutes, with 9 minutes to spare! Saw Khoo and his two princes volunteering @ water station, didn’t chat much as wish to use the balanced momentum to continue until the 2nd u-turn.
After 25km, still looking fresh. Photo by Khoo
This stretch is the most beautiful part of the route, it overlook to the magnificent water dams, but the sun start to come out and temperature raise. Completed the u-turn and returned to the water station for a banana, Khoo told me that there will be surprises in the 29k water station. That actually kept me going for a while. But I find it hard to kept on 7 minutes pace and the pace start to yo-yoing from 6.5 to 9 minutes. Not really good thing during the half way of a marathon. Finally reached the 29k water station and the icy cold coconut waiting us! Took my time to slowly drink it in and enjoy the surprised look on the other runners. Rested about 5 minutes, then dragged my legs out from the water station and move on.

From there onwards, I can hardly maintain an 8 minutes pace. I am not sure about my condition, I felt tired, weary and legs seem too heavy to keep moving. The situation continued and finally I gave up on running around 35km (even the great asam-boi ice popsicle handed out around 32k can’t help the situation). It must the longest 3km I faced. Walking alone under the hot sun, I can’t help to blame myself on taking up this challenge again, and swear that I will not return for the 3rd time next year. I tried to restart the engine by the run-walking interval, but that can’t help too. 5hours passed and I only completed 37km, I doubted myself could finish the balance 5km in one hour and I will definitely missed my target time. The feeling sunk to the bottom. I certainly missed Khoo who pushed me to continue last year.

Now, I can’t pin-point the reason that jump-started my engine again at 38km. Is that caused by the cheerful volunteers at water station, or may be is it the Singapore Mad Runner who passed me so cheerfully with other runners? Or I just get thru “the wall”? I don’t know. At that point, I just damped all my thoughts, ignored the pain, shut the mind off and continued the running. Stopped by the last water station for a quick refill, then I ran all the way back to the finish line. Completed my 6th marathon in 5:44’06”, 4 minutes behind my target.
Finisher Medal (Back)
RJM 2012, finish line
Overall this is a great marathon that you should try at least once. The challenging route, the scene view and the best organizer will sure give you the mixed feeling whether to redo it or not. For time being, I would like to taste that jump-starting feeling again, and I had the 3rd part of my game plan failed to execute. So I will return in 2013.

Key learning,
1. Lacking of training will definitely screw up the execution :P
2. GU Chomp not suitable for me as replacement of Gel. I don’t like the taste that staying too long in my mouth.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Preparation for 2012 River Jungle Marathon

Another 5 days will be my 6th marathon. River Jungle Marathon 2011 is my first full marathon. Back then, the route and the 42km really beat me up. I was really lucky to just finish the race, and I promised myself I will return to the course again to improve my timing. Looking back to what I had completed since then, I should be able to better the timing for this coming marathon compare to 6:31 last year. But I didn’t have sufficient training lately, so, a game plan is essential for me to optimize both speed and fun of running.

We can divide the route into three sections.
1. The first 17km from the starting line towards the 1st U-turn point, then all the way to the water station before the big climb. This section is rather flat, so I will go with 6.5~7 minutes pace to complete these 17km in 2 hours.
2. Then follow by the 6km of the famous Bukit Hantu, a combination of 3.8km climb and 2km descent. Plan to go with 10~12 minutes brisk-walking pace so I can clear this 6km in 1 hour.
3. Then the balanced 20km with a short climb, will be the real test on me to hold up to 7 minutes pace.
If everything went well, I will complete the race in 5:20. I will leave 20 minutes for spare. My target for this marathon will be 5:40.
This is from 1st edition, some changes made on the route
I will not put up a plan B, the mind will tentatively swift to auto mode and roll out the plan B (usually run-walking from 30km onwards) if I fixed something like that up front. Marathon, like other aspect in our life, we will need to push ourselves over the limit to enjoy the most of it. I planned to play hard this time, how about you? Good luck to those who running in Adidas KOTR.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Restarting Engine

Running had been one of the essential parts of my life since Sept 2010. As I peak my training mileages in March this year, it seems to be some over-trained effect posted on me. I find it hard to head right out the door eventhough I am still waking up on 4:30am. I normally dragged myself until 5:30~5:45am so that I only had enough time for 4~7km. The impact is clearly shown on the monthly running log. I am not really good at self reflection, so it took some time for me to make up my own story about this. The 11 days of grounding period that without running at all really helps.
Two main points (which there are not really stand alone) to summarize this,
1. Running is not solely for enjoyment anymore.
2. Sense of achievement some time can be too heavy to bear.

It is good to have a training plan and adhere to it to achieve a preset goal. It is embedded on my personality that I will normally felt depression after a big event, especially there are nothing else will be happen in the near future. Like we usually joked about the incline in a route, every ascent will be follow by a descent. The achievement is great, but we will later need to endure the down side of the story. Sadly, running which give big sense of achievement fall nicely into this model.

In other term, as long as I trained enough and did it right on the race day, the sub-5 marathon goal is really achievable for me. But I think I am too afraid to ask myself, what’s next? I am happy if I am running a 4 hours plus marathon, but I think I will need to put in many more effort if I wish to improve further, and it may tentatively take away the fun part from this activity. Eventually, I will hit my best and how should I handle that situation?

I wish I could have the answer to myself, but I don’t, at least for now. I am still running because I signed up some races and I still enjoy reading my fellow runners’ blogs FB posts. I am trying out some new thoughts and ways to handle the feeling. Isn’t that life always is? I am consider lucky that I am still understand my own feeling and able to put up some thoughts about it. May be one day I will be able to overcome the huddle and become more invincible to my emotion swing. I will settle with what I had for now. One good thing that I learned from running long distances, focus to your current step!
The Olympics Men Marathon last night gave me some adrenaline to continue. Meb Keflezighi can still come back after 8 years and finished at 4th at age 37. Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda running at his own pace and stayed on the chasing pack until 37km before he take the lead, break out 200m from the Kenyan and claimed the gold medal.
Meb Keflezighi took over the 4th place on the final stretch
Stephen Kiprotich win the 2012 Olympics Marathon.
Both Olympics 2012 photos taken from internet source:

I am restarting my engine now for the River Jungle Marathon in 9 Sept. No sub-5 expected from this marathon. I think I missed lots of scenes and other fun during my first marathon last year. I will take my own sweet time to enjoy this route again.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Race Report: Pacemakers 8th Anniversary Relay Run Series 1

This is my first relay event. Thanks for KY who brought us together from Dailymile to take part in this event. The event organized by Pacemaker in conjunction to celebrate their 8th anniversary. This is the series 1 which flagged off in Tapak A at KL Lake Garden, with the distance of 3.2km per leg. Four of us (Lina, Nick & CK, KY last minute pulled out due to injury) will run the same distances and same route, which inclusive rounding the lake for 2km, and then climb up many stairs before continue for the balanced 1+km.
Team photo before the race
About 1.5km rounded the lake, before the dreadful stairs
Final km, after the dreadful stairs
Happy faces team photo, after the completion
This is a high speed event, so I put in some speed repeats for the last 2 weeks workouts. It’s turned out the effort well paid off. I ran the fastest 3km in my life with the 4:38 & 4:54 minutes pace for the first 2km. Running in 2nd leg after Lina. Like most of the participants, I sprinted to my limit for the first 2k until the stairs, and then walked up those stairs. Finished my leg with 16’30”, and the team finished in a total time of 1:08’53” for the 4x 3.2km, placed 44 out of the total 80 teams. Happy with the result and glad that we will not going for the series 2 eventhough we will missed the medal in Autobat design (the organizer claimed that is a much challenging route compared to series 1).
An overview of the stairs on the 2nd km of the route
Finisher Medal - Decepticons
The relay was really fun and we can go all out for sprinting as the distances are short. The other great experience is cheering and being cheer by the team members and others. Many photographers were supporting this event. The FB wall is flooded with photos from this event. The above photos taken by varies supporters from FB.

Now is about time to restart my training plan for the sub-5 marathon goal, a nice 16 training weeks from the APBIM. But life won’t the free from obstacles and went smoothly. My works and family demanding more time at this moment, and the hazel just returned to KL. Lots of adjustment needed to fulfill my goal, but all these obstacles will only make the final result taste better. I will return to my first marathon race, RJM for its 2012 edition on 9/9/12. Looking at the elevation at Bukit Hantu, I will be happy if I complete this marathon within 5.5~6 hours.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Races Report: Men’s Health Night Run and Seremban Half Marathon

Often we saw some hardcore runners doing back to back races, some even packed in Full Marathon in the combination. I though it will be fun if I can try it out. Further more, it is July and there will be no race during the fasting month. We raced like a bear that preparing itself with food before the hibernation in winter :p  I took part in both races 2011 editions.

Men’s Health 2012 took a difference route, but it is still rounding the similar Putrajaya Night Marathon route. Missed the limited medal last year, but as this year there are 500 units allocated for Men-Open category, so I am not worry at all. Game plan, hang in the race and flow with the crowds’ pace at about 6 minutes, conserve my energy for the big game next day. Seremban HM is the same challenging route like last year. Limited medal too, but I am not very worry to miss that cause as usual it will be not many runners running in this event as there are lots of other races in Klang Valley. Game plan, trying my best to sub-2.

Yes I planned big for these two races, but there are some variance came into picture later. I got an urgent training assignment to Pakistan, and need to travel until 14 July morning. My coughing and phlegm conditions are still moderate, yet to fully recover from the flu I got since end May. This means I will have very minimum training before both races and will run in sub-optimum conditions. When I touched down in KLIA on Saturday 11am, I felt to DNS both races. But I got some sleep in the afternoon and decided to follow the plan for the night.

Reached the starting line around 6:40pm, still had lots of time until the flag off. Met Nick with his new handsome running shoes (GoRun Ride), and then just did my routine warm up until the starting pen open. As I had no intention to push for speed, just took a place about 30+ m from the line. Lots of people tried to get closer to the line, but obviously some of them are none runners. Started in the few meters closer to the starting line but walked from the first few km on the race? I find it hard to understand the logic behind this move, but that is usually happened when the race is too commercialized. You will found more of these people in coming Adidas KOTR or Nike WeRun.

After few races last year in Putrajaya, I become very familiar with the route. We headed out to PICC, then turn into the dreaded final stretch of the Putrajaya Night Marathon (30km onwards). If you kept your eye on the asphalt, you will notice some distances marking. Btw, the route is very quiet this year. I am actually looking forward to be cheered by those cheerleaders like last year or any other races done by Twenty-first Century. Further more, I maintained a very boring 6 minutes pace all the way from the start. I start to felt bored after the hilly part of the route at the final 2km. Saw GusGhani running in Barefoot, have a quit chat with him on the BF experience, and I started to cheering the walking people around me. It is a great experience! But I think I annoyed some of them :P   Charged to the finish line after the last turn. Finished the race at 1:11’48”, got my limited medal.
Didn’t stayed long, I left the venue once collected my goody and cool down. Straight to the bed after cleaning up myself. But heck, the adrenaline still active, I can’t sleep very well and the alarm clock sounded as it was already 4am. Left home around 4:50am and reached Seremban around 5:40am. Got another book from Melvin before the flag off on 6:30am. It started to drizzling around 6am and we had a wet flag off. Eventhough the weather is superb for running, but I knew very well that I will not able to achieve my sub-2 HM. The body felt refreshed by the drizzling, but its’ still tired from the flight and the 12km earlier. Tried hard to start and maintaining a 6 minutes pace, but hit by the climb right in front of the Seremban Carrefour and the pace start to drop to 7 minutes. Decided to run this as another LSD at 7 minutes pace. Used the same trick last night and start to “encourage” (i.e. disturbing) other runners who started to walk. Btw, I was started to run-walk-run strategy from about 16km. Caught by Melvin after about 1km run-walking, got my new energy source via chatting with him and avoiding the school boys & girls. Completed the race at 2:21’48”, got the limited medal too.
There are lots of race reports talking about the pro and cons about these two races, I will not repeat them here. I will only focus on my key learning,
1. It is not fun (at least not now) to do back to back races. May be this is due to my lack of training, other commitments or the total distances (covered 33km in total). At my current condition, I am obviously not ready for this.
2. Game plan is great to ensure a comfortable race and achieving the preset goal. But the execution power is also importance. I had a relatively easy and enjoyable race in Saturday night, but struggle on Sunday morning as there is nothing left in the tank to execute the plan.
3. Talking to others and cheering others up in the race is very enjoyable experience, and it’s helped to divert the stress (and sometime focus) from the race.

After 2 days off from running, I restarted my training this morning. There will be another race next Sunday (4x3.2km Relay @ PAR8), then we will break for Fasting month and Hari Raya. And the rest of the year will be focused to the sub-5 Marathon target.