Sunday, June 27, 2010

Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur 2010...

Event: Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur 2010
Venue: Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 27 June 2010
Time: 5.00am
Distance: 42.195KM (42.6KM by Chee Kong's Garmin Forerunner 310XT)
Shoe: K-Swiss K-Ona
By Frank

0KM. That's my running mileage for the past 7 days prior to this race. My last run was a 20KM run with Jamie last Saturday. But despite that, I felt pretty good when I woke up in the morning. Probably it was due to the rest which allowed me to recover more from my ultra marathon a month ago. And speaking of that, lesson learnt from last year is to eat right to recover faster to avoid injury.

The Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2010 technically wasn't on my to-do list this year. However, I decided to give them a chance to see if they improve on the overall race quality compared to last year. Aim was to run a sub 5 hour and to run it carefully as I believed I'm not 100% yet.

The race route this year...

Ready to run...

Arrived at 3.45am at Bukit Aman to secure my usual car park. Proceeded to the start venue with Keat Seong, Jennifer, Paul and Poh Seng. It started to drizzle then it got a little heavier, enough to wet the roads and build up puddles of water. Not a good start for me as I'm not a wet person. But I got to admit it was cooling.

At 5am sharp, runners were set off as I started at the back with Jennifer, Chee Kong, Jamie and Poh Seng. Keat Seong was no where to be seen. There was an adrenaline rush in me as I felt really good. Immediately, I went on race pace but it was tough to navigate through the sea of runners and also to avoid the water puddles. I did go over a few but it wasn't a problem for my K-Swiss K-Ona.

My pace was pretty consistent for the first 25KM of the race despite experiencing the longest side stitch I ever have from the 14KM onwards till the 25KM mark. I slowed down but was still maintaining a 6.00 minutes pace or so bearing the pain as I run. It was about 17KM where Keat Seong and Chee Kong passed me. I tried to follow them but they were slowly disappearing into the distance. By the time I arrive 23KM mark which was just after the KL Tower, they were already gone.

At the 25KM mark just in front of the National Library, I spotted Chee Kong reduced to walking. I stopped beside him to accompany him though I know my own legs will lock up when I stop. But as he will be flying off to Scotland in a few days time for work purposes, I do not know when is the next time I will run or see him again, so I decided to run and even walk with him.

I started to feel my legs warming up as lactic acid started to accumulate. Slowly, it got painful and stiff but it was worth it for the sake of a friend. When we both got to Jalan Ipoh and then Jalan Kuching, I just want to get out of that area as vehicles piling up there was releasing fumes. But the journey out of it was not easy as both my legs were starting to show signs of cramping up. Had to stop a couple of time to actually stretch.
I was really relieved when I got to the Segambut roundabout where Jamie passed me here as I know Bukit Tungku which is filled with greens is really near. And John was there to greet me. As I entered the stretch which was block to traffic, my nostrils and lungs felt really good. Jennifer passed me here but as I after the Tijani Hill, both me and Chee Kong started to pick up our pace.

Ben was at the 39KM mark to cheer for runners. He told me McDonalds ahead! *grin* Rehydrated at the final 40KM refreshment station and told Chee Kong it's all the way now. We increased our pace but slowed at times when I saw Chee Kong struggling. At the final kilometer, I passed Jennifer and told her just one more!

Told Chee Kong to keep it steady as I didn't want anyone of us to suffer a cramp at the final stages. And as we approached Dataran Merdeka, we both felt a sense of relief as we both held each others hands high up to cross the finish line together in a time of 04:50:05. The only disappointment here was that our finishing photo was kind of ruin as there was a runner in between us at the finish line. Sigh...

Proceeded to rehydrate ourselves and also to collect our finisher's medal and shirt before regrouping with Jennifer and Keat Seong. Then it's time to bid farewell to Chee Kong. I had a good and productive but yet a little painful run with him. Hahaha... But trust me, it was all worth it.

Front view of the finisher's medal...

Rear view of the finisher's medal...

Back home, immediately after cleaning myself up, I gave 14 of my personal training clients a call to check on them. After 5 months of training with me, they all embark on an "exam" to become a certified marathoner. I did not set any target time for them as for their maiden marathon, completing is the priority. I didn't even want them to meet me up before the race as my presence will probably pressure them. And boy did they amazed me. 12 of them ran a sub 5 hour marathon while another just missing the 5 hour mark by 5 minutes. As for the 1 more, CONGRATULATION Lewis for running a sub 4 hour marathon on your very first! I'm so proud of all of them as being individuals with almost no running background, they really amazed me with their results. I'm proud to say that I'm leaving the personal training scene with a huge sense of achievement. Thank you everyone!

Overall, the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2010 was a huge improvement over last year's edition. I'm glad the organisers did listen to the feedback given last year and I had no regret giving them a chance to run it this year. As for now, I'm really glad it's over for now. No more long distance races till the month of October 2010 before I gear up for another ultra marathon. Just have to balance my time between work and training as my retail is schedule to be open soon. That will really take my time away.

Here are my split times:

05KM - 00:27:26
10KM - 00:55:52
15KM - 01:25:38
20KM - 01:56:01
21KM - 02:02:13
25KM - 02:28:35
30KM - 03:09:41
35KM - 03:54:43
42KM - 04:50:05

Saturday, June 19, 2010

K-Swiss K-Ona C...

By Frank

Mention the name K-Swiss, and many will think tennis. But it isn't the case now as the brand with 5 stripes is now highly associated with the triathlon scene being the official footwear and apparel sponsor to the World Triathlon Corporation.

It was a chance not to be missed when I was given the chance to put on one of K-Swiss best selling running shoes, the K-Ona C. So why an alphabet C at the back? In fact, it means something of a face lift version where the shield logo is now moved to the centre of the shoe to represent a global branding movement. Except for that and the colours, nothing much changed. There is even an S version, which have the Ironman word or even selected country flags on it.

The K-Swiss K-Ona C...

The original K-Ona was named after the famous Kona district at Hawaii where the Ironman World Championship is held annually. Soon after it's introduction, many triathletes fell in love with the shoe and hence the start of a revolution.

The K-Ona C is a high performance trainer cum racer which is really suitable for both training and races. It may look bulky but don't be deceive by it. It weights in at about 255 grams only, which makes it a very fast shoe. Not forgetting the awesome flexibility of it where you can flex the shoes like you are wearing just a socks. Maybe a little too much here, but just try to imagine it.

Lateral view of the shoe...

Medial view of the shoe...

The shoes came with anti-slip laces. It was very long but I guess it's better than being short. No problems with the laces as it stayed firmly even when I only single tied it. Just have to do away with the extra length by tucking it between the laces and tongue.

As mentioned on it's bulky looks, many who have tested the shoe gave their first impression that it feels very different from how it looks. Being a low profile shoe, one can really feel the ground hence providing a very fast response on every strikes. I'm a person who likes harder compound running shoe, and this will certainly help. It may not be as hard compared to the ASICS range, but they are really close. The shoe offer a medial support but it is very mild, probably too mild to even feel it. Therefore, this will really suit those who pronate slightly and probably those who are into neutral shoes.

Medial support and the view of the K-Ona C's low profile design...

Take a closer look at the shoe and you will notice the number of holes around it. This is probably the highlight of this shoe. From the toe box to the heel counter to the outsole, the Flow Cool System is there to keep the feet and the inner shoes dry and well ventilated. With every stride, one can feel a slight gush of breeze entering the shoes, which really helps in moisture control. I personally ran through a rainy half marathon with this shoes. Water goes into the shoes whenever I run through the puddle but it quickly came out through the holes. No doubt the shoes and socks gets wet, but it rinses off a lot quicker compared to other shoes. This shoe is after all made for the triathlon scene. And being that, it's also seamless in design where some triathletes actually wear them without socks.

The Flow Cool System as seen on the toe box...

Being seamless in design is really great as it help save transition time for triathletes. The tongue of the shoe is very thinly padded. If one part of the shoe that will soak up with water, will be the collar as memory foam is used here. Though not really thick, it's just sufficient to offer some padding and protection to Achilles region.

The outsole of the shoe was made with K-Swiss very own EVA foam call SuperFoam. Nothing fancy about it as it duties was to provide energy return with every strike. And protecting the SuperFoam is the K-Swiss very own compound rubber call Aosta II. For the midsole, another foam called the K-EVA foam coupled with a technology call GuideGlide that helps to centre the foot to help guide every stride is used. I will say this shoe is very minimalist in design. No mumbo jumbo technology built in but yet it serves its purpose very well, to propel every stride!

A view of the outsole...

The SuperFoam and note the drainage system...

My first test with the K-Ona C was a 40KM run. No running in is required with this shoe and I quickly got used to it. Very comfortable run in it and soon after, it was an 84KM adventure. It supported me well throughout my journey, feeling really good. Though the shoe was damp, I need not worry much. If it can support a triathlete or even an Ironman through their run, and now guiding me through to a successful 84KM ultra marathon, can one imagine how good is the shoe? Did I mention that this is actually the favourite shoe of Luke McKenzie, Chris Lieto, Matt Lieto and Belinda Grander, just to name a few world class triathletes?

The K-Swiss K-Ona C is now available at a recommended selling price of RM430 from Runnerz Circle.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

MPSJ-NST Carnival & 10KM Run 2010...

Event: MPSJ-NST Carnival & 10KM Run 2010
Venue: Kompleks Sukan MPSJ, Subang Jaya
Date:13 June 2010
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 10KM
Shoe: K-Swiss K-Ona C
By Frank

The MPSJ-NST Carnival & 10KM Run or popularly known as the Subang 10KM Run is one of my favourite short distance run. It also holds some memories as this was my first running event with Andrew and William back in year 2006 to test out the distance before I officially started my running career.

Despite being stressed out, I felt good yesterday. With the feeling, I asked myself whether should I try to outrun my 10KM personal best. Agreed to myself that I will try for the route is pretty friendly except for some minor climbs.

However, disaster struck as I woke up at 6am, despite setting my alarm clock at 2am. For those who know me, I usually wake up early to prepare myself and to get to the race venue early. It wasn't the case this time, as I just simply showered and rush out of my house. A personal best for rushing out of the house. No breakfast at all.

I arrived at the race venue close to 6.45am, geared up and jog to the complex as part of my warm up. However, I felt something amiss about the starting time of 7am which was stated on the registration form. It was 7.30am instead as announced by the emcee. OK, probably a blessing in disguise too as I felt discomfort on my tummy.

Did my deposit and reported myself and immediately I was told to pin up my racing bib on my vest. I had in on my race belt as I did not want to damage my vest and besides, this is the way to be now. Not wanting to argue, I just walk off. I won't qualify for a medal anyway since they are only giving out 5 of it so no hard feelings.

At 7.30am, the race was started by the Selangor Chief Minister. Though I know that without breakfast, I won't last long, I still went ahead into race mode. Am still giving my shot at the personal best.

2KM into the race, Keat Seong called me out. Just gave him a nod and off I went as I did not want others pace to disturb mine. 4KM into the race, that's it. My sugar level took a dive and I started seeing double. With this, I know my race for a personal best is all over. I was struggling but still pushing even at times when the word "Quit" came into my mind. I needed food and it was all about nursing myself back to the complex.

About 6KM, Keat Seong caught up. We didn't chat too long though as he was helping Michelle as I overheard their conversation. I was still running at my own despite both of them being there. Told myself to endure and not fall back to their pace. I tried my best, but at times, I still slowed.

Re-entering the stretch approaching the complex was a good sight as I know the end is near. The only obstacle now is the dreaded u-turn which I have to make which is about 1KM in distance. Did it, and off I went and into the complex and cross the finish line in 00:49:45, 2 minutes 19 seconds slower from my personal best. No personal best, but I'm glad I did a sub 50 minutes race.

Upon completing the race, I was hallucinating. I know my sugar level was critically low and I had problems speaking. My apologies to some of my friends who tried to speak to me. I just wasn't in the correct state. Took me a while to recover as I queued for isotonic drinks and the goodie bag which had food in it. Once there are into my stomach and bloodstream, I felt a lot better. Before leaving, I stayed to support and cheer for Michelle who came in second in her category. Way to go!

Lesson learned. Don't take alarm clocks for granted. Once it rings, climb out of bed! And breakfast is very important!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Picking Up The Fallen Pieces...

By Frank

The North Face 100 Singapore 2010 is now open for registration. However, my dream of participating in it was shattered 9 days ago at the Sundown Marathon 2010. Missing the qualification time by 00:30:23, I had to opt for the next available category which is the 100KM duo instead, where a team of 2 runners will have to run a distance of 50KM on trail each.

I know there may be a chance for participation in the 100KM solo category if I write in to the organisers, but I guess the chances will be slim as 30 minutes is a pretty huge margin. If I were the organisers, I would have rejected it too. Besides, I did not want to keep my friend waiting as I will only know the outcome on 15 August 2010 which is pretty late.

Therefore, as of today, I have registered myself for the 100KM duo. The friend or shall I say my team mate will be Jamie. I'm very sure he will make an extremely good team mate as we have been running and training together for since early 2008. Though we do not need to run together during the race, I know what is he capable off and therefore, I'm sure I made the correct choice.

There is another option for the 100KM solo qualification which is to run and complete the 100KM duo in a time of 7 hours. Definitely much easier compared to the 84KM in 10 hours option. Therefore, with this year's participation in the 100KM duo, I'm given another qualification chance to try qualify myself for next year's edition. All is not lost yet. I just have to be discipline and not slack like how I did for the Sundown Marathon 2010. Now, who is with me for training?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Setia Eco 1/2 Marathon 2010...

Event: Setia Eco 1/2 Marathon 2010
Venue: Setia Alam Welcome Centre, Shah Alam, Selangor
Date: 5 June 2010
Time: 6.30am
Distance: 21KM (20.9KM by Keat Seong's Garmin Forerunner 405)
Shoe: K-Swiss K-Ona C
By Frank

I have no plans to participate in this event. However, while walking pass the New Balance store at 1 Utama on one faithful day, I noticed how cute the medal was as there were 2 cartoon characters on it. With no hesitation, I signed up on spot.

I haven't been running in the half marathon distance since last year's adidas King of the Road 2009. Even my personal best was done 2 years back at the RMAF Half Marathon 2008. I do really want to outrun it, but knowing it's just a week after my 84KM adventure at Sundown Marathon 2010, I'm just taking this run easy as last year's injury memory is still pretty fresh in my mind.

I did not sleep a wink since waking up at 9am yesterday. Reason, overdose of caffeine as I was at an exhibition earlier at Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Free flow of gourmet coffee was served and I took the opportunity to indulge which was a cup too many.

As this is my first time going to this place call Setia Alam which is located in between Shah Alam and Bukit Raja, I left pretty early at 4.45am. Arrived at about 5.15am and I noticed I was not really early after all as there were already quite a number of runners there. Luckily the car park was huge to accommodate a few hundreds of vehicles.

Keat Seong, Jennifer, Raymond, Michelle, Poh Seng and Kelvin all arrived and after a short photo session, we are off running at 6.30am except for Jennifer who is running the 10KM distance. I started well. Well, at least for the first 2KM before Keat Seong came beside me telling me that my pace was too fast for the start. I drop my pace and that allowed him to take the lead. I managed to follow him but was slowly loosing out. I had problems increasing my pace again as sleepiness started to crawl in after 5KM or so.

Rain clouds was seen. And as I approach the u-turn point at about 7KM, it started raining. It got heavier and heavier and rain is something I dislike. Luckily I had my K-Swiss K-Ona C on and I managed to keep my feet "water free" even going over puddles of it. Though many will think rain will refreshen them up, it wasn't the case for me. Rain water mixed with sweat flowing into my eyes isn't a nice thing to experience. And falling asleep didn't make it better as I tried to evade wet spots and also cow dungs. Yeap, very "country" place indeed. Haha...

Though it was only 7KM into the race, the distance marker was saying it was 10KM. Immediately I know that this is going to be an under distance race and I was relieved as I was hoping to complete it as soon as possible to have a rest. I kept going, pace dropping off till I reached to a jog.My right hip flexors also started to stiffen as I ran. Probably the effects from last weekend's race which is starting to show that I'm not fully recovered yet despite feeling good on normal days.

Into some housing estates before going back to the main road. Roads were pretty straight and long at certain part and I was reminded that the road to the finish will be a u-turn. From a distance, I saw the Setia Alam Welcome Centre. It was a good sight but it was on the other side of the road. And the run to the u-turn point is actually pretty far, at about 500M or so. Told myself to just endure for another 7 minutes and it will be all over.

As I approach the finish line, Keat Seong called out but what I could offer is to show my sleepy face as I completed the race in 02:04:21. A very sleepy race indeed. But, I was surprised that the race was actually 20.9KM in distance which means I ran at a pretty reasonable pace.

Front view of the finisher's medal...

Rear view of the finisher's medal...

During the course of the run, there were quite a number of runners who came along side to congratulate me on my recent Sundown Marathon 2010. Some I knew, but there some I do not too. I was really surprised and touched by them as a simple congratulations message from them really meant a lot. Thanks guys!

After hanging out for a while, I return home for a good shower before I had to return to the exhibition, which means I do not have the privilege to rest. More gourmet coffee?