Sunday, September 26, 2010

Newton 25KM Challenge Kuala Lumpur 2010...

Event: Newton 25KM Challenge Kuala Lumpur 2010
Venue: Bandar Kinrara, Puchong
Date: 26 September 2010
Time: 6.30am
Distance: 25KM (25.9KM by Jamie's Garmin Forerunner 205)
Shoe: K-Swiss K-Ona C
By Frank

Why am I doing this? This is the question I asked myself when I arrived at Bandar Kinrara, the start venue for the Newton 25KM Challenge at 4am when the race only starts at 6.30am. I could have enjoyed an extra 2 hours of sleep. But I know that this had to be done for The North Face Challenge is 2 weeks away. And this will be the peak of training, well in away if you consider the longest mileage in a single run. Actually, this will be the only mileage this week for me. Hahaha...

Joined by Jamie, Yim and Au Yong Pui San, we decided to run a distance of 17KM first on the first part of the almost flat race course. This at least will allow us to save our legs for the actual race. And before the 4 crazy runners started, Tey arrived to snap photos for us. So you have it, 4 crazy runners plus 1 crazy photographer. Hehehe... Thanks Tey for the effort.

Started at 4.10am comfortably but upon reaching the traffic light junction at Jalan Puncak Jalil, Pui San drop off due to some ankle discomfort. Yim was kind enough to accompany her back while myself and Jamie made our way back to the car park to meet up with Loke. A quick sip of drink and we were back on the road. Still 4 of us, but without Pui San but with Loke this time. Ran comfortable but upon reaching the junction, I'm already feeling my legs began to tire. Besides, the weather was really humid and a hot hot race is expected. Clear sky with stars can be seen. On the way back to the car park, we were arranging the cones as they were somehow being kicked down by "Mat Rempits" we guess.

Got back to the car in 01:52:01, changed into my race shoe, put on my race bib and a quick check on the gear before we made a rolling start from our car. Yim was probably the show this morning where he changed into traditional Malay clothing plus a songkok. But he look weird with his Vibram Five Finger though. Hahaha... By the time we got to the start gantry, the timer already started 2 minutes.

Started comfortably and we were slowly making ground while chatting with friends that we know and some we don't. It's weird and embarrassing when others know you but you don't know them. I paced together with Jamie though I know I will slowly dropped off as he is physically fitter than me. I tried to stick to him for as long as I can. When both of us got back to the junction for the third time together, the game starts. The first part of the climb and I was already struggling. But at certain stages, I did attack as I just want to get it over with and I had the vision of the new McDonald's Triple Cheeseburger powering me here. But as I grew tired, the burger sight slowly became a wall. DANG!

This kept me going. Hahaha...

Arriving at the long stretch heading towards the first u-turn point, we were trying to spot our friends at the opposite side making their return. Spotted many including Ben, Raymond, Eugene, Chin Chin and Yann Kai. The u-turn was smack right at the end of this road, which I did not do during our earlier simulation run. So with this, the distance will be made up. Left calves started twitching at this part, felt like a mouse moving in it. A water station appeared but was poorly managed as I had to pour my own drink. Regretted though as the isotonic drink I took was gassy and I felt uncomfortable later.

Bumped into the 12KM runners at their u-turn point and 1 of them is Lynn. Waved at her while sipping form my hydration bag. I just couldn't smile anymore. On the way back to the junction, Jamie took his first walk which I gladly welcome. Accompanied him till he restarted his run.

Next the main course, approaching Bandar Putra Permai. At about 13KM or so, I began to lost it. Legs were locking and pace was slowing down. Was still able to stick with Jamie but eventually lost him at Lestari Perdana when I had to stop due to sudden chest pain. Had to release my hydration bag sternum buckle to relax it. Took a while before it went away but damaged done here as legs started to lock up and Jamie was gone.

Started to mix walk and run. Weird for others I guess, but I ran up the hill, but walk down it. Reason, I want to save my legs from getting injured. At 20KM near the traffic light junction again, my left shin started to ache. But I told myself, another 5KM more! Let's go, Let's go!

About 3KM to go, I spotted Yen Erl closing on me. We ran together for a while before I had to rest again. With 1KM to go, I spotted Sham from Key Power International and had a short chat with him before pushing all my way to the finish completing the 25KM distance in 03:00:16. And to my suprise, I received a finisher's medal which honestly speaking, I wasn't expecting one as they cap it to 50%.

Front view of the finisher's medal. Rear is plain though...

Total distance covered, 42.9KM in a time of 04:52:17. Tough run even tougher than KL Marathon due to the hilly course but I'm glad to have finish it. A marathon distance completed, satisfaction guarenteed. And my rewards, junk protein for lunch, McDonald's Triple Cheeseburger. Hahaha...

My reward, junk protein and a piece of metal...

A note on this race though. I felt the water station to be poorly managed. Not sure of the front runners but the slower ones only had plain water to drink. Ran out of isotonic and we had to pour ourselves. Besides that, traffic control was poor too. The marshalls just can't decide which lane runners should run in. One came in yelling left side, while another right side. Make up your mind will you! Other than that, it was reasonably all right though there were some complains about the medal as the 12KM and 25KM share the same. And pretty plain looking too except for Sir Isaac Newton's face on it.

And finally, thanks to everyone especially Jamie, Yim, Tey, Loke and Pui San who come early to run. Rest well for now. Till The North Face Challenge...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Invitation to Runnerz Circle Official Opening...

After 2 months of soft opening, it is time for the official opening for Runnerz Circle. A much delayed official opening due to "improper timing" according to the Chinese almanac. And so after much obstacles and discussion, the date now is set on 02 October 2010, with the auspicious hour between 11am till 1pm. However, the show will go on till 5pm. Food and beverages will be served though I'm not really sure if it will be enough to cover everyone as this is an open invite to everyone. Oh and most importantly and I guess that most customers and followers will be anxious to know is that, yeah, a one day great discount and promotions will be given for sure. So do drop by to meet others and to make new friends, chill out and to check out the gears. See ya!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Corporate Athletes Progressive Outdoor Run...

By Frank

The North Face Endurance (TNF) is coming up in a month and I have yet to attack the trail. Today, being Malaysia's first Malaysia Day (celebrating the merger of East and West Malaysia), I took the opportunity to have it done at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). And this is my second ever trail run, my first being at MR25 Ultra Marathon 2009.

This Progressive Outdoor Run is organised by Ian of Corporate Athletes. This is actually the second run in conjunction for the preparation for TNF. Turn out was great where 10 including me showed up. 2 of my fellow friends I knew were Jaime and Yim. Sadly, I totally forgotten about my camera hence no pictures for this entry. We did a short warm up before some stretching. A simple ice breaking session and we are off.

Started about a kilometer on road before hitting the trails. Upon hitting it, it reminds me of the Mount Kinabalu climb via the Mesilau Trail. Not as tough but still pretty technical. And trust me, the trail at MacRitchie Reservoir is actually easy compared to this. Up and down we went and my heart rate was unstable for the first 4KM. Was hallucinating a bit too due to the canopy where some areas were dim while others bright. I also felt a sting on my right ankle. Took a look at it and saw a little black worm crawling there. First guess was a leech. I've never seen a leech before though. Shook it off and continued with my run.

We reached a point where runners were prohibited from entering as it's made for mountain bikers. Therefore, we detoured to another place where the scenery was really nice. We rested at a point ahead and we eached checked our socks for any leech bites. Confirmation of the earlier worm being a leech as there were blood stains on my socks. Jaime had a HUGE one where his socks were soaked in blood. Apparently, the leech bit through his socks too. Yum yum... After a while, we pop back at the exact same place and made our way back. We bumped into Yip and his brother, Raymond and Michelle here who started an hour later. Nice to see them there.

We got back on road from the 13KM mark onwards and ran back to the car park for some light refreshments. Bananas, watermelon, Raya cookies with mineral water was served. Hats off to them for bringing them. Refilled my hydration pack and resume my run about 20 minutes later. This time, only myself, Jaime, Yim, Ian and Syah followed hoping to meet at least 22KM.

I was already tired at this point and my legs were already giving way due to my zero mileage the past week, but I know it had to be done. It was basically soreness and not pain so there shouldn't be any problem. My pace slowed down at lot and at certain point, I had to walk. I even let all of them pass me for I do not want to slow them down.

Back on road, myself and Yim decided to detour back to the car park as we have met the 22KM distance in close to 3 hours. The other 3 went for another extra 2KM before we all gathered back at the car park to refuel and catch up. A quick one for me as it was already 11am as I need to return home for shower and then to open my store for business at 12pm. I was 8 minutes late. Hehe...

Overall, a great run. Tiring, torturing but productive. I will return to FRIM for sure. As for TNF, one good choice I made was to purchase a trail shoe. I'm glad my sponsors allowed me to wear another brand as they understood the situation as they do not have trail shoes in their arsenal. The trail shoes helped a lot with the terrain and I managed to grip on certain surfaces really well especially on downhills. I don't want to roll down the hill. My advice for those taking part in TNF, do invest in a trail shoe, even if it's a cheap one.

Last but not least, many thanks to Ian for having this run organised and also Jamie and Yim for letting me know. And to the others, thanks for snacks and refreshment. It was heaven sent. Till then, happy trailing...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back On Court...

By Frank

I played in a number of sports before I took up running back in year 2007. Some of the sports I was active in were squash, futsal, mountain biking and of course badminton. In fact, I represented my class during my primary school years. Badminton was a sport that I took up naturally. No specific training needed and I was able to swing the racket and hit the shuttlecock naturally without looking too awkward.

I played actively with my college mates at the Taman Megah courts as part of our weekly exercise before I decided to call it quits when running came into the picture. I had to for most of the sports I used to play will require active and sudden movement which isn't too friendly for the knee, and besides, I had problems with my ITB in year 2006.

Yesterday, I took my racket out from my store room for I have a game. Yeap, I'm returning to the court after several years for there are 10 courts located just behind my store. Was surprised the racket string to be still intact but sadly, the rubber grip didn't. A quick change and I was ready to go.

As a precaution, I wore my compression top as a few strokes last week didn't prove too fruitful for my shoulders. Felt stiff. Game started well but as it progress, discomfort from my shoulder slowly showed. And there weren't any hard smashes I done. To add matters worst, my left Achilles showed sign of pulling. This isn't from the game but it showed a couple of weeks back during my Newton 25KM trial run. It's fine during walks and only shows during higher intensity workouts. Not too sure what's the sign about but I did slow my game down to prevent any further damage.

However, as badminton is a game of natural reactions, I did once hasten my speed up naturally to save a dropping shuttlecock which I failed too and instead knock into the net pole. For those who played squash with me before, they will know how fast my movement can become as I frequently smash myself into the wall. In the Cantonese dialect, this is call "Long Piak". Hahaha... The pole was super heavy but even that didn't stop it from moving out of place from the impact I gave it. Luckily, I didn't injure myself in the process as my arms was naturally quick enough to push myself away.

Overall, the game was fun. But I wasn't myself many years back. If I were to play again, there is just so many precautions I need to take as running is still my main game and looking after my legs and probably my entire body too is my number 1 priority.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Breaking The 4 Digit Barrier...

By Frank

WOOOHOOO... I finally broke the 1000KM running mileage today. Nothing to shout about but I was happy to actually overcome this barrier as my running mileage has been super low this year. Last year at this month, I would probably be at 1700KM already. But anyway, this isn't the highlight of it but rather the Newton 25KM trial run I had earlier this morning.

Having tried out this route for 3 times, my fourth will probably be the last one as most will be hiting the trails next week onwards in preparation for our trail ultra marathon at The North Face Endurance. I also put on the hydration backpack I borrowed from Luc today. My first time with backpack as I just had to test it so I fill it up the entire 2 liters. First impression wasn't good as the fit was weird. Back to the run, Raymond suggested to advertise the run in Facebook which I did and the outcome was amazing. 16 turned up! Familiar faces were Jamie, Poh Seng, Raymond, Yim, Kel Vin, John, Chin Chin, Michelle, Yann Kai, Karen, Alexis and some others. We started well, together in a group and all were chatting among their friends.

The amazing turnout...

By the time we hit 5KM, the group started to break and I took up the responsibility as a "sweeper". Didn't want Alexis and Calvin to get lost as it was their first time here. By the time the 3 of us hit the first u-turn, the front pack was about a kilometer ahead. Slowly, they disappeared into the distance.

Alexis broke away at about 8KM and I slowed down to guide Calvin to the u-turn point as he is running just 12KM. Then I sped up and caught up with Alexis and Kel Vin where we ran together. Tried to take a sip from my backpack here and I couldn't. Liquid just won't come out from the nozzle no matter how I bit or suck it. Luckily I still had reserve in my storage and I had time to rectify it. At the front, Kel Vin sped off and ended up running the wrong and tougher way. Knowing where he will appear, I waited for him at the junction before resuming together.

On the way to the first roundabout at about 14KM, we spotted Michelle making her way back alone. Further up was John and a few others. Kind of dangerous for Michelle to be running her own, but I can't leave Alexis and Kel Vin behind. I had to choose. So I continued on with the 2 and reached the u-turn point before bumping into Kei Ming, Henry and Kim Kok who started from another area. Oh, I also managed to squeeze liquid out of my backpack finally. AHHH... WATER!

Taken from the 20KM mark. We actually conquered the opposite climb earlier...

Yeap... We are on the run indeed...

At the 20KM mark, I stopped to wait for Raymond who caught up and was refueling. Alexis didn't stop and went on her own. When we both resume running, we spotted the dark rain clouds and could see that it was already pouring at the distance. Hasten up, hopefully to beat the rain but it came pouring down shortly. And my legs were already starting to lock up. I tried to pace Raymond but he was too fast for me. At the last 3KM or so, I had to stop a few times to adjust my legs while to ensure Alexis was running the right way.

And finally, I saw the finish site with Yann Kai closing behind. She with the other front runners did 30KM! As for myself, I completed the 25KM run in just over 3 hours. Felt tired but there was a sense of achievement and satisfaction here. Hung around for a moment enjoying droplets of rain and stretching ourselves out before some went home while other remain for a long breakfast and get together session. All in all, a very productive run indeed and I hope this will be the first of many to come.

Oh and yeah, back to the 4 digits. It was 1015KM. Hahaha...