Friday, January 31, 2014

January Survived...

By Frank

Before starting this entry, and since it's the Chinese New Year, here's taking the opportunity to wish my readers a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!

January 2014 came and went, and I survived my first month of Comrades training and I am feeling great about it. The first month of the official training to me is dubbed to be the base building month. Of the estimated given 242KM worth of running distance, I managed to achieve 251KM, a slight increase on what was given and definitely an increase from last year. Easy runs, long runs, speedworks and also strength training were part of the training and I must say that I really hated speedworks which falls on Tuesday. Am just so breathless.
An improvement over a year ago.

I managed to follow closely to what was given with the exception of long runs on the weekends where I've to do it over 2 sessions due to work and time. The main advantage will be allowing me to recover in between for the next session but the downside will be minimal chance to build strength over one single long run. Anyway, I felt good throughout the month and this certainly is a confidence booster. Tiring indeed but after a good rest, I felt rejuvenated again and will always be looking forward to a hot cup of coffee for breakfast the next day. And this has to be done with putting in quality recovery food and drinks. I been trying to maintain my weight but sadly,it has been dropping due to the heavy session. But the good news is, it isn't dropping dramatically hence there is still chance for me to quickly top it back.

My training program overlooking my work desk.

And so, base building January 2014 is now behind me and I have February 2014 dubbed improvement month ahead. To troubleshoot my weakness and to improve within a shorter month with a longer given estimated distance to conquer, it will be a challenge indeed especially  with a "centurion" awaits. Onward it is...

Monday, January 13, 2014

It Ain't A Walk In The Park...

By Frank

2 weeks into the new year and 2 weeks since official training kick started. Training has gone pretty smoothly for me thus far. Feeling fresh from all the sessions, it's still too early to tell how will things shape up. For now, I am just trying to stay as close as possible to the training regime given. It may not be 100% thus far, but flexibility is key due to the nature of my job. This may and hopefully change within a couple of months to come if everything goes well.

My training aside, the focus of this entry in fact highlights on my other countrymen who some will attempt their maiden Comrades Marathon. As Facebook as been a very powerful communication tool and also in relaying activities by others, I can see the year started extremely well for some, but only to end up in shatters just 2 weeks in. It's too early to lose focus now but also not too late to have it sorted out.

Cramps is just part of the game.

Comrades Marathon is full of dramas and it did not earn the title to be one of the greatest but toughest road ultra marathon to date. The scenery is beautiful with the run taking us through the Valley of Thousand Hills. And not to mention the awesome support given by the South Africans. However, this isn't a walk in the park and one can't just simply walk the entire 89KM distance. If you thought by registering for the Comrades Marathon is all about the glamour and it's long history, think again. The 12 hour cut-off time is in fact a little misleading. Yes, that's the cut-off time to arrive at the finish line, but do not forget that there are 5 cut-off to be met along the entire race course. One may not even arrive at Durban should race strategy isn't plan out together with training.

The rush to the finish nearing the 12 hour cut-off.

The training this year focuses a lot on quality of the run and also the rest time. It isn't about quantity anymore although a certain distance is most advisable to be met. When feeling unwell, do not train. When running halfway and discomfort sets in, STOP! And when injured, pay attention to getting it heal first. Seriously, there is no point pushing it beyond the pain barrier only to result in long term chronic injuries which is worst! Are you going to be spend your life complaining to yourself and others about pain? Are you going to be an attention seeker in telling others that you can do it despite the injury and the pain? You may think you are great, but to me, you are a lame joker who seeks attention!

Runners falling like flies being smack at the 2013 edition.

To date, 2 Malaysians is already among the  DNF (Did Not Finish) status. I do not want to see another added to the list and sincerely advised my fellow countrymen to train and rest as when needed. 1 June 2014 will come in a blink of an eye!

* a little harsh on a few sentences above but somethings just needs to be convey
* all images courtesy of Comrades Marathon Association

Friday, January 03, 2014

It All Begins, AGAIN...

By Frank

Yes, we have moved into the new year. And it's the time again where it all restarts again, new year resolutions. Did you managed to hit your previous or was it just a simple wish on the first day of the new year and you simply forget about it the next day?

For myself and perhaps, the other 11 Malaysians heading to South Africa for the Comrades Marathon 2014 come this 1 June 2014, it marks the start of our training. 3 sets of different program were given and am glad to actually know that some of them has started off with their training. This year's training is "slightly" less gruesome compared to last year with attention made towards quality and rest. However, having said that, it's really down to ourselves to get it done. The program does not guarantee success on race day, but it will definitely spell disaster if not taken seriously. As a double finisher myself, I am not taking it lightly for sure, as I know how tough the race is, especially when it's the down direction, my Achilles heel.

For the past 2 years, for the first half of the year, it has all been sweat, tears and cramps, and sometimes lack of sleep too (so far no blood shed yet :p). Trying to train for Comrades with the nature of my job is tough. And it certainly makes no difference this year, if not even tougher with the direction I am heading towards, something which I hope will change soon.

My training gears has been chosen. It will reflect on what I am going to use on the actual race day. Whether shoes, apparels or nutrition, I simply put them into 3 categories. Train, Strengthen and to Recover.

The shoes that will be part my training.

Anyway, just a short entry rambling about it here. I've started my training as per given. Not a new year resolution to me as I've stop making them few years back but just simply something I've been doing since my first Comrades Marathon. It's really down to ourselves to make something happen. And as for my journey to Comrades Marathon, it's just as simple as saying, BUILD, PROGRESS, MAINTAIN, IMPLEMENT! All that thousand plus Kilometers of running coupled with other forms of training just for 1 aim, to complete the 89KM journey within 12 hours. COMRADES MARATHON 2014 - HARD IS WHAT MAKES IT GREAT!