Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Malakoff 12km KL 2011 - Last race for 2011

Thanks to Jason Thai for this photo.

With a final dash to the finish line, my racing season for 2011 came to a close.

A lot of runners would dread the hilly route of Malakoff 12km. I was one of them back in 2009 when I first ran this race. Since then I had came to the fact that, running hills was unavoidable and I just had to get better at it. I told myself I would come back again to improve on my first outing.

Well, this year was the third time I ran this race. However it was my first time I ran barefoot on this hilly route. The day before, I had done a LSD training. So my expectation was not high for the race, and just hope to finish within an hour mark.

I finished the race in 55:40, slightly better than last year's result. After my race I did a warm down run in reverse direction of the route to look for my wife. It was her third Malakoff 12km as well. I paced her back to the finish line for the last 1.5km. She had done well to improve her time to 1 hour 25 minutes.
Thanks to Lim Soon Chung for this photo.

I saw many runner friends at this event and chatted with them before leaving. Although the racing season was over, but I am still training as hard as I could. New season will start as early as New Year Day and I am setting some high targets for myself for next year. One of them is to do an ultra-marathon, that much I can say for now.

Until the next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Run for a reason - Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2011

Thanks to Tan Chow Seng for this photo near finish line.

My 9th Full Marathon and it was one of the toughest that I had done.

I planned to run Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore last year (2010), but I missed the registration window and ended up disappointed. This year, I made it a point to register on time and was happy to get a slot. My wife also registered for half marathon. It was only her second HM.

I didn't train as much as I would want to, prior to the race due to busy work schedule. I planned to run it barefoot, my first time in a competitive FM race. Back in September, I had completed the River Jungle Marathon 2011 in barefoot. However, it was not a competitive run. No official timing or ranking were recorded and no special prize for being the top finishers in that marathon.

This time round, I didn't really know what to expect. It was a whole new race all together. New location, new route for me. I wasn't sure that I could finish in a 20,000-strong, mass-start field. I heard of the narrow street, cement jogging path in East Coast Park, crowded last few kms and didn't know much how it would affect me.

The night before departure, I came down with flu and runny nose and I didn't look good then. After some medication, I felt better to fly in the morning. When we reached Singapore it was already noon on Saturday. We quickly went to collect our race pack in Sands Expo. It was the biggest venue I had ever seen just to give out race packs to runners. Luckily we collected our goods within minutes. No queue at all.

Then we checked in a hotel in Little India. It rained in that afternoon and we didn't really go out far after that. I was also not too well then. Anyway, that night I took some more medication and tried to sleep early as my race would start at 5:00am.

That night I just couldn't really sleep and my lips and throat were dry. In the end, I hauled myself up at 2:15am and ate some breakfast bar & drank lots of water. Then I kissed my wife before I headed to the MRT station and to Orchard starting point for FM. She would only start her HM race at 6:30am from Sentosa Island.

After I dropped off my baggage at the baggage deposit, I walked to the starting point. At that moment I had a funny feeling of being lonely in a big crowd of runners. I was the only barefoot runner and so I thought. I met some runners friends like Zi Shen, Bryan Lee and Daniel Tan. Then I was surprised to see Tan Wah Sing, the experienced and well-known barefooter at the start line. Suddenly I felt a lot more comfortable with Master Tan around. I felt my body condition at start line was ok although I had not slept all night.

When the action was finally on (flagged off), I was trying pace with the 3:45 pacers and Zi Shen. Then Zi Shen broke away after 3km, and I tried to follow him for a few kms. Then I realised he was really going for it and I just had to let him go.

The road condition in Singapore was barefoot-friendly. So I paced at 5:00min/km pace for the first 10km. Then second 10km was mostly in East Coast Park. Some parts were not properly lit up and it was almost running in the dark. Master Tan overtook me at the ECP and asked if I was going to take some energy gel. I replied yes, and he took off. I tried to follow but I found out that he was pacing faster and faster. Within minutes, I lost sight of him.

By 21.1km U-turn point, it was already breaking dawn. My split time at 21.1km was about 1:47:xx. I thought I was doing ok then. But by km 25, I started to feel my stomach was having some gas. I could have taken 2 energy gels and too much water within last 6km. Then I began to struggle. But I saw Alam Shah in front of me and I began to speed up. He was struggling as well. I called him and asked him if he was ok and urged him on. He then picked up the pace and overtook me after a few hundreds metres.

At ECP, I managed to see some other runner friends like Tey, Winnie, Bernard Loke, Ben Lee etc. Really happy to see some familiar faces. After that, the race route took us to narrow road beside a golf course, looked at a construction area. It was at around km 33 that I was being overtaken by the 3:45 pacer group.

My pace has slowed since the 25km mark. By km 33, I was feeling quite terrible. My arms were getting numbed, my leg muscles were "twitching" as if it were going to cramp up and I was tiring fast. I was thinking to give up and just walked back. But then, I just told myself to continue on, no matter how slow I could run. At km 36 or 37, I saw June (from FMV fame) setting up her "kedai runcit" over there. I was in need of a bottle of water then to cool myself and to carry so that my arms would not feel so numbed. Thank you to June and Kash for the bottle of water.

At around here, I was surprised to see Zi Shen in front of me. I had lost sight of him since before 10km mark. Then I passed and called him and urged him on as well. I thought he followed me from behind after that. At around 38km mark, then the FM route merged with the 21km route. It was overly crowded by then. It was really difficult to run trying to zig-zag and passing the walking runners. Mind you that the HM field was also about 20,000-strong.

At about km 40, Zi Shen started to pick up his pace and zoomed past me. I just couldn't follow closely anymore. I was so high in adrenalin that I was burning up and in a "don't-know-myself-anymore" state. I just kept him in sight from then on and the last 2km was really tough. But I knew I was near, I just kept it going until I completed the race.

It was a really tough race and I was glad I overcame the little voice of giving up. At the finish point, I was so tired but I was very satisfied that I just sat on the Padang while waiting for my wife. She finished with a PB 2:46 in her second HM. I was delighted to see her achieved the feat with minimal training. Maybe one day she will train enough to run a FM with me. However, I am giving her time and space to decide on that.

I finished my 9th FM in 3:58:46 (gun time), keeping my streak of finishing last 8 FMs in sub-4 timing. However, I was prepared to finish beyond 4 hours in my last two FM in barefoot. It came as a bonus that I could still keep the streak going. The point is, I had great satisfaction running my last two FMs in barefoot. In this SCMS alone, many runners and supporters gave me thumbs up or greeted me with positive remarks. This was a good encouragement for me. My leg muscles also recovered faster than any FMs I ran before. No Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) syndrome and no serious blisters or injury to my feet.

As for the SCMS 2011 event, there are positive points and areas for improvement. I may write about it later.

Until next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Monday, November 07, 2011

PJ Half Marathon 2011 - My 6th half marathon

Thanks to Tey EngTiong for this photo.
Thanks to Chuah Sakura for this photo.
Thanks to Yap Eng Hui for this photo.

This was my only sixth half marathon since I started racing. Yes, only the sixth in my relatively young racing " career".

This was my tune-up race to Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS). I have been training for the full marathon for SCMS. So I thought I would use this race as part of my training or tune up.

The day before the race, I was training in the Bukit Jalil park. I ran for 16km. So on race day, I didn't expect to do very well.

The starting venue was in Stadium Petaling Jaya in Kelana Jaya. On race day morning, I saw my good friend, BP whom I started running with, 3 years ago. He was with his wife who was running in 10km race.

The race started on time at 6:30am for the 21km category. The race route sent the runners to Federal Highway, U-turn below the cable bridge near Freescale Electronics. Then the runners would run to Subang Airport Terminal 2 and U-turn back to the Stadium.

I started off pacing at about 4:30/km. Fellow barefooter Rich Chai was pacing near me. We overtook Paul Liong, another barefooter before the cable bridge U-turn. After the U-turn, I was pacing on my own. After turning into the airport road, I was slowing down because of the rough road surface. Then some runners overtook me. The road condition was getting worse nearer to the airport. I had to run on the white line on the road as much as I could.

After the U-turn at the Terminal 2, I picked up my pace slowly and by km 17, I overtook back some runners who passed me earlier. The sun was up and shinning brightly by then. It was my motivation to finish the race faster.

In the end, I reached the stadium and the finish line at 1:39:23. It was a personal best for me. It was a pleasant surprise as I had only expected a time around 1:45:00.

I stayed for a while and met up with some regular runners. By then the sun was getting hotter. It was a very warm and humid race.

I felt that the organiser didn't do a good job in traffic control and water stations. The traffic police at major junctions were not properly planned. Some busier junctions should had more people present to control the fast moving traffic. Also the Federal Highway and the road to airport were not closed for this event. Runners were running at the same direction as the fast-moving vehicles. At some busy stretches, there were no traffic marshals/cones at all. I felt really unsafe running in these conditions.

Water stations could have been in better locations. E.g. the first water station was at less than 4km away from the start. Perhaps the spacings between water stations could be more accurate.

Another comment is that the entry fee was expensive. The were some sponsored items in the goodie bag and there were lucky draws, but please don't tell me the entry fees went to those items.

Until the next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An interview with a beginner barefoot runner

When did you start running barefoot?

I started running barefoot in Sep-Oct 2010. At first, I walked in the park that I trained initially. After walking barefoot for a few weeks, then I jogged slowly and increased my mileage and speed.

Why do you run barefoot?

I started having this heel pain on my right foot around mid-2010. I ran Borneo International Marathon and SCKLM 2010 with this pain. It got worse, and I took a rest from racing. I thought the root cause was my running shoes. So I decided to stop wearing the cushioning shoes I had been wearing then. I was also guessing my running gait could be the root cause. I was hoping by running barefoot, it would improve my gait. Other reasons were to avoid more blackened toenails and to strengthen my leg muscles. So, I started trying out barefoot running.

Did barefoot running help to heal your heel injury?

I recovered from my heel injury fully after some time. But I cannot say it was solely because of barefoot running. I rested more and did a lot of other things like stretching, massage to improve my condition then. However, since I started running barefoot, I have not experienced the same heel pain anymore after my recovery.

What is your first impression of running barefoot?

Running barefoot requires both mental and physical conditioning. It may not be suitable for all runners, but I believe it could work fine for most people, if done slowly and properly. First experience of running barefoot was fear of the unknown and the painful sensation. The fear of the unknown was the fact that I didn't know where barefoot running would take me. And the painful sensation was due to direct contact of the soles with the rough asphalt/road surface. The sensation of stepping on small pebbles/stones, let's just say, is not what runners are looking for. Imagine, walking barefoot on the foot reflexology path in the park. That's why the mental part is needed. Barefoot runners need to prepare to experience some level of pain and risk of injury due to stepping on sharp objects. Otherwise on smoother surface, running barefoot would not cause much pain on the soles. Also, when running barefoot, there is more work for the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. I experienced sore Achilles tendon and sore calf muscles when I first started running barefoot.

How did you train in transition from shoes running to barefoot running?

As I said, I started to walk barefoot in the park for a few weeks first. Then, only I started to jog and increased my mileage slowly. Occasionally, I trained with lightweight shoes, and alternating with barefoot running. Mileage on barefoot was much less than with shoes initially. I increased the mileage on barefoot slowly. I also did some calf muscles strengthening exercises. I only started racing barefoot in June 2011 (about 9 months after I first started running barefoot), the event was Pacesetters 15km. I still train with shoes even now. For example, early morning in the park when it is still very dark and on the treadmill because it is the safety rule of the gym. I will also run with minimalist shoes on unfamiliar or rough route, if needed.

So you are not a full time barefoot runner now?

I run or train barefoot most of the the time, but not 100% of the time.

Will you be a full time barefoot runner in the future?

Maybe. If I run on shoes, it will be lightweight or minimalist shoes. It would be likely to protect my soles against harsh terrain or unknown surfaces or route.

What are the challenges you face as a barefoot runner?

Going to barefoot running, it was a re-learning process for me. I was willing to "un-learn" what I know before about running and start all over again. I had to give up my speed and pace (and I didn't even know if I would run with my race pace anymore). The biggest challenge I guess is being patient, persistent and persevere. On rough surface, I have to be more careful and endure some pain. At end of the run or race, there could be blisters on the soles. But our body is a wonderful thing, it will adapt and get stronger.

Of course, there will be risk to get injured because of sharp objects on the road. When you start running barefoot, you will be more alert and mindful on your every step. I would say, although barefoot runners look more vulnerable, but I think the risk of getting hurt because of sharp objects for shoes runners is not a lot lesser.

Other challenges include facing the stare and comments by some people. Some people will give insensitive remarks, but I will not let those remarks bother me.

What is your advice to barefoot-aspiring runners?

If you want to try out barefoot running, do it slowly. Start by walking barefoot on a route familiar to you. Increase mileage slowly and listen to your body. There are some reference materials on the Internet that can help too. Also, runners can get in touch with those who are more experienced in barefoot running to get more tips.

Barefoot running is not about "right" or "wrong" way of running. The more important point is to run with good form or gait to avoid/minimise running injury. It is perfectly fine to stay with shoes if that is working fine for you. The most important thing is, you'll find joy in running.

(If you have any question, please feel free to drop a line here.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Terry Fox Run KL 2011 - Update 4 (T-shirt sale locations)


I collected my T-shirts order today.

Please take note of the locations and the start date of sale at each location.

These are the confirmed places so far for the sale of TFR KL 2011 T-shirts : (Updated as of 24 Oct 2011)

1) Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF), 2nd Floor, Outpatient Centre, Sime Darby Medical Centre, Subang Jaya
(Mon to Fri, 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Contact person : Wong Siak Chung / Herda Abdullah
Tel: 03-56391874

2) Canadian High Commission, 17th floor Menara Tan & Tan, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
(Mon to Thurs, 9am to 12.00pm, 2.00pm to 4.00pm; Friday 9am to 12.00pm)

3) Clark Hatch Fitness Centres, 6th Floor, Sooka Sentral, Kuala Lumpur
(Mon-Fri, 12pm to 8.00pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm)
CLOSED on Deepavali
Contact Sara: 03-27851963

4) Clark Hatch Fitness Centres, Capital Square , Kuala Lumpur
(Mon-Fri, 12pm to 8.00pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm)
CLOSED on Deepavali
Contact Elaine: 03-26986080

5) Clark Hatch Fitness Centres, PJ Hilton
(Mon-Fri, 12pm to 8.00pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm)
OPEN on Deepavali 9am-3pm
Contact Logesh: 03-79572939

6) Running Lab, Gnd Floor, Tropicana City Mall, PJ
Open 19-28 Oct, 31 Oct-4 Nov (1:00pm-8:00pm)
Closed 29-30 Oct, 5-6 Nov
Contact Frank: 03-77278555

7) Bangsar Village 1, Nearby Information Counter
29th & 30th Oct 2011 (Sat & Sun)
5 & 6 Nov 2011 (Sat & Sun)
10am to 6pm


8) 1 Utama Shopping Complex, Community Corner @ Oval
29th & 30th Oct 2011 (Sat & Sun)
10am to 10pm

9) Menara Citibank Lobby, Jalan Ampang, KL
31 Oct - 4 Nov
LUNCH TIME 12-2pm only

10) Padang Merbuk, KL
13 Nov 2011 (Event day)
(Please get your T-shirt early to avoid disappointment)

Please note each T-shirt is priced at RM30. Proceed will go to CARIF.

The T-shirt sizes again for your reference. Please note there is only one cutting.

SIZE

Chest (inch)

Length (inch)

2 (child)

22

16

4 (child)

24

17

3XS (child)

28

20

2XS

32

21

XS

34

22

S

36

25

M

40

26

L

42

27

XL

44

~30

2XL

46

~31

3XL

48

~32

Please come back later for more updates!

Thank you for your support for TFR KL 2011.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I'm King of the Road - adidas King of the Road 2011

Thanks Tey for this photo and the support.

How often a toll highway closed for a running event? It happens once every year (for about 9 hours) at the Penang Bridge for Penang Bridge International Marathon. Apart from that, I cannot name any other annual run event that will require a toll highway to be closed for it.

adidas King of the Road 2011 is one road race event that was held on a section of New Pantai Expressway (NPE), a toll highway. This event was missing from the race calendar last year (2010). I took part in 2009, but it was held in Shah Alam. In 2007 & 2008, I heard it was held in NPE. On Sunday 2 Oct 2011, about 8000 colourfully-clad runners took part in this event in Sunway Pyramid, running on a closed section of the highway.

My wife and I took part in this road race. Not often that we could join a run event together. It was just one week after my maiden barefoot marathon. My calf muscles were still sore. I thought I would recover fully after one week. So I joined my wife for this run. She would take part in 10km and I would run longer 16.8km race.

When the race started, I paced at about 4:30 min/km. But then I felt the strain on my calf muscles and had to adjust my pace a bit. Only towards the end, I picked up the pace a bit and finished at 1:20:14 gun time. My wife finished her 10km in 1:09:53. We couldn't stay long after the run to catch up with other runner friends.

In this run, I noticed many barefoot runners. When I said "many" here, I meant in a relative sense. Relative to other run events, this event saw more barefoot runners in it. However, it was still a very small population compare to the total number of runners. Good to know that there were some barefoot runners did their maiden barefoot race in this event. For a run that was sponsored and organised by a popular sport/shoe brand, this (barefoot) trend seemed not according to the script.

During my run, I got some insensitive remarks such as "hey, adidas sells shoes you know?", "eh, mana kasut?", "you forgot your shoes?" and some stares. Anyway, it didn't bother me at all. At the same time, I got some support from other fellow runners that know me. Also, some claps and cheers from some 10km runners waiting to start, when I ran past the starting point from the opposite direction.

Overall, the run was well-organised. Although it was a big event, crowd control was good. Runners had space to mingle around after their run. Volunteers were in good number and did their job well.

Until the next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My maiden barefoot Full Marathon - River Jungle Marathon 2011

Thanks to SoonChung Lim for this photo. This was around 29km mark.

I never thought that I would run a full marathon barefoot when I started running 3 years ago. Well, I did it, and it was one of the best FM that I had run.

I registered late for this River Jungle Marathon 2011 because I wasn't sure I would have time to train for it. The organiser informed me that they would accept my late registration but I would not be guaranteed a finisher medal and T-shirt. It didn't bother me at all even if I come back empty-handed. I already set out to treat this as my training run for SCMS 2011. After all, I read about the good reviews about this run before and I thought it would be an experience for me.

The course was situated near Pekan Batu 18, Hulu Langat, about 30km from KL. Unlike the name suggests, it was not a trail or off-road run. In fact it is a road race on asphalt surface. But the route would take you to beautiful scenery of villages, jungle, hill, river, lake etc. It was unlike any FM that I ran before. All of them were in background of concrete jungle and busy roads.

Magnificent view of the Semenyih Dam Reservoir.

I did a survey of the route one week earlier. In this course, there is this grueling 5%-gradient 3.5km uphill climb that has a nickname of "Spirit Breaker". I just had to see it myself. Boy, after I saw it, I knew I was up against the most challenging FM course (but also the most beautiful course for the scenery it offers). For many days to come, the uphill climb route was etched in my mind and I was trying to figure out how to tackle it.

Fast forward to the race day, I arrived early about 3:40am in the morning. The race director, James Wong was briefing his 60-person-strong volunteers. He gave clear instructions to the volunteers on what to do. From observing at the sideline, in my view, he has the leadership quality and the know-how to organise a run event.

I met some familiar faces (and many more unknown faces) in the race. I saw June (of Full Marathon Virgin fame) and Elaine Pan. Both were part of the volunteers or crew members. Thanks for the support. I also catched up with Karim who would run his 4th FM this year. Thanks for the cookies. [Smile]

It was announced that about 370 runners registered and there were many foreign runners, most of them were from Singapore. There were also maybe a dozen first-timers in the crowd.

Thanks to Tey for this photo before the race. This was during the briefing.

With barefooter Rich Chai and new friend Teoh (photo from Teoh).

The race started at 5:00am sharp. I paced with Rich Chai early (as discussed with him before) and we were pacing about 5mins/km. Thanks Rich Chai for willing to pace with me. We both aimed to finish this course in sub-4 hour time. My strategy was to run about 51 minutes for first 10km and save some minutes for the hills. My estimate was that we would easily lose 2 minutes from the sub-4 hour average pace (~5:41 mins/km) in the climb. Actually that was an optimistic assumption. I trained on the treadmill for 5% gradient with the pace of 6:00min/km, and I found it very very difficult to maintain that kind of pace.

Anyway, at the foot of the climb, I emptied a pack of GU gel and put it in my mouth. But I didn't swallow it immediately. I just put it in my mouth and take it in bit by bit, little by little. Why? I figured this action would help me to control my heart rate and prevent it (heart rate) to skyrocket. Thus, I would not huff and puff. The result? I could maintain a pace between 6:30min/km to 7:30min/km all the way without stopping or walking. The feel good factor came when I overtook a runner and then a cyclist who was off his bike and pushing it. From then on, I knew I had a good chance to dip below 4 hours.

Another tip that I can share here was that instead of let the hill broke my spirit, I "broke" the hill. By that, I meant that I ran the grueling 3.5km uphill as smaller sections. For example, if I could only see the road until the winding turn, then I would just focus to run to that. Then I would target the next section of uphill, and the next. Before long, I reached the top of the climb.

At top of the hill, there was a water station and this was the shot by Mahizzan. It was breaking dawn then, and not breaking spirit.

Thanks to Mahizzan for this shot.

Going downhill was actually not good section for me because of the rough road surface and the impact to the barefoot soles and knees. I didn't gain back much time in the downhill section. In fact, I was overtaken by a runner, who called out at me as "barefoot runner".

At end of the downhill section, the road condition became even worse. I had to slow down to minimise the pain. Yes, the pain. It was painful when I stepped on sharp pebble stones and rough road surfaces. A foreign runner, (by the name of Scott) overtook me before the U-turn at km 24.3 mark and asked me how I, my feet rather, were doing. (Scott, if you are reading this, please drop a comment here to keep in touch). This section of the course was the most beautiful with the scenery of the Semenyih Dam Reservoir with the backdrop of green mountains and blue sky.

After the U-turn, I saw Rich Chai on the opposite direction, perhaps 1 km behind. I could sense that he was also facing the wrath of the rough road and sharp stones. Then Daniel Tan (Raja Bukit, or King of Mountain, aka PM3) gained on me and slowly overtook me by km 29. I knew he gained a lot of time on the hill as he is a damn good hill runner.

The road surface was becoming worse and worse. I could match Daniel's pace only for a couple of kms and then just had to run my own pace. The last 12 km I stopped a few times, because of small sharp pebble stones kind of stucked in my soles. I just had to stop to remove the stones.

By now, I saw many cyclists riding from opposite direction. Apparently, this route is also popular among cyclists. Most cyclists waved at me and a large group of riders cheered me on. Thanks!

In the last few kms, I managed to pick up my pace a little bit and overtook the runner who overtook me earlier at the downhill section.

At the finish, I was overwhelmed by emotion. It was a painful, painful run. But I had done it! My maiden barefoot FM. All the way, 42km, without anything between my soles and the road. I stopped my timer at 3:57:18. Some technical data from my Garmin shown below.

The chart at the centre is the elevation chart of the route. You can see that the gain of elevation and the gradient of the uphill climb. Crazy.

I had a couple of bananas and some isotonic drinks, then some stretching . I chatted with the some volunteers, and Daniel (who finished about 2 minutes ahead of me) and also Andrew Loh, the first to finish in 3:40:xx. Scott finished third, I was forth. (There were no official results as this was not a competitive run.) Some of them were amazed and jokingly asked if I had a iron plate under my soles. [Laugh]

After that, I quickly took out my camera and started shooting photos for the runners maybe about 50-100m from the finish. I had promised that I would support the runners for this event. I believed I took photos for all the runners (published on my Facebook RJM 2011 photo album) who finished the race except those finished earlier than 4:13:xx.

During my photo-shooting, I noticed some runners struggling to finish the race. Some were walking very slowly, and a few were limping. I recalled there were many first-timers in this FM (declared during briefing before the race). I really hoped no one was seriously injured because of the grueling route. And you will run your second, third and subsequent FMs in the future, with more training hopefully.

I snapped photos for runners even during the 1 hour downpour and waited until the last runner in. Uncle Sonny Ng was the "sweeper" runner and ensure last runner came in.

Overall, the organiser had done very well in this event. Bravos to all the volunteers for the support. Thank you to the sponsors. This was an event by the runners, for the runners. And if you love running, you would love to run the River Jungle Marathon.

Until the next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Terry Fox Run KL 2011 - Update 3 (Route Map)


Route Map as above. Please click for larger image.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Terry Fox Run KL 2011 - Update 2 (General)



We are marking the 31st anniversary of the Terry Fox Run this year on 13 November 2011, in Padang Merbok KL. A milestone unimaginable without the support of so many people, there is much to be done yet, we must always celebrate our victories - of which there have been many.

The beneficiary this year as in previous years, will be the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF). CARIF is the first independent, non-profit cancer research organization in Malaysia.

Please see the following information.

Rules and Regulations:

  • All participants must run on designated route.
  • For wheelchair bound, and physically challenged participants, please note that there are slopes along the run route.
  • Participants are to be at the assembly area by 8:45am.

Parking:

Limited parking is available on site, and public transport is recommended.

Notice:

The organisers, their agents, representatives, successors and assigns, are not liable for any injuries suffered, damage and lost of properties by the participants at this event.

If you like to volunteer or need more information

Please contact:

Ms Yoon/Mr Peter Kang/Ms Katrina Low/Mr Wong Siak Chung
CARIF, 2nd floor OPC, Sime Darby Medical Centre,
Tel: 03-56391874

or email: organizer@terryfoxrunkl.org

Terry Fox Run KL 2011 - Update 1 (T-shirt)



Terry Fox Run KL 2011 T-shirt will be available early Oct.

Each T-shirt is priced at RM30. Proceed will go to CARIF (Cancer Research Initiative Foundation).

T-shirt design photo courtesy of organiser and RUNWITME.

Each T-shirt with company/school name embroidery (left sleeve) is RM35 (minimum quantity is 30pcs)

* Kindly note that the final order date for company name embroidery is 15 October 2011.

Sizes available:

2 (child)
4 (child)
3XS (child)
2XS
XS
S
M
L
XL
2XL
3XL

Measurements same as last year.

Please email to organizer@terryfoxrunkl.org


Friday, August 19, 2011

Terry Fox Run Kuala Lumpur 2011

Please book your calendar for this good cause to raise fund for cancer research.

Terry Fox Run Kuala Lumpur 2011

Date: 13 November 2011 (Sunday)
Time: 9:00am
Venue: Padang Merbok

More details later.

Thanks for the support.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Run with BAREvME in Pacemakers Anniversary Run 7

Team BAREvME. (Photo credit to Kah Wai)

My third barefoot race and what a race it was. Running in a relay team, a barefoot team named BAREvME in Pacemakers Anniversary Run 7.

My team mates: Chuah Seih Seng (aka Rich Chai), Tan Wah Sing & Boey Yin Yin.

Initially the idea to form a team for PAR was started by Chuah. We (Chuah, Paul Liong, Tan Wah Sing & I) wanted to form a team. I guessed we all share the common running style, i.e. barefoot running and wanted to form an unique team. I am the most junior in term of barefoot running experience, still learning and not really a full-time barefoot runner yet. I considered the rest as 'masters' in barefoot running.

Paul has to pull out later due to family commitment. We needed a lady runner and we agreed she would be Boey Yin Yin. Yin has been running with VFF for some time now and would be a good fit for the team.

The aim for the team was to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Yin was a bit nervous and tension since she considered herself to be the "slow" runner. Well, we all didn't see it that way and just encouraged her to enjoy herself as the most important thing.

On race day, I think we all had great fun. We ran the race with no pressure, just ran the race and enjoyed ourselves. Yin was the first runner to go (ladies started first), and she did well for the first leg. The fastest pace that I had seen her run. Chuah took over in the second leg and he did superbly by overtook many runners.

I ran the third leg and managed to finish the lap in a surprising pace (found out later). I was recovering from bad cough and lack of training. I decided I would abandon all electronics gadgets (watch, GPS, HRM, MP3, handphone) that day and just ran with my heart & 'sole' to enjoy the run. This was the first time I'd ever did that and what a great feeling, with no worries about time, distance, pace, or position, I felt the real joy of running.

Anchor leg was by the famous barefoot runner, master Tan Wah Sing. I cannot call him 'sifu' because I don't know if he will accept me as an apprentice yet. So I call him 'master' lor.

Master Tan Wah Sing also recovering from sickness but he ran our fastest leg and finished in around Top 20 position. Master Tan is always cheerful and encouraging all runners.

After the race, we chatted with other runners and took photos. I thought our team was the most-photographed team that day.

We found out only much later we finished 12th among 64 competitive teams. It was a bonus and good surprise for the team.

I enjoyed the relay race very much and thanks to my wonderful team mates, Chuah, Tan Wah Sing and Boey Yin Yin, I felt the real joy of running.

It was a very well-organised race. I would also like to express my gratitude to the organiser and all the volunteers. You all did well to make this run a success.

Until the next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

SCKLM 2011 - My Race Report

My seventh full marathon and I thought it was a good one.

I woke up at 2:00am this morning and felt stomach unwell. Immediately I took the herbal medicine pill for stomach problem. I feared it would affect my race.

I arrived at Bukit Aman carpark at 3:35am. Then I found my way to Dataran Merdeka. I met some friends there, but my stomach was still acting up again. I had to go to the toilet once more before the start of the race.

Depositing the baggage was a breeze. They got enough volunteers and counters to do this.

The race started on time and I found myself pacing with the 3:30 pacer, Lionel Lee. But I only managed to follow him up to 16km, then my pace slowly dropping off. Then I found myself running behind Tan Wah Sing for a few good kms. But I was not doing well at this point of the race. I felt quite lousy and out of rhythm until 30km.

My first 21km was around 1 hour 45 minutes. But after this my pace dropped to 5:15 per km and eventually to around 5:30.

I drank at least one cup of water at every water station. At some stations, two. The weather was quite nice with windy condition. I thought it would rain at some point. But it never did.

At km 30, my feet got heavy and uncomfortable. I decided to took them off and ran barefoot. I had actually planned to do this with experience learnt from Energizer Night Race Full Marathon. My timing chip was tied to my ankle already.

Then I felt much better and my rhythm getting better and I could run better. I felt so free and liberated running the final 12km barefoot.

Then, as I was picking up the pace, both my legs and feet starting to cramp up. I had to control my pace so that it would not aggravate it.

When I arrived at km 36, I dropped off my shoes to June (from Full Marathon Virgins). I had carried them from km 30 until here. She was supporting the FMV and the runners. I was glad she was willing to help me. Really appreciate it, thanks!

Coming to km 40 near Jalan Raja Laut, there were a lot of 10km runners walking and blocking the path. I had to navigate through traffic with shouts of "Excuse me, let me through please."

Finally I was able to cross the finish line with the time 3:49:31 (unofficial gun time). This was better than last year but I had failed my target of 3:45:00.

I think I was a bit "greedy" and tried to aim higher in the race by following the 3:30 pacer. For some reasons, my second half of the race was a "mess" until I took off my shoes. Maybe it was my stomach problem or the cramp.

It was a good lesson learnt, and I know what I need to do to improve next time.

After my race, I took time to shoot photos for the runners at the finish line. I will upload and post the photos later. Please stay tune for announcement of the photos location.

My general impression of this race is positive. Water and other part of the organisation was better than last year. Good work and thanks to all the volunteers and workers.

My congratulations to all finishers especially to my friends who successfully completed their maiden Full Marathon. Well done to Paul Liong and Mark.

Until the next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Updated 30 June 2011: My photo albums on SCKLM 2011 now available on Facebook. Please check link in Pacesetters FB page or Full Marathon Virgins FB page. If you publish or use them in other page, website, blogs, forums, FB page etc please quote source or link. Thank you for respecting the work of an amateur photographer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My first barefoot race - New Balance 15km 2011


Thank you Tey for the photos. Much appreciate it.


A Velcro strip from IKEA to tie the timing chip . An old and loose wristband I put on my ankle. A strong and determined heart. An exhilarating barefoot race!

It was maybe last September that I started to train barefoot. I started mixing barefoot running with shod running to improve my running gait and strengthen my feet and legs. At first I was just trying it out by walking in the park where I trained. Then slowly, I started to jog until I could run a full 4km lap around the park. Over time, I built enough muscle strength and confidence to run barefoot on Bukit Aman to Hartamas route.

NB15K has been my tune-up race to SCKLM for the past two years. I would use it to gauge my readiness or form for the full marathon late June. This year, the race was held in Putrajaya where the roads were mainly in good condition. So it did provide a good condition for barefoot runners especially newbies like me.

It was a windy morning and I started quite strongly and before long, barefoot elite runner Tan Wah Sing overtook me. Then barefoot Paul Liong lined up besides me. Then he dropped off maybe 500m later before 2 or 3km mark.

The race course was relatively flat with a few climbs. I was able to maintain a good and consistent pace throughout the race. I didn't want to push too hard as I didn't do any speed training on barefoot before.

At the last 2.5km mark the road condition was bad for about 500m. It was painful running through that stretch. Anyway, at the finishing straight I just tried to maintain my pace to the end.

When I crossed the finish line, it was a great feeling. My first barefoot race. One that I never thought I would do but I did. And I completed it without much problem except some blisters on my big toes (which were kind of expected). But it didn't stop me to do a reverse run to look for my wife after I crossed the finish line and had a brief chat with barefoot Chuah and Tan Wah Sing. I always treasure the opportunity to run/pace with my wife to give her encouragement.

It was a good race for me. I finished it in 1:09:52, much to my surprise as it was my best 15km time so far and it was done on barefoot. The average pace of 4:38 per km was also bettered my expectation. And not forgetting I did a 20km LSD on the previous day.

I will continue to train and race barefoot but not all the time. It will depend on course condition and my training plan. One thing for sure, I still have not trained enough to run a full marathon barefoot. Maybe one day I will. It will be great to do that.

Anyway, the NB15K was well-organised. Good venue, enough refreshment, no hiccups. I will come again.

Maybe I will write more about my take on barefoot running some other time (when I am free).

Until the next race, do train hard and stay healthy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Energizer Nightmare Race FM, 'Fun' Marathon 2011


This was my sixth time out running FM and what a disappointing race event it turned out to be.

I didn't have much expectation of this race as I was not well-prepared for the full marathon. Due to heavy workload, I got little time to train. When I did have the time, I was too tired. Anyway, the intention was to experience the night FM and running on the F1 track.

Last year, I joined the HM only and it was a tough race. Running at night was not easy as I usually train in the morning.

This year, the event attracted 10,000 runners. New event organiser was contracted to run the event. I have not heard about this organiser before.

On race day, I arrived only one hour before the race start. There were no or little signage to direct the runners to the start/finish area. There were also long queue going into the tunnels to the paddock area. I went on the other tunnel and found myself near the event main staging area.

When I found out where was the baggage area, it was already long queue waiting and I had only less than half an hour to start. I didn't manage to get permission from the other runners to deposit my bag in front of the queue. Luckily I saw Paul Liong queuing and asked for his help to deposit mine together. Then I rushed to the start/finish line with only 10 minutes left. No time to do any warm up.

The race started on time. I started with good pace around 5 min/km. The FM runners made a right turn to head to outside of the paddock area. The FM runners would run 5 loops outside the F1 circuit and only 1 loop in the F1 circuit.

The outside loop was really dark in half of the distance. It was not good to run and the route was hilly in some parts too.

Anyway, the first 2 laps was quite comfortable. The last 2 laps outside were really tough as I was getting tired quite fast. I also drank too much in a few water stations that caused me to have a stitch on my right abdomen.

I made my return to the paddock area after 5 loops outside and was greeted by cheers and claps by the exiting 5.5km and 11km runners who had already finished their race.

The last 5.5km around the track was really mind over body. My pace was getting slower and slower and eventually being overtook by 3 runners.

In the end, I finished my race in 3:45:31. The distance covered was only 39.4km according to my Garmin GPS. This was definitely under-distance as originally predicted by many runners.

At the finish line, I tried to look for water but couldn't find any. There were also no medical tent near the finish line. There were only Gatorade near the staging area.

Paul Liong greeted me and passed me my bag. I expressed my gratitude to him as he had already finished his HM race much earlier. He told me that there was some commotion in the goodie bags/medal collection area. The organiser had to stop distributing the goodie bags and medals.

I chatted with some runner friends and went back the way I came. By then it was around 1:00am.

This was the worst run event that I had ever joined. Not many positive things that I could take back from this race.

After a streak of 4 consecutive FMs that I set Personal Best, I was brought down to earth by this result:

Official time: 3:45:31
Rank Category: 16
Rank Mixed: 27
Rank Overall: 28

Until the next run, do train hard and stay healthy.