Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New shoe, new spirit

The purchase

Yesterday I went to the New Balance outlet at Bukit Bintang to try out the 767ST model which replaces the award winning and popular 766. At first glance of the actual shoe I was quite thrilled with the look and couldn't imagine how I had ended up with the ugly 680 last year in the first place.

I tried on many different sizes and variations including the 2E and 4E cuttings. In the end I could not decide on whether to get a US11 or 11.5. After a few tries of both (4E cutting), I finally decided to go for a more snug fit and choose the US11.

The shoe cost me RM202 after the 30% discount which Pacesetter members are entitled to. Ronnie and Jason were also initially with me in the shop when I was trying on the shoes but had gone to the food court as I was taking too long. I joined them there and Ron said I had to PR with my new shoe today... sigh! Anyway since I had not done 8 laps below 60min, that was to be my target for the day.


Fook was going to pace with me. I arrived at the car park just before 6.30 and Fook was already there. After a one lap warm up we were all ready to run the 8 lapper. Both our Nike Triax had been programmed with the following target lap times: 7'40" > 7'35" > 7'30" > 7'30" > 7'25" > 7'25" > 7'20" > 7'15"

Just as we were about to start, Jamie ran by us and we quickly started out watches and followed him. I felt like we were going a little fast for the first lap but decided to adjust the pace on lap 2. My shoes felt a little too snug and I started doubting my choice of size over the 11.5.

Our first lap time was 7'26" and since I felt it was quite a comfortable pace, we maintained that pace. Jamie was starting to move much further away by then but we just hung on to our pace. Our second lap time also showed 7'26" and still feeling comfortable I increased the pace a little.

In the next two laps, I could see Fook struggling a little to maintain the pace and on the 4th lap he was already trailing a little. Jamie had stopped running by then and Ron who had completed his workout ran with us on the 4th lap. I'm uncertain when I had completely lost Fook but I saw him waiting with Ron at the 800m mark when I was completing my 5th lap.

By my 7th lap I was already felling very tired. I decided to slow the pace a little, thus making that lap the slowest lap. Conserving energy on lap 7 gave me an additional surge in the last lap which proved to be my fastest. Overall I was quite satisfied with my run and have decided to try and run 8 lappers as often as I possibly can to build my endurance and strength.

Split time: 7'26" > 7'26" > 7'11" > 7'15" > 7'15" > 7'15" > 7,40" > 7'10"
Total time: 58'40"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My first PJ Half Marathon

Sunday, June 18th was my very first half marathon road race. Those who know me to have run the 42.195km in the recent KL Marathon are quite surprised when I tell them this is my first 21k road race.

Having participated in the PJ Half 10k event last year, I was looking forward to this year's event especially since I was running the full distance. Preparation leading towards the race was very minimal. My longest run since KLIM was a 19k LSD at Hartamas, followed by the NB 15k race. My average mileage in a week over the last 3 months was less than 20k.

Race morning

I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep the previous night, but having rested and slept quite a bit throughout Saturday, I didn't feel too tired when the alarm woke me up at 4.20am. After getting ready and having some bread and a mochacino, I drove out to Klang town to meet the others.

Peter, Albert, Lee and Leow were running the full distance as well. We reached the Kelana stadium before 6am and managed to find parking quite easily near the main entrance. I was feeling relaxed and really thought that I was going to be able to run a sub 2 hour race, not knowing how wrong I was.

First 10k

As soon as the gun went off, I was weaving my way through the crowd with Albert by my side. The plan was for me to pace with Albert but once we reached the Federal Highway, he asked me to go on at my pace if I could. Feeling that I needed to run a fast 10k in order to have a chance for a sub 2, I turned on the turbo.

My split time at the first water station was 19:43 and I was told that was the 4k mark, and if that was true then I was going way to fast. I continued on at almost the same pace and reached the second water station with a split time of 22:35. By this time I could already feel myself slowing quite a bit and I knew that I was definitely going too fast.

10k to Terminal 3

By the time I had reached the 3rd water station, I was desperately trying to force myself not to walk. However once I had stopped to grab a couple of cups, I just could not resist the urge to grab a breather and walk while I downed the fluids.

It was a downhill race from that point onwards as I had given up in my mind. Runners just kept passing me, including Albert, Kelvin, Kenneth, Jamie and many other familiar faces. Most of them asked me to just keep going but I lacked the will power to push forward. The spirit of 'pia' as the Pacemakers would call it was nowhere to be found.

The final distance

Once I had taken the u-turn at terminal 3, I was desperately looking for the next water station. I was really surprised when I came across yet another sponging station much further down instead of a refreshment station. "Hadn't I just passed a sponge station back then??"

I was also a little surprised to see Aeow walking as he had overtaken me much earlier. He said he didn't have any fuel left. When I saw the NKVE signboard, I knew that we were closing in and tried to give myself a little push. That's when I felt a slight pull on my left calf and right hamstring.

I walked a little again just to ease the muscle pull before pushing on towards the stadium. Once entering the stadium a sudden burst of energy filled me, allowing me to overtake at least 4 runners in the last 300 meters. I was given a card which told me that I was in position 250. Total time on my watch showed 2:12:36

Race summary

I was quite disappointed not so much with my timing but the fact that I have yet to overcome my mental weakness. It would have been better for me to have run at a much slower pace without walking, I would have gotten much more satisfaction that way.

This is a good lesson learnt. I now understand better how important pacing is in a race. I guess my sense of pacing has deteriorated since my weekly mileage has dropped over the months. I am going to have to discipline myself to put in the mileage and control my diet. The 3kg I've put on since KLIM was of no help either.

Overall I think the organisers did a good job, but traffic control could have been much better especially the stretch heading towards Terminal 3. I could see many runners including myself having to stop traffic along some stretches. I will definitely be taking part in next year's PJ Half again. I'm now looking forward to the Ipoh International Run on July 2nd.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Record laps at Tmn Rakyat

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having Ajeep and Albert's company for my run. Since they were running at a very easy and comfortable pace, I decided to follow suit and use the pace to get in some decent mid-week mileage.

The two of them had a one lap head start. At the end of my 5th lap, Ajeep decided to stop as he felt some pain on his right knee, so it was down to just Albert and me. Albert continued and stopped after his 10th lap (my 9th). I continued on for another 2 laps and had Peter join me.

Total laps covered was a record 11 laps (12.6km). I really enjoyed the run and was feeling good and not tired at all even till the end. Running with company really makes a big difference. I had to pick up my son after the run so I didn't stay back for our usual chit chat and makan at the Andalas Corner.

It looks like I am trying desperately to get in some mileage before the PJ Half. Even though I sustained up to 12k without feeling tired, that was at a really easy pace. I would like to run a sub 2 hour race at the PJ Half and I'm not sure if I can sustain the required pace for the distance. Besides yesterdays run, I had run 9k on Sunday and 8k on Monday.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pacemakers Anniversary Run

Having been with the Pacemakers for less than one year, I did not have the privelage of being part of last year's anniversary run. When I asked Ron a couple of months back if we were going to be having the run again, he hesitantly said it was unlikely, and when I probed further, I found the reason behind that was the fact that his family felt he was taking on too much as it is and did not spend enough time at home.

To cut the story short, I offered to help him organise the run with the help of others. This is how the idea to have a relay of 4 people in one team came about. As the weeks went by, we managed to get a very good response from both PM members and fellow running friends and the registration was declared full and closed very quickly.

The excitement that led up to the run was quite overwhelming with many of us taking the challenge to PR at the track with pm1's encouragement. The adrenalin rush that I felt in the time trials alone were enough to get me really excited and I could hardly wait till the actual race day arrived.

The day finally did arrive, and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Initially it looked like rain, but the skies held and the cool temperatures with mild breeze was just what we needed. I was there by 6.40am since the 100plus and bananas were with me. Once everything was unloaded, the runners started arriving in small groups.

I was really happy to have the chance to meet so many runners whom I have only heard of but never met before, including Tan Boon Seng, William Chan, Eric Teo, Tony, Tan Boon Keat and many others.

I could see the excitement in everyone even while we were doing our warmup laps. There was also a little nervousness in the air as this was a team event and everyone wanted to do their best for the team. However I could see that everyone was really here to mainly have fun and to do their best not for the sake of winning, but to just simply show how much they loved the sport.

Since pictures speak more than words, I would let the following pictures show what I meant by the excitement and fun we all enjoyed. If I were to rate all the running events that I've particiapted in, I would have to say this would be the one which I most enjoyed.

Ronnie and me carrying out the initial briefing of the simple rules to follow

The 'Fantastic Four' team, from left Draco, Ryan, Ronnie and me

The first batch of runners make a mad dash across the starting line once Tan Sri Rohaizad started the race

Me passing the baton to our second runner Ryan after clocking a total timing if 11m18s for two laps

Everyone is a winner. The beautiful and elegant trophies ready to be presented to all the participants.

The Fantastic Four team having received our trophies from YAB Tan Sri Rohaizad.