Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Road To Powerman 2010...

By Frank

I made my duathlon debut at Powerman Malaysia 2009 and instantly was hooked on to it. However, last year I took it as part of experience and also for training for my Macau Marathon 2009 which was my main race last year. This year though, as some will have knew, the Powerman Malaysia 2010 will be my main race, my class A+ race!

Planning for this big race came as early as after completing Powerman last year. The bike which I rode last year did not satisfy my hunger for comfort and speed and thus, I went straight to the drawing block in search of a new bike. That resulted with the BH G5, a bike that I was really happy with. However, things came to halt later when work commitments took most of my time away, even till now.

Training regime was really in a mess but with some races and friends to train with, I managed to build my fitness and maintain it. But I know that it won't help as I need strength too. I have been building calf strength whenever I have the free time as it's an important muscle, plus the workout is really simple. And with a treadmill in my premise, I'm able to train my runs in a very controlled environment.

As for the bike which will be my weakest link, sadly to say I have not done much of it. But then, came a boost when I was sponsored a tri-bike which really made a difference. I am more comfortable in an aero position compared to the handle bar or drop bar of the road bike. Call me weird, but that's the way I am. Managed to test it out at the Port Dickson Triathlon 2010 which I must say the bike was awesome. Sadly to say, I suffered a puncture and that was the end of it. And right now, I have this phobia of tyre puncture, mainly because of my incapability of changing the tube. I got to learn this soon!

Only 2 simulation was done, the latest being yesterday. I'm pretty happy with the outcome though I can still feel the "jelly leg syndrome" on the second run. Last year at Powerman Malaysia 2009, I cramped pretty badly at the second run and at the finish line. I hope with my revised strategy this year, I'm able to cope with it. And not only that, the super hot weather will play a part. Last year, I was pretty dehydrated that I was seeing stars at the end of my race. Keat Seong assisted me last year, but he will be absent this year. I wonder who will assist me this time round should the same thing happens again. Hmmm...

As for my race gear, it's all ready. Received my latest race gear for this race from my sponsors a couple of weeks ago and was really impressed with it. I do hope it will give me the results on race day.

This year's turnout will be great. Most of my friends will be there and I'm really happy that Lynn and Chin Chin made their jump from sprint to the full distance this year. Am going to miss Keat Seong and Jennifer though. So with exactly 2 weeks to go, let me see which area can I touch up so that I can "du" it right.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Am Who I Am...

By Frank

October is cancer month. Although being a cancer survivor for the past 19 years, I just found out about this via Facebook when my friend Denis Oakley posted this on his Facebook status. It reads, "October is cancer month. In memory of every cancer patient, family member and friend who has lost their battle with cancer and in honor of those who continue to conquer it! Put this up for 1 hour if you love someone who has or had cancer. Many won't copy and paste, I did. Will you?"

Let's light the luminara lantern for the fight against the Big C...

With no hesitation, I copied and pasted on my status too hoping others will follow. Perhaps it didn't get notice immediately, but it slowly got momentum in the afternoon and by evening, I can see lots of my friends posting it on their status. Way to go!

Besides that, I even receive some messages especially from my high school mates that knew what I had gone through as a 12 year old kid. I was really suprised by this as I though I have lost contact with them, except for some close ones who are among my Facebook contacts.

Being diagnosed by Rhabdomyosarcoma amd going under the knife for the first time at the age of 12, things were looking fuzzy for the kid in me that time. Though I know what was going on, I wasn't prepare for what I was going to go through. The war for the next 3 years, life has been painful and horrible. Not only physically tormenting, it was an emotionally hurting one too. I was looked from a different point of view by many others for I do look "different". And things did not settle down for the next 10 years for subsequent checkups needs to be done for a fear of relapse. But I survived it.

Surviving it is one story. Living through it, is another. Life has change for me ever since then. I'm no longer the same person before being diagnosed. I may be 31 years old this year but the body seems to feel older and weaker. Some friends see me as a mentally strong person after having gone through this, but I know I'm not. I'm just wearing a mask. I may have once won a championship, ran several marathons and ultra marathons, but to be honest, I'm just a nobody. I don't feel great at all!

Cancer has changed my life tremendously and I'm not liking it. For the past 19 years, I have been living in the shadows of myself. I may have escape hell, but I'm living in a nightmare of my own now. I dislike my life and for what I have become today. Though I do feel proud of my own achievements but sometimes looking back, I wish I had more. I wish I was living a normal person. Today, I live the life as a cancer survivor bearing the scars from the war which I triumph. Whether I like it or not, for what I became today and how I felt all these while, I am certainly who I am today. Nothing can be change...

That's me...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mizuno Wave Run 2010...

Event: Mizuno Wave Run 2010
Venue: Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang
Date: 17 October 2010
Time: 7.25am
Distance: 10KM
Shoe: K-Swiss K-Ona
By Frank

I did not sign up for this event. However, I was tempted to run it when Michelle and Raymond told me to tag along with them during our duathlon brick session yesterday. Since missing Nike's KL City Run last weekend due to fatigue, and after some hesitation, I finally agreed. Besides, some good news from Michelle is that Lynn has an extra bib from a friend who decided not to run. That will make me a legal runner! Thanks Lynn and your friend.

Woke up feeling really sluggish due to insufficient sleep from the night before. Right knee was also feeling weird from the knock I had from the careless fall yesterday. Besides, tummy was feeling "fiery" from the effect of tom yam at yesterday's night farewell dinner for my cousin, Diana who is leaving for Melbourne in about an hour's time at the time I'm typing this. Good luck Diana! Since I'm joining this race as part of my training for my upcoming Powerman 2010, I decided to run at a steady pace of nothing faster than 6 minutes per kilometer or slower than 6 minutes half per kilometer. And only to push at the last kilometer. Pretty simple and similar training runs I have during regular days.

Went to Raymond's house at 6am to meet up with him and Michelle as we are car pooling together to the venue. Thanks Raymond! Always nice to travel to race site with fellow running friends.

Arrived early at the race site, and secured an illegal parking lot. Most cars were parked illegally as there is just insufficient parking area at the venue. Anyway, did our necessities and proceeded to the start to look for Lynn which we had trouble finding. Took a while just before the women's race was flagged off at 7.15am that Michelle managed to find her and pass the bib to me. Phew...

The men's event is to be started 10 minutes later and I had time to bump around with Lawrence, Uncle Yee Choi and Kwan Weng. Once the race started, I found myself sandwiched at the rear pack and facing difficulty maneuvering through the other runners. The path was really narrow and the first climb which appear really soon didn't make things easier.

The climb was long and pretty steep at certain areas, but those who did last weekend's TNF 2010 will find it nothing compared to those they experienced. However, the run was nice as it takes runners into the surrounding and within the area of the university. Running path remains narrow and I had to run on the grass at certain point just to maintain my planned pace. It was like about 4KM later that the road widen and some other runners slowed down. Managed to break free here and started to make lost ground, but most important, my pace began to remain constant here.

There are a lot of climbs in this race route. I attack most the climbs using fast and short strides and it does the trick. Getting over with it fast and still feeling good at the top. As for down hills, I played around with my stride and gait hoping to find a solution to my weak point here. I have never like running down hill but I must do something to make sure I won't injure myself in the future.

I skipped the refreshment station but stop for a drink at the second at around 7KM I think. The final stretch to the finishing is a long steep climb. However similar to the earlier climb, it's nothing compared to those at TNF 2010 and I managed it pretty well. At the top of the climb, I saw the race finish site and began to hasten up.

It's the final kilometer and I push here, to finish a race strong. Towards the last bend which I nearly out run the running line cause of the sharp turn, Lynn called me out. Thanks Lynn. And from there, it's all the way to the finish line though I reduced myself to my normal pace just before crossing it, just to make sure my heart rate drops back normally. I completed this race in 1 hour on the dot, 01:00:00.

Continued running for a while as part of my warm down before proceeding to collect the goodies bag, rehydrate myself and to meet up with Michelle and Raymond. Hung out for a while, meeting up with friends before adjourning for breakfast.

All in all, a productive training run for me. No regrets taking up Lynn's friend bib to run this and also thanks to Michelle and Raymond for the brainwashing. I did have fun!

* I've heard the passing of a runner at approximately 3KM into the race. May he Rest In Peace and condolences to his family and loved ones.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Terry Fox Run KL 2010 Roadshow & T-shirt Distribution...

"We are marking the 30th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Run this year on November 7th at Tasik Titiwangsa, a milestone unimaginable without the support of so many people, there is so much to be done yet we must always celebrate our victories - of which there have been many."

This year, Runnerz Circle is proud to be associated with the Terry Fox Run KL 2010. In leading up the actual event day, together with the organisers, a roadshow on the fight against cancer and about Terry Fox and also t-shirt distribution will be held at our Runnerz Circle premises. The following are the details:

Date: 25 - 29 October 2010
Time: 11.30am - 5.00pm

Venue: Runnerz Circle
Address: 12-1, Street Wing, Sunsuria Avenue, Persiaran Mahogani, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Contact: +603-61426787 / +6012-3959598
Facebook: Runnerz Circle
GPS coordinates: 3°9'16"N 101°35'23"E

Terry Fox Run KL 2010 t-shirt at RM25 each...

A little something on the Terry Fox Run KL 2010
On the Road of Hope for cancer research Terry Fox knew personally, the importance of the need for cancer research. At the age of 18, he was told that his right leg had to be amputated above the knee as a result of bone cancer. During this crucial period, Terry saw the intense pain and despair of other cancer victims and was deeply moved. In order to raise funds for cancer research, he decided to run across Canada asking for donations. This became "The Marathon Of Hope". Terry Fox died before he could complete his crusade, but his legacy is carried in the hearts of all who participate or donate to the Terry Fox Run each year around the world!

Since it began in 1983, the Terry Fox Run has become the largest, single-day, fund-raising event for cancer research. Here in KL, the organisers aim to continue the quest to keep Terry's dream alive. This year, with the support of donors and participants, we hope to raise both funds and awareness for cancer research here in Kuala Lumpur. The beneficiary in previous years and this year as well is the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF). You too, can take up the quest so that Terry's dream of finding a cure for cancer can become a reality.

Event date: 7 November 2010, Sunday
Venue: Tasik Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur
Time: 9.00am

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The North Face 100 Singapore 2010...

Event: The North Face 100 Singapore 2010
Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Date: 9 October 2010
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 100KM Duo - 50KM each runner for a team of 2 (50.7KM by Jamie's Garmin Forerunner 205)
Shoe: Salomon XT Hawk 2
By Frank

My toughest running event to date, and I experienced it first hand with my team-mate Jamie and a whole bunch of Malaysian friends. Experience running like no other, The North Face 100 Singapore 2010, an extreme running event on trail!

9 October 2010. Pre race day...
Morning started extremely early for me. Had only 4 hours of sleep and soon I find myself sitting in McDonald's at Subang Skypark Airport having my breakfast at 6.15am. Jamie soon arrived and with company around, time flies. However, our flight got delayed and we had another hour to spent. While spending it on the couch, we bump into a familiar face, Lynn's brother Glenn who is making his way to Koh Samui.

Our flight to Singapore...

At 10am, we left on board Fireflyz and soon arrived at Changi Budget Terminal slightly more than hour later. Made our way to Marina Square to collect our race pack. However, we got lost due to the word Marina as we opt to travel by train to Marina Bay instead. There, we had to walk at least a couple of kilometers to reach our destination. Though a long walk, both myself and Jamie did have a good time snapping photos at the recently open Sands (hotel, casino and shopping gallery). Soon, we arrived and met up with Matthew from BV Sport. Got our race pack, had our lunch and off we went to Matthew's office to try on our sponsored BV Sport Booster suits. We also met up with Karim before Matthew sent us to our hotel at Balestier Road.

Sands by Marina Bay...

Managed to get ourselves check-in in a small but yet comfy room. Just after checking in, both of us were already packing for our check-out the next morning. Hahaha... Packed up our race necessity and dump other items into our bag. At 6pm, Justin arrived at our hotel doors and we went to United Square for dinner at Pastamania. It's been a while since I seen Justin and it was great to once again catch up with him. He's currently recovering from a leg injury and surgery but it looks he's making great progress recovering. Am sure he will bounce back soon. With dinner done, we paid a visit to Velocity at Novena to check out some sport gears and to buy ourselves water and breakfast for the next big day. Then, it's back to the hotel for some final preparation before going to bed at close to 10pm.

Team Runnerz Circle race apparels. Thank you BV Sport...

"Ticket" to the jungle...

9 October 2010, Race day...
Despite having my alarm go off at 3.15am, I only woke up at 4am. Was kind of sluggish but eventually managed to climb out of bed to prepare all the necessities. The first time I'm sharing the room with Jamie, I hope I didn't disturb him with my "waking up early habit". At 5.30am, we were ready. Checked out of the hotel and travelled by taxi to MacRitchie Reservoir. Quickly enough, we soon bump into our Malaysian friends. All look so excited and we managed a few crazy and happy shots together before proceeding to check ourselves into the starting pent, of course having weight our hydration back pack. Mine weight in at 2.75KG! MY GOD!

Team Runnerz Circle...

Part of the Malaysia contingent...

Runners getting their hydration pack weight...

With Walter from Outdoor Venture...

At 7.00am sharp, we were flagged off. Was with Jamie, Yim and Haza that time and we wish each of us the best before I broke free. Then it's with Jamie, Poh Seng and Chin Chin on the road before hitting the MacRitchie trail. Familiar ground for me for the first 4KM before hitting the unknown. My pace was good and I managed to maintain my heart rate at about 75%.

Jamie in action...

I arrived at the 10KM mark in 01:06:58. Pretty healthy pace I would say but I'm feeling the strain on my right tiny toe already. It's starting to swell from the trail pounding and I was on 2 pairs of socks. Arriving at 15KM mark, I had to take off the first socks and immediately, I felt the relief.

Trust me, this is just a small hill...

We even had to tackle this...

Out of MacRitchie trail and into some neighbourhood and then to Mandai, things started to go down for me. I had to fight dizziness and my guess was my sugar level is dipping. At 18KM mark where the huge refreshment station was, I gambled and took down a banana with lots of isotonic drinks. Was hoping my tummy won't have any negative effect on it. Walked and jogged a little as I left the station but I wasn't myself. Shortly in front, Chin Chin and Poh Seng caught up with me. They stopped and accompanied me but I felt guilty about it. I restarted my run albeit the slow pace but at least that kept the 3 of us going.

Slowly, I was getting myself back. I took a GU Roctane gel at the 25KM mark where the "unrunnable route" was hoping to get the sugar level back up to a healthy level and also to slow down the lactic acid buildup. But soon after the climb, another nightmare for me. Tarmac and concrete. Hardly any trail and I had problems running it with my trail shoe. Chin Chin and Poh Seng who both are on running shoes, have their advantage here but we waited for each other. Let's call ourselves the 100KM Trio, I told myself.

The "unrunnable route"...

My strength is with climbs and I attacked most of the climbs. Chin Chin and Poh Seng coupled with the running shoes are stronger with flats here and also downhills. With this, we made up with each other. At 28KM, I knew it was over for me. At this point, I just want to complete the race injury free and to concentrate on next month's Powerman 2010. Bumped into Walter of Outdoor Venture here and tried to pull him along but he was just too tired.

Back at the refreshment station earlier, this time at 32KM mark, I took a long rest with Chin Chin, Poh Seng and Walter. I even called Matthew to joke with him that I was getting burnt under the hot sun. Glad that I'm still able to to that!

Restarted and immediately got hit by side stitch due to too much of isotonic drinks. Darn! Tried to shake it off by mixing walking and jogging hoping to keep in touch with both my friends. I believe they slowed down for me. Feeling guilty again, I hasten up and was lucky my side stitch went away pretty quickly.

Back at Bukit Timah, there was a part where I followed the runner ahead. Instead of running the trail above, he opt for the below causing most runners following him including the 3 of us to climb up a pretty small and steep hill. Myself and Poh Seng cramped here! I had to paused halfway through the climb as my left shin was cramping like there was a mouse in it. ARGHH!!! Had to bear with it for a while before getting my leg back.

Hardly can run due to the loose and sharp rocks. Foot bed was already hurting like mad and I swear that the 3 of us is going to blow anytime soon. Just keep going and we were looking forward to the 38KM mark where refreshment station were. But it appeared later than expected and the marshall told us another 14KM to go. He must be kidding and we were sure he is wrong cause the return route is slightly different from the one where we came from. Stayed positive and resume our run.

Soon, we are back onto MacRitchie Trail. We are on our way home! Tried to run as much as we can despite the rocky conditions and was looking forward to the trail's exit which will mark 1KM to go the end. However, it took ages to appear. At 47KM, I wanted to refuel so I started digging into my backpack for my energy gel only to get my right arm cramped up. Weird place to have a cramp and even Poh Seng was amused. He helped me straighten it before we continued on. Finally oh finally, we saw the light at the end of the jungle. I hasten up, armed myself with my camera hoping to get some good shots of my 2 friends as they run towards the end.

Chin Chin and Poh Seng at the final 1KM...

After 50.7KM of trail running (30KM together with Chin Chin and Poh Seng), the 100KM Trio completed our race in 07:42:11. However, it wasn't over for me. I did not cross the finish line and a few eyes were on me. Instead, I turned my back on it, and walked back for 200M before waiting at the side for my team-mate, Jamie. A familiar face, Yim soon came into the picture. With his help, I roughly have an idea where Jamie was. While waiting, Raymond, Michelle, Shih Ming and Saya came by. Michelle asked me to cross the finish line first but I refused. Time was still available and this is a team game for me. I wanted to cross it with my team-mate despite not having run it together. I waited on. After about 29 minutes, Jamie finally arrived as we both ran together with our arms held together, crossing the finishing line officially at 08:11:05. We have done it! And congratulation to Jamie for his first ever ultra-marathon, one that he had to choose this tough one. Hahaha...

Just about another 200M to go...

After all the running, most of us managed to regroup though there were still a few of us running. Though worried about them, we are all still being positive. With a plane to catch at 6.50pm, myself with Jamie and Poh Seng quickly showered up at the shower facilities provided before saying goodbye to others. Tired, burnt but not as sore as I would expect to be, I treated myself to a huge Mega Mac burger from McDonald's at the budget terminal. And finally at 9pm, we were back at our beloved country. I fetched both Jamie and Poh Seng to Sunway Pyramid before I made myself home for a well deserved rest. Despite after more than 6 hours after the race, certain parts of my body like my shin and toes are still cramping up even in my sleep. Argh... But I guess this is common for this is certainly the toughest race for me to date. A more than 10 hours at this year's Sundown Ultra Marathon was indeed a blessing in disguise. If I had run a sub 10 hours, I would have asked for trouble. If you asked me now if I would do it again next year, I guess most of you would have know the answer despite not having me answering it here. :D

We did it...

Front view of the finisher medal...

Rear view of the finisher medal...

- BV Sport, for sponsoring our race suits. It really works!
- K-Swiss for allowing me to wear another brand of shoes for this race.
- Jamie, my team-mate at Team Runnerz Cricle for everything since the first day when we decided to team up for this event. Enjoyed it to the max!
- Chin Chin and Poh Seng of Team Tri-Ultra, for the training and good time together throughout the final 30KM in unexplored territories.
- Kash and Rais for managing our luggage before, during and after the race.
- Yim, Ian, Syah, Nik, Alexis, Haza, Pui San and a whole bunch of Malaysians participating in this race for the company did brought lots of memories to be treasure together.
- Yee Hua and Ben, for the advised on what to expect in the race, and not forgetting on the hamburger joke.
- And to everyone else from friends, photographers, volunteers and more who played a part in this adventure, THANK YOU! You know who you are.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Team Runnerz Circle Race Debut...

By Frank

Runnerz Circle may be a blog and a physical store, but there is just 1 more entity behind it which has yet to be unwrap. It's the team of people and athletes that made it possible. Currently consisting of myself, Chin Chin, Yann Kai, Michelle, Jamie and Keat Seong from the athletic side, our job is simple enough, to promote the sport we all like and to make new friends and to have fun. Come this Saturday, 9 October 2010, Team Runnerz Circle will be introduced to the race scene at The North Face 100 2010 (TNF 2010) at Singapore participating in the 100KM Duo (50KM for each runner).

Unveiling the Team Runnerz Circle logo...

Representing Team Runnerz Circle will be yours truly, Frank partnering Jamie. Training has come and go, and this weekend will be it. It will my fourth ultra marathon and my second on trail. Training has been fun with loveable friends like Chin Chin, Poh Seng, Yim, Karen, Syah, Ian and many others.

Let's rock TNF 2010...

Not the entire Malaysia contingent will be running the 100KM Duo though. Raymond and Michelle will be running the 50KM Duo (25KM for each runner). And there is the 100KM Solo (2 loops of the 50KM race route) which will be tackled by Yip whom I'm so proud of. He earned his rights to race in this by running a sub 10 hour race at the 84KM Sundown Ultra Marathon 2010. It was my wish to run this too, but I failed to qualify. But it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as I am seriously not ready for it due to work. Perhaps the next year.

TNF 2010 wasn't my Class A race. In fact, I just want to have fun and to gain experiences from it. However, there was some changes to it yesterday as I decided to upgrade it to a Class A- as I do want to do my sponsors proud for this major event. I even got Jamie sponsored too, although his gears weren't as complete as mine. However, there were still some chances till this Friday. I do hope he will get it.

3 days to go till Jamie's debut in the ultra scene, I'm really looking forward to this trip and race with this friend of 3 years. Till then, wish not only us, Team Runnerz Circle luck but also to the entire Malaysia contingent which include Raymond, Michelle, Chin Chin, Poh Seng, Yim, Haza, Kash, Ian, Syah, Shanaz and the pride of all, Yip. Let's rock and roll!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Runnerz Circle Official Opening...

Runnerz Circle opened its doors on 28 July 2010. However, it wasn't an official opening as many has not been done yet. Slightly more than 2 months later, on 2 October 2010, Runnerz Circle is officially opened with at least 95% completion rate.

A simple open invite cocktail party with a special one day promotion from 11am till 5pm (extended till 6pm) was organised and was really amazed with the turnout. At the peak lunch hour between 12pm to 2pm, hardly there was any free space to stand and to move around.

I shall let the photos below do the talking. But before that, my apologies to all for the under-par hospitality. Nevertheless, thank you all very much for attending for your attendance matters a lot to us. THANK YOU!

Pictures courtesy of Jamie Pang and Andrew Chiam (more coming soon).

The entrance filled with flowers...

The buffet spread...

2ndskin range of shirts...

BV Sport Booster...

Paint canister from Outdoor Venture Pte Ltd? It's champagne actually...

With Matthew Tan from BV Sport...

The ladies of Runnerz Circle team...

Team Runnerz Circle and the Malaysian contingent for The North Face Challenge 2010...

One for the album...

- Dad and mum for the financial assistance and advices.
- BV Sport, K-Swiss, Outdoor Venture Pte Ltd, Key Power International Pte Ltd and Athlete's Circle Malaysia Sdn Bhd for brand management and assistance in bringing Runnerz Circle to life.
- Mr. Chew Boon Swee and Ms Moy Mee Leng and family for sponsoring the catering.
- Mr. Chew Boon Hui, Mr. Chew Boon Yeng, Mr. Tay Kim Hau, Ms. Chew Siok Luan and Ms. Chew Soh Hoon for the gifts.
- Ms. Joan Chung and from Chung Art & Sign Trading for rushing all the work for the opening.
- Ms. Carolyn Tang of HongQin Sdn Bhd for the assistance given in jobs regarding renovation and municipal matters.
- Mr Ng of Yuen Kong renovation works for working day and night in rushing the renovation.
- 2ndskin for the great collaboration together.
- Steven Yip from Webshaper for website creation and management.
- Jamie Pang for all advices and support given.
- Lim Keat Seong for brand advices and selection.
- Last but not least to everyone for your kind support!