Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lyn Kong's Guide to Fitness for Busy People...

By Frank

Earlier today (31 October 2013), I attend the launch of Lyn's book titled Lyn Kong's Guide to Fitness by Busy People at Kitchen Creatures at Centrepoint, Bandar Utama. Just for a brief intro, I've known Lyn for about 8 years or so since my days of membership with Fitness First and then becoming colleagues when I joined as a Fitness Instructor. She was back then a Group Exercise instructor and has now grown into a certified CrossFit Instructor, ACE certified instructor, co-partner at Pushmore Fitness and certification to many many more qualifications. She has certainly come a long way.

The launch of the book was a simple affair between guest of media, sponsors, family and friends. It was a very "home-feel" event. Some of the familiar faces there were Stupe, Aileen, Maresa and Oon. Roy at the last minute wanted to join in too, but for somehow, he ended up at Tropicana City Mall instead. Hahaha...

I am sure Lyn know's how busy I am with my retail job at Running Lab and hence I guess the reason I was one of her guest. Hahaha... Just kidding Lyn but am sure it the truth eh. So if you are one of my kind that get stuck with work and am not able to find time to exercise, this book is for you. But not forgetting to everyone else, this book may just inspire to g further or even to try something new. Anyway, here's the official press release of the book giving you an idea on what is it all about.

Lyn Kong’s Guide to Fitness for Busy People is the fifth title in the MPH Masterclass Series, a new line of “how to” books by local experts sharing their knowledge and experience in their areas of speciality.

This is a detailed guidebook filled with practical instructions and tips from professional physical fitness trainer Lyn Kong on how to keep fit despite a busy schedule. It’s the ideal fitness book for those who hardly have time to hit the gym or jog in the park after work.

“What I’ve done is create a concise book that has all the information and advice you need to kickstart your journey towards a better lifestyle,” Kong says. “It’s comprehensive, practical, simple to execute and, most importantly, it doesn’t take a lot of time.”

 This book consists of ten chapters, each layered with useful tips for all those who aspire to lead a healthy lifestyle. Topics covered include nutrition, equipment, how to plan your training program, as well as some simple daily exercises for burning calories and building muscles.

“What makes me happiest of all is that I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do, which is to help people live better lives. I’ve learned so much about fitness over the years and just as I’ve shared this wealth of information with my clients, I’d know like to share them with you through this book,” says Kong a certified CrossFit instructor with over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry.

She knows how, with as little at 10 minutes of intensive training, our body is able to burn fat even after an exercise routine has ended. It’s how it works but you need to do specific kinds of exercises to help it work that way. In addition to step-by-step instructions on these exercises, Kong also provides tips on practical healthy eating, an essential element in staying fit and healthy.

Lyn Kong’s Guide to Fitness for Busy People is published by MPH Group Publishing and is available at all major bookstores at RM35.90. It will be also be available as an e-book soon.

For enquirier and interview opportunities, kindly contact:
Ms Lilian Ng (T) 03 7960 7334 ext 119 (E)
Ms Juan Margrita (T) 03 7960 7334 ext 116 (E)

With Lyn autographing my copy.

So yeah, there you have it. What are you waiting for? Go grab yourself a copy now at your nearest bookstore. Cause I know I did.

Thanks Lyn!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Powerman Asian Championships Malaysia 2013...

Event: Powerman Asian Championships Malaysia 2013
Venue: Putrajaya
Date: 27 October 2013
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 11KM run, 64KM bike, 11KM run
Shoe: Sauvony Virrata
Bike: Ceepo Katana
By Frank

My first Powerman back in year 2009 in Lumut till missing it last year due to Terry Fox Run KL and also some personal issues, my 4th Powerman shifted it's venue to Putrajaya this year and boy it was filled with drama at the start itself. Upon arriving at the race site with Roy and Jason at 4.30am, I only noticed that I've forgotten by race bib!

After trying to call dad but to no avail and decided to drive back home to pick it up at 5am. During my exit from Putrajaya, dad called up and confirm the bib was still back home. We made an appointment to meet halfway at the Petron station near to the LDP cable bridge. I arrived at 5.30am after zooming at top speed of 150KM/H and soon dad was there too. The return to Putrajaya was a fast one too, so fast till I notice a bright flash at SKVE which I assume was from the AES! Not wanting to think too much of it since I was already captured, I just zoom back to Putrajaya and am glad to be able to still find a parking lot near to the race site.

First time duathletes, Roy and Alvin.

Roy has proceeded to check in his bike with Jason waiting for me. Was glad my bike was at set-up right before I left and hence I proceeded to check myself in too. With my race bib of 699, I was parked at the centre of the transition area. Everything was settled in a matter of minutes and soon, I found some of my friends like Alvin, Kok Aik, Chua, Tony, Angie and others to linger with while we waited for the start at 7am.

With Tony at the start line.

Fast forwarding to 7am, the start was out of no where. While most were still chatting away, the air horn just went off. My strategy was similar like previous years, to run faster on the first loop and then to go easy on the second to save the legs for the bike leg. I settled into my zone after 1KM and conetranted. The run route this time isn't easier compared to Lumut. A variety of small hills made it a bit tougher but it gave us varieties which I actually welcome. It was much more interesting. And there were 5 refreshment stations along the entire 5.5KM loop. It was a water festival!

Towards the the final Kilometer of the run loop, we were taken a ride behind the Ministry of Finance. A pretty long but mild climb follow by a steeper one at the end before we make our way back to where we started. Immediately after starting my second loop, I slowed my pace down. I needed my beloved legs to spin later. I went easy, too easy at certain point that I decide to increase it again. But all in all, I lost time compared to the first loop which was intentional as I was comfy towards the end of the first run leg which I completed in 59:07 minutes.

Completing my first run leg and into the transition area.

Into the transition area for the bike leg and I noticed I've forgotten to press on my Suunto Ambit 2S. Therefore, no timing captured. Sob sob... Nevertheless, I left the GPS on just in case I want to take a peek on my running pace and bike speed. I am still clumsy and forgetful during my transition which I spent a 4:33 minutes. Upon pushing my bike off the rack, one side of my glove fell to the ground and my right side shoe wasn't buckle tight. Argh... Waste of time indeed. And it was a bottle neck out of the transition area with some many bikes. But once I got onto my bike, it was "slicing" time, as most of you will know the reason why. My bike's name is Sword as named after its model name Katana.

Heard someone calling as I exited for the bike.

The start of the bike leg at Lebuh Wawasan was a little bumpy due to road joints and uneven pavements. I started with small gear sets to get my legs up spinning but once into Lebih Sentosa which was a long rolling expressway, I shifted to big gears. Legs has warmed up and felt really good and I settled down in my favourite aero position. And as per mentioned, the bike route is a rolling one hence I am not so gungho like previous my Powerman and started to shift my gears around. Not to shy to use small sets to climb.

Towards Persiaran Utara, I noticed a squirrel trying to cross the road but only to turn back and getting hit by a car. It flew around and landed motionless next to the road side. I assume it was already dead though lucky it didn't get squashed. RIP squirrel. Am not so sure about my average speed but am proud to disclose that I went up to max speed of 54KM/H at one point (at least that's when I took a peek on my watch) on a flat road. Absolutely flying and feeling good. Conquered Persiaran Timur next and into Lebuh Wadi Ehsan where the first refreshment station was, I grabbed a bottle of water to refill my tumbler before heading on.

Persiaran Selatan was a killer stretch. Lot of rolling here and the climb towards the u-turn point was tough. The return was smooth though and I managed to keep to a healthy speed before finally conquering it, at least for the first loop with one final climb into the Putrajaya International Convention Centre stretch. Spotted a lady participant just getting up from the road cursing at a car. The driver must have cut into her lane causing her to fall off the bike. What was the marshall doing there, I was thinking. The main climb of the bike leg came shortly and this was certainly the steepest. To climb to the top of the convention centre and I was almost on the smallest gear. But once conquering it, it was a fast zoom down towards the Seri Gemilang Bridge and into the final stretch at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. 3 humps along the road here slowed things down as I arrived back at the race site. But not into the transition area yet for the distance covered thus far is only 32KM. I have another loops to go.

Second loop was a tiring affair. My bike speed began to slow and both my quads were screaming. Change of gear became more frequent as I am not able to attack. The weather became hotter too and my level of water in tumbler is depleting. I quickly took my energy gel before my water supply runs out. And to my horror, my sachet of GU Roctane burst in my bento box. What a mess as I salvaged what was leftover. My palms were sticky as I suck water into my mouth before spitting onto my palm to clean it. That's cleaning on the go!

The same expressway I cycled pass earlier, and all I wanted was just go over with it and go on to the run leg. I know it's not easy to run either but to get back my legs onto the ground means I am close to the finish. As I arrived at the refreshment station at Lebuh Wadi Ehsan, I was just relieved to grab a bottle of isotonic to refill my tumbler. And it was cold too!

As I near the u-turn point at the end of Persiaran Selatan, there is this participant with bib number 552. He was spinning, letting go, spinning and letting do and all his action is coming form the fast lane and thus blocking the road. What a selfish participant as faster participants including yours truly had trouble overtaking. He was really slow at the climb at the u-turn too and had caused a "train" behind him. Once the climb was conquered and was back at the flat road on the return, I finally spotted a gap and made my move. And while passing him, I gave him a piece of me asking him to keep to the left lane if he maintains at his speed. Am sure he did not like it but hey, sorry, that's the way it is cause when I made my move, I noticed lots of shadow following me. Am sure the "train" behind started to break apart since then. And finally I am pedalling freely again.

Finally into the convention centre stretch, conquered it with my smallest gear and into the Seri Gemilang Bridge where I spotted Cham taking photos. And at the final stretch, I was just keeping my cadence high to make sure my legs are moving to prepare it for the final run leg. I completed my bike leg in 2:07:36 hours.

Clumsily putting on my running shoes.

Into the transition area and as usual, clumsy again. Quickly put on my running shoes and off I went after spending 3:25 minutes transiting. The legs were really "jellyfied" but from experience, it will only get better if I keep running. All I have to do is to avoid cramps. 500M into the run, I took my first short walk to ease up before resuming. Arriving at the water station to rehydrate and cool myself down by pouring water all over my head, I walk a little again only to resume at the start of a mild climb at Jalan P18.

I spotted Matt at around 2KM and ran to him. Spent a little time chatting before we resume our run together. And it's here, we helped each other. Whenever he slowed down, I waited for him hoping to pull him along. Saw lots of determination coming from him to try to follow me but am glad he did. Besides, he was overheating in under the scorching sun. First loop completed, and off we went on our second together with Jason who help pace us. He was zooming towards the refreshment station to grab water for us keeping us entertained. Matt was keeping up and soon, it was the final home stretch behind the Ministry of Finance. The climb here did not stop us for we know the finish is near.

"Happily" starting my 2nd running loop.

With Jason and Matt during the 2nd run loop.

As we approached the straight leading to the finish, Jason detoured off to the side as I ran together with Matt towards the finish gantry for a job well done as I completed my 2nd run leg in a time of 1:13:57 hours and completing my 4th Powerman in a total time of 4:27:57 hours.

Approaching the finish with Matt.

A look back at this year's Powerman. It was certainly tougher than the one at Lumut and those who did it last year at Putrajaya too, also mentioned a slightly tougher run route. Have a few friends dropping out of the race due to the heat and also mechanical failure but am glad they were ok. Both Roy and Yen Erl completed their maiden Powerman too. Overall, though a very tough event, I enjoyed it very much. Although it requires more physical demand of the body, it is actually fun. Just make sure we train for it. And as for me, I only had a few super short brick session on the stationary bike and trainer a couple of weeks leading to the event. It was certainly not enough but am glad some experience help pulled me through.

The finisher medal with Sword at the background.

As for now, I am just glad I completed Powerman 2013 without any injuries as I continue my form and momentum into my very important Comrades qualifier race at the Penang Bridge International Marathon in slightly less than 2 weeks time. Will I be able to "F" it?

* All photos here credited to respective photographers. Thanks a lot to them.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

King Of The Road 2013...

Event: King Of The Road 2013
Venue: New Pantai Expressway, Sunway Pyramid
Date: 20 October 2013
Time: 6.45am
Distance: 16.8KM (16.58KM by Suunto Ambit)
Shoe: Saucony Kinvara 4
By Frank

My last King Of The Road (KOTR) was back in the year 2009. Ever since that, I've boycotted the event due to some personal grudge I have with them. 4 years later, I registered the event as I saw Jason registering for it too. I though of just joining friends to have fun together. However, things took a turn as the event approach and I decided to use it as part of my speed training, hoping to run a 1:20 hour race. And this will also play a key role in my soon review of the Saucony Kinvara 4 as this is one aspect I've not tested yet.

There were some who ran the Putrajaya Night Marathon the night before running KOTR. Don't worry, I wasn't one of them. I am still very focused on my Comrades training and I shall not do anything that may jeopardized it. Jason pulled out of KOTR as he ran the full marathon the night before and I though it was a absolutely wise decision from him.

Anyway, let's start from the moment I woke up with barely 2 hours of sleep. Oddly again, I felt good. 2 buns and a cup of coffee was all I had. As I arrived at Kewajipan Roundabout, Subang at about 4.15am, the road was already blocked as expected. However as per the race guide, it can be access by runners so that we can park inside Sunway Pyramid. This wasn't the case and the traffic police diverted us away and in the process, I witness some high speed Mat Rempit and police chase. Upon arriving just next to Sunway Pyramid, we were again diverted away. Seriously, what is the point of setting traffic guidelines if organisers and traffic police are not following it. Lack of communication? I am not interested to know and it isn't our runners problem. To no avail, I gave up and tried my luck to park at the open-air carpark opposite the police beat base. I was lucky there was a spot there and with the beat base just in front, I am pretty sure it's safe. Immediately after parking my car, I went into the shopping mall to relieve myself as I was circling Bandar Sunway with agony earlier. AHH... The relieve afterwards.

After gearing up, I bumped into Pueh Tian and we linger at Starbucks Coffee for some gossiping. Soon enough, it was 6am and I made my way across to the starting site. Did my warm up and stretching before finding a spot to start somewhere just slightly from the middle of the pack. I was with Yim who just ran a full marathon the night before. And sharp at 6.45am, runners from the 16.8KM were flagged off.

I started well navigating through the crowd as we head towards the u-turn point at Kuchai Lama toll plaza. I managed to break myself free from the crowd as we near the underpass and that was where I started to increase my pace. Spotted Azrul whom I finished KL Marathon with and we ran together for a fair bit. We had the entire expressway to us and what makes things interesting at least for me, is that it isn't flat at all. There were multiple flyovers that runners need to tackle and this will work into favour for me.

As the sun began to rise, I put on my sunglasses. However, sweat flowing into my eyes isn't helping at all. However, that did not slow me down and was glad that it dried up a while later. Passed Raymond and Michelle who was pacing the 1.20 hour group. I did not pace them though as I wanted to try to achieve my target on my own capabilities. After all, it was my training.

Fast forwarding to the u-turn point at the Kuchai Lama toll plaza which is around 9KM, my time was good. And on the return, I spotted many familiar faces on the opposite side. I may have missed some calling me and I apologise for it. At 10KM, I was at about 50 minutes into the race. It was certainly a good time, something which I have not achieve for a very long time already. Now the problem was to sustain my pace. But that is something I failed to do. I felt my right piriformis irritated and my energy level was running low. I bear the the discomfort and took a GU Energy Gel hoping for some energy boost. Sadly, it did not come as I push on.

Next came a very irritating 10KM runner who kept cutting ahead of me and slowing down whenever I tried to shake him off. I was like, if he wants to play mind games, he pick the wrong guy (some battle roar to myself). Then came a reasonably steep climb at about 14KM and knowing my strength, I attacked the climb and finally managed to let him eat my dust (pun intended with the dust thingy). What an irritating guy indeed and he should be lucky I did not get his bib number and name else it will be posted here.

Managed to find a bit of strength back and hasten my pace a little. I felt sweat flowing down my legs and I know I was loosing much electrolytes due to the surprisingly high humidity this morning. Cramps should not come as I've just replenished with an energy gel, unless my right piriformis decides to give way. Lucky it did not as I entered the underpass and approach the finish line located just in front of the Sunway Pyramid's lion head. I crossed the finish line in 1:24:31 hours, which is off my target. I was disappointed that I could not sustain my pace but overall, it was still a satisfying and fruitful run. I will take my result happily.

Conquered New Pantai Expressway with my Kinvara 4. 
Anyone can spot what is wrong with this photo? *grin...

I tried to locate Zijill who ran a full marathon the night before and 10KM this morning but to no avail. I later linger around with CP, Wei Min and some other friends before leaving the site and back to work. Overall, the race was well organised with important elements like sufficient refreshments, distance markers, medics and lots of volunteers being well executed. However, here are some key points I would like to highlight out:

1) Road closure and traffic guidelines I mentioned earlier in this entry. Please execute as what was printed on the runners guide and not bringing us to some merry go round in the morning.

2) Emcee who likes to "Syiok" ownself and not able to get the attention of the participants. 

3) Cheerleaders along the route who were screaming their lungs out and behaving like hoooligans or rempits. Kindly cheer runners in a proper manner.

4) The drama behind the running vest where the size was extremely large. Not that I care of as the vest is going to some under privilege people but it affected lots of others.

Will I return next year should the event be still on? Sadly to say, I'm all OUT hence I don't think so unless like this year, it's for training purposes. It may be well organised this year, but after all, it's still 3 Stripes.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The North Face 100 Singapore 2013...

Event: The North Face 100 Singapore
Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Date: 5 October 2013
Time: 5.30am
Distance: 50KM (49.58KM by Suunto Ambit 2 Sapphire - 5s GPS fix)
Shoe: Saucony Peregrine 4.0
By Frank

My fourth adventure at The North Face 100 Singapore (TNF50), running the distance of 50KM again. Similarity to last year was it was still a solo individual category, but the difference was the change in route. But before going into the run itself, here's a recap of the drama that started an hour before boarding the plane.

Once again, I flew in to Singapore with Roy, Hong Lan and Yen Erl. An hour before boarding, Mercury Backpackers where we all stayed during Craze Ultra a couple of weeks ago called Yen Erl to notify her that our room was not available despite booking it due to some "technical error". Due to geographical location at that time, the issue was not solve hence we boarded the plane first before going over for some face to face conversation with the person in charge of all this mess, Jake.

Upon arrival, Hong Chew picked us up from the airport and drove us to Mercury Backpackers. It was a serious mess-up by Jake for not capturing our booking and only notifying us at the eleventh hour. And despite trying to solve the problem for us, his reply was not satisfactory! With no choice, we tried our luck at a other nearby hotel and backpackers and finally found Value Hotel at Balestier. We were lucky to find a small room for myself, Roy and Yen Erl and this solved the problem, for now at least. Next was the usual race pack collection at Marina Square before some shopping and dinner at Novena Square before lights off for rest.

About 4 hours of sleep and I was glad it was enough as I woke up feeling reasonably well. Took a bun and washed it down with a can of coffee before the usual pre-race ritual. Everything went smoothly and by 4.15am, we were out of the hotel. Linger around the race site with friends before checking into the start pent. Like previous the previous year, our hydration backpacks were weight before entering but I was surprise on how lenient they were. No checking on physical items like maps and mobile phones, just word of assurance. It may contribute to smoothness in crowd control, but on a negative side of things, may cause blunders during the actual race itself. Certainly not the way to go.

Fast forward to the start at 5.30am, Roy felt rain drops. It was certainly windy but I did not felt it until a couple of minutes before the air horn went off. I quickly change my electronics into the water proof compartment of my back pack as rain came out of a sudden. Upon doing so, we were off with rain drops all over. The rain became heavier but I was glad I had my visor on. Just hope that my super cheap Energizer headlamp does not get electrocuted though.

One for the album before the start.

Upon entering MacRitchie Trail, the ground was already wet and slippery. It was my first run in my spanking new Saucony Peregrine 4 and I have to be careful with it. However, after covering another Kilometer or so in the trail stepping over mud, rocks and gravels, I was already confident with the shoe. The traction was fantastic and I was hopping all over to avoid mud and water puddles! As the rain got heavier and heavier, my shoe also became heavier with water and dirt in it. I had to be careful though as my headlamp wasn't really bright and I had to follow the beams from other runners. Was running at the side as it was the drier part of the route.

After about 4KM, we were out on the tarmac for a while before resuming into a muddy section just after the ranger hut. First greeting was a pile of mud which went unnoticed as my entire ankle went into it causing dirt to enter my shoe. It happened again at the exit of this area and was glad the shoe did not become a mudcake. Before continuing on, I had to highlight 2 very dangerous runners here with the name of Desmond (wearing Salomon white) and Lai (TNF yellow tee). They were running together without consideration of the safety of other runners overtaking and jumping around especially at very technical parts of the course especially slopes. SHAME ON THEM!

Next was a long stretch on the tarmac along the broadcasting satellite area. The security fence was put so close to the side and allows 1 single lane for 1 runner. No overtaking here and I was really uncomfortable at one point of time as there was a faster runner behind me. Jump to the side and into the drain I go. I just had to run a bit faster so that I do not slow him down. There was a stretch with a puddle of water which again went unnoticed, I step into it causing wetness again but it did clean up my shoe though. So it was a good thing as the rain has started to subside here as I entered the Rifle Range Road. To my surprise, Roy and Yen Erl was behind me. The 3 of us were running together since the start. Way to go!

Soon we were into some housing area which I find pretty similar as we regroup and ran together. Next was an area that was upmost familiar. The old KTM track where I ran with Roy back in march 2013's TNF Singapore City Race. It was certainly wet here as the route was covered in grass and mud. But it was fun. It was still drizzling though as we ran and passed some friendly supporters that prepared light breakfast for runner. Such humble people. We carried on passed the first checkpoint before arriving at the u-trun point. Feeling hungry, we stopped by at the earlier checkpoint and took out our very delicious breakfast, "bak kwa" (traditional Chinese dried meat). As it was a big slice, may runners took a glance at myself and Roy. Super yummy! Yen Erl arrived shortly and we continued on.

Along the way back, we noticed 2 runners who got stuck in the mud knee deep! They can't get themselves out and had to resort to emergency help. Am sure nearby volunteers will response. It was a long stretch next before exiting to the tarmac as we headed towards the Dairy Farm Road. 

We finally arrived at the next checkpoint at Dairy Farm Road where GU was supposed to be served. To my horror, volunteers can't helped to the reasonably huge crowd of runners here and I had to open the water bottle myself. Even the GU Energy Gel was no where to be found. Not wanting to spend too much time here, I didn't bother and just carried on after re-lacing due to looseness of my shoe.

I did not spend much time earlier at the checkpoint for I know the next is my favourite checkpoint of all, Zhenghua Park and it isn't too far away. I shouldered on and not thinking too much about time, I was there already. Took time to rehydrate myself and event to relieve myself. Roy and Yen Erl went on first as I took a slightly longer time. I finally caught up with them at Gangsa Trail for that area is built for me, climbs climbs and more climbs. We passed Upper Pierce Reservoir along the way before finally arriving at the u-turn at Mandai. Previous years, we are to cross Mandai Road to where Long Asrama and the fame Hill 265 was. Not for this year and I kind of miss that place.

Bumped into Kim Lai at Gangsa Trail.

Nevertheless, after a quick break at Mandai, we carried on after yet another quick break shortly after the official checkpoint for there are supported handing out extremely delicious food and drinks which include Coca Cola, chocolate stick and brownies. My gratitude to them. It was a long journey back to where we came from and it was downhill at Gangsa Track this time. I was not good with it and this is where Roy and Yen Erl headed me. On the way, we spotted Hong Lan who is cramping. With nothing we can do, we can only offer words to encouragement as she shouldered on. We detoured off to Chestnut Track before finally arriving back at Zhenghua Park and bumping into David who is on his second loop as he was running 100KM. As I arrived in this area first, I had a longer rest time and took time to eat. I had a banana and cookies before resuming. 

"Picnic" at Zhenghua Park.

After resuming my run, my tummy did not feel too good. Must be the banana and I was actually looking around. But I held on and the "feeling" went away. Lucky indeed. Back into Rifle Range via the infamous open area with 3 big pipes, it was back to the long stretch again on tarmac passed the satellite broadcasting area. There were some monkey along the way though they did not pose any danger to runners.

With 7KM to go at Jelutong Tower, we headed into the next checkpoint which happen to be the final u-turn. I was struggling on the way there while Yen Erl was on fire! Bump into Lin Hong here as I managed to slowly pick up my pieces here.

Finally back to the Golf Link and it was another 4KM to go. Yen Erl was still on fire and myself and Roy had trouble chasing her. As we entered Lornie Trail, we knew the end was near as all 3 of us visited this area before. But near feels long indeed as we slowly but surely went for it.

Exiting Lornie Trail with 3 smiles.

The 3 of us finally regrouped together and as we exited Lornie Trail with a smiling face and was cheered on by other runners and park goers. The feeling was great as we soon see the finish arch and finally crossed it in 6:55:05 hours coming in position 201 of 523. WOOTZ...

We broke all boundaries together.

Hung around the area for some post race food like nasi lemak, subway and ice cream while lingering around with friends and other runners. Bumped into Walter, Huey-Na and Marc too. Cleaned ourselves up while waiting for Hong Lan to come back and she made it. Well done to her. And soon, it was back to the hotel some well deserve rest before going over to Orchard Road for some shopping and food, and not to mention a small celebration.

50KM finisher medal.

Overall I enjoyed this year TNF50 very much as I ran together with Roy and Yen Erl since the start. And from being a very hot race from previous years, this year took a change by being wet, dirty and muddy. Overall, the organisation of the race was well executed except for the support department where I felt it took a dip due to manpower issues especially at Dairy Farm. Nevertheless, it was still a good event to look forward to again.

Conquered TNF50 Singapore with Suunto!

Before closing off this entry, here's the second part to the drama with Mercury Backpacker as it has yet to come to an end yet. Yen Erl was notified by for charges due to no show. We headed back to Mercury Backpacker the next morning before heading to the airport co clarify the matter. We felt cheated by Jake as he did basically nothing and wasn't there. The staff has basically no idea on what had happened. Jake should have done something 2 days ago but he did not and I felt that he basically just wanted to get rid of us when our booking did not go through. We managed to settle the problem after trusting on what Jake said over the phone and also verifying with Yen Erl's credit card of a no charge. For now, we took it as the matter is close as we headed to the airport to return home. Mercury Backpackers, nice cozy hostel with bad services? Hmmm...

* My sincere thanks to Saucony Malaysia for releasing and sponsoring the Saucony Peregrine to me for use on this race.

* All photos here credited to respective photographers. Thanks a lot to them.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2013...

Event: Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2013
Venue: Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 29 September 2013
Time: 4.30am
Distance: 42.195KM (42.4KM by Suunto Ambit 2 Sapphire)
Shoe: Saucony Virrata
By Frank

Goodbye H. Hello G! Sounds happy indeed eh, and hence there will be a happy ending to this report. After all, starting a blog entry positively is just as good as waking up great in the morning.

Despite having a long day at work the day before, slightly more than 2 hours of sleep and waking up to a sore gum due to heatiness, I actually felt good. Did the usual pre-race ritual and by 1.30am, I was already out of the house. And by 2am, I arrived at Dataran Merdeka already. I thought I was early, but I still can't a proper car parking nearby the starting area. Most roads were already blocked off, earlier than what was mentioned by the organisers on their event guide book. EH HELLO! What's the use of mentioning if you are not going to follow? I made a couple of rounds and finally found a spot just opposite HSBC. Not a bad parking spot and the attendant was kind enough to share with me his "hidden secret" toilet when I had to hit the potty loo.

By 3am, I was all geared up and made my way to the race site to hang out with some others. Bump into some "eye sore" but later met some close mates like Jason, Yim, Uncle Oliver, Fook Seong and CP. Had a bottle of water as I gulp it down to help with my heatiness. And with a couple of Kopiko candies to keep me awake. Fast forward to the start time, I managed to squeeze to at least one quarter from the front together with Yik Yee and Wai Hong. However, I spotted Fook Seong and decided to start with him.

The black and white with happy go lucky Yim.

And we are off! No prizes for spotting me.

At 4.30am, we are off! As I started well from the front of the pack, I was already running freely from the crowd after a few seconds. Settled into my own pace and started singing a little as I ran pass the railway station, KL Sentral, Brickfields and into the Federal Highway. Quickly enough, it was already 5KM and into the Seputeh climb I ran as I spotted Yim. I was tailgating him behind but I know I couldn't hold on to his pace and had no intention to.

What goes up, will goes down. And after the Seputeh climb, it was down along the Sungai Besi air force stretch. My right knee started twitching and slowly it hurt. Started to limp but I was still going till I hit the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka stretch where I stop by the side to massage it. It helped a lot and soon, the pain subside and I was running normally again, though at a slower pace. 

Next was the dreaded long Jalan Loke Yew stretch heading towards Cheras. I was reduced to walking at a certain stretch due side stitches. However, I managed to tackle it by insert my fingers between my ribs. And from there onwards, it was trouble free. At 16KM as I was downing my first GU Roctane gel, a black figure pass me saying "CP9". It was Ben in his Batman suit! Scary moment indeed as I mentioned it was  black figure! Hahaha... Nevertheless, he zoomed pass into the darkness and I was soon looking for a place to relieve myself. I found a dark spot but soon notice 3 lady volunteers across the street. Darn... I carried on in search of a new spot.

When day broke, I was at the halfway point and soon spotted the mobile toilet at 22KM along the Jalan Tun Razak stretch. With my bladder cleared, I was in good mood to run again though the legs were getting a bit tired. I am now about 2:20 hours into the run.

The journey continued into the Bukit Bintang area passed Pavilion and soon Karen Siah came from behind and greeted me at the refreshment station in front of Menara Standard Chartered. Next was into Jalan P. Ramleee where I spotted Wind limping a little and ran to him for a short chat. Apparently, his old injury resurface. YS Lee then came and urged us to keep running which I did. Wind continued to limp on but am sure he will managed himself especially when his "wind" comes. I ran with YS passed KLCC and into Jalan Tun Razak again before I dropped off due to leg fatigue. The morning heat, vehicle fumes and honking does not contribute either. I started pouring water over myself at each refreshment station. My pace has dropped significantly but found some time to rest as the traffic police stopped runners at the Pekeliling roundabout to allow vehicles to pass. It was a rest worth it as next was Jalan Ipoh.

I arrived at 30KM together with Kahwai who was bare-footing. He was cheering all runners cheerfully and tried pulling them to run together. Well done to him. From the refreshment station here, I took my second GU Energy Gel and took some time off to walk and soon Allan came to me and we chatted. Shine came along too but went off soon after. Soon was Jason who thought I was in trouble. I assured him that I was just taking a breather and off he went. After hitting 31KM, I told Allan that I would like to start running again. And so I did.

And this is where my miracle happen. As soon as I started running, I found not only my rhythm again, but my strong (pun intended). Took a quick glance on my Suunto Ambit 2 and found out that I have about 70 minutes to make 11KM. Tough but possible. I decided to try my luck and went for it. After all, I told myself it's just another hour or so in pain and it be all over. I ran and spotted Jason at the 32KM refreshment station and tried to pull him along but to no avail. I was on my own.

Stride after strike, kick after kick, I became stronger.  Even my brand new pair of Saucony Virrata is helping a lot. It got better and bouncier as I ran. Maybe it's in my head but heck, I was running fast! Finally into Jalan Kuching, the strong sunny stretch with vehicles zooming pass runners, I wanted to exit this area as fast as possible. And I did just that. Up the ramp to the Jalan Duta roundabout and spotted Nick. Pulled him along and he managed to follow. Next was Cikgu. He was limping pretty badly and could not follow us. Into Bukit Tungku and the 36KM refreshment station was there. I did a grab and go and this is where I left Nick. Apologies to Nick.

Shortly in front, I heard a familiar voice call out to me. It was Hong Lan manning her support station. As I was on a roll and just rehydrated earlier, I hammered on. Halfway through the long stretch, I overtook naught Kian Seng and he tried t pull me back. Was lucky I did not cramp up and off I went. And finally, the last major yet deadly climb at the end of Bukit Tungku. Short yet steep, I told myself this, "I am make up of 5 big hills and countless nameless hills" and off I attack it! It was all over shortly and was rewarded with another refreshment station. Did a grab and go again and soon into Kenny Hills and that was before Kien Boon snap a photo of me.

Fighting the sun's glare as Kien Boon took my photo.

Arriving at the Arab School at the end of Kenny Hills, and with 39KM to go, I had about 25 minutes to make up 3KM. That's a sub 6 minutes pace I ran the last 8KM since founding my strong (again pun intended). By then, I know I was already safe for a sub 4:40 marathon if nothing goes wrong. As I was exiting the Bank Negara and JKR area more and more volunteers appeared to cheer us on. And when I got to the Bank Negara roundabout, I tried to pull Azrul along but he still needed his breather. I went alone.

Jalan Raja Laut was a mess with 10KM runners merging into full marathoners. I had to zig zag my way through and was hoping that I do not cramp during the process. Finally, the u-turn at Pertama Complex. 15 minutes before the 4:40 hour cut off for me. I decided to take short breather here finally after hammering the last 10KM or so. A short one to recharge for a strong finish. And just before completing the turn into Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Azrul caught up and we went for it together. Not a fast pace, but a comfy one where we chatted. And not to slowly, step after step, we soon saw the Sultan Abdul Samad building where the finish line awaits. However, it was a pretty mess here where runners who have already completed their run and also other cheerers poured out on to the road to cheer us. It was a nice gesture but wrong implementation way as it disrupted where I was heading towards. Lost my running line or a moment before founding it back and went side by side with Azrul (after some letting here and there) to complete our run together. I crossed the finish line in 4:33:40 hours and was ecstatic over it for I know I am G seeded for Comrades Marathon 2014!

Happily coming home with Azrul (front with RoadID top).

My splits.

Spent some quality post race time together with Jason, Susanah, Yip, Shine and Wind cheering other runners coming in. I saw Roy coming and gave him a high-5 for he completed big adventures the past 3 weeks and seriously deserve a pat on his back for this. Then cruelty sets in, as I left the race site not back home but to work in a daze!

I enjoyed this year's KL Marathon a lot not because of its organisation but I had achieved something which I have to "feel" for such a long time already. And with a sub 4:40 hour marathon done, my task at my next marathon at the Penang Bridge later this November will be less of a burden for at least I am now qualified for the G seeding for next year's Comrades Marathon, unless I am gunning for F? *gulps...

* All photos here credited to respective photographers. Thanks a lot to them.