Sunday, March 15, 2009

Larian Amal Seri Sinar 2009

No, the medal wasn't made of gold.

What a good run! My personal best time and placing in a 10km road race.

This morning I went to join Larian Amal Seri Sinar 2009. It was held at Taman Bukit Jalil, near the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, also quite near my neighbourhood. There are 10km open, 5km open and 3km family runs. The run was organised by Taman Bukit Jalil Running Club. All finishers would receive a finisher medal.

This time I was joined by my running buddies BP, James and Janice. No timing chip system was used. The run started at 7:00am. The runners were given a green ribbon before flag-off. This was the first time I ran with adiSTAR Salvation running shoes and used a heart rate monitor in a race. My target for this run was under 1 hour. I started alongside BP. The opening 200m was a downhill road leading to the Lebuhraya Puchong-Sg Besi. This stretch was quite dangerous as only one of the two lanes of the highway was partitioned with safety cones. Speeding cars were just metres away from the runners. Then a small hill followed. This was where I picked up a bit of pace and BP was behind me from here. After that, it was long downhill along the highway. What followed was a long and steep hill leading to the interchange of Technology Park Malaysia. I was running with a steady pace here. After I reached the top, I was quite glad because the toughest part of the route was now behind me.

Looks like I was leading the race, but actually there were more than 50 runners in front of me already. (Photo courtesy of Tey)

Then we turned into the junction to National Stadium. The next turn was to Taman Esplanade. This was a housing area without much traffic. This was where the location of half-way mark and the water station. For this run, I didn't bring any fluid with me. So, I need to hydrate myself there. I also picked up my half-way pink ribbon here. My time so far was 26'29". This is my fastest 5km time. I could sense I would be able to go under 1 hour for the race.

After exiting from Taman Esplanade, we headed back to the starting line. When I arrived at the starting line, the runners were told continue for another 3km loop. Basically, part of the remaining route overlapped with first 2km of the course. From here, I was running with a slower pace than the first half of the race. In the last 1km, I was pushing myself, as I knew I was racing against time to finish under 1 hour. In the end, I crossed the finish line with the time of 57'07" and place 83rd in Men Open category. I was quite happy with this time as I was told by BP later that the actual route length was about 11.3km according to Google Map. So for me to finish 11km in 57 minutes was really satisfying. (I think the real distance may be between 10-11km).

My average heart rate was 157 beats per minute and peaked at 171. In other words, I was running almost the entire race with my heart beating over 80% of my maximum heart rate, close to (and sometimes exceeded) anaerobic zone.

After the race, I looked for BP. He finished just under 2 minutes behind me. We got our goodies bag and finisher medal. Janice finished 16th in Women Open, 6 places shy from a trophy finish. Had she been training, I think she could finish in the Top 10. James finished the race within 1 hour 25 minutes.

Overall it was a good run for all of us. I was pretty satisfied with my run, considering I ran in the previous morning in the rain for 8km. My next race probably will be New Balance Pacesetters 15km in May. I am still considering other races before that. One of them is Bidor half marathon in April.

After the race, my knees were not as painful as my previous race. With the adiSTAR Salvation, the cushion support and the stability really helped me to run an almost painless run.

Quick update on Seri Sinar 10km race

Just completed the Larian Amal Seri Sinar 2009 10km road race in 57mins, & placed 83rd position in Men Open. My best placing & personal best time in 10km so far.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Maxis to bring iPhone 3G to Malaysia on 20 Mar 2009

It's confirmed. Maxis will be the first to bring iPhone 3G officially to Malaysia on 20 Mar 2009. The launch event will be in KLCC Convention Centre on that day.

Maxis will offer the 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3G models with four new and specially designed postpaid plans called iValue, all of which are voice-data bundled price plans, starting from RM100 per month.

iPhone 3G revolutionises the way we use hand phone. The user experience is really great. The touch screen is very responsive and there are many applications available for everyone to help to organise their daily/personal lives. The Safari browser is very user-friendly and the online connectivity is good.

The noticeable drawback is, there is no front camera for 3G video calls. I don't think it is a major issue as most people don't use video call anyway.

You may want to know that it cannot forward SMS or do MMS. This is a minor issue. There are applications that you can download to do this. For MMS, the argument from Apple is that you can always attach your photos or multimedia files using the email function.

Forget about what it cannot do, there are many more things that the iPhone 3G can do. With Maxis post-paid plans, one can own the iPhone 3G at a lower price upfront now. For more details, you can check it out here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Review on adidas adiSTAR Salvation

After using the shoes for about a month and running nearly 50km with it, here are my one-cent worth of comments on adiSTAR Salvation.

Appearance/Physical (Rating: 8/10)

Plus point:
adiSTAR Salvation has a nice appearance. It has mainly white, grey and yellow colours that are easy to match with most running outfits.

Area for improvements:
There is no reflective stripes at rear side of the shoes (the heel area). I was running early in the morning, and when I went into some roads without street light, I really felt insecure as I'm not sure cars from behind could see me in near pitch dark condition. I think this is an important point especially for those who runs regularly early in the morning.

I feel the shoes could be a bit lighter.

Stability (Rating: 9/10)

Plus points:
I felt my feet was quite stable while running in the shoes. I can say it is the most stable shoes I have used so far. I tend to overpronate a bit when I run, with adiSTAR Salvation, I can feel the difference in the stability. The medial support, pro-moderator perhaps is the main difference.

The pro-moderator for the medial support on adiSTAR Salvation.

Support/Comfort (8.5/10)

Plus points:
I feel really good when I insert my feet into the shoes. The cushion around the ankle area (GEOFIT +) give a really comfortable fit. The sole support at the heel area (adiPRENE) is very good.

The mesh fabric minimizes the friction between the feet and the shoes, especially at the inner front area. I have no issue with blister with adiSTAR Salvation.

I used to have pain near my knees after running about 10km. I suspect this is because of lack of support at the heel area. With adiSTAR Salvation, the pain has reduced significantly.

Flexibility (6/10)

Area of improvement:
I guess the shoes were not designed for good flexibility. For me, this is not really important. But I guess a bit more flexibility near the front sole area could help during the propulsion phase of the run.

Responsiveness (8/10)

Plus points:
adiSTAR Salvation is really responsive. The adiPRENE+ really helps in the propulsion phase. The running is really smooth with the shoes.

Overall, I would give a rating of 8.5 out of 10 for adidas adiSTAR Salvation.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Hunters Challenge

I just came back from The Hunters Challenge. It was a good hunt and I'm glad to be part of it.

I have been trying to enroll my usual team for this hunt since before CNY. Unfortunately, two of my usual team mates were unavailable. We have not hunted in the open hunt since theSun Motor Hunt 2008. I could sense the rust setting in.

I continued to struggle to form a team until the last two weeks before the hunt. The reason I wanted to join is mainly this and for a good cause. I always believe someone (with great experience and well-known in the fraternity) will take that small step to do this. The team Hunters R Us has taken a step they know how to contribute to it. And now it was up to me to contribute my part, starting by at least joining The Hunters Challenge, to learn and grow from there.

Over the years, I could see that many seasoned hunters, masters and CoC taking the efforts to make the treasure hunt sport better in Malaysia. For example, some masters won't mind teaming up with new hunters in open hunts. In the short term, the team might fare worse than a team with all masters. But in the long run, the gap could get closer. And some people realised that joining the hunts is not always about winning. For the novices, this will directly make the learning curve shorter. Already, there are some young hunters getting better and better by the day. I am sure you can name a few. The masters (who can say now that they are masters because they have apprentices) are getting better in turn as well when they mentor their apprentices.

Thanks to the easy access and wide reach of Internet, other seasoned hunters and masters contributed in other ways, e.g. posting tips and pointers in their blogs to share with all hunters and organising online hunts. Some also publish regular updates on up-coming hunts and recent hunt results. I am pretty sure most of you will know where to find them. Also there is a master that gives detailed dissection of the hunt questions on his blog. All this, is very much appreciated by the hunt community.

There are also more CoCs clerking treasure hunts and taking feedbacks from the hunters with the aim of making their next hunt better. Some CoCs started with some areas that needed improvements. I am sure they are aware of it and it is a matter of time, they will become better CoCs. Many CoCs also catered for a larger crowd with the aim of making treasure hunt popular among those new to the sport. That's why the questions have different degree to difficulty and often times, coupled with physical activities that may not please hunt purists.

Anyway, back to The Hunters Challenge. With Prasath and Doug out, we were deprived of our good pacer cum spotter and resourceful solver in the team. With kind reminder from 2 Romans 1 Imposter, I submitted our team's entry late. I thank him for the acceptance of our entry. Our team for this hunt was a scratch team. I got my brother as the driver and Raj got his GF to form the team. So the aim was really to learn, especially for our green hunters in the car.

The night before, our intended car for the hunt was having problem with the gear and we had to use my small car. I had a flu in the evening before and I'd taken a heavy dose of Vitamin C with lots of water. Luckily, I got better in the morning of the hunt.

The hunt started early in the morning 8:00am from Kompleks 3K in Subang Jaya and we immediately struggled with the first two questions. We managed the next few questions but were careless with the "E18" & "13" questions. The painful thing was, we cracked the question and knew what to look for, but still.... arrgh.....

We couldn't get the next two cryptic ones and have ourselves to blame for not thinking right and not followed through on the right thinking line. Luckily we picked up some answers to a few questions in Puchong Jaya.

The next few questions in Bandar Puteri saw us not sweeping the sectors thorough enough to look for answers. Basically, at this time, I knew this was not going to be our day and I was just trying my best to rally my team until the end.

In the end, we did what we could and it wasn't good enough. We also struggled on the treasures and only managed 2 out of 3 questions in the 3 BLIND MICE challenge. But I take this as a learning and will improve from here.

The hunt ended about 1:30pm and we had a good lunch (curry fish head). The Q&A was presented right after and the Top 15 were announced. Although there are some teams had only 4.5 hours to work with, but they fared quite well also. Congratulations to all winning teams!

I must also congratulate Hunters R Us for a job well done for the inaugural The Hunters Challenge. Keep it up and we hope to see more hunts from you soon. Also, I pray for a quick and full recovery for BlogCe5nt.