Friday, May 26, 2006

Long delayed race report

This time round there were only six of us from our Klang gang who were going for the NB15k race. Peter, Lee, Leow, Lim and myself car pooled in Lim's car. Gopu was going to meet us in Bukit Aman. By the time we managed to find a spot for parking, it was almost 6.30am.

The race site was full of activity when we arrived there. However there was no sign of where we were to register ourselves and most of the runners were looking lost, especially when the start time was getting closer.

All of a sudden, many unfamiliar faces suddenly appeared at the main road and started calling for us to submit our registration cards. We were then given a ribbon each. I recognised some of the officials from FTAAA. This form of registration was surprisingly efficient as everyone would be proactive in ensuring they register themselves to get the ribbon, so they could get the finishers medal at the end

Once we started, I was running at quite a moderate pace. I remember Randy passing me at the Bank Negara intersection and told me that this was not a practice run... haha! The first few kilometres felt quite comfortable and the hills didnt seem to pose much of a problem. I was trying to keep up with Uncle Wong from Klang and use him as my pacer, but after lugging myself up double hill miraculosly without walking, I started to lose steam and had to let him move on ahead.

Along the way back towards the Jln Duta I saw km markers saying 5km to go, and 4km to go. I couldn't understand what it meant, but I knew that there was at least another 9km to go at that juncture. Those signs actually misled many runners, especially those who were not familiar with the route and those who were taking it as a fun run

I managed to hold a steady pace right up to the point where we turned back up towards the Tunku hills for the second time. My watch was showing about 46min at that point. This time my mind just took over and thats when all the walking started. From that point onwards, I found myself taking short walk breaks at almost every tough hill, this was definitely not part of the plan!! I am WEAK in the mind

Runner after runner started overtaking me and my confidence was crushed. Then came the KNN man and Carboman, both whom have not been getting much training recently (or so they say haha), and when I saw them whiz past me I got a little lame inspiration to follow suit but it didn't really last for long.

Clearing the Jln Duta u-turn and then the final hill passing the palace, I finally got an adrenalin rush which allowed me to bring in my finishing kick for the last 1.5km. My initial target was to complete the run in 1h30m and I knew that it was still within my reach. What made me even more frustrated was when I realised how much energy I had left in that last 1k.

Passing so many runners in the last 1k didn't really feel that good. In fact it put me to shame as I saw that most of these runners had put in their best in the race, and here I was with all this energy left in the last few hundred metres. I crossed the finishing line by clocking a time of 1h28m44s. My next race will be the PJ Half. With the amount of time I have for training now, I will be glad just to get a cert and finish within 2h15m.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Spicing up wednesday's training

I arrived a little late at Tmn Rakyat yesterday. So far I had spotted three cars, but could not spot Albert's or Ajeep's vehicles. This might mean I would end up running with Lee and Peter again (having mixed feelings now). On one hand it would be good since I have decided to increase the tempo in my training runs, on the other hand I was feeling like an easy run that night (the old lazy self reappears).

Anyhow I was right about Albert and Ajeep. So when Peter and Lee arrived at the centre court, I joined them and hit the main hill. My first lap was their third, but it seemed like they were already tiring which meant that they must have really pushed the pace in the first two. I clocked 17m37s for the first 3 laps (3.5k) and then eased the pace in the fourth.

Upon reaching the centre court and seeing the others warming down, I joined them at first, but there was this dissatisfied feeling inside asking me to run at least another lap. I was thrown a challenge for a one lap speed trial and accepted. The worst part of starting at the Centre Court is that the first few hundred metres is a very sharp slope.

I started by pushing up that hill with a little caution and increased the pace upon clearing it. Another challenge running here at night is the lack of lighting when we reach the halfway mark on top of the hill. For those who are not familiar with the route, it can be very dangerous, especially when coming down the slope back towards the pond. Once reaching the pond, I pulled in my finishing kick all the way back to the centre court. Lee shouted out my time... 4m26s!

It was good to inject this kind of challenge into the otherwise very routine training. The guys are now all fired up to break my mediocre time of 4m26s next week. I believe a little competitive fun is what we need to spice up our fellowship runs and also help us improve our speed.

Later at the supper table, we got to know Mani's friend Chandra. I had quite a facsinating conversastion with him as he shared his running experiences. He has been into 10k races and is now hoping to train for a 21k. He said he would try to join us regularly on Wed nights.

Captain Lim has now decided that we shall soon be starting another casual run session on Sat mornings at Tmn Rakyat. This might be a good time for us in getting more runners and joggers join the club, as the park is quite crowded on Saturday mornings. The Wednesday and Sunday trainings would be catered more towards race preparation and getting into shape.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Back to Hartamas

Peter, Lee and myself were going to run the NB 15k route last Sunday, but when we couldn't make head or tail of the map, we decided to opt for a 20k LSD using the Hartamas route. Lim had decided to run the double hill route.

I knew that it was going to be difficult if I wanted to keep up with Peter and Lim, and sure enough as soon as we were out of Bkt Aman, they decided they wanted to catch up with two 'Penguin' runners and off they went. Once we crossed the main road at Jln Duta to the government offices, I asked Lee to go on ahead.

Finally down to my own pace again, I started to feel more comfortable and had more confidence of completing the run. When I had hit Hartamas, Randy passed me with his lady friend. When I saw him sprinting up the hills and then making a turn back to regroup with his friend, I was rather envious. I told myself that I need to be able to tackle those hills in that manner.

I reached the Petronas in 58min. Lee and Peter were just going to leave the station then. Lee had waited to pass me my 2 ringgit which he was carrying in his pouch. I quickly hopped into the store and grabbed a bottle of 100plus before starting the return journey.

On the way back, once I had reached Jln Tunku, I was confronted with an army of runners who were participating in the 'Bomba' run. I even saw Ronnie and Ryan amongst the leading pack. Not long after I found myself running against hundreds of the slower participants, and to make matters worse, many were not considerate enough to give me much room to pass, causing a lot of shoulder banging.

I finally drudged my way back to the Bukit Aman carpark in 2h4m. I had lost steam towards the end and found myself half walking up the slope passing Padang Merbok. Later I was told that Peter and Lee had taken the double hill route back. I am just glad that I managed to complete the run.

We hung around the carpark chatting with as many friends as possible. Met Adam, Ryan and Ronnie there as well. Ron had done quite well to finish in position 23 in the race.

Ron being the usual dutiful captain and was collecting the NB vests and registration cards for the PMs.

Well done team!

Many people I speak to don't have many kind words to say about our Malaysian Thomas Cup squad. They feel that they should have at least managed to enter the finals of the tournament. I however feel that the players have given their best and deserve a big round of applause.

As for Kuan Beng Hong, it isn't right for us to put the blame entirely on him for our loss to Denmark. He is still a relatively inexperienced player and he didn't have what was required to shoulder such a big responsibility, especially in a crucial decider. The coaches and officials might need to relook at their decision on making the selection over more experienced players like Roslin or Tsuen Seng.

As for me, being a die hard badminton fan at one time, watching the semifinal clash did get my blood pressure up quite a bit. Despite it being 9pm once the last match was over, I strapped on my shoes and had a relaxing 45 minute run. It felt good to run again that late at night.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I want to run faster

I was delighted when I reached home yesterday and found that it was not raining in Klang as it was in KL. I decided to go for another fast paced workout, even though the previous two day's workouts had some speedwork in them.

It had to be a quick workout as Nick had to be picked up. The first 4 laps covering 4.6k was run at an average pace of 4.8min/k. I still don't have a watch which can give show me lap/split timing, but from some mental calculation, I was doing a negative split for each lap. Total distance of the workout was 5.6k

I was reading Vincent's (pm10) blog and came across a posting entitled
How To Run Faster and the simplicity but truth of what is written there has challenged me to create my own program to help me run faster. The bottomline is I need to run fast in my training to be able to run fast at races.

Mileage alone does not help. Furthermore considering the fact that most of us can't consistently keep up our weekly mileage to a desired distance, the best and sure way for improvement is by speed training. I am going to be trying this method to see if it works well for me in my preparation for 10k and 21k races.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Getting into race form

Since I decided this week that I don't want to 'sapu lantai' anymore at the races, and considering I don't have as much time for training as I used to... the only solution is to fit in as many fast paced runs as possible.

Yesterday the gang faithfully turned up at Tmn Rakyat for our weekly run despite the unpredictable weather. I arrived there almost 9pm and they had already started. While doing some stretching, I saw Li Hung leading with Peter at his tail followed by Lee not far behind.

Albert and Ajeep arrived at the centre court awhile later, and I joined them. About half a kilometer later, I decided that the pace was too slow for me (even though it was tempting to continue at that enjoyable pace) and broke away from the duo.

I did not want to time my laps, so I just continued at a slightly uncomfortable pace for the first few laps just to ensure I was hitting above 80% of my target heart rate. As I was about to start my last lap, Li Hung overtook me and I decided to try and keep up with him.

It seemed quite impossible at first as I saw him moving further away, but halfway through I found a little extra kick and pushed myself into turbo mode. I think he might have slowed down at the end of the lap, but I did manage to finish just behind him. That lap must have been run at about a 4min/k pace.

Later we chilled at the 'Andalas Corner' sipping on our 100 plus and for some of us, eating our dinner. The talk was mainly centered on the upcoming Penang Marathon and who was going to take the challenge of running the full marathon. I followed Ajeep's advice and just closed my ears as the jesting continued for me to sign up for my second 42k for the year.

I've decided to keep my race distance to no more than 21k for this year. My goal is to try and hit 50mins in a 10k race, and to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. All runners I speak to say 'aiyah... no problem lah you' but I'm not overly convinced that its that easy yet. We shall see as my training progresses what material I'm made of.

This Sunday the Klang gang shall be heading over to Bukit Aman for a change. I've decided to join them and we shall be trying out the New Balance 15k route, thats if we can manage to find the way by using the map. Call us 'kiasu' if you wish, but we just want to be prepared for the race... after all we aren't as familiar with the roads there as some of you KL runners are.

The miracle of life

Just last week, our good friends Felicia and Lewis were blessed with their first child, a healthy baby boy. My wife and I were thrilled and visited them numerous times over a span of three days, both at the hospital and in their home.

It has been a long time since I held a newborn in my arms, and when I held little Joel, it was a wonderful feeling. I was a little nervous though as this baby is really a little fella, weighing only 2.6kgs at birth.

Perhaps it is time for us to consider having our second child. But we are both so tired and busy everyday as it is, and having to rearrange our schedules and not to mention replan our finances is quite difficult to imagine at this point. Hmmm... how do some of you guys out there manage it?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

One lap sprint @ KLCC

The sky looked very threatening yesterday evening, but I was determined to get come action at the KLCC park. Ronnie said he would pace me for a 3 lap PR, but when I reached he hadn't arrived and I wanted to start running just incase it started to pour with rain.

I didn't do much of a warm up before starting my 3 lap attempt. My first lap was clocked at 6m18s. I decided to just maintain speed and hang in there for another 2 laps. However towards the end of the second lap I was having quite a severe side stitch and had to stop after that lap. My second lap split was also 6m18s.

Ron had actually arrived by then and was finishing his one lap warm up. He was disappointed that I hadn't completed the 3 lap trial so he challenged me to do a one lap sprint. I agreed but decided to do another slow lap before attempting the sprint.

Ron gave me a 30sec headstart before trying to catch up with me. I started quite conservatively but picked up speed gradually. I was starting to slow after the long slope near the convention centre but with a few hundred meters to go, and when I heard Ron's voice asking me to go faster... I just pushed myself all the way. Final time clocked was 5m42s.

I've decided that I am going to work on my speed and concentrate on a few key 10k and 21k events over the next few months. This months 15k event would be a good testing ground. Meanwhile I will try to fit in a weekly speedwork session at KLCC.