Sunday, April 29, 2012

428, what’s next?

If you are the first timer yesterday’s protest, thank you for the support and recognition of the Bersih3.0. I am not an activist and last year 709 is the first time I walked the street. The rally last year, I also like most of the protestors, we followed all the progress at Facebook and other sources, desperately looking for the latest updates, news, watching for the reaction from people and Government to the Bersih2.0. After that? I was totally upset by the Government's response! I felt so helpless and didn’t know what to do. So, if yesterday was your first time, the following are some suggestions:
1. Do something you enjoy doing. If you like to exercise, moderate exercise can improve your mood. Don’t let other people fault screw up your mood.
2. Now switch off the network and keep the entire Sunday to your family. Isn’t this is your purpose to join Bersih? To give your family a better future? But why future? There are some things you can do NOW.
3. Tell every one you know on yesterday's rally. Tell them about the purpose of Bersih3.0 and how it progressed with the government's actions.
4. If you were injured, please rest and take necessary steps to ensure speed recovery. The demand will not achieved by only one or two assembly. Be ready to Bersih 4, 5, 6!

428 然后呢?
1. 去做你喜欢做的事情,如果你喜欢做运动,适量的运动可以改善你的心情。
2. 现在就把网络关掉,把整个星期天留给你的家人。这不是你参与集会的目的吗?给家人更好的明天?有些事情你其实现在就可以做。
3. 告诉你身边每一个人关于昨天的集会。集会的诉求,进展与政府的所作所为。
4. 如果你受伤了,请把身体养好。我们的诉求不是一两个集会就可以达成,准备Bersih 456 吧!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Energizer Night Race 2012 Race Report

This is my first Marathon for year 2012. The last Full Marathon is 4 months ago, so I am exited for this event. The feeling of running is totally difference in both training and racing. Not that I am able to win or that competitive, but nothing will beat the feeling of running together with lots of people aiming the same objective.

The event was a nightmare in year 2011, but with the new organizer, Energizer managed to turn around that perception last Saturday. All the good arrangement showing that the organizer & Energizer really think through and plan for this event. You may have fewer runners this year, but you took extra miles to make sure all the 5k runners happy with the great event!
For some reason (mainly due to work), I am either in the “over” or “under” trained stage compare to the previous Singapore Marathon. I had 2 high mileages months in Feb and March, but really struggled in April. I was into the running mood dip since early April. I did only minimum training to ensure the body is ready for the FM, but this turn out to be a good move. The body is rested before the run and enabling me to push harder in the FM. The mind is cleared once we flagged off from the starting line. The pace is rather consistence for the first 20k, stayed around 6:50~7:30min/km. It is hard to resist an up pace when you running thru a pack of cheerleaders. The soles start complained about the workload and the pace drop to 8min/km. That was around 1/2 of the 3rd loop. The mind is strong and managed to push for another loop, and I had to slow down to brisk walking pace around 9~10min/km.
Around 3.5 laps, 25km, photo by hhh
Laps tracking screen before the end of each loop, photo by Tey.
At 34km (1/2 of the 5th loop), the body and stamina are still ok to continue, but the sole are very pain and 2 blisters formed underneath the toes joint. I start to walk up all the climbs. There will be no way I could do better the SCMS 5:42, so I just enjoy myself and practicing how to regenerate and slowly restart of running from walking. Finally, the laps tracking screen shown that I had completed 5 laps. I am so happy and heading back towards the circuit. The happiness not lasted long, the service route is tougher with 2~3 climbs packed into that final 5km. The clock is ticking and I entered the final stretch in front of the grand stand with 5 minutes before 6 hours. Pushed the last bit out from my body and ignored the pain in the sole, finally I passed the finish line with only 30 seconds before 6 hours.
Finisher Medal, Front
Finisher Medal, Back
VFF after 42km of hard work!
This is the first time I ran a FM in VFF KomodoSport. I found that is difficult to walk in VFF if I don’t want to burn a hole on the outsole (and subsequently on my wallet to buy a new pair). We tended to slip and slide when walking in the low profile shoes or slippers. My VFF already badly wore out at the outsole due to my lazy feet from previous 26km training. So, I am really glad that I not only completed another sub-6 marathon, but also did it in VFF.
VFF Right Outsole before the race
Both legs got similar lazy feet issue.
Overall, this is the best marathon so far I had joined. Sure I will return in their 2013 editon.
1. Dedicated parking for Full Marathon, and this year we have no jam before entering the parking area.
2. Plenty of water station (every 2km each) and distances marking.
3. Cheerleading that really kept me going.
4. Laps tracking screen, the tracking is clear and the officers are really helpful to remind the runners on their progress.
5. Challenging route and looping. The looping really help me to adjust my running plan, I can visualize at which point in next loop to take my gel.
6. Shifting the event area to the Mall, with plenty of volunteers to directing participants along the way.

1. Some part of the route is without any illumination, especially the stretch from the beginning of the loop towards the first traffic light. The car headlight shined from the opposite lane really obstructing our vision.

Met KY and Nick. We had some discussion on Nick’s new favorite Skechers GoRUN. The good remark is tempted me to get one, will try it out on my next shopping day.

Met Paul before the start of the run. Paul really bared this round and running only with his tight & hydration. His body marked with “428 Bersih 3.0” and “Stop Lynas”, so I guess tentatively we will meet again in this Saturday in Dataran Merdeka for Bersih 3.0.

Met Khoo while looping on the route, he is volunteering again in this race. Thank you very much for the support, especially the cup of water at the final water station.
Next race will be PJ Dawn, coincidently the emcee that really screwed up herself in ENR2011 will be part of the “communication” team. I don’t know what is that means, but as the race will be running by PACM, I will still show up on the starting line. Enjoy yourself and have a safe race.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 910XT Review

My previous experience with Garmin doesn’t have a good ending. I had 2 units of GF405CX death in 10 months time. As I had no access to the service report, I can’t confirm the reason of the fatality, but I think it will mostly due to water or moisture immerse into the unit. But the true is I don’t bath or swim with the unit, the only practice I think may ruin the unit is I rinse the unit under the water tape after each run. Which I think is a must as I sweat a lot in every runs. In the end, I really not impressed by Garmin “IPX7” protection (rated submersion up to 1meter and 30minutes in water) in most of their Forerunner products range.

I planned to switch back to Polar (my HRM is Polar FT4, and it’s still functioning well). But I would say after the survey, the technology gaps between Polar and Garmin is huge! We all agreed that Polar is more specialized in HRM and Garmin is more specialized in GPS. I need the unit mainly for pace feedback and measure the running distances. I will need a GPS unit or at least a footpod. Polar GPS and footpod are really bulky and costly (RM900~RM1500 for the entry model FT60 or RS300X to high end model RCX5, with GPS or footpod). This price tag brings GF910XT (which is designed for triathletes) into picture. The list price for GF910XT is about RM1500, but it’s a compact unit with GPS built-in. I am not able to decide which one to go. The final kick came when I heard that TheMarathonShop is doing a promotion with Brooks Half Marathon and selling at RM1341. I decided I will give Garmin another try as this unit is rated water proof 50m.
Items in the box (image from web):
1. Forerunner 910XT
2. Heart rate strap
3. ANT USB data port
4. USB Charger (with AC adaptor)
5. Expander strap
6. Quick start guide and… some leaflets
The infrastructure of the GF910XT is same with the GF405CX, the HR strap, ANT USB port and USB charger are all exchangeable. So, the ANT port and charger still wrapped nicely inside the box until today.
Old and New version of Heart Rate Straps, both compatible
New HR Strap, with removable transmission unit
First thing you need to do, register your product with Garmin Connect. The unit will properly need some update on its firmware. GF910XT use a WebUpdater to update the firmware, but don’t know why the WebUpdater couldn’t detect my unit. I used the normal way, download the firmware into the ANT port, and push it over to the unit (the same way I done with GF405CX). It worked! HERE is the link to perform this update. It’s synchronize the workouts records to the same Garmin Training Center, you only need to pair it with ANT port, then change the default unit to GF910XT. And you can push your workout plans and other saved interval workout into the unit.
To add new device
To set new device as default unit, also a list of my previous GF405CX :P
Compared to GF405CX, the unit has a bigger display and more flexible wrist strap. The user interface is straight forwards. The main difference is the type of sports, Running, Cycling and Swimming. The unit is designed for multisports and triathletes, so the fields list will be a bit too long, especially for a casual runner like me (I like the recommendation from DCRainmaker, “like bringing a gun to a knife fight”). But after few trials on the Running setup, you will properly know all the fields and setup.
Compare with GF405CX
My first run with GF910XT is Brooks Half Marathon. As I am not really familiar with the fields, I put up some non-sense and some fields repeated. Monitor the run solely based on the Visual Partner’s target pace. Learned the lesson, and I am now happy with the fields display on Running. When I first put on the unit, it seems to be lots bigger than GF405CX, but as the wrist strap is more flexible, it give a better fit. No issue to adapt to a new unit. The response speed on GPS signal is excellent, and the battery life is great! I am not worry now if the battery runs flat before I completing a marathon.

Like what expected, there are still a tones of other functions in the unit I had not used or explored. Only tried to swim in the hotel swimming pool with the unit once (but my intention is to test out the waterproof only, I can’t really swim). I will properly stick to running for some time, no intention to move on to triathlon in near future (at least need to learn how to swim first :P).

Overall, from my 4 weeks experience, this unit is really good and suits my needs.
- User interface is easy and straightforward.
- Water proof 50m, this is the main reason I brought this unit.
- Long battery life, up to 20 hours. I don’t need to worry if the battery runs out before my race. I can even explore into Ultra marathon :)
- It does vibrate! Come with vibration alert that enabling lots of other alerting function like pace, heart rate, calories and run-walking strategy.
- Price, it’s on the expensive end if you use it only for running like me. But I think it really worth if used for triathlon.
- Inaccurate current pace, not sure if this is my own problem or the unit firmware, but no big issue, the average pace still working perfectly.
- No display of battery level in percentage during normal use. The normal view only showing the proximate power bars, and these bars are not proportion! The last bar properly still have 50% power remained. You can see the number only when you charging it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Training Update, running in VFF & Barefoot

February and March 2012 will be listed high in my training history as both months give very high number of training mileages, at 183km & 221km respectively. The last time I ran >200km per month is last October, where race Putrajaya Night Marathon alone contributed 42km. I only got Brooks Half Marathon in the pass 60 days, so the mileages in both months are strictly “training mileage”.
With the high mileages, I think my body undergo second stages of reforming and start to lose some weight now. I used to think that we can eat whatever as we did lots of exercise. The painful fact is, running can help in weight and cholesterol level control, but you still need to control the diet in order to achieve the ideal weight and reducing the cholesterol level. My weight stayed at 70kg since Nov 2011 (it even went up during the heavy feasting CNY period), finally I see the weighing scale dipping below 70kg after some control of my diet lately.

I adjusted my plan, focus and intensity of the training from time to time, mainly to keep myself motivated in training. We often claimed that we enjoyed most from the “running” itself, but the dish some time can be too plain and tough to take without other drivers. I tried to follow the training plan to push up my speed and mileages, but I think my body still not tune into the mode to take the high intensity. Hence I understand I am still lacking on the strength and will not able to run at the target pace as per the plan. From now on, I will drop the recommended pace and only go with the distances with my heart rate monitored.

After CNY, I added in Barefoot into my training. Started with barefoot walking 850m on the rest/cross training days, and increasing the training mileages in all the VFF runs. The previous training in VFF helps to remove some barriers to adapt to BF running, but my soles are obviously not yet ready to take on the rough surface. The first walking BF on the asphalt surface is a painful experience. It took me 15 minutes to cover the 850m. Compared to VFF, running BF needed more adjustment on muscle groups that enabling a softer landing on forefoot. Eventhough you get a good feedback from VFF, but the experience is not even closed to directly landing on BF. The legs muscles forced to fire up in order to reduce the impact. I learned not to over stride in walking, keep my stride length short and go with faster cadence or step rate. Finally, after about 2 months of BF walking, I finally put in some speed and start to run the 1st km in BF last Monday. Cover the 1km with 9min pace. More training and exposure needed in BF. But for now, I will switch back to VFF and my focus to my sub-5 marathon target.

Talking about running shoes, as you can see my shoes list, I am working on both extreme. I run in VFF and Control/Stability Shoes (Brooks GTS10). I have 2x GTS10, one of them already badly worn with >1000km mileages (part of the outsole gone); the other one is still new with ~100km mileages. I will retire the worn GTS10 after Energizer Night Race. I am not sure if I will run in VFF, but if I don’t, this GTS10 will race in ENR as its last race. Old shoes are best in giving reliable support in race. Will get another VFF soon as the KomodoSport is badly worn on the outsole as well (caused by my lazy right feet that grazed the road surface often after 21km mark). Saw this Retro version of VFF Originals in FB, will this arrive in MAL soon?
Next race in Energizer Night Race, I will set my Visual Training Partner pace to 7.5min/km to finish the FM before 5.5hours. But I am not really good in following the game plan, tentatively the adrenalines and my ego will still push me harder until the 30km, I will properly accomplish my sub-5 target if I don’t walk at all after that (walked a lots after 30km out from ECP in SCMS last year).

See you in the Sepang International Circuit on 21 April.