Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sister's graduation

Introducing Dr. Shalini Kumaran

Picture of the graduation hall

Waiting anxiously for the big moment

Sha with her best friends of five years

Sha and her Ozy mates

The paper they all worked so hard for the last seven years! I'm sure there is more to it than that paper right gals?

Could be the last family shot in a long time. Too bad dad could not make it.

The cameraman of the day. Had to attend to both the video camera and digital still camera.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Update from the land down under

It's been a good 5 days with lots of time spent with my sisters and mum. I was in Sydney from Saturday till Tuesday visiting my elder sister, and just flew in to Melbourne yesterday. The last 5 days was spent mainly sight seeing and relaxing. Tomorrow shall be the main event on my calendar... my younger sister's graduation at Monash. After 5 years of hard work she is finally graduating as a medical doctor. I am very proud of her! Congrats sis!!

Dr. Shalini enjoying her food at Sydney's famous Fish Market

Mum and younger sis at the harbour bridge

Me and sis at the Opera House

Mum and me at Bondi Beach

Hey aren't we going in the water today?

Elder sister Kalpana with my mum at the Blue Mountains

Family picture at the Blue Mountains

Three siblings finally together again!

Breathtaking view at Great Ocean Road in Melbourne

This has to be one of the wonders of the world.

And of course I have not been enjoying myself until I've forgotten to run. In the last 5 days, I've only rested on Monday. The weather here is just great for running. No soaked socks and shorts and you can just keep running without feeling tired. This evening I just ran another 15k and still felt like I could keep going. More photos coming soon of the graduation!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lari-Lari Cari Makan Run

Event: ING KRI Cross Country Run 2006
Venue: Sunway City, Ipoh
Date: 19 November 2006
Distance: 12.1km
Timing: 1hour 13min 15sec
Category position: 23 / 72


I had decided to take is easy and enjoy this run after having run at Wangsa Maju the day before. We drove down the day before in Lee's car and were staying in his Niece's house in Ipoh Garden. When we arrived we had to collect the numbers and goodie bags for 15 people!! Thank goodness it didn't take us that long to get this done before going to the place we were to stay in.

I managed to get a one hour nap before we went out for dinner. Drove to Merloon hotel to meet Chong there. He and many other Klava runners were staying there and we needed to pass their bibs to them. They joined us for dinner at the famous Taugeh Chicken shop. We managed to meet Ronnie, Jack, Lai, Rachel, Sim and Ryan there as well.

That night I really ate and ate. I had one bowl of kuey teow, meatballs, chicken and taugeh the first round. The next round we went and had some tau fu fah. It was really amazing how delicious it was considering I am not a fan of this dish. From there we went to another restaurant since Peter had not eaten and arrived late. Here I had another bowl of noodles and a few sticks of the best chinese satay I have ever eaten.. yuuummmyy!!

Next morning

I slept like a baby that night. The bed was exceptionally comfortable and I was really tired having woken up at 4.30am that morning. We woke up at 6am and were out of the house by 6.45. There was plenty of parking by the roadside. Met Choi who was walking by and passed him the sample Saucony jerseys.

The race site was really happening. There were so many different sponsors setting up their booths there. The weather was excellent, very cooling and the sky was beautiful and clear. Most runners were already there and everyone looked very excited. I did some warmups and chit chatted with as many runners as possible. I don't remember if the PMs took a group photo before we started.. hmmmm. But I took a photo with CM, Wendy and Rachel.

CM, DK, Wendy and Rachel

The race

I started somewhere in the middle of the pack. I was initially running with Albert and Choi until we reached the foothill. As we approached the foothill of the 'mountain' we were going to climb everyone was waaahhhiing away! Haha! I was also quite taken aback when I saw how steep it was. Almost everyone was walking up so I just followed suit and enjoyed it quite a bit. You can see the picture below which shows how much fun I had in that climb!

Photo taken by Tey who had gone ahead and waited at the hillside. Picture shows me enjoying myself. Albert is just in front of me also seen smiling. Tey was chiding us for walking!

I think it must have taken me at least 15 minutes to clear the long uphill climb. Just as we thought it was finishing, there lay another long stretch in front of us. Albert was soon left behind and as soon as we cleared the climb I started running and overtaking as many as I could. I could see that most runners were being cautious especially on the downhill stretches, but with my recent trip to Nuang I knew that I would not slip on this terrain so I ran my normal pace.

After clearing the downhill stretch, the final part of the trail was quite flat. This lasted for at least a few kilometers before we exited the trail back onto the road. In a way I was glad to get back onto the road, my legs felt a bit sore actually despite running slow. Must have been that sharp climb earlier and also my race the day before.

Once back on the raod, I was back to my own self running at quite a decent but still considerably easy pace. I even chatted with a few runners and managed to encourge some who were walking to run with me. In the last 2km I must have passed at least 30 runners who were either slowing down or walking. The body was feeling good so I pushed my pace just a little at the final stretch. Tey was there to take my finishing photo! Total time was 1hour 13min 15sec.

You can see how comfortable the race was for me.. hehe! Later I was scolded by Chen for not pushing all out. But I want to enjoy at least some of my runs by just experiencing the event and the people in it. There will always be a time to pia and a time to take it easy!

As you can see in the picture above. Two thumbs up for this event. KRI has said that this will be an annual event and they are moving away from the previous road race they have always organised. I say Yay!! to that! I will be back again next year! Later of course before going back to Klang there was more makan.. makan and makan!

Wangsa Maju Run 2006

Event: Wangsa Maju - Setiawangsa Run
Date: 18 November 2006
Timing: 42min 54sec

This was the first run where I registered just 2 days before the event. PM1 asked me to try it and gain experience and perhaps even get one of the 50 medals being offered for my category. On race day I picked up Peter from his home, Ms. Leong from Subang toll gate and Tey from Asiajaya bus stop. Tey was not running but came to take some photos and enjoy the event.

My stomach was not feeling good that morning but since there was only one toilet and it was really crowded I didn't wait. I had driven the route a few times the day before and I knew that it was a very tough route. Much tougher than the IOI run I had taken part in last weekend. All the elite runners were also there since the price money being offered was very good.

We were allowed to start just after 7am. Peter and Ms Leong started later since they were in the veteran category and were running a shorter distance. I looked on with disbelieve when I saw that more than half the runners were pushing the pace right at the start. I tried to keep up for fear of being left behind.
Zulazlan was also pushing a hard pace and we ran together for the first few kilometers.

Before the race, both Zul and me had planned to pace with each other for as long as possible in order to run a good race. Zul had a mission which was to get one of the 50 medals. After missing the medal at Subang by just 2 positions he was determined to make amends this time! The picture below shows the two of us at the start of the race.

Zul and DK pia kau kau at the beginning

The first 700m was an uphill climb. Once we reached the traffic light and crossed onto Jalan Jelatek I felt that I was running much faster than my normal pace but it seemed like I was not getting any closer to the runners in front. By the time we had made the turn at the padang and reached the traffic light at Jelatek I saw that I was almost 2minutes faster than my planned pace. A quick calculation told me I was running at almost a 4min flat pace.

Whoooahhh!! Thats way to fast, and just in front was one of the toughest part of the route a long 1km uphill climb. Anyway it was too late to adjust the pace, I found myself running out of steam on this stretch. At the water station I stopped briefly before continuing, soon after that I met Ronnie at the top of the hill and was informed I was in position 62. What?? Running that fast and still in positon 62.. sigh. I lost my motivation from there feeling that I would not be able to potong sayur 12 people for the medal.

I started slowing down from there as fatigue was starting to build up. My stomach was still feeling queesy and my right hamstring was showing signs of pulling from last Tuesdays 1 lapper at KLCC. I still managed to overtake another 6 runners before reaching the last stretch which was a 800m sharp climb to the finish line. I had to practically drag myself up this stretch all the way to the finish line. Total time was 42min 54sec.

I'm glad I took part in this race. The experience I gained in terms of knowing where I stand and my mistakes in pacing will be something to use in future events. Peter came in position 29 in his category and Ms. Leong finished in positon 11. Well done to both of them! Oh yes and Zul finished in postion 50 with a timing of 41min 15sec to get the last medal!! Congrats to him, he really deserves it!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Feeling safe?

I read with horror the news about armed robbers bravely walking into Tesco in Bukit Tinggi Klang and shooting dead two security guards and injuring one worker and one customer at the Poh Kong store, before making off with over 1mil ringgit worth of jewels. They did not even bother wearing masks. In total 19 shots were fired by them.

This is the very place my family loves to hang out in, whether it's for our monthly grocery shopping or for picking up something small or even to have an occasional meal at the restaurants there. When I read about this, it felt as if something important had been taken away from us just like that. We will not feel safe going there anymore.

Today I read about a bomb exploding in a food court in a shopping mall in Ipoh. Despite it being a small home made bomb, it could very well have been a larger explosive which could have taken many more lives or caused more injuries. In this case a cleaning lady was the only victim when she was injured in her leg.

Everyday we hear about more and more murder cases in our country, the latest involving law enforcement officers who are "accused" and currently being charged of using C4 explosives to get rid of evidence after killing their victim by shooting her point blank in the head.

Then of course there is the ever rising number of snatch thefts and home robberies. Our dear PM24 was a recent victim with robbers breaking into his home and not limiting their actions to stealing, they had to inflict injury upon him which I am sure he will remember for many years to come.

One thing for sure is that we can never depend on our law enforcement officers to do much in tackling the rise of crime in this country. All we can do is to be as alert as possible and taking preventive measures to keep our family safe at all times. If encountered with any of these life threatening situation, don't try to be a hero, instead just do as demanded and leave it to God to deal with these menaces in His own time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pia Kau Kau Lat!

Yesterday I finally understood the true meaning of pia kau kau lat! As part of my training with Ronnie and Lai, I was to do a one lap time trial. I had not fully recovered from Sundays all out run yet. Lai sent an SMS saying he couldn't be there so it would just be me and captain.

I arrived before
pm1 and started my stretching. We then did a few laps of warm up followed by some strides and more stretching. Ron showed me how to improve my hand movement and even suggested I train using chopsticks to improve on my hand movement.. haha!

We finally started the one lapper after a countdown by Ron. I started very fast and later Ron said he was finding difficulty in keeping up with me for the first few hundred meters... this is just typical of my style.

The park was unusually crowded with tourists and school kids on tour that day. When we reached the top of the hill on the bridge, I almost ran smack into a few ladies. I just managed to avoid them by doing an acrobatic body twist. This slowed me down a little.

Picked up the momentum from there but could already hear myself breathing in such an akward manner. By the time we started climbing the hill near the convention centre I started slowing a little but captain commanded me to push up the hill as strongly as possible. I managed to get some wind back on the downhill stretch.

With just 600m to go, captain said I was doing well and had already PR..ed. Actually by then I was just running like a lost cow and not knowing what pace I was running. Everything was just a total blur. So when I heard this I was inspired to push even harder. I don't know where it came from but I got a sudden surge of energy in the last 200m and just took off to the finish line.

My total time for 1.3k was 4min 57.33sec. This is a 14sec improvement from my previous PR and a pace of 3min 48sec/k. I was totally wasted after that. Could not get my breath back for almost 5 minutes. Finally had to force myself to run another 2 laps to warmdown. I don't think I will try another one lapper in a very long time, however it does feel good to know I can run that fast.

"I feel good!" : Photo taken by pm21

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pics from IOI run

The PM gang before the race was flagged off

The part where I suffered the most!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

IOI Community Run 2006

Distance: 7.6km
Timing: 36min 32sec

Race morning

In a way I was glad that I had not run my LSD yesterday since it would allow me to run all out this morning. I woke up at 5.45am and Lee picked me up by 6.15am. We had reached the starting point before 7am and parked nearby. Others running from our gang today were Albert, Peter, Chong, Ms. Chee, Ms. Leong and Naidu.

Later I met the PMs and Rachel (not running today) took some photos for us. After some chit chatting, the categories A and B (running 7.6km) were allowed to start first while the others running the 5.5km had to wait. Lee who was actually registered under veteran (category C) decided to run the 7.6km with me.

The race

The moment we started I just turboed all the way overtaking as many runners as possible so I would not be caught in the crowd later. The first 3.5mins was flat and then we turned left and started climbing a long uphill. I just maintained my pace as much as possible on this stretch and overtook those runners who started 'too fast' and were now slowing down.

I just made sure I kept Lee in sight. After a few kilometers I realised that I seemed to be running at almost the same pace as a girl who was wearing orange. I decided to use her as my pacer as she seemed to be a strong runner. Not long after that we reached a junction where we had to turn right for another long uphill climb. This is where the route seperated the 7.6k and 5.5k runners.

With all the uphill terrain I was starting to feel fatigued but just continued to hang on to my pacer. By then I had even caught up a little with Lee. As I approached the u-turn I saw SJ (pm11) on the opposite side not far off. This inspired me even more, knowing that I was running a really good pace. By then despite slight fatigue I knew that I was still strong and could finish the race well.

After the u-turn, I realised as I ran downhill now that I still had a lot of improvement to make for my downhill running. Most runners seemed to be able to use it to make up for time. Lee had definitely done that and was a good 100m ahead by now. I just can't pick up some good momentum when running downhill. Even my pacer had broken away at that stretch.

Once we had merged with the 5.5km runners at the same junction we had earlier turned right, I suddenly felt stronger and picked up the pace and started closing the gap on both my pacer and Lee. I held this strong pace all the way back to the traffic light at Giant and turned on my finishing kick for the last 500m.

As I crossed the balloon arch I was really suffering and my stomach felt very tight. I eventually overtook the lady in orange and finished just 30meters behind Lee. Overall timing was 36min 32sec. I was upset that the officials did not want to reveal my position as they said they only informed the positon for the top 25 runners.

Post race

From Ronnie's posting I see that I am 1min 40secs slower than Tan Ay Peng who came in position 25. Perhaps I came in top 35??? Well that's not for me to find out this time! Later I found out that the lady in orange whom I had finished ahead of had was the second runner up in the Womens open category.

I am very happy with my performance today. My average pace for the 7.6km was 4m48s per kilometer. I am really surprised that I was able to hold such a pace especially since it was really a very hilly route. Today's performance has inspired me to train further and improve on my speed. I'm confident that my weekly sessions with Ronnie and Lai will help me and show results in a couple of months.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Marathon talk

Last night the haze was still around but it wasn't as bad as it had been a few weeks back. The weather was exceptionally cooling with very low humidity. This allowed me to run comfortably at our usual Wednesday spot. Others who came were Peter, Albert, Lim, Lee, Ajeep and Leow. Have not seen Ajeep for sometime now, was good to catch up with him.

Since Peter and Lim are going for the Singapore marathon, a lot of the discussion was centered around marathons. Albert hasn't run one in years and Ajeep has yet to try one so there was a lot of challenging going on at the makan table. As for me I don't know when I will run my next marathon. I shall focus more on half marathons for now but if timing permits I might try the KL full next year.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bidor Half Marathon 2006

Event: Anak Malaysia Bidor Half Marathon
Distance: 22km
Timing: 2h03m20s (Personal Best)

This was the event I had spent the last 2 months preparing for. My ultimate target was to run a sub 2 hour race but at the very least I had to improve my personal best timing by a fair bit. This time round we had Lim, Lee, Peter and myself running the half marathon, while Lim's nephew was running the 10k.

Peter couldn't make it with us the day before so the house we rented was to be shared by six of us including Eugene and his son Yi Xi. On Saturday I had picked up both Lim and Lee by 1.45pm. The journey to Bidor was smooth but it was raining sporadically on the highway. We were debating whether the fog in the jungle and mountains was just mist or haze but I still maintain that it was haze!!

We arrived at Bidor around 3.15pm and went to collect our Bibs before going for lunch at the famous Wan Tan noodles shop. We then went to survey the starting point. The following pictures show the volunteers preparing the starting point. About 90% of the volunteers are senior citizens from the town itself. Even the owner of the house we rented was seen later in one corner patching the a road which was uneven. Other race organisers should learn from their example.

Next we proceeded to survey the half marathon route.

The first 9.5k was generally flat, but once we had reached the border of the town again, we had to turn right up a steep hill and it was mostly undulating terrain from there. The u-turn at the waterfall was approximately 15.6k. We only saw kilometer markers for the last 4k and my heart sank when my cars mileage showed 21k at the "1 km to go" marker. There goes my sub 2!! This was going to be an overdistance race. Total distance displayed when we reached the finish was 22k.

It had been raining since late morning and was still raining at 6pm. We waited for Eugene and Yi Xi to arrive and just lazed in the house for a bit before heading out for dinner at close to 8pm. After a good meal we returned to the house and struggled to finish a large tub of ice cream with bars of chocolate we had bought earlier. Talk about some serious carbo loading!! I felt too stuffed to sleep after that but managed to knock off around 10.45pm after a refreshing shower.

Next morning my alarm rang at 5.35am. I was surprisingly fresh when I woke up, even though some neighbourhood dogs had woken me up twice during the night. After a shower and lubing the body I went downstairs and had my Ali Cafe and Powerbar while waiting for the others. Last night we had decided to drive to the starting point but this morning everyone agreed to warm up by doing a slow jog. The house is located at just the '1km to go' mark.

I reached the starting point with Lee just before 6:45am. That's when it hit me!! I had forgotten to bring Peter and Wong's bibs!! We had left them in the car last night thinking we were going to drive to the starting point. Frantically I had to run back to the house, met Lim halfway and he followed me back. Wong had called him by then asking for the bibs!

By the time I had reached the starting point again I was sweating profusely and was already panting. I've never done anything more than a few hundred meters of slow jogging before any race and here I had just run 3km!! After apologising to both Peter and Wong, I managed to jump into one photo take with the PMs before the countdown began and the race was started.

First 9.5k

The first 9.5k was quite uneventful. I only managed to set into a proper pace after almost 2km since I was still recovering from the panic state of forgetting the bibs. I was running with
Fook for the first 3k but he started to pick up the pace after that and I didn't want to follow as I knew that I would suffer in the second half of the race. He would later run a great race and finish below 2 hours for the 22k!

After the u-turn at the Indian temple, I just maintained my pace and was starting to feel quite comfortable. I was using markers I had made during the previous days route survey to check my target pace. At 7km my split time was appx 37m30s and at 9.5km 50m15s. With this I presume my 10k split time should be somewhere around 53min which was my target pace for the first 10k.

9.5k to 15.6k

What I wasn't prepared for was that the weather would take such a drastic turn. From the extremely cool morning, the sun was suddenly blazing by the time I had reached the 10k mark. Since I generally don't train under the sun, I perform badly under it. This time was no exception. The hills and the sun put together was slowly draining my energy levels.

Peter and Wong overtook me somewhere around the 12k mark. I was surprised to see Peter coming from behind, later he told me he had to stop for over 5 minutes to do his business... poor guy. For the next few kilometers I was pacing with Quek Ai Ling from Singapore. I used her strong pace to push myself a little each time I felt I was slowing down.

I was glad when we finally reached the u-turn at the roundabout. This meant there was just about another 6km more to go. The water station there was the only one where isotonic drinks were provided. All there previous water stations only had water. I suppose this is fine as water is sufficient for distances up to 10 to 15k.

Final 6.4k

The 100 plus seemed to perk me up a little bit, plus the fact that there would be a lot of downhill stretches from here onwards. I was especially looking forward to a long winding stretch of over 1km which we had covered on the way to the waterfall. I think I might have given myself too long a break at this stop. By the time I had started running, Ai Ling was quite some distance away. There goes my pacer!

I found myself still running at an even pace without slowing down much in the final few kilometers. There was only one stretch where me and many other runners stopped to walk. This was an uphill stretch crossing a flyover built over the PLUS highway, but this was for no more than 30 meters. As I approached the final 1km mark I saw a familiar face standing at the corner with the officials... it was none other than our captain Ronnie himself!

As I passed him I looked at my watch and saw my 21k split time was about 1h57m40s. Yes I had managed to meet my target of running 21k under 2 hours, but it is unfortunate that it wouldn't be recorded as a sub 2 half marathon. The last 1km was a downhill stretch so I just let myself run relaxed all the way to the finish line. Fook, Rachel, Sim and others were waiting there and cheered for me. Total time taken for 22k was 2h03m20s. My position for the Mens Open category is number 42.

Overall I am very happy with my performance. There is still a nagging feeling that I could have pushed a little harder. For now I will have to be satisfied that my half marathon official race record will have to remain over 2 hours but this will give me something to train harder for in future races. I enjoyed this race very much and will definitely be back next year if they decide to organise it again. The finishers medal is really a beautiful medal as can be seen.