Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Benefits of Group Running

To be honest, I was never a big fan of run clinics.

I was terrified that the fast runners would laugh at me or be annoyed that they had to keep an eye on a slowpoke. I was afraid that they would think that I wasn't good enough to tag along.

But I was always curious and eventually curiosity got the best out of me.

Last year's MPIB run clinic sessions were a first for me and I pretty much enjoyed myself. There were 2 options of a 6km or a 4km run but somehow I always ended up doing the 6KM runs, doing my best to keep Kew and Khay Ann within sight. Fast fellas, they are!

GCAM run clinic group pic before run on 23rd February 2013.

Knowing that the same fellas were attending the Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2013 (GCAM) run clinic as well (it's good to see familiar faces!) I found my sleep-deprived self driving to Lake Gardens on Saturday mornings.

Most of the time I run on my own because of various reasons, but social group runs are fantastic for some motivation and serves as an encouragement booster.

1. Common goal or purpose. 
We share the same objectives like training for a specific race of any distance, improving our pace and form. Having an informal forum to discuss your concerns and ideas is great.

Even having breakfast together after the run or checking out eye candy count as a purpose, too!

2. Motivation boost. 
Running together keeps you at your desired pace, gives you a challenge to keep up with the fast runners as you may not want to be left behind and you know you'll put in the effort to stick as close as you can to the group.

Chatting to one another while running sometimes takes away the pain. Before you know it, your run will be done!

And when you're finally done with your run, you'll find yourself secretly patting yourself on the back for a job well done and going home with a huge smile on your face.

Group runs allow everyone to stay close to each other as much as possible. :D

3. Safety. 
Why run alone in the dark when it's safer to run in a group?

I have to be certain that the night isn't too dark yet for my evening runs. Even waking up early for morning runs can prove to be a tad bit dangerous as it is still dark. It's frustrating, really, and there's just so much I can do on the treadmill!

Safety in numbers: Some runners were mugged along the way before, or even raped! So it's best to be cautious.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Surya Yoga, Aman Suria

Tucked away above Cellnique in Aman Suria, Petaling Jaya is a cosy little yoga studio called Surya Yoga.

Go right up!

As I stepped into the studio of white and orange-coloured walls, I was greeted by a bubbly Elisha whom I'm warmed up to immediately.

She introduced me to Josephine @ Jo, the founder of the studio who was a little busy that Monday afternoon (I only had a chance to chat with her after my classes). She is also one of the instructors at the studio, teaching beginners' yoga, yoga fit and pre-natal, to name a few.

In between classes, the place was bustling with its usual camaraderie amongst the instructors and regular customers.

Reasonably priced fresh fruit juices. :)
Oh wait, you can't see the price list in this pic ... I guess you'll have to pop by to check it out!

A juice and salad bar is situated at one side of the studio. There is a  display of fresh fruit and vegetables with a menu board above it, allowing customers to order some food or drinks - all healthy and tasty, I bet. It is open on Mondays-Thursdays 10am-9pm, Fridays & Saturdays 10am-230pm, closed on Sundays and public holidays.

There are 2 studios for classes and both which were as warm and inviting as it looked.

Regine's beginners' yoga class @ 545pm on Monday.
It's been years since I last attended a yoga class. I was really apprehensive about embarrassing myself by breaking my back from the downward dog pose or toppling over from the tree pose or spraining my toe from the archer's pose ... who's to knows?

Thankfully, beginners' yoga wasn't too bad. I attended both Regine and Jo's classes that Monday evening before my badminton session and boy, was it a great workout for my biceps and shoulders which I forgot existed in the first place!

I survived the classes with no injury whatsoever, but I was rather embarrassed when halfway through a class, I realised that the additional sponges I had stuffed into my sports bra were popping out!

No wonder everyone refused to make eye contact with me during class, clearly embarrassed for my sake. *blushes profusely*

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Marathon Training Is Tough Shit

I started my MWM training schedule pretty late, from Week 11 onwards. 

Nah, I wasn't afraid of lack of training (as they say you need at least 16 weeks to prepare well for a marathon) as I was already running regularly at least 5 times a week.

But sticking to a training plan, really sticking to it, is a first time for me. To have a systematic plan, something to follow and abide by was no easy feat (as I hate routine), but I must admit that I enjoy knowing what I needed to do for the day.

Tuesdays are usually interval trainings, but there were a few occasions which I moved it forward to Mondays when I had no badminton sessions. Wednesdays are usually slow runs between 8km - 11km. Thursdays interchange between brisk/steady 5km to steady 10km runs. The weekends are generally saved for the long runs.

I thought that it would be tough to stick to the plan during the Chinese New Year week but surprisingly, it was not. With tons of feasting done at both my in-laws' and my parents' side, the hubby and I were determined to clock in our mileage to avoid over-expansion of our bellies.

In fact, I did a 10km time trial on Chinese New Year eve and I was surprised to clock 53:28.

sis-in-law was in the vicinity. hubby was 50m ahead of me!

I think it must have helped having the hubby pacing me and pulling me back when I wanted to go faster, telling me to "Wait, gawddammit!"

Oh, and the terrain was flat. 

Nevertheless, it was a great motivation for me to stick to the plan and ... what else, to keep on running. :)

I bring my schedule with me to work everyday and every now and then, I'd sneak a peak and worry about a lot of things:

Is this enough?
Is this pace too slow?
What if I can't complete my run within the designated target time?
What if ...

There are a lot of 'what if's.
I know my problem lies with my strength (or is it stamina? both!) and the fear of slowing down during the 2nd half of the marathon worries me the most.

I also fear that if I don't get enough rest I will fall sick a week prior to the event, and that would be utterly butterly shitty!

So I skipped my run this morning, but I'm hoping to squeeze one in tonight. 
No choice lah.

As to whether or not I'm doing enough by sticking to the training plan, my marathon conscience* says we've got to trust it. He also said that I should have clocked 52:02 for my 10km time trial. Grrr.

All I need right now is a nutritionist to give me a guide as well, and I think I am good.

Got to lose at least 2kg to run more economically and efficiently, if you ask me.
Ask the runners who lost weight over the years from running - they are say that being light helps A LOT.

Carrot sticks for lunch today then!

And chocolates.

Where Did The Week Go?

I'm definitely missing my holiday week.

Finished up my granny square pouch on the bus from Ipoh to LCCT.

It's 2 days til the weekend and I'm just zombie-ing through the week like The Walking Dead.

I am so so soooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired.

If this is a runner's life without kids, I cannot imagine a runner's life with kids - where will I get the energy to care and chase after the kids when I'm having trouble taking care of myself? Ack!

Just so you know, I have LOADS of stuff to tell you and I'm eager to get started but I don't have the time just yet.

It's so frustrating!

Unless I forgo sleep which is ... not possible.

So I'll let you watch this video compiled by the hubby, from our FRIM LSD last Sunday. The initial plan was to complete 30km in goodness knows how many hours, but we woke up late and had a brunch appointment to rush to, so we had to limit ourselves to just 2:50 hours of running.

But you'll see my bum in the video most of the time. Sorry! :D

That was just 18km of trails, and I would have loved to have gone on for another 5km at most, but we'll just have to leave it for another day!

P.s. Don't forget to join the GCAM run clinic #4 session this Saturday. See you there!

P.p.s. I need to sleep! I'm waking up in 5:30 hours to do a quick run before going to work. :( I hope I can! argh cannot lah. i definitely need more rest!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Good Coffee and Food

Note: Long overdue post and photos!

The Thaipusam weekend (24th - 27th January) was pretty hectic, if you asked me.

My intention (as always!) was to bake as many cookies as I could but alas, you know and I know that not everything will go according to plan.

I went over to my colleague's house for 2 bake dates, but it turned out that the cookies we baked were not good enough to be presented as CNY goodies. Aaargh!

Nestum cookies with a touch of sprinkles. A new recipe this year.

Sugar butter cookies which first made an appearance at Dutamas Runners'
handicap run. Just made a few more on Friday morning!

I gave up.

I was hoping to make some puffed rice crackers before it was officially Chinese New Year. Something like this. Well, more like this but without peanut butter.

After the 1st GCAM run clinic hosted by Jamie that Saturday, I found myself deliriously hungry that I drove myself to the nearest bakery I could think of. 

So to Wheat Field Bakery I went, with the intention to buy some coffee home.

The RM7 Breakfast Set.

Only to find myself ordering the breakfast set I could sit down to.
They had me at croissant.
It turned out to be buttery and flaky and I wished I had two!
Coffee was an Italian stallion, strong. :D
The slice of toast wasn't too dry, which caught me by surprise as I was expecting it to be so.

Sunday was allocated for my 1st long slow distance run (LSD) as part of my marathon training programme. *grimace*

The task was to complete 19km in 2 hours and 5 minutes by running and walking. I did my best to jog slowly and walk at times but come 13km, I was a bit impatient and wanted to hurry along.

But 2km later, I'd stop myself and slow down.

With 3km left to go, I was eager to get home!

I was trying out the compression calf tights for the first time since I purchased it in Melbourne. I found them comfortable, initially, but soon after 10km, my legs would occasionally feel numb.

I'm not sure whether it's meant to be that way?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Press Launch: Nestle Fitnesse Malaysia Women Marathon

Nestle Fitnesse Malaysia Women Marathon, or better known as MWM for short, will be held on the 7th April 2013 at the i-City of Shah Alam, Selangor. It will be the first ever women's only running event in Malaysia (South East Asia, too!) and everyone is extremely eager and excited (triple E's!) for the event to kick off.

During the press launch held at the i-Gallery on 5th February 2013, MWM race director Karen Loh, revealed to the sponsors, media, bloggers and everyone in attendance the objective of this event. As a passionate runner (and woman), she believes that we women are capable enough to take up the challenge of completing a marathon, or any distance of any kind. There is no reason why we women should be hindered from participating in this event.

MWM race director, Karen Loh.
Photo credit: Wong Yi Bin

She also mentioned something like we should be "embracing the joys of completing a marathon", which if you asked me, meant 'the relief and euphoria of crossing the finish line after running/walking/crawling/crying 42.195km of tarmac'. Oh, the pain and tears...

Nevertheless, you will cross the finish line with an amazing feeling that stifling your sobs of joy could be a bit difficult. :)

The press launch in session.
Photo credit: Wong Yi Bin

Organised by Ironman Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the MWM will have 3 distance categories such as the full marathon (42.195km), half marathon (21.1km) and 8km run. Both full and half marathon categories include a couple registration, where a female runner will sign up with a male partner, be it her husband, brother, father or trainer / running buddy. For this category, the male partner must run alongside the lady runner to cross the finish line together.

Let the woman be in control, male pacers! :D

The Nestle Fitnesse division under the Nestle Cereal Partners Malaysia Sdn Bhd are proud to be title sponsor for MWM. Brands manager, Carlo Marino Agbayani informed us that they were extremely excited to be on board and were proud to also sponsor the engagement of Kathrine Switzer for this event.

A glimpse of Kathrine Switzer on video at the press launch.
Photo credit: Wong Yi Bin

A glimpse of the epic photo of Kathrine Switzer being forcibly removed from the
1967 Boston Marathon where women were not yet allowed to participate in marathons.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

GCAM Run Clinic Sessions

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2013 is happening on 6 - 7th July 2013 and if you're signing up or have signed up for it, live in the Klang Valley, in need of a group of runners to run with and have a good laugh, why not join the GCAM Run Clinic at 7am at the Lake Gardens, KL (Taman Tasik Perdana) happening on most Saturdays? 

The first session was held on 28th January 2013 where about 15 of us showed up. Jamie took us through the introduction and explained the objective of the run clinic, asking us what distance and when was our next run prior to GCAM. Some will be attempting their first half or full marathon whilst most were hoping to improve their 10K or half marathon times. 

 We were given a bright red vest each, so that we could stop traffic!

Photo credit: Jamie Pang

It was a breezy 8km run that morning, with Jamie sharing his GCAM experience with us, encouraging us to enjoy it.

The second session was held on 2nd February 2013 where Jamie led the group through Bukit Tunku via the MPIB run 8km route. The rolling hills took everyone's breath away (literally!) and how else to end the session with a kick if not some plyometric exercises? 

Plyometrics or plyos for short, is a method of training the muscle elastic strength and explosiveness to ehance athletic performance. Jamie assured everyone that if we completed this exercise at least once a week, we would be bound to see tremendous improvement in our performance. (I'm sure he guaranteed it... no? :D) 

Rocket jumps!

Frog jumps!

Awesome dedication from the participants! :) 

Even if you're not taking part in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, feel free to join the run clinic sessions. Our next session will be held on 16th February, right after Chinese New Year. No time like the present!

Photo credit: Ashe Ek

For more information on the GCAM Run Clinic Sessions, head on to the Facebook Group "GCAM 2013 - Team MY in Training" to keep yourself informed of the sessions, running tips, training ideas/schedules and everything else. 

The sessions will be held on the following dates:

Jauary - 28th
February - 2nd, 16th, 23rd
March - 2nd, 16th, 30th
April - 6th, 13th
May - 11th, 25th
June - 8th, 22nd

See you there!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Finally, oh my goodness, FINALLY, I could run along the trails and tracks of FRIM again!

Well, OK, given that my last trail run was on 19th January and my last run in FRIM was on 13th January, I shouldn't be so eager to run in FRIM again, should I?


If you're training for an ultra run, and if you can't squeeze in a super long run (super LSD) then you must instead do back-to-back runs during the weekends. Gotta test your muscles and body to take the beating!

(OK, did I just mention an ultra run? I'll tell you when the time is nearer. You can wish me luck then! :D)

Anyway, the plan for today was a 3 hour trail run, and I wasn't sure how many km I would be able to squeeze in during that time. (Ooh, I just checked! I usually manage only about 17km in 3 hours.)

Toes have a life of their own??

Given that I started late today (slightly past 8am), I stared hard at the sky, wondering whether it was going to remain cloudy or would the sun make an appearance.

I took a gamble and left the shades in the car.

I also decided that fek it, since it's late (excuses, excuses!) I will stop after 2 hours.

I started off from the tea house area, where Rover Trail meets Mountain Bike Track, onto the Mountain Bike Track. 2km flat was a good warm up before tackling Steroid Hill a.k.a. Tongkat Ali Trail.

This sign board used to say "Joggers are not allowed beyond this point" has disappeared for quite a while.

I'm not sure who brought forward the Mountain Bike Track sign to this spot, and I was curious to see whether a new one had been put up at its usual spot.

I'm sure they meant "Photo Stop"!

I only saw this when I was returning from Steroid Hill. It's pretty apt, if you think about it, as everyone was is always taking pictures at this spot. 

I think they have also cleared the trees below near the lake, as you now have a clearer view of the said lake, at the Botanical Garden.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Is Over!

How time flies.

Did yesterday's post make sense? I was half asleep with my eyes barely open as I hurried through the words. I could have gone off to bed and ignored my poor blog but I thought ah, might as well show you my lovely dinner.

In fact, I was so full that I woke up in the wee hours with my hands still on my tummy!

I must have left them there as I pondered about my guilt.

You know, going to bed like a stuffed turkey.

Tonight's dinner was good, too but I apologise for not having any pictures to share with you.

It was grilled salmon (bones) with a side of steamed carrots and half a fried egg.


Bones, because I'm too tight-fisted, carrots were from yesterday and half a fried egg because I saved the rest of the egg for egg wash for my peanut cookies.

With lemon squeezed onto the salmon, it was bliss.

And then I ate some ice cream because I was feeling crap.
I'm not sure about what, because I can't remember anymore.

Work has been ridiculously hectic the past week and I'm so glad it's over. Today was madness as my phone rang incessantly that I wanted to chuck the phone against the wall pull out the cable.

It's good that my friends don't call me at my office number or they'd hear a grumpy old woman answering the call.

My mobile phone rang twice from two different salespersons. The first one hung up on me when I told her not to call me again, in reply to her query whether I would like to hear from them again in the future. WTF.

The second salesperson was calling from a bank, asking whether I required an interest-free transfer of credit card balance (outstanding debt?) to their bank's credit card. I informed him that I had no such problems with paying my credit cards, thanks for asking. He was gracious enough to say thanks. :)

And then, ohmygawd, a random colleague whom I rarely see, called me up to make small talk. 

During my lunch hour.

Was not pleased, but I was polite.

He calls me once in a blue moon to make small chat, and seriously, I'm not sure what I did to him before to receive his attention. Charm his pants socks off or what?

I really have no clue.

(Which reminds me of an office boy from one of my ex-firms who once invited me to go pants shopping with him?? I'm not being obnoxious but WHY me??)