Sunday, May 31, 2009

adidas Supernova Glide

I got this pair of shoes from adidas store in The Gardens. I was doing a foot scan and it revealed that I actually have a neutral gait and there were signs of slightly high arch.

I was having a bit of problem with my right knee last month. Not sure why, but I had only one pair of shoes to run then. So I decided to do a foot scan and probably get another pair to train.

The adidas Supernova Glide is suitable to serious runners with neutral gait.

See photo below for the one that I got.

After running 2 long runs and several shorter runs with Supernova Glide, the following comments are my objectives opinion.

Support (7 out of 10)

Good support at heel area. But at the front, I felt the support at the toe area could be better. At heel area, there is the ForMotion system that able to adapt slightly to provide some stability. As usual the adiPRENE, absorbs the shock and impact from heel strike.

Flexibility (7.5 out of 10)

Supernova Glide has good flexibility at front area. This is important for toe-off phase of the stride. The Torsion System at the middle of the sole provides some stability.

Responsiveness (8 out of 10)

I felt the shoes were quite responsive. I have very smooth stride and I think it did help me to improve my pace a bit.

Physical (7.5 out of 10)

Another good thing about Supernova Glide, there are reflective stripes near the toe and back heel area. Important for runners who run in the dark. Some choices available for colours. For men design, available in the colour shown in photo above and also white/red. For women design, I think got white/yellow and white/sky blue.

Breaking the barrier

It has been really hard training alone. Today even more so.

I started late at 6:11am. Normally I will start my long run at about 5:30am. I was snoozing for extra 30 minutes after turning off the morning alarm.

I followed the specific trail in Taman Bukit Jalil that was about 4km per lap. It was not around the perimeter of the park, but a combination of trails around the park. The longest run I did here was about 30km, that was 7.5 laps a week ago.

Today I managed to make a breakthrough, not a major improvement, but I managed to finish 8 laps for a total about 32km. It was not an easy run today. The sun was in my face from 8am onwards and I finished my run at around 9:45am. The last few kilometres were difficult. The trail in Taman Bukit Jalil consists of a few steep hills. After running for 3 hours, the steep hills looked like a mountain, not easy at all.

I finished my Gatorade, then a sachet of Powergel and I have to stop quickly to buy more water near the gate of the park. Overall I felt really tired and lost a lot of fluid because of the heat. This could be the condition on race day. I got to be prepared for the heat.

This week is a 60km week. Overall this month's mileage is about 230km. Not sure this is enough, but I will try to maintain this mileage at least for another week. I will target a long run next weekend as well. Meanwhile, more cross-trainings too.

Letting go

As predicted earlier, I will skip my company's treasure hunt this time. It is scheduled one week before SCKLM, also the same weekend that Sath will have his wedding reception.

Normally there are two hunts per year in our company. And our company has been having treasure hunts since 1999. Every time, about 50 teams will participate. Therefore I can say that there is a strong tradition and it is a good training ground for treasure hunters.

When other colleagues and treasure hunters found out that my team is not hunting, they were very happy, to the extend they thanked us. They were looking forward to win something (some aiming for champion) now that we are now competing. Also, I heard someone said people want to see some other team winning. Not sure how to react to this.

But letting go after being champion for the company hunt for three straight occasions was not a difficult decision to make. We have our priority this time, and we promise to make a comeback next time.

One thing for sure, I must remember to shut off my handphone during the hunt. :) A lot of people already said they will call me for answers. I cannot handle so many calls, ok? Still need to train for my SCKLM, ya, that will be my reason not to answer any treasure hunt call that day. I need to run!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Besides running, I am also doing some cross-trainings.

One of them is spinning. Spinning is an indoor stationary bicycle group exercise. It is conducted by a spinning instructor. In this group exercise, the instructor will use different music tracks (with different beats) to couple with different cycling postures and speed. It is very good for building stamina and endurance. It strengthens the knees and the leg muscles. Quite good work-out for the body parts that involved running.

The other being Yoga. I picked up Yoga last year. It is a good relaxation exercise. Basically you need to be calm and mindful of your breathing to be able to train your body to perform the Yoga postures. A lot of postures actually helps to strengthen muscles around the back, shoulders, calf, hip, etc. Little did I realise, Yoga actually helped to improve my upper body strength (e.g.Cobra posture etc.). This is quite important in running as we swing our arms throughout the race. The arms can get tired as fast as the legs. The other part of Yoga actually improve my mental aspect, helping me to focus and be calm.

Here is a pie chart showing how much time I spend on running, spinning and Yoga. Too bad I can't swim. Swimming is a good exercise for runners as well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

SCKLM 2009 Running Clinic - Injury prevention

This morning I went to Lake Garden for a recovery run and to attend the SCKLM 2009 Runner Clinic. Initially I planned to do about 10 km but I got lazy in the morning and woke up late. When I arrived at about 7:00am in Bukit Aman, the car park was already quite full. I could only squeeze my little car to a space that was legal.

I decided to run around Bird Park for two laps. That was about 5 km. Then I ended my run at Tapak A. It was still early but the organiser already set up the banner and equipment there.

There were about 80 runners turned up for this clinic. Elite runner and coach Mark Williams (pictured below in orange-coloured shirt) was there also to share his tips on injury prevention.

The clinic started with Dr. Samsudin Osman Cassim (pictured above on the right), an Orthopaedic Surgeon from Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre, giving a talk on common injuries faced by runners.

A handout notes were given out to the audience before that. It contained information on common injuries associated with running and how to prevent and minimise them. I will see how I can share that.

The talk session lasted only about 30 minutes. Then the runners were asked to run around Lake Garden for a 60 minutes before Q & A. I was wondering why 60 minutes. Some more most of the runners had already finished their morning runs. We could have just have the Q & A then.

While some people started running, I went straight to Dr Samsudin and asked him some questions on my bone structure, particularly both my tibia and fibula which are not exactly straight or aligned with my femur (thigh bone, largest bone in human body). I have concern when I started running, this would cause injury to my knees or other parts of the body. Dr Samsudin said it was not too bad and asked if I had major problems after running. I told him I did have tendon soreness (not sure it was major) around the knees, but it would recover eventually. He said if it recovered naturally, then I should not worry too much. I was kind of relieved hearing that. But I know I must be careful and not to over-train.

Anyway, the event organiser provided the runners with bananas, mineral water and isotonic drinks after the run. Then the proper Q & A started. The runners posted many questions to Mark and Dr. Samsudin during the session. Dr. Samsudin had earlier asked the crowd to see who ran a marathon before. Only a handful of people raised their hands. I guess majority of the audience were beginners, just like me. Therefore it was natural for beginners to ask more.

I also asked other questions concerning good shoes and hitting the "wall". Mark replied that you should alternate two pairs of training shoes, never wear an unfamiliar pair on race day, and get a comfortable pair according to your needs.

On hitting the "wall", he said runner should eat a lot of carbohydrate before the race. Typically, between 450g to 500g per day, three days in a row before the race. It was easier said than done, according to him. But he noted cereal was a good source of carbohydrate for him. Hydration was also a key according to Mark. The other being training. Runners who trained correctly could burn fat (which is another source of fuel for the muscle) more efficiently, possibly using the fat before carbohydrate. The "wall" was actually a term used to describe a fatigue condition when your body underwent long and extreme exercise. Basically, your muscles seem to be out of fuel and painful, your legs and hands felt extremely heavy and you just want to give up. Most people said, marathoners will experience this at around the 30-35km mark. But Mark said this (quitting) is all in the mind. He said, he had ran 25 marathons before, and every time, the thinking of quitting did popped up. But every time he managed to overcome it. He said Haile Gebrselassie broke the world marathon record with a lot of pain in the body, but his mental toughness was stronger to enable him to last the whole race with world record speed. He said the Kenyans made it looked easy, but they also suffered a lot.

He said, it is all in the mind.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Run our own race

Taking up running seriously could be one of the best things that I have done.

Through running, I've learned that I could do more than what I thought possible for myself. With every step that I take, I feel more confident. Instead of focusing on what I cannot do, now I focus more on what my mind and body can do. And now I know for sure, with determination and will power, the body can be trained to take me to a destination I never thought I could reach.

Run our own race... every run for every runner has its own purpose and challenge. And I believe, through running the race, we could discover that purpose and more about ourselves than before.

It is important to listen to our body, do not overdo it. For me, I will always run with the belief that I will be able to run again and again with joy and passion, and with those that I love close to my heart. That's my purpose.

70km in 7 days

To be exact, I ran 69.61km in last 7 days.

I was surprised when I compiled the mileage figure at end of the training today. I didn't expect to rack up this mileage number this week.

This morning, I did a long run of 30 km in Taman Bukit Jalil. I was alone today as BP opted to run near his housing area. He said he was not feeling well.

I started the run at about 5:45am. The big loop around the park was about 4km. When I started running, there were only a few people and about 3 runners in the park. There were street lights in the park, so it was not so dark. The weather this morning was quite ideal. It was cloudy and cool, perfect for running.

But running alone needs a lot of self-discipline, especially when running around the park. It is very easy to stop and go home. But in the end I managed to completed 7.5 laps to reach 30 km. This is the second time I managed to reach 30 km. The first time I did this, my legs and feet were basically so heavy that I have to slow to walking pace for the last 2 km.

I met some familiar faces during my training today. Uncle Yong, a veteran runner in his 60s. He practically runs everyday in the park, doing a few laps. He is a very talkative person and shared a lot of his experience of running (including marathon) with us before. He volunteered in the recent NB15K to be one of the road marshals. I did managed to notice and greet him in NB15K and he even cheered me on.

I also saw Mr. Tang when I was running my sixth lap. He was an experienced veteran runner as well. One of the members of the Taman Bukit Jalil running club, he ran in the recent NB15k and was placed 8th in senior veteran category with the time of 1:09:41. Very well done, Mr. Tang.

Anyway, back to my training. This time my 30 km run was not as painful as the first one. I managed to control the pace and my heart rate to stay below 80% for most of the time. I also rehydrate and refuel with Powergel in the middle of the run. I finished the 30 km run in 3:31:48, average pace about 7:04 per km.

It is getting closer to my first marathon. I need to step up my training for the next 2 weeks, before tapering 2 weeks before the race. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More on New Balance Pacesetters 15km 2009

-There were about 1800 runners took part in the run (announced by MC).

-Timing chip system was used. Timing chip was enclosed in a plastic casing, to be tied on the shoe lace.

-The most popular "snack" for the tired runners was cendol, in particular, Khan Cendol Melawati. See the queue leading to this stall (white van on left of photo). Amazing.

-Foreign runners again dominated the top placings in almost all categories.

-My calories count was 1086kcal for the 15.56km race.

-Before the race, a group of teenagers approached me to take part in a survey. They wanted to record my body weight before and after the race. I gladly obliged as I was also curious to know myself. The result: before race was 63.5kg, after race was 62.3kg. Loss of 1.2kg after race. For the record, I drank a total of 4 small cups of water (~150ml) during the race.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Balance Pacesetters 15km 2009

We went home satisfied and happy with the run, and look forward to the next run. For me, the next one will most probably be the SCKLM 2009, the big one.

BP, Lam and I waited for Will to arrive at the finish line. After waiting for about 5 minutes, we saw Will running with confidence to the finish line. He finished in exactly 2 hours. We quickly met up with him and took a photo together. He needed to go immediately after the run to go to Melaka. Personally, I was really glad he could make it for this run. He said he had cramp earlier near the 2nd water station , and rested a while there before continued on.

I met Lam about 10 minutes after I finished the race. He finished the race in 1 hour 33 minutes, 2 minutes ahead of BP. I managed to locate BP also among the crowd. We tried to look for Will but couldn't find him.

After I finished the race, I quickly returned the timing chip and collected my goodies bag with the finisher medal. Then I went straight to the water/food station to rehydrate myself. I also ate some light snacks, e.g. Tau Fu Fa, banana and water melon.

The unique design of the finisher medal.

I stopped my heart rate monitor at 1 hour 24 minutes 53 seconds. The GPS reading was at 15.56km, which meant my average pace was 5 minutes 27 seconds per km. In other words, my average speed for the race was 11.00km/h. This was my fastest average pace in a road race. This time, I was able to control my pace better and my average heart rate was 155 bpm compared to Bidor run when I averaged 162 bpm. My new shoes were not giving me any problem too.

I sprinted as fast as I could to overtake 3 runners at the last 200m. At the last 30m, I was chasing a runner in front of me, but he also reacted by sprinting towards the finish line. In the end, we were neck-to-neck, too close to call at the line. I guessed only a photo finish would determine who won the sprint. Then again, let's wait for the official result.

The last 1 km was around the lake in Lake Garden. I was pacing moderately to reserve some energy for my final dash. Earlier I was passed by 4 or 5 runners, including another foreign lady runner, coming to 13km mark. But I resisted the temptation to speed or overtake them again.

My split time at 10 km mark was 54'44". I arrived at the second water station (11km mark) and took 2 cups of water before started running again. Here was where I was overtook by a foreign lady runner. I guessed she was the race leader for the women race, that was started 15 minutes later than the men. I continued on to climb a small hill to arrive to the turning that would lead me to the Tugu Negara. After another 800m, I arrived at the Tugu and it was all downhill from there back to Lake Garden.

The 8km mark was a killer long stretch of uphill. It was at Laman Tunku. Although I trained there before, but I trained in the opposite (downhill) direction. The climb was a slow one, and I took the chance by refueling with Powergel. The check-point was near the 9km mark. I collected my ribbon and continued my climb. After reaching the top, then it was a small downhill slope that took us to the interchange bridge across Lebuhraya Mahameru. So good seeing the traffic police doing their job to allow me (and the runners) to cross safely.

After I took a sip at the first water station (5km mark; my split time was 27'19"), I climbed up the first of the killer hills. This one was not so bad as I trained here before. Climbing here required a lot of focus and perseverance. Long climb, but I learned not to stop or give up. After reaching the top, from the 6km to 7km, I ran at a blistering 4'43" per km pace. This was near the flat road in Langkak Tunku.

The 3km mark was at Jalan Parlimen, this was where the runners would head towards Bank Negara. We turned left at Bank Negara, then took the first right to climb a small hill near the Bank Negara train station. This was not a difficult climb and the top was the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial.

The runners were flagged off at 7:00am, and we immediately took the jogger trail in the Lake Garden. Then we made a loop around Bird Park (our training route) before turning into Jalan Parlimen. I started the race in moderate pace. Lam was slightly behind me at start. During a small climb in the first 300m, I overtook Will and BP. I would only see them later at the finish line.

We waited for the race to start at the Tapak A. This was an open area in Lake Garden. Normally most major events held at the Lake Garden would take this area as main stage. Here, we bumped into Dr. Anders, our Swedish friend and a runner too. Good to see him again, more so outside of work.

BP, Will and I met at the Bukit Aman car park, and we walked to the Lake Garden. It was then 5:30am when we arrived and parking were still aplenty. Lam arrived at 6:10am and met us in starting point.

I woke up early at 4:50am and took my new adidas Supernova Glide for this race. I bought this shoes a week earlier and ran about 20km wearing them. Last Sunday I took a foot scan at adidas store, and the scan revealed that I have a neutral gait and there was sign of slightly high arch. So I decided to get a pair of neutral cushioning shoes.

Quick update on New Balance 15km 2009

At the finishing line, me, Will, BP, Lam. Good run guys! More details later.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My running "companions"

Here are my running "companions":

1. adidas adiSTAR Salvation running shoes - quite good for serious runners.

2. iPod Shuffle - helps me to avoid boredom while running, also the rhythm and the beat of the music can get me going.

3. Suunto t3c heart rate monitor - to give me my heart rate reading, to help me train in the right heart zone and avoid overdoing it.

4. Suunto GPS POD (Peripheral Observation Devices) - connects wirelessly to my t3c, gives accurate speed (in both minutes per km and km/h) and distance reading. Really helps in pacing and distance training.

5. Head band & wrist band - I tend to sweat a lot. The head band prevents the sweat from going into my eyes. The wrist band is for wiping the sweat on my face.

6. Water bottle waist pouch - For distance running, I need for storage of my re-hydration drink. Normally I will carry a bottle of Gatorade with me for long run.

7. Running vest and shorts - need to be light and dry-fit. Normally I wear running vest and I just bought a new pair of running shorts.

8. Arm pouch/band - I use this for carrying my handphone. This is for emergency use only and not for chatting during runs!

9. Some money, if case need to buy more drinks during long run training. Can be used for taxi money, but so far only use for buying drinks.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The hunter in me

I have been rather quiet in the treasure hunting scene lately. I must say I have not lost interest in hunting.

I have been busy since the end of last year. With the increase in job scope and responsibilities, I am already finding it hard to manage my time.

My team mates are also pretty busy recently. Sath is getting married soon and he is busy preparing for his big day. Doug is mostly unavailable on weekends. Raj has not say it (yet), but I think his big day is coming too.

So it's rather difficult to get the guys on a good hunt trip. Looking at the current trend, there is also a possibility that we have to skip our company hunt (in June) as defending champions. That would be a shame if it happens.

I also need to train for the SCKLM 2009 in June. Time is really short now. So I guess I have to prioritise that first. Most likely, there will be little or no activity from me on the treasure hunt front until then.

Weekend long run training

After the Bidor run, I did two recovery runs of 4km each on Thursday and Friday. The Bidor run was really an over-reaching effort. My right knee was sore. I know very well that I cannot sustain the same pace if I were running for the full marathon. Therefore the important part of my marathon training is to find a pace that I can sustain for the whole 42km.

BP and I were training again for our weekly long run yesterday. The target was to complete 7 long laps around Taman Bukit Jalil in 3 hours. Each loop was about 4km.

We started the run at 5:30am. We paced at 7:30 per km for the first lap. But on second lap, BP excused himself and went into the toilet. I had to continue alone. Running alone in the dark was not a good experience. We started our run with no people in the park and in the dark for most parts of the trails.

I continued to run on my own for the rest of the training as BP was apparently struggling even after coming out from the toilet. I would only saw him maybe an hour later from distant. He pacing quite slowly. We crossed path again on my 5th lap. At the time, the sun was shining quite brightly and there were already many people in the park.

As the 3 hours target was approaching, I reached the end of my 6th lap only to find BP waiting for me. I actually decided earlier to stop at the end the lap because I was getting tired. At that time, I had already run for 23+ km on an empty stomach.

BP was complaining of a stomach problem and had decided to stop at 5 laps. I could see that he was not at his best. We chatted for a while with two veteran runners from Taman Bukit Jalil running club before leaving.

We are running short of time for our training. We will need to step up if we want to have any chance of finishing the SCKLM 2009.

More information on Bidor Half Marathon 2009

"I believe I can fly... I believe I can touch the sky..."

-There were 3km-, 10km- and 21km-run categories.

-Runners were required to register prior of the race by dropping their reporting card at the Dewan and were handed with a colour band.

-There were water stations at about every 5km mark, serving water in Styrofoam cup. At 15km mark, cold carbonated isotonic drink was also served.

-There were foreign runners from Japan, US, Africa etc.

-The 5km U-turn mark was at an Indian temple.

-No timing chip was used.

-Runners finished their race by going through a designated finishing lane according to their categories.

-Runners were handed a card that stated their placing in the category. This card would then be exchanged for the finisher medal and certificate.

-I could see many young runners taking part in the 3km and 10km runs. Also some families taking part.

-My average heart rate was 162 bpm (~86% of max) and peaked at 172 bpm. This heart rate couldn't be sustained if I ran for the full. So the important aspect of the training is to control the pace and thus the heart rate to make it more sustainable for the full 42km.

-Total calories I've burnt for the 21.8km race was 1690 kcal.