Monday, November 16, 2009

Powerman 2009

Venue : Seri Manjung, Perak

Date : 8 November 2009

Start time : 7.30am

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

Powerman or Tau Foo Fa man? After 4 hours and 15 minutes of running and cycling under the super hot sun, I felt like a soya bean curd being cooked inside a hot oven! I almost melted!

Even though I'm still recovering from all kinds of pain on my legs resulting in lack of training, the optimistic side of me was hoping that I could still beat my previous year's timing of 3:53.51. Try I did, but in the end I was satisfied to just be able to complete the race within the 5-hour qualifying time.

Here's the comparison of the respective split time between 2009 & 2008:
2009 2008
Run1 52:39> 51:46
T1 1:35< 2:37
Cycle 2:08:52> 2:02:32
T2 1:52< 2:12
Run2 1:09:50> 54:41
Total 4:14:51> 3:53:51

Ironically, my only improvement is in both the transition areas!

I mentioned to Tomatoman before the start line that this year's Powerman would only be part of my training. And after this gruelling work-out, I couldn't be asking for more.

Now it's time for some serious trainings - my next agenda...the Xiamen Marathon! Bring it on!

P/S I would like to thank Lok, Jason and their families for leading us to Lumut and back safely. My appreciation also go to Tey, Victor, Jenny and Yap for patiently taking photographs under the scorching sun and everyone who cheered me on during the race. Last but not least, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my wife for her constant encouragement and support.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

JW Cameron Highlands 12K Run

We had a good week-end getaway last Sunday whereby we went to Cameron Highlands for a 12km run.

Along the trip, we just makan, makan and makan. Our 1st stop was Bidor town where we ate the famous Pun Chun's duck herbal soup noodle and the tasty yam-cake. Remember my favourite Usain Bolt simply loves eating yam in order to run fast!

When we reached Cameron Highlands, the 1st thing I like most is its cool weather. It's simply awesome! I told Wai Mun we may settle down here when we are old and retired.

Without wasting any time, we adjourned to the T-Cafe (to be known as Lord's Cafe soon) at Tanah Rata for some scones, pancake, pies and strawberry tea for lunch. I like the decor of the cafe as it's simple yet cosy. The price is also reasonable and in fact some travellers claim its scone as the cheapest in the highland.

As if we were still not satisfied with our appetite, after an hour or two, we went for the most expensive scones in town at Ye Ole Smokehouse for an English afternoon tea. Although the decor inside the hotel cum restaurant is very exclusive and elegant, it didn't stop these two "hungry ghosts" from walking straight to the garden for an outdoor english fare! Yes, nothing could beat God's created natural beauty! We had wonderful time together enjoying the greens and flowers. Oh yes, did I mention the scones here are excellent! I would rate the Devonshire cream tea as average. In fact, I prefered the strawberry tea at T-Cafe more.

After checking into Star Regency Hotel & Apartments in Brinchang, we took a short walk to the nearby pasar malam. Most of the vendors sell almost identical farming stuff; such as the popular strawberries, vegetables, flowers, fruits, corns and honey. Flowers from Camerons...ah, I remembered the time I bought a dozen or two roses from Cameron Highlands for Wai Mun when I first court her more than 10 years ago! So, you can imagine how this lovely town has captured a spot in my heart!

We had steamboat dinner in the hotel. Ms Julie Wong, the organizer, was so thoughtful as she sponsored some mooncakes since the autumn winter festival fell on the day itself.

We called it a day after our dinner.


The morning air was cold. For the first time I didn't take any shower before a run. Ooops, sorry!

We drove to the padang (field) in front of Century Pines Resort at Tanah Rata. After a short warm-up at 7.45am, some 40 strong runners started their own journey. I believed everyone has their own target in tackling this 12km challenge. As I'm still recovering my form, I intend to use this run as a practice to improve my endurance. Needless to say, the 6km gruelling uphill from Tanah Rata to Brinchang has offered me what I need at the moment. Wai Mun did quite well as she managed to pace with me throughout the race.

Upon reaching our hotel at Brinchang, we were required to turn back to Tanah Rata which is another 6km downhill. Although it's much easier to run downhill, I was worried the slide might cause the recurrance of my leg injuries.

After 65 minutes of running, we reached the finishing line together. While Wai Mun's triumph was expected as she led all the way, I unexpectedly got 2nd placing in Men Veteran category. A gold and a silver strawberry medal added to our collection of medals now! Lovely!

Post race was some light hearted moments spent catching up with friends, exchanging pleasantries while enjoying some light breakfast at the vicinity.
Thank you to Julie Wong for a well-organised race. We have had a good time in Cameron Highlands, just like the one in Christmas Island organised by your good self. For those who are interested to take part in future races organised by Ms Julie, kindly keep a lookout on her blog. She may organise one in either Sabah or Bali next year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How To Retire

I found the following article pretty interesting. Please read on:

4 Pre-Conditions for Retirement

I retired in year 2000 at age 52. I am now 61, thus I can claim that I got more experience at retirement than most! I thought I should share my experience with mariners because I have seen too many friends and neighbours who became so bored that they have become a nuisance to their spouse and children and to others!

A few of them have solved the problem by going back to work. They were able to do so because they have a skill/expertise that is still in demand. The rest (and many are my neighbours) live aimlessly or are waiting to die - a very sad situation, indeed..

You can retire only when you fulfil these 4 pre-conditions:

1) Your children are financially independent (e.g. they got jobs),
2) You have zero liability (all your borrowings are paid up),
3) You have enough savings to support your lifestyle for the rest of your life,

AND most importantly,

4) You know what you would be doing during your retirement.

DO NOT retire till you meet ALL 4 Pre-Conditions. And of course you should not retire if you enjoy working and are getting paid for it!

The problem cases I know of are those who failed to meet Pre-Condition #4.

When asked, "What would you be doing during your retirement?"
some replied, "I will travel/cruise and see the World". They did that, some for 3 months and then ran out of ideas. The golfers replied, "I can golf every day." Most could not because they are no longer fit to play well enough to enjoy the game. Those who could,need to overcome another hurdle - they need to the find the
"kakis" to play with them.

It's the same with mahjong, bridge, badminton, trekking and karaoke - you need "kakis"! Most could not find others who share their favourite game and playing/singing alone is no fun. AND when they do find them, a few of them found that they are NOT welcomed like my obnoxious neighbour whom everyone avoids.

Thus if you are into group sports or games, you must form your groups BEFORE you retire. You need to identify your "kakis", play with them and discover whether they "click" with you.

The less sporty "can read all the books bought over the years". I know of one guy who fell asleep after a few pages and ended up napping most of the time! He discovered that he did not like to read after all. We do change and we may not enjoy the hobbies we had..

Routine Activities To Fill Your Week

For most people, your routine work activities are planned for you or dictated by others and circumstances. When you retire, you wake up to a new routine - one that you yourself have to establish as nobody else would do it for you!

The routine to establish should keep your body, mind and spirit "sharpened". A good routine would comprise:

a) One weekly physical sport - you need to keep fit to enjoy your retirement. If you are the non-sporty type, you should fire your maid and clean your home without mechanical aids. Dancing and baby sitting are good alternatives.

b) One weekly mind stimulating activity - e.g. writing, studying for a degree, acquiring a new skill, solving problems or puzzles, learn or teach something. You need to stimulate your mind to stay alive because the day you stop using your brain is the day you start to die.

c) One weekly social activity - choose one involving lots of friends/neighbours.. Get yourself accepted as a member to at least 3 interests groups. Unless you prefer to be alone, you do need friends more than ever as you get older and less fit to pursue your sport.

d) One weekly community service activity - you need to give to appreciate what you have taken in this life. It's good to leave some kind of legacy.

With 4 weekly activities, you got 4 days out of 7 covered. The remaining 3 days should be devoted to family related activities. In this way, you maintain a balance between amusing yourself and your family members. Any spare time should remain "spare" so that you can capitalise on opportunities that come your way like responding to an unexpected request to do a job or to take advantage of cheap fares
to see places or to visit an exhibition.

Mind stimulating activities

Most judges live to a ripe old age. They use their brains a lot to decide on cases. I am sure MM Lee's brain works overtime. He's 80+ and still going strong. In "Today" you would have read of 2 inspiring oldies. One is a granny who learned to play the guitar at age 60 to entertain his grandchildren. She's 70+ today and those grandchildren have grown to play with her. Another is an Indian radiologist who on retirement, qualified as an acupuncturist. He's age 77 and still offers his services (by appointment only) including free ones to those who have no income. I guarantee you that they are happy people who discovered a "2nd wind" to take them to the
sunset with a smile on their faces.

Mind stimulating activities are hard to identify. They require your will to do something useful with the rest of your life, a mindset change and the discipline to carry it through.

Your Bucket List

Despite your busy routine, you will at times be bored. Then it's time to turn to your Bucket List.

Your bucket list contains a list of things to do before you kick the bucket. They are not routine and are usually one off activities. You need them to have something to look forward to. These include anniversaries, trips (and pilgrimages), visits to friends and relations abroad, re-doing your home, attending conferences (related to your hobbies), acquiring a new set of expertise. 4 such activities that are spaced our quarterly would be ideal.

Retirement Is A Serious Business

If you can afford to retire and want to, do prepare to live to your fullest. You need to be fit to enjoy it - therefore get into shape now. You do not want to get up on a Monday and wonder what to do each week, therefore identify your set of weekly routine activities now and try them out to confirm that they are the activities that you will be looking forward to doing each week, week after week. You bucket list
of "rewards" or "projects" or "challenges" is needed to help you break away from the routine thereby make live worth living. Start listing what you fancy and refine it as you chug along in your retirement. You will have so much fun, you would wish you were retired since your turned 21!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Adidas King Of The Road 2009

1:49:19. Wow! I'm really pleased with this timing as I was taking this 22.7km-half marathon rather easy - no pushing, just plain pacing. And, I came back feeling good unlike last year where I was totally exhausted due to too much energy being used to tackle the hills and manoeuvre around the round-abouts that Shah Alam city has to offer.

What I like about this year's edition is the start and end of the run is at the stadium. That itself solves a lot of logistic problems - parking, toilet, seating etc.

After five back-to-back competitions for the last one month or so, and with the fasting month approaching, I am really looking forward to a well deserved rest now - to re-charge, re-focus and of course to recover from my plantar fasciitis injury.

Till then, stay healthy.

P/S Picture courtesy of Jason Lee. For more photographs, please view from KC's blog.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pattaya Marathon 2009 as a Pacer

If I have one word to describe the Pattaya Marathon - it was like Tom Yam whereby it has a mixture of, spicy, sweet and sour. The weather was also a mixture of humid, cool, warm, strong headwind and light drizzle (which we didn't get to enjoy as we were already in the hotel). The terrain was quite tough and challenging especially after halfway mark - lots of inclines with 2 big hills at approximately 36km and 38km!

When we were at the starting line at 4.30am local time, we were already drenched due to the high humidity. After the start, I just set a pace where I felt was comfortable enough to bring us, Patrick Lee and I, back within 4 hours. Patrick was determined to do a sub 4 hour after his close encouter in the recent SC KL marathon. I am also as committed to help him in achieving his target.

After a left turn out of the town, the weather turned slightly cooler and breathable. When we reached 10km, my watch showed 54.17. I told Patrick we were on the right track as I estimated we could finish in 3:51 with 9 minutes backup. I didn't know if my words of encouragement have a positive or negative impact on him as he seemed to be charging ahead whenever he saw a runner in front of us. Is he purely motivated or is he secretly setting a higher target? I didn't know. What I knew was I was trying to keep up with his pace at times. Of course it's not fair for me to slow him down if he was in good form that morning. True enough, when we reached 20km mark, our time was 1:47 instead of the initial plan of 1:50!

At 21km, he started breathing quite heavily. I told him to concentrate on his breathing as I sensed that he has started to slow down his pace. The start of the inclines at this point didn't help at all. I forgo my targeted pace and tried to "pull" him out of his doldrums. I thought I succeeded but not too long, when we arrived at the 26km mark, he signalled me to go ahead. Before I bade farewell to him, I told him he could still make it as there's a 9 minutes backup. Then I soldiered on myself.

From then on, the journey was quite lonely and boring. As we turned into the coastal area from 32km onwards, there was a strong headwind that we had to encounter. Although it was a hindrance, I welcomed it wholeheartedly. But then, at 36km mark, I faced the biggest challenge of this race. Ahead of me stood a big hill almost one kilometre long...I almost wanted to give up! I managed to brave myself and ran as fast as a snail! This was fortunately followed by 1-km downhill which was a huge relief!

As we made another turn, I almost fainted with what I beheld - another slope like our own Double Hill! Try to imagine running Double Hill after having run 38km and you will get what I mean.

The last 4km was just a test of mental strength. I did a swift mental calculation and gosh, I might fall out of 4 hours! Faint or die, I had to increase my pace and finally, I crossed the finishing line in 3:58.19.

Official result:
Name Net Time Cat. Position Overall Position
1) John 3:58.19 45 144

2) Wai Mun 4:20.42 9 229

3) Patrick 4:31.33 24 287

4) Chooi Lin 4:51.10 5 372

5) Uncle Hooi 4:59.57 2 405

6) Teresa 5:42.46 7 533

7) Francis DNF

Half Marathon:
1) Agnes Tee 1:58.04 12 367

2) Peter Lim 2:22.47 74 807

1) Gary Goh 1:04

A big thank you to the Thai Organisers for their hospitality, generosity and an event well organised. What amazed me most is runners get to run on three/four lanes and only one lane is open to the traffic. The ratio will definitely the reverse in Malaysia!

My appreciation also goes to my good friend, Gary Goh for making all the arrangements for a smooth and enjoyable trip in Bangkok and Pattaya.

Congratulations to the age-group winners - Uncle Hooi and Chooi Lin for winning some cash prizes.

To Patrick, I'm sorry I failed to assist you in achieving your aim. Nevertheless, with your determination and endless effort I'm sure you'll be able to achieve your sub-4 the next marathon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Seremban Half Marathon 2009

Unlike the eve of SCKLM where I couldn't sleep at all, I slept and rested well last night. I would normally have butterflies in my stomach at the eve of any race and my adrenalin would be so high that I'm unable to sleep. Therefore, having such a sound sleep came as a surprise to me as I was secretly hoping that I could break into Top 10 position in the Men Veteran category in the absence of top runners as a result of various competitions held on the same morning.

Wai Mun and I reached Seremban around 6.10am and quickly kept in touch with Mr Yee who is so kind to help us to register for this race and to collect the BIB numbers on our behalf. Many thanks to you, Mr Yee!

Quickly we did some light stretching and I also "helped" to water a plant (pee! Some past experiences reminded us that there wouldn't be announcements for the race to start, so we headed to the starting line slightly early.

True enough at 6.45am sharp, the race started. I tried running fast and started to attack from the beginning. Alas, I found my legs were too heavy this morning and my rhythm has gone hay-wire! I tried to keep my composure and suddenly I heard the "beep, beep, beep" sound. The road marshall who was directing the leading pack on the motorbike had apparently made a blunder leading the elite runners to the wrong turn and had to lead them back to the correct path. I could hear a lot of grumbles especially from the elite runners while they jumped over the road divider. The poor African Express who could have easily run an extra km!

Soon, we were led to the new route with long rolling hills. I'm not familiar with Seremban but I think it should be a new highway leading to Paroi. It would be nice and enjoyable to run if I wasn't struggling to find my rhythm at that moment. My legs felt rusty.

My "best friend" finally came when I almost arrived at the first sponging station. "What take you so long?", I whispered. With the second-wind and renewed confidence, I tried to narrow the gap and catch up with whoever who was in front of me even though they might be way, way ahead.

I conquered the hills - quite a few of them. I hydrated myself. I sponged. I inhaled fumes. I ignored traffic. Soon I reached the padang in 1:40:52, still with some energy to spare, no thanks to the last distance marker which indicate - 2km to go, when all we needed to run was only about 500 metres! Misleading.

I came in 16th. in the Men's Veteran category. Mission failed but I wasn't sad as it's just a guideline for a better performance in future races. Congrats to those who finished ahead of me! I reckon that I need to run below 1:36 if I ever dream to achieve Top 10 again.

Wai Mun came in 1:51 for a 11th position. However, she is the 7th Malaysian lady to cross the finishing line, thus won some prize money - enough to cover our expenses for petrol and toll and of course, buy me Seremban siew pau!

Despite some minor hiccups and shortcomings, Seremban HM organiser deserves a pat on their shoulder as they did make an effort to improve in providing adequate water/isotonic drink and sponge stations, shortening prize-collection time and most importantly re-designing 60% of their route which is now more conducive for runners. Thank you, Seremban HM Organiser!

Now, I'm fighting against time to recover for a bigger challenge - another full marathon next weekend.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Personal Marathon Records

After the SCKLM, suddenly I became curious and wonder how many 42.195kms I have done since I'm into this game. This morning, I quickly compiled and realized that I have completed just 16 marathons and the recent timing in SCKLM2009 was my best so far in Kuala Lumpur, a place I enjoy running the least!

Another finding is that after 10 times of trial and error, I finally get the right marathon training programme that works for me. Perhaps age is also another factor that contributed to a sub-4 performance. What I lack in speed now due to aging, I had to compensate with mental strength - the never-give-up attitude until I cross the finishing line.

Below my humble records:

1 27-5-1990 4:56.28 Kuala Lumpur
2 12-5-1991 4:16.16 Kuala Lumpur
3 31-5-1998 3:50.32 Penang
4 30-5-1999 4:11.16 Penang
5 2001 4:13.41 Kuala Lumpur
6 3-6-2001 3:57.45 Penang
7 2-6-2002 3:49.48 Penang
8 16-2-2003 4:11.40 Kuala Lumpur
9 11-1-2004 4:28:27 Walt Disney World, Orlando
10 6-3-2005 3:56.18 Kuala Lumpur
11 10-9-2006 3:43.14 Putrajaya
12 24-12-2006 3:33.15 Chiangmai
13 17-6-2007 3:53.31 Phuket
14 24-6-2007 3:56 Penang
15 7-12-2008 3:38.18 Macau
16 28-6-2009 3:47.30 Kuala Lumpur

With my 17th marathon coming soon this 19 July, I'm still uncertain about my approach towards this marathon. Should I go for a lower sub-4 or help my wife and a fellow runner achieve their first ever sub-4 (if they are willing to accept my pacing)? I still don't know. Whatever it is, just wish us luck in Pattaya! Thank you.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Official Result for SCKLM 2009

EVENT: Full Marathon
DATE: Sunday, June 28, 2009
BIB/DIV: 1656 / M4044
TIME: 3h:48m:21s (gun) / 3h:47m:30s (net)
Position 126 (067)
(dapat cari makan in Cantonese? hehehe...)

Result in Entire Field - 140th place
1351 finishers behind. About 9% of finishers ahead.

Result in Gender (Male) - 121st place
1164 finishers behind. About 9% of finishers ahead.

Result in Division (M4044) - 15th place
181 finishers behind. About 7% of finishers ahead.

Who's who
Of the 1491 who finished, 14% were female and 86% were male.

Opposite Sex
For the record, you were ahead of about 91% of female finishers.

Timing Info
Your start delay: 51s.

From Halfway to Finish
You passed 64 runners and 5 passed you.

EVENT: Full Marathon
DATE: Sunday, June 28, 2009
BIB/DIV: 0353A / F4549
TIME: 4h:16m:15s (gun) / 4h:15m:28s (net)
Position 033 (008)

Result in Entire Field - 300th place
1191 finishers behind. About 20% of finishers ahead.

Result in Gender (Female) - 31st place
175 finishers behind. About 15% of finishers ahead.

Result in Division (F4549) - 3rd place
23 finishers behind. About 8% of finishers ahead.

Opposite Sex
For the record, you were ahead of about 79% of male finishers.

Timing Info
Your start delay: 47s.

From Halfway to Finish
You passed 163 runners and 9 passed you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2009

By far this is the most suffering marathon that I've ever run. It's not so much of the traffic fume, route terrain, the heat or anything like that. It's because I have to run the second half of my run with a huge blister that developed due to my own carelessness and folly!

Before I start writing the Race Report, I would like to thank Sam Pritchard for pacing with me throughout the Race until 37km where I lost touch with him. Pacing with him really helped in taking some pain off my mind for a while during the run.

The marathon started at 5am sharp with drizzle on top of our heads. It cooled down the weather and I was sure most runners were glad with that.

Not long after the start, I found Sam and I just tagged along with him as his pace suits me well. When we reached Jalan Travers, I was pleasantly surprised to find Tomoko San cheering us on by the roadside. "Gambate!" she said. Thank you Tomoko San for making an effort to wake up early to give support to the runners. How I wish most Malaysian, especially KL-lite share this kind of spirit!

Due to the rain, some potholes were covered with water. I managed to avoid all of them except the one at Cheras water station (@13km). While I was busy sipping a cup of drink, I stepped into that pool of water. My right shoe and sock instantly got wet. As this is a new pair of shoe, it has not been seasoned enough to withstand the wetness. The rubbing sensation began thereafter and my biggest fear came true when at around 20km I could feel a blister developing! What a bad timing as this happened when we were entering into the heart of the city where we were required to make many turnings. With each turn, the pain became more unbearable. I kept telling myself to stay focus and shut down the pain system.

Approaching Istana Negara (@32km), I found that stretch a big killer. The hilly terrain and sharing of a single lane with the fellow runners from 21km and 10km threw my ryhthm up-side-down. I struggled up the dreaded Wisma Tani route at a pace where I think a snail can easily overtake me!

Needless to say, my last 5km was just a matter of surviving - to keep one leg in front of the other. I was a total spent force when I crossed that finishing line to the extent that even to wave to supporters and friends was a big issue!

My watch showed 3:47:51 and I think my official time will be around 3:48:18.

Wai Mun ran back in a relaxing mood in 4:16 and bettered her previous time in Macau. So proud of her!

My hard-earned medal.

Meanwhile, I would like to congratulate those who have completed their maiden marathon this morning ie. Ronnie See, Lynn Toh, Sook Ying, Julie Wong and my fellow office mates, May and Wendy for completing their 1st 10km run.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Klang Pacer Half Marathon 2009

Date : 7 June 2009

Venue : Setia Alam, a new township between Klang and Shah Alam. Having Setia Alam as the race venue for the very first time, some runners have problem locating the place while collecting their running BIB on the eve of Race Day and/or finding the parking space on the morning itself. The plus point is there are not many vehicles plying around this area, hence a conducive environment for running.

Time : The race was supposed to start at 6.30am. But there was a slight delay as the organiser was sorting out the ribbons in the dark before the runners gathered at the cordon off area. I reckoned this could have been done much earlier during the reporting. Luckily the crowd is not huge enough to create major havoc!

Weather : Hazy, hot & humid. I could smell the haze upon stepping out of my car. Fortunately the major sponsor, SP Setia has a cosy and comfortable Welcome Centre, so I stayed indoor most of the time prior and after the Race!

Route & distance : 21.4km where runners have to make a total of 5 U-turns, 15 turns & cross 3 fly-overs at least twice. No wonder I'm still tired while typing this....!

The Organiser : Despite the above minor hiccups, I feel the overall event is well managed and organised. Kudos to the Organiser! Water station is sufficient. What a bonus when I got a Powergel in the middle of the run! And what I like the most is we need not produce any coupons for food and drinks after the Race! We can eat/drink as much as we like! It would be better if distance markers are provided in the future.

My target : Even though it's part of my training for this coming SCKLIM on 28 June, and also my first week of incorporating some speedwork into my programme, I still expect myself to dip below 1:40.

My performance & result : Unlike usual, I started fast just to test out how long I could last at that pace. I think I did reasonably well except for the slope at fly-over which I found it to be quite taxing and challenging! I managed to maintain my form and focus until about 2-3km before the finishing. I totally lost focus towards the last one kilometre. Luckily I managed to gather all the strength I have for the last 100m push. Time: 1:42:24. Position: 12th. Looks like there are still lots of work to be done for the next 2-3 weeks!

Last but not least, wife did around 1:55 for a 7th position. Congrats to her and all the other runners! Many thanks to the Klang Pacers for organising this event, sponsors and especially the volunteers! The designs of medal and trophy are quite impressive too. I also appreciate fellow runners who gave their support and encouragement to me along the way.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Bidor Half Marathon 2009

Picture courtesy of Lynn Guan.

April 26 was D-Day to test my fitness level.

Like last year, we drove to Bidor in the wee hours of the morning at 4.30am and arrived at the town about 6am.

We quickly called our friend, Gary Goh to collect our BIB from him. Thanks Gary for picking up the BIB on our behalf. I ate 3/4 piece of Power Bar (never fancy this - I ate just because it's expiring soon!) and gulped a can of Red Bull. And I was all ready to charge!

The race started at around 7am, somehow I didn't run as fast as last year. It's probably due to a delay of finding my own rhythmn and also the increase number of participants. I was a bit lost in the sea of runners! I heard the numbers had increased to 1,600 strong participants this year. Wow! Good on you, Bidor HM organiser. You certainly deserved it!

After struggling for around 7km, I finally found my rhythm. I just kept on that momentum and tried to stay focus. After the turn at 10km mark, we encountered some undulating terrain. Surprisingly I found it to be tougher and more challenging than last year. Again, I reminded myself to stay positive and not put my thoughts too much on the slopes.

I think I did reasonally well for the remaining 5km as I was still quite comfortable with my pace - of course the downhill really helps!

I crossed the finishing line in 16th position (Veteran Category) with a time of 1:41:04. Despite a poorer result compared to last year (1:39:24 in 4th position), I am extremely happy as I know I have gained back my level of endurance after a short 3-week training. Of course there are more trainings to be done before I can say I'm ready for the 42km-challenge of Standard Chartered KL Marathon in June.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Orange Run

Picture courtesy of Ben Swee.

This is my 1st "race" after my surgery recently. After a one-month lay-off with zero activites - not even cycling, I knew my fitness level is far off the level I need for a competition. I struggled all the way to-and-back Hartamas last Sunday - I took almost 2 hours for a run that could be finished in 1 1/2 hours.

As I planned to treat this 11-km run as a Sunday morning work-out, I queued quite a distance from the starting line, together with Ironman Lee Puh Heng, IM-wannabie Bobby Wong and come-back-kid Tan Chee Wee.

As soon as honk went off, we were sandwiched by crowd of runners. Obviously, the response for this zero-entry-fee race is overwhelming! Suddenly I felt the urge to go loo, so I ran to the nearby McDonald outlet to ease myself - it's kind of first for me in this run.

After that "pit-stop", I waited for a while as I knew the organiser is going to release the female "bulls" soon. True enough, the honk sounded for the second time and within seconds, I saw Lian, Lee Chin, Yu Fang, Michelle Tan and other top ladies came charging.

Suddenly my wife called out, "Hey! What are you doing here?". I told her I would like to pace with her. And off we went.

Her pace was fantastic. I felt quite comfortable throughout. I led on the uphills and she was ahead at the downhills. It felt like two oranges rolling and see who gets to the finishing line first!

With about 5km to go, my wife signalled me to go ahead as she is still tired, recovering from her recent 3-day ritual walk from Batu Caves to Maran (total distance 204km). We bade farewell to each other. I increased my pace and soon I found a new pacer in Lok Jr. This 16-year-old young man is excellent and fast. I just followed him closely and prayed hard that I could cope and not be outrun by him!

Thank goodness, my prayer was answered and I managed to pull away with about 1km to go. I felt really good as I could still finish strong. And not forgetting to thank my two pacers - my wife for her consistency and Lok Jr for his speed. It was indeed a good work-out!

Next stop: Bidor Half Marathon on 26 April 2009 - A test of endurance for me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

After 40!

They said life begins after 40 for a man. Yeah, I believe!

Because :-

After 40, there were many firsts for me.

After 40, I discovered that long-sightedness has seeped in and therefore, blurring my vision whenever I turn to read a book.

After 40, I'm losing more hairs than I ever expected and my wife thinks it's natural.

After 40, my body is scarred from that cycling accident which made me "more manly" and wiser. (Ha! Ha!)

After 40, I had my first operation done last week and stayed in the hospital for the very first time (and last, I hope).

BUT the positive side of it is : After 40, I now upgraded myself to the Men Veteran category in some running races and managed to "cari makan".

Indeed, after hitting 40, life has just begun .....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Teenage-handbag-thief Outpaced By 72-year-old Ex-sprinter

Thought the following article interesting, please read.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

GE30k 2009

Happy New Year!

And what a way it welcome this ox year of 2009 with a bull run in the Great Eastern 30km Race this morning!

Admittedly, I didn't prepare much for this year's edition due to a few reasons. One of them is most of my targetted races will only be held in mid and 3rd quarter of the year. The second one is I was rather unlucky to sprain my right ankle on Tuesday. I blamed it on my working shoes!

Nevertheless, I did a recce 2 weeks ago on this new 30km-route after analysing the entry form. Man! It was confirmed tough with many rolling hills!

So now, can you imagine how an unfit and limping fat bull like me struggling up and down the hills! Neither way was easy for me.

Despite all the challenges, I'm glad my run was rather consistent - 51 minutes every 10km for a 2:33:45 finish, beating my conservative target of 2:45.

Looking forward to more competitions to come so as to motivate me to start training again for 2009.

Till then, stay healthy and Happy Chinese New Year to those celebrating!