Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blessed Christmas & New Year

I would like to wish all my friends and blog readers a very blessed Christmas and New Year. I will be on leave from tomorrow and would return to the office on Jan 3rd. It will be a week of rest and time spent with my family... oh and not to mention trying to get in the mileage! Today will be my 1st 25k training run. I hope it goes well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New record

Yesterday I was feeling quite disheartened with my lackluster performance at the Mizuno race on Sunday. It was not as if I was sick or tired, but just plain LAZY! However after being informed by Ronnie that the distance was not exactly 10km but more like 10.5 to 11km, I did feel a little better.

I reached home at 7.15pm yesterday after battling the traffic on the road for over an hour. It was raining in KL so I was glad that the weather was clear in Klang. After eating a banana and a slice of bread, I quickly changed into my running attire, strapped on my Pegasus and was out of the gate.

The first few laps were run at a brisk pace of 5.2min/km. There was some foul smell in the air coming from some factories nearby and this irritated my breathing slightly. At the fourth lap, my eyes started to sting and I suspect it must be caused by the same substance in the air. This made me want to complete the workout faster and I started increasing my pace.

By the last 3 laps, I was running at a 4.5min/km pace. The feeling was really good as most of my workouts recently have been slow and sluggish. Final timing for 9 laps (10.1k) was 50m52s which is my fastest time ever for a 10k. I felt really good afterwards... in fact the right word to use is elated.

The Pegasus proved to be excellent in my run yesterday. It gave me a kind of light, springy feeling that I would never get with the NB680. What made me really happy is that there was no post run aches as in my previous runs with this pair of shoes. The Adidas vest from the recent Singapore marathon was also a lot more comfortable than I had given it credit for earlier. The soft material feels great!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Race or easy run?

After my 20k LSD on Thursday, I had total rest on Friday and Saturday. I ate heartily at every meal and drank plenty of water and sports drinks to ensure that I was properly hydrated and reenergised for Sunday's run.

My aches had almost completely disappeared by this morning with all the rest, proper eating and ice treatment on my joints. Before starting my run this morning, I had already decided to take it easy as I did not want to risk injury and throw a spanner into my marathon training.

The weather was great and the crowd was not as big as I thought it might be. Before I knew it, we were allowed to start, and as planned I kept to a pace slightly slower than 6min/km. As expected we hit the hills right from Bank Negara and it remained that way for the rest of the run.

I took the liberty of walking (taboo word for runners) at one of the hills... the steepest one of them all (I'm sure those of you familiar with the route will know which one). It's not that I could not run up, I was just plain lazy today! What I realised though was that my walking was getting me up the hill as fast as most runners were with their slow run... hmmm that's something to ponder about, however when I mentioned this to some runners later, most had the opinion that it wasn't befitting for 'true runners' to walk!

Anyway to cut the story short, I completed the run in 58m21s (my watch time), and my position was 272. If all 10k races were to be run in this kind of hilly conditions, I would opt to skip them altogether. Later I met up with some of the Pacemakers including Richard (pm36) and Newton (pm18) for the first time. I also collected the new year's running bibs from Ronnie for Albert, Peter, Kam and myself.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Another long run in the bag

Yesterday's weather was perfect for a long run. I left the office early and was home by 6.15pm. After resting for an hour, I was out of the door and started running. There wasn't much breeze but it was cool enough. I had opted to use my Pegasus for the run.

I think I've gotten used to running in circles by now. My mind seems to be able to adjust better, and instead of thinking of 'how many laps to go' I was able to relax and think about other things. My 10.1k split time was appx 65 minutes. This means I was running at a 6.5min pace per km.

One thing to note was that the traffic volume was much higher than normal. Motorcycles were zooming everywhere and I had to keep watch at every corner to avoid being knocked over. One idiot almost rode straight into me as he was not looking where he was going. There was also a car that almost reversed into me. Either they couldn't be bothered, or it must have been the full moon we had yesterday!

The shoes seemed fine, however towards the end my left ankle was a little painful. The other thing I noticed was that there was a squishier than normal feeling while I ran, since I sweat a lot and my socks were soaked after about 12k. Final time for 20.2k was 2h11m12s. My knees and left foot are a little sore today. I hope that with full rest and some ice treatment the next two days will help me recover in time for the Mizuno race this Sunday.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Good shoes?

I tried running with my new pair of Nike Pegasus on tuesday but had to stop after 1.5k because of a sharp pain at the bottom right part of my right foot. After a short rest, I loosened the laces and tried running again, this time it was better. I was really annoyed at first because I thought the I had made a mistake in buying these shoes.

Yesterday I decided to wear the shoes again in my run at Taman Rakyat with the gang. This time there was no sign of any discomfort or pain. In fact the shoes felt really good and I didn't feel any impact on my knees as I normally would running up or down the slopes. I might be imagining it, but I felt I was able to push uphill with much less effort. The cushioning is amazing!!

I've not put in much running this week... a sudden lazy feeling has overwhelmed me! I must get out of this feeling and put in a 90 minute run this evening. I hope for some cool, breezy weather. Today will be my last run before the Mizuno race on Sunday. I'm not sure what to expect for that race as I was told that we would run on 'double hill'?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Air Pegasus 2004

On Sunday, I picked up the last pair of Air Pegasus 2004 being sold at Hytex Studio in Sunway Pyramid. Shine (pm34) had sent me an SMS on Saturday, saying that the last pair was a size US12/UK11... thank you Shine! It cost me RM249.

The shoes fit well when I tried them out with the running socks I had brought along. I really liked the plain white colour (which is why it costs more than most 2004 models being sold for RM229). I have yet to try them on a run to see if they are as good as many have said. To me the most important thing is cushioning and comfort.

Upcoming Mizuno Wave Run

I collected the bibs and t-shirts from the Pacesetters crew at Bukit Aman car park on Sunday. The only t-shirts they had left were sized XXL, so Munning asked us to take them first and exchange the t-shirts for the size we wanted on race day.

We got a glimpse of the finisher medal. PM1 even put a few around his neck and posed for some photos. The medals are actually very nice. I also met Adam Loh (pm29) for the first time.

Since last week, I am having some slight pain on my left knee which I am treating with ice almost daily. I don't think it is anything more serious than just some minor swelling, but just to be on the safe side my race plan for the upcoming race will be to run at tempo pace. This race is just meant to be taken as part of my KLIM training, so I will not push it.

The friendly and helpful pacesetters crew in action

A02 and A0002

I found out from the Holabox that there was going to be a circuit run organised by AmBank and FTAAA on Sunday, Dec 11th. I was not interested at first, but later realised that I needed to go and collect the Mizuno numbers from Bukit Aman on behalf of our runners from Klang, so I decided to join the run as my 'morning run'.

I was the first to reach there on Sunday and found some difficulty in finding the boathouse (the starting point) in the dark, since I've never been to Lake Gardens before. Once the counter opened, I collected my number A02 from the FTAAA 'aunty'.

The run started half an hour late. I managed to cover 4 laps (9.2k) in 51m48s before stopping since I would not be able to complete another lap within the 60 minutes allocated for the run.

Later after changing, I quickly made my way back to the starting point to get the marathon registration forms. The aunty told me that registration was open on that day. I thought about it and decided it was better to just make a 'rash' decision and register early for the full marathon, rather than to think about it and change my mind later. An early committment on my part might just be the key for putting in the necessary training to complete the marathon.

When the Aunty gave me my receipt, I was surprised and happy to see that my number was A0002, which meant I was the 2nd person to register for the full marathon category. I am not sure if it means anything, but getting the same number for both the circuit run and the marathon has inspired me somewhat!

Circuit run number, to be used for all 3 circuits - A02

KL Marathon 2006 receipt and registration card - A0002

Friday, December 09, 2005

This week's runs

Monday - 5 laps housing (5.6k)

Tuesday - 9 laps housing (10.1k)

Wednesday - Nil (Rain, rain go away!!)

Yesterday - 16 laps housing (18k)

After running my first long run yesterday since the recent PACM practice run, I realise that I am light years away from being in marathon form. I planned to cover 20.2k (18 laps) but after 14 laps my legs were already giving up on me and I had a severe side stitch which didn't want to go away.

Anyway I am happy to have been able to kick off my first long run in my KLIM program. This week was a test of my current fitness level. My general training plan for KLIM will be as follows...

Mondays - 14.7k (13 laps housing)

Tuesdays - 10.1k (tempo run, 9 laps housing)

Wednesdays - 10.4k (hill training, 9 laps taman rakyat)

Thursdays - 14.7k (13 laps housing)

Fridays - Rest

Saturdays - 20k or 25k or 30k (gradual increase as D-Day draws closer)

Sundays - Rest (Except for: 1. Mizuno Race, 2. Pacemakers Race, 3. GE-PACM 30k)

With the plan above, I should average 70k per week, with peak mileage of 80k as the marathon draws closer. Since this will be my first marathon, I don't have any great targets set to achieve besides crossing the finishing line in good form. I should think that even if I completed 80% of the planned training, I could perhaps finish the marathon comfortably.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

No Cert

Since I will not be getting a Singapore marathon certificate, I did the next best thing which was to get the official results online and changed the name of the runner on the HTML file and also removed all the internet links before printing it on a coated gloss paper using my company's new laser printer. This will just be for my record in future.

I've started the official KLIM training program this week. I was uncertain about how much training to put in, and how much mileage should a first time marathoner clock per week to be prepared without resulting in injury. Ronnie and Jamie have both given me some good advice. The bottom line is I will be listening to what my body has to say and of course not to forget what my 'home minister' has to say!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Not a pretty sight

My toe woes are getting worse with the gradual increase in weekly mileage. The 'blunt trauma' I described in my previous post is now happening on all my runs. What should I do..."sigh"?

What you see in the photo is the result of just running distances of no more than 10k. Would my toes fall off if I start including regular long runs in my training?

I've decided to register for the full marathon in the upcoming KLIM on March 5th. I need to resolve this problem quickly, and new shoes are a must. The question now is, what shoes are going to be suitable for a big guy like me?

My current shoes are already size 12(US) or 11.5(UK) with extra wide width (4E) which can only be found in New Balance shoes. HELP!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Singapore Marathon 2005

Smooth drive

My wife and I picked up Lim at 3pm. Traffic was fine all the way to Johor. We stopped at City Square for dinner and also managed to pick up some items from the Watsons store. By the time we left City Sqaure, it was almost 9pm.

We cleared both immigrations quite quickly, and stopped over at the Autopass office to purchase the card. I was very impressed with the efficiency of the staff and how quickly everything was processed.

Getting lost

Now we hadn’t picked up a map before arriving into Singapore. Both Lim and I were ‘wrongfully’ confident that it could not be that difficult for us to find the way into the city and oh boy, were we proven wrong.

After driving for 2 hours, we still had not found River Valley Road, where the apartment was located. No matter how many people we asked for directions, everyone seemed to have their own idea of where the street was located.

After driving all over Singapore and even reaching the airport, we managed to get ourselves into the city. With River Valley Road nowhere in sight, Lim hopped into a taxi and I followed the driver. Thankfully the apartment was just 5 minutes from where we had picked up the taxi. By the time we reached the apartment it was almost midnight.


Saturday morning came too quickly. From the dissected city map I had managed to get from the Internet before I left, Lim and I managed to find our way to City Hall. We were quite happy when we realized that the apartment was just 5 minutes away from the race site and also Peninsula hotel where our friends were staying.

After meeting Wong (Pacesetter member from Klang) and collecting Lim’s bib, we went back to the apartment to pick up Chiew Chin. We had our breakfast in a nearby Hainanese restaurant and headed back into the city. Raffles City mall was a strategic place to park the car since it is walking distance from the Marathon expo.

We headed to the expo where I collected my bib, vest and goodie bag. My wife and I left Lim at the expo and headed back to Raffles mall for some shopping. On the way back we met Jamie (pm5) who had just arrived in Singapore and was heading to the expo.

We drove back to the apartment around 4.30pm to rest before meeting Jamie and some other friends for dinner near their hotel. Lim came back an hour later and decided not to join us. He wanted to rest for the big day ahead.

Later we caught a bus and managed to get to ‘PastaMania’ at 7pm. Almost everyone was already there. Jamie introduced me to some of the others. I met Jason Lim, Kelvin and Rohaizad for the first time. I also met Justin and his wife (they arrived later) for the first time. It was a quick dinner, since everyone had plans for the evening… but nevertheless it was still good to meet more of the gang finally.

My wife and I took the MRT to Orchard Road for more window-shopping. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the Christmas decorations were already up and the street was beautiful! Needless to say it was crowded as well, and traffic on the road was at a standstill.

After picking up some toys for Nick and just strolling down the street, we decided to head back. With the long taxi queues and heavy traffic, we hopped onto the MRT to Sommerset station and walked back to the apartment from there. It took us 30 minutes to walk back, and I realized later that all the walking I had done for the day was probably not going to do me any good for the race!

Wife and I enjoying our first view of the beautiful Orchard Road decorations

I should be in bed by now...but I can't leave just yet!

The tallest and most lit Christmas tree on Orchard Road

Race day

Lim woke me up at 4.15, and I was really reluctant to get up having slept at only 1am. We managed to get ready and drove out by 4.50am. I had decided to park the car at Raffles City since the charges was only $2 for the first 4 hours. On the way there we met Ms. Leong and her husband John at one of the traffic lights.

After parking the car, we followed the crowd to the padang for Lim to deposit his bag. I had left mine in the car since I would be going back after my race. Toilet visits were made and we then headed to the starting point. Soon after we arrived, the full marathoners were asked to get into the pen. I wished Lim luck and moved to the front of the starting line to get a better view of how such a big race would be managed.

I spend the next hour just sitting around and observing different groups of people get ready for their race. I really did not want to figure out at that point how such a big crowd was going to run together. Once the half marathoners had mostly left, the 10k runners started moving into the pen. I followed suit and positioned myself right in front, just 3 feet from the starting arch. I did not want to have to battle with the other 9000 runners in the 10k right from the beginning.

A slow race

We were allowed to start at exactly 7am. The first 5k were pretty uneventful and I was running at quite a decent race pace. While running I realized that the distance markers were very accurate. What surprised me was the first water station which was located so early at the 3km mark. I grabbed a bottle and took a few gulps of water while still running.

A few minutes later I heard someone calling out my name and saw Lim running with John on the opposite side of the road. I waved back and cheered them on. Later someone else called out my name, and this time it was Kenneth (pm20). At the 5k mark I made the u-turn and almost immediately had to slow down since we now had merged with the other thousands of runners who were running the full and half marathons.

When I had passed the 5k marker, my watch showed 26m27s. I was happy with this timing as it meant that if I pushed a little harder I could still achieve a PR. However this was not meant to be, as with the new crowd we had now joined after making the u-turn, I had to slow down quite a bit to avoid any collision.

I ran the rest of the race at a comfortable pace, pushing forward whenever I saw any open space. I skipped the next two water stations, and in the last two kilometers I was starting to feel really thirsty. The sun had come up and was already starting to heat things up. I wondered at that point how the full marathoners were going to cope with the heat that day.

After passing the 9km marker, instead of pushing harder as per my race plan, I felt lazy and just maintained a steady pace. I did a little sprint at the last 100m and crossed the finish line with the clock showing 54m13s. I just checked the official results online today and it showed me the following statistics.

Gun time: 54m:17s

Chip time: 54m:11s

Placing in the entire field: 315th place with 6531 finishers behind. About 5% of finishers ahead

Placing in Gender (Male): 260th place with 3465 finishers behind. About 7% of finishers ahead

Placing in Division (Men from Malaysia): 12th place with 253 finishers behind. About 4% of finishers ahead

The Veteran

The Novice

Race Summary

I did not stay back after completing the race. I was just too tired, so I went straight back to the apartment and slept for a few hours to refresh myself for the drive back. Lim called me later and he had completed in 6h28m. I was happy for him, since his target was just to finish the race because he had not completed the KLIM this year.

Overall I think this event was extremely well organized, considering the number of participants it had. I am not sure if I will go back again next year as I do not really enjoy running in large crowds. The medal is a nice medal. I would however like to note that the organizer should not have given a poorer quality vest for 10k runners since the registration fee is the same as the other race categories.

On my personal performance, I feel the need to strengthen my legs with more speedwork and hill training. I don’t have any high personal targets set for me to achieve, since I would like to enjoy my running and not make it into a medal hunt like I’ve seen some runners do. However it wouldn’t do me justice to sit back and be complacent either. Next race…Mizuno 10k!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Nick turns two

Nick turns two today. We had a small celebration for him last night. He was thrilled to have so many visitors to his home and showed them who was boss.

Nick actually sang along and clapped with the rest of us. He must have been observing at his cousin's birthday and practicing!

What surprised us even more was when he was able to blow out the candles on his own!

The makings of a professional photographer and his assistant

Mummy and Daddy with the birthday boy

The family