Friday, August 30, 2013

RJM Preparation

In less than 50 hours, I will be running my 10th marathon in Hulu Langat. Looking back on my training record, I should be ready to handle the distance, but the sub-5 target will still be questionable. And I am kind of nervous cause this is only the 4th race in 2013, my last race was Island Ocean Marathon in Langkawi (in April, official) and Seremban Half Marathon (in July, bandit). Anyway, as promise to myself, I will give my best and push to the end.
New Route
Elevation Profile

This year will be the 4th River Jungle Marathon, and its my 3rd times running in this race. Due to some road repair work, the race route will be diverted and we are now making the first U-turn only after 15km, and the scene Bukit Hantu 3km ascent plus 2km descent is skipped. I don’t know what to expect on this route, but looking at the elevation profile, my game plan will need to break into respective stretches.
It will be a slow start with 7:15 pace all the way to the first peak, I will then speeding down the descent and repeat that when the next ascent/descent hit. If everything according to plan, I will still have few minutes to spare. The key to achieve my sub-5 plan will be the last 12.5km. I will write this plan on my palm and try my best to stick to it during the race. We shall see.

I will also pack my TG-2 for this race. Hope to take some good pictures in this scenic route. And it will be useful tool to distract myself from focusing too much into my tiredness during the race.

Found this inspiring song, suit for my spirit to aiming for my sub-5 target.

See you guys at the starting line "today" :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Running in English Garden

My current role come with some travel opportunities, one of it will be attending the training in Munich Germany. I will be visiting this beautiful city (and some small towns surrounding it) 4 times in 2013. The first 2 visits happen in January and May, which the weather is too cold in Jan, and too wet in May, for running. Third visit happened recently in early August, which is summer time in northern hemisphere. The best time to run! I ran every morning for a short 6-7k before the start of the class, and able to visit the famous English Garden on a Saturday morning LSD.
On that Saturday morning, I left Motel One Munich City OST around 6:30am to start my LSD. I can’t capture the whole map into my memory, so I stick with the main direction from the hotel to the English Garden. It was a nice cooling morning. After a nice warming up for about 1.5km and the statue “Angel of Peace” indicated that I stepped into the boundary of the English Garden. I also took the opportunity to practice my TG-2, but obviously still lots of room to improve.
Starting point
Angel of Peace
Map of English Garden Part I
Map of English Garden Part II
I didn’t manage to round the park (not even on its perimeters). I was in hurry after the time past 8am because I need to catch a flight on 12pm and with the 2 hours check-in time, and 50 minutes of train, I left not much time. On my way back, I took a “short-cut” after I pass the “Angel of Peace”. But after the 2nd turns, I was confused with the direction. Nothing looks familiar because the sun was shining now. The only comfort that I had was the Garmin, I will sure able to find my way back to starting point with the return to start point function! After few crossing few more junctions, finally I came across the familiar construction site I passed by earlier. Finally I reached the hotel around 8:30am.
Prince Regent Theater
Running dog.... faster than my LSD pace :P
Chinesischer Turm
Overall a good experience and it will be even better if I am not in hurry. I will return to Munich in early October for another training session. It just happened that Munich Marathon is right after my training week and I signed up without any hesitation. The marathon finish line is set inside the Olympic Stadium that used in Munich Olympic 1972. Not many change to enjoy a finishing in an Olympic scaled location! For sure I will enjoy the once in a life time experience!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Roll Away ITBS

I got my ITBS previously just before my first marathon 2 years ago. I was setting it at bay by mainly stretching and strengthening. That was my left leg. Recently (may be not too recent though), I got my right hip pain, which again is part of the ITB or some say connecting muscles issue. The nagging pains on the outer hip can only temporary ease by the stretching. I think this arise from my long hours of standing in the training class, and long hours of sitting in the office (keeping the same muscles stressed post for long hours).

Also, this may caused by my running form. My right side of the body is less flexible. Which in the running context, I normally used my right leg to propel forward (cause it is more stable due to less flexible) hence it worked harder and I really can’t blame it for having problem :P
The picture took from a very good article posted by Andy. I will say the picture actually reflecting my problem. I rectified partially during my first encounter with ITBS, but clearly there are some more works undone. More effort needed to adjust my running form. But meanwhile, I must first taking care the ITBS. Stretching and the strengthening exercises do provide some relief, but the nagging pain will still come back. Then I venture into roller.

The foam roller selling in the market is expensive (range from MYR90~200). I got the idea from Paul Liong (a barefoot master) and TriStupe to make my own first PVC 3” pipe roller. Tried few weeks and its help, but the PVC pipe is too soft and it start to deform into oval shape (make rolling difficult). Then I look into difference material.
1. The gray color pipe is the said 3” PVC pipe.
2. The white color pipe is a 2” PU pipe.
3. The blue color pipe is a 1” ABS pipe.
4. Form roller – “Iron TheFitBar”.
The item 1 – 3 are plastic water pipes from hardware shop, which only cost me less than MYR10 (sand paper included to round the cutting edge). Both PU and ABS are harder than PVC, and more suitable to work as roller. But they are not very common material in the market and you will need to pre-order for anything bigger than the 2” PU or 1” ABS pipe. Rolling the big muscles group like ITB or hip with smaller diameter roller take more skill and adding more stress to already stressful life. Hence I start to look for a marketed “proper” foam roller. Btw, the 1” ABS pipe is actually perfect for calves’ muscles rolling.

I came across the TheFitBar brand in Athletes Circles during early June. They are selling at MYR125 with discount in conjunction of SCKLM. So I bring it home but I didn’t seriously roll on it until after my India trip last week. The poor road condition in Mumbai and overnight flight back home made the nagging pain to unbearable level. And I started to roll on the FitBar on daily basis (10 minutes per day). After a week, the nagging pain still lingering, but at least I felt its start to easy up and perhaps it will cured if I continue rolling on it. Compared the FitBar with the other plastic water pipes, the rolling is easier on the big diameter (6”) and the foam is light weight but as hard as the ABS material. You may able to find some similar PS foam from the art or stationary supplier, but those are low density and soft.

If you suffered with ITBS, apart from the stretching and strengthening exercise, I will recommend that you get a foam roller and roll those big muscles groups regularly. Do you need to spend MYR125 for a FitBar or other similar marketed foam roller? Nope, the smaller diameter pipes will still perform the task (but you need to adjust and lower down your body further for the rolling). On the other note, don’t go for those softly padded foam rollers, if you are hardcore runner that needs to deal with your tight muscles regularly, get the hard surface. Yes it will be more painful to roll on the hard one, but the impact is also better.

Happy Rolling!