Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Pictures taken during last Sunday's Malakoff 12km Run. A big thank you to all the photo contributors.

And, Santa & Santarina themselves received this lovely Christmas e-Card from Macau...Ho! Ho! Ho! What a pleasant surprise!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maratona Internacional de Macau 2008

5 Dec 2008, Friday.
When we touched down at the Macau International Airport, my first impression was the weather was freezing cold. The wind was strong and I felt like turning back to the plane and head home to Malaysia. At that point, I wondered how I could last running 42km come Sunday's Race Day with minimal clothing on.

Upon checking into the GrandView Hotel, we walked to the Macau Stadium (Taipa) which is situated about 300 metres away to collect our BIB and Timing Chip. We didn't expect much and were pleased to receive so many goodies which included a nice shoulder bag, souvenir programme and marathon magazine. (Later, after the race, we were again given a full-sized beach towel, a good-quality finisher t-shirt and of course a huge medal.) For a mere MOP300 (or RM133) registration fee, I think it's value for money!

6 Dec 2008, Saturday.
Wai Mun and I basically spent the whole day sight-seeing the world heritage site around The Ruins of St Paul, eating the famous Portugese tarts, shopping for almond cookies and visiting the Macau Tower. Regretably, I didn't do the bungie jump at the Tower as I had wished earlier as the whopping entry fee had my heart jumped off my mouth!

7 Dec 2008, Sunday (Race Day)
I managed to sleep for only two and a half hour. When I got out of the bed at 3am, I felt so legathic. However, I just braved myself and with Wai Mun beside me, we jogged slowly to the stadium. While depositing our luggage, we met some fellow Pacesetters members from KL: Terence Chau, Daniel Tan and the Kuantan Group. Indeed, it's a small world!

With about 20 minutes to go, the stadium gate opened and athletes made a bee-line into the stadium. This is the first time I experienced the Start and Finish of a marathon on the track of a stadium. Wow! I felt like participating in an Olympic event! What's more when I was surrounded by international runners from Macau, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Germany, Portugal, UK, USA and many more countries. The race began at 6am. We were blocked by multitude of runners from all categories running the full, half and mini marathon distance! Fortunately, once we "ran" out of the tunnel of the stadium, the crowd started to disperse. The atmosphere was tremendous even though it's a tad pale compared to marathons in the US. Runners were cheered on by groups dressed in Latin, Japanese and circus performers! Cool!

The weather which was my major concern was pretty nice for running. The temperature that morning was 12 degree Celcius with humidity 48%. I didn't sweat much throughout the run. Nevertheless, I still drank at most of the water stations as the air was dry. I got so addicted to the cool weather that I found myself agitated when the breeze stopped blowing especially towards the end of the race when the sun was up.

Runners are never far from the sea in the Macau Marathon since it began in 1981. The marathon route we ran is twice the Half Marathon course, which means following the waterfront for much of the way and crossing the spectacular 2.2km Ponte de Sai Van bridge four times. It has always been a run between mainland Macau and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. The course and scenery reminded me of running the Penang Bridge Marathon! Except for the bridge, the course is generally flat with great KM markings and ample of water supplies (what a pity there were no sport drink, banana and power gel provided during the run). Mobile toilets were also adequately prepared, so there was no need to do the business at the bushes! A lot of fun with at least one dedicated road lane at all times, very well staffed and organized. We ran passing some famous hotels eg. MGM Grand, Wynn and the Macau Tower.

Little to no fans to speak of except for near the stadium. Nevertheless, I still had a good time as I was always the centre of attraction and being cheered by the passer-by, road marshalls, volunteers and fellow runners..."Santa, Go! Go! Go!", "Jia Yu, Sheng Tan Lao Ren" refreshing and encouraging!

Although I developed a blister and sores around my two armpits during the run, I truly enjoyed my run very much and am looking forward to more marathons to come especially those in the cold weather.

For the record, I did my second best time here in Macau.
Overall Rank = 167
Category Rank = 54
Official Time = 3:39:11
Chip Time = 3:38:18
Split Time (21.0975km) = 1:50:22

Wai Mun also did well despite her lower tension inguinal ligament strain injury which resulted lack of training. In fact, she made a comeback after a 6-year absence from marathon running. For that, she made an effort to finish in 4:21:33 (Chip Time) or 4:22:26 (Official Time). She ranked 9th in her Category and 368th in Overall. As usual, I'm so proud of her!

Running a full marathon is never easy - with or without injury, pain or no pain...we just got to respect that 42.195km. So, to all those who completed the marathon last week, be it in Singapore, Phuket Triathlon, Cambodia or Macau...just give yourself a pat on the back. We all deserve that, don't we?

Last but not least, Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Daddy's Love

This is a True Story:

A son says to his father: 'Dad, would you be willingly to run a marathon with me?'

The father, despite his age and a heart disease, says 'YES'.

And they run that marathon, together.

The son asks: 'Dad, can you run another marathon with me?' Again father says 'YES'.

They run another marathon, together.

One day the son asks his father: 'Dad would please do the Iron Man with me?'

(Now just in case you wouldn't know, 'The Iron Man' is the toughest triathlon in existence; 4km swimming, then 180 km by bike, and
finally another 42 km running, in one stroke).

Again his father says 'YES'

Maybe this doesn't 'touch' you yet by your heart strings... until you see this movie .

Monday, November 10, 2008

Powerman 2008

Venue : Seri Manjung, Perak

Date : 9 November 2008

Start time : 7.30am

Qualifying time : 5 hours

Distance : 11km RUN-64km BIKE-10km RUN

My Simple Goal
My aim was to just finish the race within the qualifying time and win a medal to dedicate to my beloved wife as a gift for our 8th wedding anniversary which happened to fall on the very same day!

My Conservative Race Approach
As it is my maiden participation, my strategy is to stay as comfortable as possible for the first 2 disiplines and as focus as possible in the final run.

A Rocky Journey
It was to be my event of the year and I have started training a year ago, especially on cycling. I used to cycle to school when I was 14-15 years old but that was on a mini bike! So, cycling on a racing bike is a completely new experience for me. It didn't help when I broke my ribs twice in Ijok and Titi during training. I had 3 stitches on my eye brows...the many scars on my chin, arm and thigh have added more life and colour to my short 1-year cycling experience. Thank God I didn't let these negative elements dampen my spirit. I must also thank Wai Mun for her understanding and care as she didn't even complain a bit especially on the second heavy crash in Titi. I guess marrying an athlete is the best decision I've ever made in my life!

As much as I wish to improve on my run by increasing my mileage and speed, I find it quite impossible as my "old faithful friend" - archilles tendon injury came back to revisit me again and again. This is rather frustrating when we all know that the running legs are important in race like Powerman!

I did 2-3 brick trainings to enable the leg muscles to adjust and get used to the requirement on Race Day. I must confess that I failed miserably during those trainings! I couldn't even complete all of them, eventho' it was only half the distance, as I find myself really uneasy running under the hot sun. Having said that, my confidence level went down to practically ZERO! My only motivator is winning the medal for my wife on that special occasion - so by hook or by crook, I told myself that I must cross that finishing line, rain or shine!

The last 2 months prior to Race Day is a big uncertainty as my Scott was still under repair and I had no choice but resorted to stay at home. My anxiety heightened because my fellow training buddies were busy cycling to places. It was only 2 weeks before the Race that I finally got myself back on the saddle again, courtesy of Gerard and Jezamine. They are so kind and generous to lend me their bikes so that I could at least train on them. Then, the night before leaving to Lumut, I received the greatest news that Bike Pro finally got my Scott fixed and returned me. Imagine, my be able to make my debut on my own bike! Great!

My Virgin Race
At 7.00am, after parking my bike at the designated lot, it was business as usual - photos sessions, chit-chatting, toilet do and light-stretching.

The race was flagged off at 7.30am sharp. I started slowly but steadily. Most of my friends were already ahead. Later, on the second of the 5.5km-loop, I met Lisar who cheered me on and acknowledged that I was holding back but it was good to maintain it that way, especially during the early stage of the race. My official time for Run 1 was 51:46. Transition 1 was a slow 2:37.

Cycling is my weakest link. Therefore, I was not surprise at all when the Ironladies Siok Bee and Lisar zoom passed me at the early stage of this routine! Initially I found the headwind a bit irritating but after a while, I totally forgot about it. Honestly, throughout the ride, I prayed hard that I don't get a flat. I took the risk of not bringing any spare tube and air pump. Thank goodness everything went well in the end. It must be contributed by the good road condition! Special thanks to the polices for manning the 3 junctions! My official bike time is 2:02:32 (average 31.3 km/hour - a PB for me!). Transition 2 was 2:12.

Run 2 was what I dreaded the most. That was the time when you are already so drained and the sun is high up there, burning mercilessly on our heads and skins! I drank one whole bottle of oralites before I continued to run the last 10km. Even with a cap on, I found the heat unbearable. Not long after, I experienced a mild cramp on my thigh twice, I slowed down the pace and to my relief, the pain gradually subsided! The world felt like so slow. As I entered the stadium for my first loop, I heard Wai Mun cheering me, "Good pace. Keep it up". That really boosted my spirit! I just soldiered on for my final 5km. I found the water station a bit stingy; providing just a quarter cup of water! Come on, this is the time when Powerman both the powerful or powerless needed it the most! Nevertheless, with or without enough water, I wanted so badly to cross the finishing line. At last, when I sighted the Start banner I knew the end is near...wooh! friends and supporters cheering me at the sideline. At last I touched the finishing line with an official time of 3:53:51and ranked 11th in 40-44 age category, the 84th male to hit the tape. My Run2 was timed 54:41.

When I received my first Powerman Medal, I hung it over my wife's neck and feeling good to know that she is so proud of me because she told me so!

Will I do it again?
Like with any marathon races, after the pain is gone and forgotten, you will certainly see us again hitting the road and burning the rubber in no time. Therefore - we'll meet again next year!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Christmas Island Flora and Fauna Half Marathon

4th October 2008 - Christmas we come!! We ran a different marathon here - running into the bushes, gravel road, woods and then back to the 'pain-my-ass' road again before turning back to the woods and ending at the field. Even though I was suffering badly, especially my buttock due to an injury a week before, I enjoyed this run very much as it brought us back to nature.

Although the run was delayed for an hour from the original 7am, participants did not complain much as the weather was still cooling. I can imagine if this were to happen in Malaysia, most of the runners would have already voiced their anger! Except for this minor hiccup, I think the Organiser has done a great job as a first-timer. Water stations were adequate. Distance markers were clearly displayed at every kilometre. Warm and friendly faces were there to greet us at the finishing line. A choice of burgers or fish n' chips and ample fruits were served after the race. I couldn't be asking for more except my own fitness and condition which has currently hit rock bottom! Nevertheless, I am happy to be the fifth runner to cross the finishing line in a time of 1:45:59. Every runner was presented a medal, certificate and a running vest.

Wai Mun made me (and the nation? hahaha!) proud when she came back third in the women category even with a detour of about 6km! Well, the dreamer and her day-dreaming again! Hahaha!

For additional reports and pictures, please read Wai Mun and Julie's blog.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Report : PCC Interstate

Woh, I'm recovering well thus far. The doctor has removed the 3 stitches above my right eye brow today. While the pain is still there, it's bearable. I'm still going for dressing on my left elbow every other day. The doctor said it's healing pretty well and the wound is clean. Some dead skin have started to shed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the well-wishers and also those who have helped me during and after my unfortunate mishap. I recalled many cyclists stopped and came forward to help and comfort me even though I don't know some of them. One cyclist asked me to lay down and Kenny Kwan helped by putting my head on the helmet. Someone took care of my bike and its accessories. Few of them asked for my wife's contact number, unfortunately there was no signal at that part of the world. Then Adrian came with his support car and drove me to look for my wife and a clinic.

Dear friends, Wai Mun and I are deeply touched by your kind gestures and assistance. We sincerely wish to say a big "THANK YOU" from the bottom of our hearts.

More reports are featured here.

Monday, September 01, 2008

2008 PCC Interstate Cycling

The Sceneries

The Peloton

The Camaraderie

The Support

Local Famous

The Casualties

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shape Run

As the name suggested, this 10km run is really for the "out-of-shape" people like me, to participate and have some fun. So when the opportunity arose, I just got a spare BIB to run to sweat it out!

Surprisingly, even though we had cycled almost 70km yesterday, my legs still have the power to push the distance. I think I must be running under the influence of Usain Bolt - my new idol! I was the 7th person in my category to cross the finishing line. My time was 45:10, no bad for a Sunday-runner like me.

Although I was not entitled to any prize due to technical reason but what the heck, I was very satisfied with my performance! I think I'm almost ready for the Powerman. I just need to start training seriously in the next 2 months and hope to peak by November 9.

Wai Mun didn't want to let me outshine her - she also got 7th position. It's always great to have such a competitive life partner to make our life interesting, isn't it?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 Adidas King Of The Road

This year's KOTR event venue was shifted to Shah Alam instead of Sunway. Nevertheless, I think overall the 2008 Adidas KOTR was well organised. It could be flawless if plain water stations were also provided (organiser provided only isotonic drink!) and distance markers were displayed.

As the entry form stated that the distance will be a 22.7km half marathon, I had mentally prepared myself that it's going to be a long race. However, the never-ending of uphills and round-abouts had really caught me by surprise! I should rename this KOTR as "Killer Of The Round-abouts".

And if this was not enough, another surprise awaited me at the finishing line - I won RM200 for my 10th placing! With a timing of 1:47:46, I believe I was really lucky today because under the normal circumstances, I would certainly be empty-handed.

To add to my joy, Wai Mun also won the same amount with a 10th placing! We celebrated our rewards at the nearby Secret Recipe after the race.