Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Having run two long runs of approximately 20k to 21k each recently, both with comfortable pacing and average timings of below 2:15, I find that I prefer running long distances at a slower pace, over racing 10k at a much faster pace.
Most recommended marathon training programs involve a training schedule of 16 weeks prior to the targetted race. Since the estimated date for KLIM 06' is somewhere in March, this leaves us with less than 16 weeks to prepare for the race. I was looking over my mileage log for the last 8 weeks, and it shows that I have been averaging 40k per week, with a highest mileage of 54k and lowest of 32k.
With the training I've put in over the last 2 months, it might be reasonable for me to say I've built up a comfortable base from which I can now start to increase the intensity of my training and mileage over the coming weeks. Perhaps the speed workouts at Kg Pandan on Tuesdays would be of some help in improving my fitness.
I now need to find a suitable time and place for my long runs on Saturdays, since I'm not free on Sunday mornings. The only problem with running on Saturdays is the high volume of traffic on the roads. Now if only I can find a running partner in Klang for my long runs on Saturdays.
I am looking forward to the PMs New Year 21k run at Lake Gardens on Jan 1st and the Great Eastern Pacesetters 30k run on Jan 22nd. I've decided to take part in the 30k category instead of the 20k as I had planned initially. I will use that run to decide whether to register for the half or full in the KLIM.
Friday, November 25, 2005
After changing and waiting a bit, Ronnie arrived. He told me to start with my warm ups. I did just two laps as a warmup and waited around for coach to arrive. Later Ronnie introduced me to coach and we were told to start the drills almost immediately.
To sum up the session, I started too fast and kept up with the front pack for the first few 'dishes' on the menu. By the last few dishes, I had to slow down quite a bit and almost decided to quit. The rain was of no help either since it blurred my vision. Overall it was a good experience and I will try to make the sessions once a week. Oh yes, I also met Kenneth Teh (pm20) there for the first time.
Wednesday's fellowship run was called off due to the rain. I was really looking forward to that... sigh! Yesterday I went to the gym and managed a half hearted 6.5k on the mill. I was hoping to do more, but after my shoelaces came undone I just lost the momentum.
I'll be heading to KLCC park in about 30 minutes. I hope to be able to run 8 laps today. Ronnie is going to be there as well. Later tonight I'll be taking the family to Tesco for our monthly grocery shopping and also to pick up some other stuff. Tomorrow morning I should be running with PM20 at 7am from Taman Rakyat if it doesnt rain. I'm looking forward to that. I plan to rest this Sunday.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Yesterday when Jamie mentioned that he had a 10k entry which was up for sale, I was having mixed feelings, since going all the way to Singapore for a 10k might not be worth the effort? I managed to speak to my boss on the availability of our company's apartment in Singapore, and since he said I was welcome to use it, I decided to buy the 10k entry.
I've looked through the official marathon site on Jamie's advice and managed to find the details on the strategic cheering spots for the full marathon participants. They have broken down the times and places we should be at to cheer for the participants based on different race finish timings i.e sub 4 hours, sub 5 hours, sub 6 hours etc. They even provide shuttle busses which will transport supporters to the various cheering stations.
Since I start my 10k at 7am and should be finished by 8am, this gives me plenty of time to position myself at some of the cheering stations. I have promised Lim that I would give him the support he needs to complete the full distance. Hopefully I can also get some good photos of the event, including Lim in action!
My wife has yet to confirm if she will come to Singapore with me. We have actually taken our leave long ago (not for Singapore) since 30th Nov is our wedding anniversary and 1st Dec is Nick's birthday. It would be nice if she can come and experience this event.
With a mixture of driving on the highway and city traffic, I have always managed to get about 720km on average from a full tank of fuel. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I drive a Proton Waja 1.6(auto) which comes with a large 60 litre fuel tank.
Having filled the tank just before leaving for Ipoh on Saturday, I was really surprised on Tuesday when my petrol indicator showed a substantial amount of fuel left in the tank even though I had clocked over 700km. Yesterday I drove to work and back (110km), and then drove to Port Klang for dinner before deciding to fill the tank again.
At the station, my trip meter showed 820.6km. After filling the tank until it could take no more, the kiosk showed that I had put in 57 litres of petrol, which means that there was still about 3 litres left in the tank! This works out to be an amazing 11.3 cents per km. I'm not sure how this compares with other cars of the same engine capacity, but to me its as good as it gets!
Monday, November 21, 2005
Albert called me on Saturday morning asking what time we were planning to leave. He told me that Peter and Ms. Chee were both unable to make it at the last minute, so Leow was going to pick him up at 1pm. We decided to leave together and to meet at the Happy Garden junction at 1pm.
The car packing was quite a process since I decided to take a whole lot of things to keep Nick occupied, including his bicycle and toys. We were at the Happy Garden junction at 1.05pm, and a few minutes later Leow arrived with his carload, so off we went. The journey was smooth and traffic was clear, even thought it rained when we were reaching. We arrived at the Hillcity Hotel and Condo which Lim had booked around 3.30pm.
Lim was waiting for us at the lobby upon arrival and helped us cart all the stuff from the car to the apartment. I was surprised at how big the apartment was. It had four bedrooms, and Lim had arranged the rooming such that my family got the master bedroom. After putting all our stuff in the room a few of us hopped back into the car and headed into town to collect our running numbers.
After some searching, we finally found the collection area. There weren’t many people there when we arrived. Dr. Ron Hill and his wife were sitting on one end of the long hall, speaking to some of the runners. Lim quickly produced the receipts and our ‘goodie bags’ were handed to us.
Lim advised us to check the contents, especially the t-shirt. Lo and behold, my bag had an XS t-shirt instead of the XL which was marked on the label of the bag. I requested for a size change but for some stupid reason or other, they only had sizes M or smaller.
I was really disappointed with them at that time but nothing could really be done about it. I should have recognized this as the first bad sign that the entire event was going to be poorly managed.
We left the centre soon after and spend the rest of the day resting. After dinner most of us went to Ipoh Parade. I picked up some stuff for the next day’s breakfast from Tesco. We were back at the apartment by 10pm and I was sound asleep by 11pm.
I woke up at 5.50am, quickly ate two bananas with the snicker’s bar I had bought and had some 100plus as well. I saved some of the 100plus for just before the race, since I read that drinking a sports drink just minutes before the race starts would help. We were all ready by 6.30am and left for the starting point.
Leow, Ms. Lee (his girlfriend), Albert and I were in one car. When we arrived there, most car park lots had been taken up but we managed to get a spot some distance away from the starting point. We saw many of the runners warming up on the tar track around the field and joined them for a quick warm up lap before positioning ourselves somewhere at the front of the starting line.
The KRI president was giving announcements and he also introduced Dr. Ron Hill to the crowd. Some photos were taken while we waited for the Perak Menteri Besar to arrive. He has been invited to start the race. I couldn’t believe it when it suddenly started to rain just before the official arrived. This would be my second race in the rain, the first being the recent PJ Half.
A blurred 10k
We were allowed to start just after 7.30. By that time, the rain had gotten slightly heavier. Albert managed to maneuver his way through the crowd but I found myself being tripped by some runners so I slowed the pace to be safe. After the first 500m or so, I managed to find some clear space and started picking up to my race pace.
After running for 5 minutes, my spectacles were completely fogged up and I knew that I would be running the rest of the race with a forward vision of no more than 5 meters. I did not manage to see any of the KM markers that Albert told me about later. The only marker I thought I saw was the 3KM yellow painted marker on the road which could not be right because my watch showed 24m at that point.
At the u-turn, I almost missed taking the ‘ribbon’ and was prompted by the official. At the 6.5km mark, I did not see the drink station until I was right next to it, so I just decided to continue running. So that is exactly what I did that morning, just run and run blindly. I could not see the turnings, I could not see the end of each road and worst of all I thought I would not be able to know when we started approaching the finishing point.
Luckily for me, I managed to recognize the road when we passed the starting line and this meant that the finish was just up ahead. I quickened my pace to a half sprint and finally reached the finish line. I literally mean ‘Finish Line’ because I had to queue up for a few minutes before they registered my number as having finished.
I almost forgot to stop my watch when I had finished, and when I finally did it showed a timing of 52m47s. This meant a 9 minute PR for me. However after queuing for a few minutes, I was given a small piece of paper which showed that they had recorded my timing as 55m55s. I did not think twice about it at that time but only later realized that this incorrect timing (due to their poor race planning and management at the finish line) was going to be put on my cert.
Lucky draws and race winners
After some searching and waiting, I managed to see Leow and Ms. Lee at the open area in front of the stage. A little while later I saw Albert. I did not believe him at first when he told me I was faster than him as I did not remember overtaking him, not that I was able to recognize anybody during the run with the condition I was in. He said he had completed in 53mXXs but the officials had recorded is time as 57mXXs after all the queuing.
Later I met Ronnie See for the first time and said hello to both him and his wife Rachel. We spend the rest of the morning eating, taking pictures and listening to the names being called out for the lucky draws. Lim, his nephew, Chak and his wife later joined us in some of the photo shots shown below.
While Leow who had run with a timing of just over 41m was waiting for his winner’s trophy, we were really pleasantly surprised when his girlfriend’s name was called as a winner for her category. This was her first ever race and she managed to get a winners position with her timing of 54mXXs in the women’s age category 30-39. The best part is that she did not come to Ipoh to run, but decided to register on Saturday just for fun! I joked with Leow that he now needs to have a serious talk to encourage her to train for more races.
The only person in our group who got a lucky draw was yours truly. It is a nice dark blue Brooks collar t-shirt. Luckily the size is XL and it’s something I can use. Does this make up for their earlier mistake with the race t-shirt??...well let me think about it since I am still very upset about the wrongly registered finish timing. Btw, later I found out from Lim that those runners who came in much later were caught in a longer queue and some had up to 7 minutes added to their actual finish time!!
By the time Leow got his trophy, it was past 12pm. We made a quick dash to the international school where we were told to collect our certs. The only valuable information I got from the cert was my category position which is 22/76. The overall position was incorrect since many ladies who came in after the men runners were registered with much quicker times, resulting in better overall positioning for them.
Since it was already late and we had to check-out from the apartment by 1.30pm, we rushed back. I had my shower, packed the bags into the car, had a quick bite, bid farewell to everyone, picked up a couple of pomelo fruits from the stalls opposite the apartment and headed home. The traffic was smooth and we were back home by 4.30pm.
Post race analysis
1. I am very happy with my timing of 52m47s. This is about a 9min PR for me since my last race which was the Shah Alam 10k, run in over 61mins. Since this is a flat course, I am going to train harder to maintain or improve this timing even on the difficult courses.
2. I am overall disappointed with the organizing and management of the race. Collective bad experiences from our group include…
- Incorrect race t-shirt sizes
- Extremely wrong finish timing and positioning registered for male runners
- Inaccurate kilometer markers
- Insufficient supply at the water station for slower runners
I will have to think twice about taking part in this event in the future, since it is not a very cheap occasion considering all the traveling costs, accommodation and even the expensive participation fees. Overall I cannot agree with the many who have rated this event as one of the top events in the country.
Lastly, on a positive note… Chiew Chin and Nicholas had a relaxing and enjoyable time. I am also happy that my wife has gotten to know and spend time talking with more of my new friends. She was also encouraged to perhaps find time for some regular walking or slow jogging which I hope she will. I must thank Lim who organized the logistics of our group’s travel etc. very well.
Group picture of all the runner's in our group. From left Ms. Lee, Leow, Albert, Chak, Chak's wife, Lim, Lim's nephew and me.
Lim, quite happy to have participated in yet another KRI event
Trainee with her coach... no one knew Leow was secretly training his girlfriend to a podium finish!
Yours truly feeling quite satisfied with today's performance
A great husband and wife team. They even participated in the Genting 24 hour walk together
Is that a bored look I see on this veteran runner's face? I have great respect for this runner, he has taught me a lot!
An overjoyed first time winner!
The deserving winning couple
Leow with Ronnie See on the winners' platform
My faithful NB680 pair finally got their well deserved wash
Nicholas second birthday is in 10 days (Dec 1st). My third wedding anniversary is in 9 days (30th Nov). We still have not planned what to do for Nick’s birthday. I will be on leave for one week from 28th Nov. I think we will most likely have a small celebration at home with the family.
Birthday girl Ashley with her favourite cousin Nicholas
Picture of Ashley and Nicholas, taken 18 months ago… how they have grown since then!
Some leftovers of the delicious food prepared by my mother in law
Nicholas enjoying some adult conversation at the dinner table
Nicholas in his PJs ready for bed… or is he?
Friday, November 18, 2005
Yesterday it was raining in KL when I left, but the skies were clear and beautiful when I reached Klang. I put on my shoes and started running my final training run before the race. The plan was to try to run at a pace slightly slower than my race pace for 5 to 6km to judge my fitness level and to fix my target finish time for Sunday's race. At the end I managed to cover 5 laps or 5.6k in 30m12s rather comfortably.
At this pace, my 10k timing should be somewhere between 54 to 55mins. I think I will fix a target of 55mins for now, since that would mean an improvement of almost 7mins from my last 10k race in September, which I think is good. I will be very happy if I can just meet the target. If I run faster than 55mins, it will be a bonus. If along the way I crash out, there will be other races.
Lim has booked two 4-bedroom apartment units in Hillcity Hotel and Condo in Ipoh. In total there will be more than 20 people going to Ipoh from Klang this Saturday, including family and relatives of the runners. The apartment is very near the Simpang Pulai toll, so I presume it must be quite a distance from the town. However it should not really be a problem getting to the race the next morning since it will be really early.
I'm looking forward to this race because this is where I will be able to see how much my training effort has helped me improve. It is almost exactly two months since my first ever race in Putrajaya. This is exciting! Good luck to everyone who will be participating as well!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I got myself the size 12, 4E shoes after trying them out and finding them quite comfortable. The shoes were a little stiff on the first few runs, but after a few runs it started to be a lot more comfortable. It is only in these last few weeks where I've used them on my 20k runs, did I start to realise that my big toe nail and the one next to it (right foot) seem to be quite painful. I believe this is the result of my toes being jammed into the top of my sneakers while I run, causing what doctors call blunt trauma.
From reading some articles online, the main cause of this seem to be ill-fitting running shoes. I must admit however on my recent long runs, my toe nails were not as short as they could have been. Perhaps this could have made it worse.
Speaking to Tey recently on the PM's chatbox, he told me to get more than one pair of training shoes since I train on average 5 days a week. Now if at all I manage to convince my wife this is really necessary, I wonder if I should still try another New Balance model since the NB680 stability shoes I use now does not seem to be the best fit for me? Having just checked my mileage log, a quick calculation says that this pair has clocked about 320km in the past 8 weeks.
The other problem I seem to face on long runs are big, painful, water-logged blisters on the toes. Having solved the chaffing problem I faced on my thighs by using some petroleum jelly, would the same product help if used on the toes? I tried taping the toes with the cheap plaster I bought but it seemed to make it worse. Another contributing factor I believe is that I probably sweat buckets on my long run, causing my shoes and socks to be soaked and squishy at the end of each run.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
By the time we reached home it was 12.30am and I only managed to get into bed by 1am feeling absolutely exhausted. Could not sleep well and woke up before both alarms rang at 3.40am and turned them off. Had a quick shower, ate some butter, jam and honey sandwiches that my wife had prepared the night before, had an overripe banana and washed it down with some 100plus.
I was at Lim’s house before 4.20am and he was ready as well. The drive to the Bukit Aman car park took us less than 40 minutes. We met Ms. Leong at the carpark. She had parked just a few cars away. I quickly started the normal routine of taping the nipples and a couple of toes. Applied some petroleum jelly on the inner thighs for the first time, hoping to spare myself from some painful post run days.
After registering and collecting my Powerbar, I spotted Jamie and said hello to him. He would be running the 30k route today. Lim and I were going to run 20k. After warming up and a short briefing from the president, we were allowed to start. In the first few minutes there wasn’t much space to run freely as the pack was still running together. Once we reached the turning into the Bank Negara road, I had moved up to the middle of the group and started holding a comfortable pace.
Running this route for the first time, I was unprepared for the undulating terrain we were going to cover. Even as we reached the first water station, I was already totally flabbergasted by the number of steep hills we had covered. At the water stations, Powerbar endurance drinks were made available. Drinking it for the first time, I decided that I preferred the taste of 100plus, but I suppose enjoying any sports drink is an acquired taste.
After running along the rolling steep terrain of Hartamas, I finally reached the halfway mark at the Petronas station. My watch showed approximately 66mins at that point. I was not feeling any real tiredness yet and was hoping to maintain the same pace for the return journey. As I approached the final water station (also the 1st water station), my right knee was starting to feel the effects of the downhill pounding. I was glad to be able to stop for a breather, and took in as much fluids as I could.
As I continued running, someone shouted out to me and that’s when I saw Lim coming down the opposite side of the road. He was running out from a junction which appeared to be part of the loop the 30k runners were supposed to take. This really surprised me for a second, but he signaled saying that he had decided to run the 30k instead. I was happy and concerned at the same time, since he was doing the Singapore marathon but had not been putting in enough weekly mileage to be running the 30k today.
I suddenly realized there wasn’t any runner within sight in front of me. This is where I panicked as I was not familiar with the roads there, even though we had taken the same route earlier in the morning. I told myself that I would not get lost so easily as the route seemed pretty straightforward, and with that I just continued at my even pace. After awhile, some runners started approaching from behind and overtook me, I hung on to them for a short distance before I saw other runners in front again.
When I started approaching Bank Negara, I realized that I still had plenty of energy left, and my legs while tired, were still capable of a little push. Along the way I had seen some runners already starting to walk and I was happy to have kept to the strategy of even pacing and maintaining effort (not maintaining pace) on the hills. With this I picked up the pace a little and pushed home. I slowed to a jog when approaching the carpark and stopped my watch for a timing of 2h15m11s.
I was unsure where the breakfast area was, and finally located it after some searching. Not many people were there yet as many were probably running the 30k today. This is when I suddenly realized that Lim had my car keys and I was not going to be able to change until he got back. I hoped he would not take the 4hours he said he would if he ran the 30k.
Not knowing anyone there, I lingered at the breakfast area drinking Milo and feasting on the watermelon and bananas. My stomach was not ready for any of the solids laid out on the table, thought I must admit it was a good spread. Many people seemed to be enjoying the porridge, but that is one food item I have yet to fall in love with.
Later I saw Jamie again at the car park. He had run his 30k in 3h2m and was taking a quick drink before heading towards Lake Gardens to try and achieve his target of a 35k run. After much patience and more food, I finally saw Lim approaching the stairs of the breakfast area. He had completed with a time of 3h40m and was still feeling good. I really admire his determination and wish him well for the Singapore marathon.
We had a quick shower and change of clothing before heading back to Klang. The sun was blazing hot by then and I was starting to feel the effects of the long run and lack of sleep. By the time I dropped off Lim and reached home, it was almost 11.30am. I washed my clothes, had my shower, took my car to the nearby tire shop to get the puncture fixed and finally ‘tapau’ some lunch for both my wife and me. I only managed to hit the sack after my son slept at 2pm.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
I reached the parking entrance after 6pm, following the directions Ronnie had given me. It was my first time parking here and I did not realize that I needed coins to slot into the machine. I held up the queue for a few minutes before a parking attendant came and accepted my note.
I had changed in my office, so I parked the car and looked around for the entrance to the park. I spotted a guard and approached him for directions. He pointed me to the entrance, and as I was walking towards it I had a pleasant surprise. A lady who was going to get into her car called out to me and asked if I was ‘Dinesh’. Turned out it was Rachel (pm21). She said I looked different from my picture and much slimmer in person. She may have been right, since the picture was taken 2 months ago when I was a good 5kg heavier.
Rachel said that the regulars were not running that day as they had planned a morning run the next day (today). This meant I would not get to meet everyone once again, but I hope to meet some of you at this Sunday’s practice run. I said my goodbyes and headed towards the park where I did some stretching and started running.
On my first lap as I was passing Exxon Mobil, I saw a familiar face. He was the guy who had run alongside me for a couple of minutes on my first run at KLCC Park. We never introduced ourselves to each other, but if I’m not mistaken I recognize him as ‘Draco’ from some pictures I saw on Ronnie’s blog. This time he was walking the opposite direction and I waved to him and said hi. I don’t think he recognized me.
The park was crowded with more tourists and visitors taking photos than runners. As much as possible I tried running behind the camerapersons but at times it was not possible. I was running at a slow and even pace, and managed to cover 8 laps or 10.4k in 62min. By the time I finished it was almost 7.30pm. I walked one lap the opposite direction as a warm down before heading to the car.
It was too dark for me to try finding the toilet to change in, so I just managed to change in the car. I hope the toilet is near the mosque entrance so I don’t have to keep changing in the car each time I run here. The drive home to Klang was slow as the traffic congestion from Tun Razak all the way to Sri Petaling was bad. I reached home at 8.40pm, quickly showered and took my family out for dinner.
Today I have a colleagues wedding dinner to attend in Seremban. I hope it does not finish too late, since I need to wake up as early as 3.45am tomorrow in order to pick up Lim (going for Singapore marathon) at 4.20am from his house. Peter, Albert and the others would not be coming for the breakfast run tomorrow. I hope another 20k just one week after my first 21k will not prove to be too much for my legs!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
By the time we reached Ikea it was 1pm. We weren't there to buy anything in paticular so we just spend the time walking and admiring the showhouses with its deco. Had a quick snack at the cafe before heading over to The Curve as I wanted to visit the Brooks outlet. By the end of the day I had picked up 2 pairs of running vests & 2 pairs of shorts from Brooks, and had also bought myself some new pants from the Orlando boutique, since I can't fit into any of my old ones any longer.
We decided to splurge a little for dinner and have some Japanase at a restaurant called 'Sushi Sakae'. I was really impressed with their ordering system, where each table has a big LCD screen from which you can browse their food menu, make selections and have your orders sent straight to the kitchen. This of course was besides the selection of Sushi which was already on the belt.The food was quite good, service was fast and price was not overly expensive. I will definitely come back again if I am in the area.
Yesterday I finally made a return to the gym after a lapse of almost 2 weeks. Btw, traffic is back to normal again in KL. As I left work and headed towards my gym which is located in Summit USJ, I was stuck in the normal slow moving traffic right from outside the US Embassy on Jln Tun Razak all the way to the Kuchai Lama turn-off on the Seremban-Sg Besi highway.
The gym was more crowded than usual. People must be trying to lose all those extra holiday pounds. I decided to do a quick workout on the treadmill before hitting the resistance training area. Managed a 1k warmup at 9km/h pace and another 4k tempo run at 11.5km/h pace. Final time for 5k was 27m32s. After the workout I realised that I am starting to dislike running on the treadmill more and more.
Moved on to the trebistretch bike followed by stomach crunches, free weights for the arms and love handles and finally the resistance machines for my legs, back and shoulders. Hit the showers at 9pm and was home by 9.45pm. I had picked up some bananas and milk on the way home. Mixed some protein powder in the milk, squashed in 3 bananas and gulped it down as my dinner... yummie!
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Before I indulge you with the details, I must attribute all my recent progress with my running to my wife’s patience, understanding and sacrifices. Today when I came home and told her about my latest achievement, the happy and proud look on her face meant more to me than what I had achieved.
Now the details…
I arrived at the Klang stadium at exactly 6.30am and saw that Albert was already there. He was speaking to someone who was still sitting in the car. Turned out, it was Ms. Leong from Shah Alam whom I had met once at the Putrajaya race. She was joining us for our long run as part of her prep for the Singapore marathon.
Peter arrived soon after, followed by Kam. The plan was to do a 15k using the Shah Alam route. After a quick warm up of running a couple of loops round the parking area, and some stretching, I was ready to start.
We started at a slow, even pace, and I was hoping to keep it that way for the entire distance. I was running in front with Kam, while Peter and Albert ran with Ms. Leong.
After running across the bridge to the town, I suddenly realized I had not started my stopwatch. Since we were already almost 10minutes into the run, there was no point in starting it then. This would prove to be a psychological benefit for me later in the run.
Once we passed the Hokkien Association and started running past Taman Rashna, Peter caught up and started running alongside me. Kam picked up his pace and moved on ahead.
When we had reached the Puspakom junction (6.5k), Peter asked if I wanted to try a new distance of 18k, instead of the originally planned 15k. I readily agreed since I was feeling good and strong at that point.
We continued running until we reached out first water station, the BP petrol kiosk at the 8.5k mark. If we were to run 18k, the roundabout up ahead would be our halfway turning point.
After drinking as much as I could get from the pipe (something I’ve yet to get used to), we continued running. At this juncture, Peter suggested that we extend the distance once again, this time to cover 21k. I surprised myself by once again readily agreeing instead of laughing off his suggestion. Was my bravery going to get the better of me this time?
Anyway it was too late to change my mind, so instead of making a u-turn up front, we made a left turn heading towards UITM. I had thought we had left the hills behind us by then, but to my dismay, this extended route had another couple of steep hills to tackle. I estimated that by the end of the run, we would have conquered at least 4 to 5k of steep hilly terrain.
We passed Ms. Leong and Albert after making the halfway u-turn at the UITM roundabout. They had seen us taking the extended route and had followed suit.
After covering another 10k, and having stopped at 2 more water stations, we were once again crossing the infamous Klang river. By then my legs were a little stiff, but I felt no pain and my breathing was regular.
As we turned onto the final stretch heading towards the stadium, I even surprised myself by being able to manage a half sprint for the final 100m. Wohoo! I had run and finished my first half marathon! I turned to Peter who gave me the final time… 2h 12m 28s.
Today I have been reassured that all my extra effort is starting to reap its rewards. Total mileage clocked for this week… 54k. I am now looking forward to the coming week’s practice run. This should give me some exposure to KL’s route and the feared double hill. I still plan to take it slow and easy for this 20k, and to enjoy by taking my own sweet time at each water station… something we don’t get to enjoy in races or even training runs.
Post run body check:
1. Muscles are generally fine and not sore. However from past experiences, soreness starts to be felt the day after.
2. Slight pain on the right kneecap (only when putting heavy pressure on it). Not noticeable with normal movement. This should be fine in a couple of days, with some ice treatment
3. The skin on the inner thighs is raw (red) and painful. The modest, non-conventional New Balance running shorts I wear must cause this. I wonder whether they are really meant for running in the first place. I still cannot bring myself to parade in the sexy, revealing, lightweight shorts I see most runners wear… but looks like I may not have a choice!
Friday, November 04, 2005
Once again, referring to ‘The Competitive Runner’s Handbook’ by Bob Glover, he says that a tempo run is meant to be run at a pace which is 10 to 30 seconds per mile slower than 10k race pace. It is meant to improve lactate threshold and is run just below one’s lactate threshold (LT).
Now this did not really help me, because I do not really know what my 10k race pace should be. I am generally cowardly when it comes to discomfort and pain, thus I could safely say that my 10k race pace is way below what I am capable of. Bob Glover describes one’s 10k race pace as his or her goal race pace.
Considering that a tempo run is meant to be at a pace slower than one’s 10k race pace, this would make my tempo pace perhaps a 6min kilometer, since I was only hoping to achieve a sub 60min timing in my next 10k race. But that can’t be right, since running at that pace now seems to be a reasonably easy effort.
With all these confusing thoughts, I decided to try running as quickly as I could and judge my effort based on my breathing pattern. My first loop (1.13k) was a warm up with a timing of 6m44s. My target was to complete 5 loops that day, including the warm up.
In the next four loops, I started running at a controlled fast pace, while concentrating on my breathing pattern to ensure I was not running beyond my LT. I generally dislike timing myself on each lap as I find it distracting, so I just ran until I completed the four loops before registering a final timing of 29m04s for the 5.6k distance.
Throughout the run, my breathing was heavy but controlled. Bob says at a tempo pace, we should be able to talk but not in full sentences. At the same time we should not be gasping for air. I felt that describes my breathing form to the dot today.
If I take an average of the time I ran today and apply it to a distance of 5k, my time would have been 25m57s. And this pace was meant to be slower than my 10k race pace? Does this mean that in a 10k race, I should be running my heart out and endure all the pain and discomfort that comes with it? Perhaps I need to relearn the meanings and difference of the words ‘racing’ and ‘training’.
Tomorrow shall be a rest day before another long run of 15k on Sunday. This Sunday we plan to take a different route which leads to Shah Alam. I have finally decided to go for the PACM practice run on 13th Nov (20k). I was initially undecided as it is just one week before the KRI race, and my longest run ever has only been 15k, but I feel it would be a good practice run and plan to take it slow and easy.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
It was only last Sunday that I realized what the possible cause could be… the Pharmaton multi-vitamin tablets that I have been consuming over the last 5 months. Having remembered that members of my mother’s family became seriously ill after consuming this brand of vitamins, I decided to put my theory to the test.
Miraculously, the day I stopped consuming the capsules I felt much better. It has been 4 days now and I’ve not had a single incident of ear pressure build up and I feel much better throughout the day. I’m glad to have found the root of my problem, but I still have more than half a bottle of this ‘very expensive’ vitamins sitting on my dresser.
The only setback is, I realize that without multi-vitamins I am now more susceptible to falling ill. This has become evident as in just few days I have caught the flu bug from my son, something that I was able to avoid while on the multi vitamins. I am trying desperately to recover quickly by taking in as much vitamin-c as possible and getting plenty of rest (minus the running of course).
I now need to decide on an alternate brand of multi-vitamins to take. Perhaps the pharmacist would be able to show me what options are available. I would also appreciate any advice from fellow runners based on your experiences. The throat is starting to feel really dry, must remember to drink more water today. I think I will do some preventive treatment for the throat with salt water gargling.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I spend the day watching some old movies on VCD, had KFC for lunch, tried to renew my mother’s car road tax at the post office in Tesco but the computer was offline. Had a nap in the afternoon, washed the bathroom and tidied the house a little before heading out for my regular Wednesday night run at Taman Rakyat with our area group.
Today most of our members were not coming, it was just Albert and myself. Peter was busy doing some repairs to his new house, Lim was still on holiday in China with his family, Ajeep was probably back in Perak for Hari Raya and Mani’s wife had just delivered their third child (a boy) a couple of days back.
I arrived at the park just before 8.30pm and saw that Albert had just arrived as well. Waited for him to change into his shoes and off we went. The running track at Taman Rakyat has two main loops. The first is the longer route with a distance of 1.6k and the other has a distance of about 1k.
We normally run the 1k route on Wednesdays since it has better lighting. I enjoy running here once a week because it gives me the opportunity to do some hill training. At least 350m of the 1k distance is made up of a very sharp slope.
Today the park was completely empty and I felt good running. The cool air and quiet surroundings allowed to me relax and run with ease. We were running at a comfortable pace and were able to enjoy some conversation as well. We completed 7 loops before calling it a day. Final timing was 44m12s.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
With all the chicken rendang, noddles, tomato rice and pork chops I ate, it was a wonder I still managed to find room in my stomach for some generous helping of ice cream with fruits. Nicholas had a ball of a time as well, raiding the fridge for sweets whenever he felt like it, probably knowing that these kind of opportunities don’t come by too often.
Now for those who don’t know, the main reason I started exercising in the first place was to lose the many kilos I had put on over the last two years. I started by signing on a gym membership in June, and from there the use of the treadmill got me really hooked on running. I was then linked to the Pacesetter’s club via the internet and signed on as a member in September.
When I had first started my exercise regime in June, my weight was about 86kg and I was hoping to bring it down to just below 80kg by the end of the year. My body fat level was touching the region of 30%, and one would not easily believe that by looking at me, as I am just 1cm short of being a six footer.
Today, just five months down the road, I now weigh 72kg with a body fat index of 18%. I have nothing but running to thank for this amazing change. Perhaps with all the adverts showing ‘BEFORE’ and ‘AFTER’ photos, promoting their slimming programs, I should use the same method to promote running as a healthier and cheaper option (definitely not easier though).
Anyway, having had such a hearty lunch and then reaching home at 4pm I joined my son for a long afternoon nap. I finally woke up at 6.30pm feeling really guilty with the amount I had eaten and with the ‘lack’ of mileage this morning in my run. Not to mention that I had another two houses to visit later at night for more Deepavali feasting.
I then decided to strap on my New Balance 680 (basic stability running shoes) and cover another 5.6k. This time I started slower and picked up the pace gradually over each loop. I was feeling good after the fourth loop and decided to push on the last one. Final time was 31m12s, which was better than my morning run, but this time I was still left with a lot more energy. Perhaps, this pacing method might be good for my 10k race. I shall try it again later.
The plan to go to the gym last evening was discarded after some last minute work cropped up at the office, causing me to stay back much later than anticipated.
In my ‘running planner’ I had scheduled to do a 10k on Deepavali morning and decided to stick to the plan. Set my alarm for 6.20am, but as fatigue took over the will to wake up, I turned off the alarm somewhere in the wee hours of the morning.
I finally did wake up at 7am, forced myself out of bed and into my running gear. The weather was really cool, as it had rained quite heavily during the night.
This morning I was running the normal loop around my housing area. With each loop being 1.13k, I would need to run 9 loops to complete a 10k. In view of the upcoming KRI 10k run that I am taking part in, the plan was to practice some race strategy and suitable pacing.
I’m currently reading a book called “The Competitive Runner’s Handbook” by Bob Glover. In the chapter that covers ‘Race Strategy’ he discusses the importance of pacing and finding the most suitable pacing option for oneself. Of course he stresses that this would change, depending on the racing distance as well as the difficulty of the racecourse.
Being new to the sport, and having run three 10k races in September, all with timings between 61 to 63min, my ultimate goal at KRI would be to run a sub 60min 10k. With this in mind, I decided to try the strategy of “strong start and then even pacing”.
I started the run well and completed the first loop in 6m30s, which translates to a 5m45s pace. What I should have done was to stick to that pace and try to maintain it until the last couple of loops before increasing it slightly. However feeling strong and comfortable, I pushed myself a little too fast and found that my next two loops were run with a 5m20s pace.
This depleted my energy quickly and I was already breathing very heavily by then. I tried slowing down the pace quite bit in an attempt to regain proper breathing form. However by the end of the 5th loop (5.6k) my breathing was still heavier than normal and I was tiring. I decided to call it a day and review my strategy for my next practice run. The final timing for 5.6k was 31m30s.
The plan for the rest of the week is to put in two 10k runs, one gym workout and a 15k long run on Sunday. Perhaps some speedwork on the treadmill might help? I shall have to see how the body feels tomorrow then.