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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Coffee anyone?

I started as a coffee drinker around Form 3 or 4, which is about 16 years old. It started from the good image projected from those movies, novels and readings. Didn’t really like it in the first place, but as it does help to kept me awake until late night and the Chinese radio station just started to have 24 hours broadcasting and it play great songs during midnight. I would woke up all night long just listen to those songs, and the side effect is my academy result improved  :P
The same coffee mud used for 20 years.
Eventhough I am with coffee for about 20 years but I am not the choosy type of coffee drinker. I only take 3-in-1 mostly, and whatever available from the coffee venting machine in office. When the Nescafe White Coffee first introduced to our office venting machine, I was happy to have an extra verity on top of the common 3-in-1. Everyday, I took 1 cup 3-in-1 early in the morning before any activity (even before the routine running). The 2nd cup will served upon reaching the office and the 3rd cup will be after lunch. These are the minimum volume of coffee intake in a regular working day. The addiction went up together with the workload and stress factor. I could take up to 5~6 cups of white coffee in the office in a single day. On a weekend, I only take 1 cup 3-in-1 in the morning.

As I started running, the weight dropped from 80kg to 70kg, but it’s stayed at 70kg for really long time since October 2011. I though it is due to over-feasting during holiday and CNY, but that proven not to be the reason after few month. Then I tried to cut back the lunch portion, but that only reduce the weight 69kg. I really seat down and look thru my diet. I got no control over dinner (promised to take & clear anything that cook by wife, no choice), so I look into the snacks, lunch & breakfast. Then I come across this article. A point made about black coffee, led me to have search on the energy contained on my drinks.
Nescafe 3-in-1 Regular
The early morning 3-in-1 give 86kCal and each of the White Coffee throughout the day give 144kCal each, so my daily minimum energy from coffee alone is 374kCal (for comparison propose, energy from McChicken is 398kCal, or typical 5km routine run for me take about 350kCal). Looking at my normal coffee drinking rate, I will normally take in 400~600kCal in a normal working weekday. That’s actually explained the reason why I am losing 1~2kg for the week I stayed at home taking care my children in early June. I need the caffeine but not the energy. I need to do something about the coffee. I slowly let the 3-in-1 stock at home depleted without replenishment. Brought some stock for the Nescafe powder, and only take black coffee from the office’s venting machine. The black coffee will only give 2kCal per cup and I can feast them until I overdosed with caffeine.

I start to observe my weight reading dropping in June and it moving between 66~68kg now. There are two things I did differently in June compare to norm, I fell sick for almost the whole month and I cut back the coffee. My training mileage is at the 12 months low but I still lost some weights. You may comment that I lost weight because of the sickness and you may actually right. As I had no control over the sickness, I will stick with what I can control to enjoy a more sustainable weight loss. Need to nail it down at below 65kg to achieve my target BMI of 24.
BMI reference