Friday, March 29, 2013

Random Runspiration Rubbish

hey! just so you know, i've been drafting this post for the entire week but i keep nodding off, signalling that it's time to sleep. otherwise, i have been cracking my head trying to be coherent with some suggestions that work for me.

Many moons ago when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I provided a running tip or two from a beginner's point of view. They were located at the bottom of this, this and this post.

As the years went by (SCKLM '13 will mark my 4th anniversary in running), I neglected sharing other tips for fear of sounding like a know-it-all, when I am in fact, still a lil' noob. *sad puppy face*

If we're looking at numbers, you may say that my achievements are rather dismal with 2 handfuls of 10KM runs, a handful of half marathons and full marathons. Consistently however, I seem to sign up for an average of 10 events per year in year 2011 and year 2012. Year 2013 on the other hand will not hit that same average as I am focusing to improve the 3 S's: strength, stamina and speed. Oh, and endurance, too.

Total BS, by the way. :D

It's mainly because registration fees are too effing expensive these days and secondly, I'm trying to participate in different events from the previous ones, save for SCKLM. :)

Anyway, it's 10 8 days to Nestle Fitnesse Malaysia Women Marathon (April 7th), and 24 22 days to The Island Ocean Marathon 2013 (April 21st) and dear first timers, are you ready to rumble? Yes, we are all nervous!

Disclaimer: The views and ideas below are expressly mine and catered for nervous beginners who would secretly like to have a hand to hold or a good luck kiss when they're at the start line. Be that as it may, kindly take note that experience may differ from case to case and may not work for you. Do whatever you're comfortable with.

With 8 10 days to go (to MWM)
If you have been sticking to a training plan, you should have completed your last LSD (long slow distance) run of at least 27KM last weekend and embrace the next 7 days of shorter runs. Don't forget that you'll have to do a final 12 - 16KM run this weekend.

By now, you should already understand your body (and legs) quite well, knowing how far you're able to push without too much pain and how to deal with your mental anguish. I swear a lot when I'm having a difficult time during the run, mainly directed at myself for being such a wuss. :P

Sleep and eat well, make sure you take your vitamins and supplements diligently, drink lots of water (1.5 - 2L per day) and stay away from sick people, because it is NOT the time to fall sick.

Nor is it the time to go hiking or trail running, lest you injure yourself. I was thinking about this point as I rumbled through FRIM last Sunday. I almost tripped over a stone and I swore that I was a knuckle-brain for going out there just 2 weeks before MWM. Thank goodness the ankles are fine. Phew!

Don't start carbo loading just yet or you may end up gaining an extra 1kg to run with. :D

And oh my gawd, please don't ask me about period! I am worried sick that the Time of the Month is going to come just a few days before MWM. *grim look* Let's see if the continuous consumption of pineapple and papaya will help to welcome it earlier than scheduled.


My friend swears that it does.

With 22 24 days to go (to the Island Ocean Marathon)
If you're sticking to a training plan, you should be hitting the second of your ultimate LSD runs this weekend, 32KM at the least. You need to complete it, by hook or by crook, because the experts (and my conscience) say, "Never compromise on your long runs." This is crucial for marathon training!

A friend of mine once ran 30KM on Saturday and 20KM on Sunday just three weeks before the KL Marathon as he hadn't been able to run LSDs regularly due to his work schedule. He did fine during the KL Marathon!

You have the option of doing back to back medium slow runs, say, 20KM on Saturday and 15KM on Sunday, or vice versa but then again, you might as well get it over and done within a day.

Worst case scenario, if you happen to have to go away for the weekend where you won't have the time and place to slot in a long run, run your LSD on a weekday evening after work. I did that once and it was an epic feeling of achievement and relief to accomplish it. No guilt during the weekend, then!

Try not to skip too much of your weekday runs but if you have to, at least do the LSD on weekends. Even if it takes you 4 hours or more to complete 32KM, at least your body knows how it feels to have ran 32KM and you're prepared for it come race day.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kenyir Lake International Triathlon 2013 - Road Trip

9th - 10th March 2013
Getting to Kenyir Lake, the largest man-made lake in South East Asia is a pain. Going through trunk roads which were occasionally littered with large potholes was madness, especially when we were coming from Ipoh / Gua Musang direction.

Never mind that. Even when we left Kenyir Lake to head back to KL, the trunk road from Kuala Terengganu to Kuantan was so slow!

When we first signed up for the Mixed Team Relay last year, both Kenny and I said we were doing it for the experience; to give him a taster of what a triathlon is all about and me, on the lines of doing something different for a change. Enough of just road races!

Our swimmer is the hubby's cousin, hence our pit stop at Ipoh.

If I had done my research and found out how troublesome it was to get to Kenyir Lake, I don't think I would have been so eager to sign up for the event.

Pan mee and coffee.

We had enough time for breakfast with my in-laws before making our long drive to Gua Musang and Pengkalan Gawi (where Lake Kenyir is located). The kopi c kosong was pretty potent that I had to share half my mug with dad and Andrew!

We opined that it would be great stuff to drink just before your race. :D

We drove by a chocolate place in Cameron Highlands, only to stop to use the loo. :P

I must say that our local chocolates are ridiculously pricey, clearly directed to tourists. I'm not going to pay RM6.90 for 4 pieces of chocolate-coated bits of fruit!

About 2.5 hours later, we stopped by Gua Musang for lunch. We bumped into 2 fellas who were also on their way to Kenyir Lake.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Mumbles

Dinner at Nando's ... RM20.95 after tax. *gasp*

I ran about 42KM over the weekend and I feel giddy with achievement! =D
27KM on Saturday and about 15KM on Sunday, so can I not be proud of staggering through the distance? Yay, me!

Last Saturday's run marked the last of my Long Slow Distance runs and I'm kinda glad that I'm almost done with my marathon training. It has been a struggle to wake up before 6am just to ensure that I complete my run done before 10am and only to stay awake through the afternoon with a glazed look upon my face.

It was quite tough to have covered the distance without power gel nor isotonic drinks, and I felt really foolish to be so ill-prepared. I was having my regular battle with my fat butt to get out of bed the minute the alarm rang. Sigh. So upon wasting almost an hour, I disregarded the need for power gel.

If you were right behind me during KM21 to KM25, you would have heard me repeatedly swearing at myself. I was mad at myself for being weak, and the lack of stamina and endurance frustrated me immensely. I came to realise two mistakes that morning: 1) the first 10KM felt too fast (but I think I was about the right pace); and 2) not having power gel or something to the equivalent to power me up after KM12 was a huge mistake.

I was more angry at myself this time instead of being dejected during my 32KM run the week before.

Trail running on Sunday morning on the other hand, was so much fun! I'm sure it was because I was running with a bunch of clowns who were good sports to see everything from a humourous perspective. You need this sort of people to make every activity a fun one, going through the pain and misery of climbing one hill after another in togetherness.

The funny thing was that we only had 2 things in common, the first being running as our hobby and the second being part of the GCAM run clinic. It was no surprise that our regular topic of conversation fell back onto our coach/dato/dr Jamie, him disliking trail running yet scampering uphills with such luxurious ease. 

There was just so much laughter that I can laugh again as I recall yesterday's morning run. ;D

But then came an emergency of somewhat which snapped me to my senses. With no knowledge of first aid or girl scout skills, I was worried that I had to deal with a fainted friend and it would be my responsibility. Thank goodness he did not faint but the panic in his voice made ME panic and I was on the verge of freaking out, too!


And of all days to have left my phone at home ... what the hell.

I could only call Jamie with CY's phone to call Nick to come back up Steroid Hill to help us out, and the guys came running up, 20 minutes later or so. CY and I laughed as we imagined Nick's horror and mortification of having to run back up the blasted hill just to help us out.

But being good sports and friends as they are, everyone came back up with a can of 100plus each and offered their advice and help. I'm sorry but we were hopelessly making jokes as usual. There was no way you could stop us all from having some laughs!

But in all seriousness, we decided that we needed to know some basic first aid or take a first aid course as should we need to assist another runner again during a run, such knowledge would be vital. 

Having said that, while trail running, one would always have to be equipped for such emergencies. I only had a tub of salt to kill leeches and some sports jelly beans. Great help they were. *roll eyes*

(But there were plenty of leeches so the salt came in handy!)

In terms of health and safety, it is also important to know your limitations and concerns before and during the run. If you have any concerns, do voice it out immediately and we will be able to arrange something together. Only you are able to gauge your capability and your body's signals.

Trail running and hiking are both serious business, that's all I can say.

My knee is a bit better now. Resting on Friday must have eased it a bit as it did not hamper both my weekend runs. I'm making sure that I'm not skipping my glucosamine anymore (as I'm not a fan of routine, taking my supplements on a daily basis is very difficult or me) and I'm keeping the knee guard on.

Oh, crap.

I was hoping to make this a non-running related post but oops, there I went again.
So sorry.

I will put up some food pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Just Piffle

Too many thoughts and so little time to pen them all down. :)

The week, once again, flew by so quickly and here we are, it's Friday night.

My mind keeps working in a crazy frenzy that I wish, oh how I wish, I was quick enough to write them down somewhere. But when you're at the office and you are on the company's payroll, I don't think I can steal some time to write in my diary, if I had one.

We received our bonus letter today and some colleagues were disappointed and the others (like me) just shrugged it off to say, "It's better than nothing."

I'm just glad that it wasn't as bad as I expected, but I also do feel sorry for some colleagues who are receiving less than they deserve.

Anyway, April is going to be a brand new month, kicking Phase 1 of Transition into position. 

I am nervous to bits.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hakata Ippudo and TWG @ Pavilion, KL

Hakata Ippudo
Lot C4.07.00
Connection Level 4
Pavilion, KL

Outside where the cinema and Chatime is located.

I didn't know what the big fuss was about when it was first launched. Everyone was so excited, announcing that alas, they need not go all the way down to Singapore just for Ippudo's ramen.


The decor. Huge rectangle table situated in the middle.

So apparently it's a ramen bistro, serving pork-based ramen (tonkatsu) with its signature delicate creamy broth, which may require long hours of simmering in order to reach a certain level of yummy-ness.

I think.
(Please don't quote me!)

Tables/booths by the side.

I am not very well-versed with ramen nor do I understand what's so impressive about it (in general). I can't stand it when people ooh over bowls of ramen, when I just think they're instant noodles.

Yeah, I am really clueless.

After flipping through the menu over and over again, I settled for the karaka-men, a spicy version of the Tonkatsu broth with noodles, topped with ground pork and spicy Karaka miso.

Karaka-men - RM28

Kinda spicy but not too bad. I was quite disappointed with the toppings. I was hoping for loads more stuff, to be honest.

Taste wise, the broth was delicious.

Shiromaru - RM26

The BFF opted for the non-spicy one, Shiromaru one which would be topped with belly chasu, bean sprouts, kikurage and spring onions.

Akamaru - RM28

Her hubby opted for something which requires long hours of simmering for perfect broth or something ... and I am more unimpressed that MY CHOICE of ramen had no egg in it.


Overall, broth/soup were tasty. Our only concern was that our ramen would not sufficiently fill us up.

Pan-fried gyoza - RM15.

I guess the food wasn't too bad, and we were kinda full. Just nice without overeating.

However, we found the music was a bit loud for us, giving off a fast-food restaurant kind of vibe, as well as the the loud greetings from the waitresses/waiters as patrons entered the place to be seated. We had to huddle a bit closer and raise our voices slightly in order to have a conversation.

Other reviews:
Sunshine Kelly
Chasing Food Dreams
The Sun Daily 
Hakata Ippudo Malaysia

Saturday, March 16, 2013

But I Have To Run!

Last week, the BFF and I were arranging to meet up for dinner before I whizzed off to Lake Kenyir for the triathlon. She suggested Friday night for dinner and the first thing that I blurted out was, "But I have to run!"

Ten minutes later, I told her that it was cool, we could meet up on Friday.

I mulled over my hesitation in meeting up with my best friend. It definitely reflected poorly on me and I was not impressed with myself.

Again, just recently, friends have been asking me to come out for drinks and catch a movie and I'm sure you'll be able to predict my answer, "But I have to run!"

I'm sure they are pretty frustrated with me by now.

If I do sound completely obsessed with running and running and MORE running, do bear with me as it is 3 weeks to MWM. 22 days to be exact, including Race Day.

3 weeks to go, with this coming weekend being the last week to hit the highest long run mileage at 32-35KM.

With 3 weeks to go, it's like studying for an exam, putting in the hours of practising and practising and hoping for the best, that you won't screw up on Exam Race Day. All I can do right now is to stick to my training schedule (4-5 days of running), eat right (I am failing miserably in this department) and get enough rest (also failing miserably in this department) and you're right to say that I'm just tired of everything right now.

I just want to sleep in on weekends, wake up in time for brunch.
I mean, sleep in on one of the days.
A run during the weekend is sadly unfortunately, compulsory or I won't be able to enjoy my meals without guilt swallowing me up.

Next weekend is the last of my weekend long runs and the following weekend is reserved for a 16KM tapering run.

My heart beats faster as I count down to Race Day.

I study my training schedule almost on a daily basis every now and then, just to see if I can complete my runs early in order to fit in dinner or drinks appointments, without compromising my training.

Sticking to my training schedule as much as possible is very important to me right now because...

I mean, how do I explain it to everyone without sounding obsessed?

1. I am dependent on it as a structure towards completing my 3rd marathon. I'm hoping to do slightly better than the last one.
2. It will be my 1st time running a marathon without the hubby participating and knowing he'll be waiting for me at the finish line. *sniff* (I did not and am not requesting for supporters to wait for me at the finish line because I don't want them to see me in case I cry!)
3. The last marathon was miserable and torturous that I hope to avoid going through the same shit again.
4. The route is hilly and goodness knows that I suck at hills. My legs are still not strong enough to tackle them with a vengeance.

It's true when they say sometimes marathon training is a lonely thing. You can either run with like-minded people or do it on your own. 

I have been doing most of my runs (especially the long ones) on my own for the past 2 months and I have to admit that I enjoy every bit of it. I don't have the distraction of keeping up or leaving friends behind when I'm on my own and I can easily focus on my breathing, pace, running form and let my mind go on its walkabout.

Music keeps me company and drowns out what reservations I have about not being able to complete my targeted distance for the day. (The most annoying song I have on my iPod is "We Like To Move It", especially that line, "Physically fit! Physically fit!")

I enjoy these lonely long runs so much that I'm starting to worry whether I am turning into a recluse.

And the best part after my long runs is that I don't have an inkling where my mind had gone during the last 2-3 hours. I have developed a really fantastic goldfish memory!

I do feel bad that my non-running friends usually begin their conversation with me this way:

Running this weekend?
Eh, woman! Free for breakfast? Or are you running?
How's your running? Any upcoming events?
Hmmfh! Everyday I see you mention 'running' on Facebook!
Run run run, everyday also run! Not bored meh?
So, what's your plan this weekend? Running?

I do my best to turn around to ask them about their weekend plans instead, so as to not bore them about my running woes. :D

Three more weeks, just give me 3 more weeks!
After that, I will take a few days off to rest.
And have 2 pints of beer Kilkenny.

Then the vicious cycle begins again.

Related posts:
The River Jungle Marathon 2011 - 1st marathon dedicated to my mum. Reading it again brings tears of pain to my eyes!
Fubon Taipei Marathon 2011 - 2nd marathon dedicated to the hubby and I.

Next marathon - Nestle Fitnesse Malaysia Women Marathon
Next marathon - Melbourne Marathon Festival 2013

Update: I have adjusted my marathon target from 4:30 to 4:50 5:00 due to my conscience telling me that the route will not make it easy for me to achieve 4:30. So I will settle for a sub-5 instead, and secretly hope it will be a 4:45 4:50... at most.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kenyir Lake International Triathlon 2013 - Race Report

As I have a tendency to be rather long-winded, I'm breaking my write up on Kenyir Lake International Triathlon 2013 into two (2) parts: The Race Report and The Road Trip. Just in case you don't want to read about my long and winding road trip, at least you can read this one instead. And vice versa!

Sunday, 10th March 2013.

Gun time was at 8am and we were running late, no thanks to my dilly-dallying. Yet I arrived at the starting area before the guys did, causing me to go into a frenzy - WHERE ON EARTH was everyone?

Body marking started since 6.15am and GS needed to get his done before he jumped into the water at 8.15am. The swimmers were only allowed to warm up in the water for 15 - 20 minutes until 10 minutes before gun time.

Can I have the number on my forehead? :D

Team 912: Kenny, myself & GS. I look sleepy!
Photo credit: Zul/Fendy

Dutamas Runners: Fendy, Kenny and myself.
Photo credit: Zul/Fendy

The swimmers started in 3 waves; blue caps at 8am, white caps at 8.05am and yellow at 8.10am. GS was in yellow, together with Hsu Ann. We didn't wait to see them off, Kenny and I made our way to transition area to wait for our cycle and run legs respectively.

While hanging around at the transition area chitchatting to Ultraman Yip, Uncle Chan (Mr. Organiser of Triathlon Malaysia) announced and requested the runners to return to the swim area for a briefing. Puzzled, we sought clarification from one of the marshals and he affirmed the announcement.

Ultra Yip was doing the Men's Relay - his team won 1st!

Because the swimmers had to swim a distance of 1.6KM and then RUN 450m towards (and uphill) the transition area, they decided (at the eleventh hour) that the relay runners shall run that stretch for their swimmers instead. You know, feel bad for them or something.

Er, okayyyy.
(But what about the individual participants??)

There was a lot of confusion when swimmers came out of the water in daze, ready to run up towards the transition area. It was not a problem for the individual participants, but you could see the puzzled looks on the swimmers' faces as their respective teammates wrestled the timing chip off their ankles to make a run for it.

Some swimmers even ran along with their teammates, still not comprehending the situation: What are you doing? Why are you running with the timing chip? Aren't I supposed to be the one to do it? Put it on your ankle, don't hold it!

GS completed his swimming leg pretty fast!!

I took the chip from him to do my part, only to tire after 300m. GS ran with me and hahahaha I was hopeless! I walked up towards the transition area as I could feel my quads cramping.

It was no joke, sprinting up when the legs hadn't warmed up yet.

But gee, I should have just let him run on his own and hand over the timing chip to Kenny. There is evidence of him overtaking me, by the way.

Made me feel like a complete loser. :P

Photo credit: Zul/Fendy.

Anyway, Kenny was off and I had about 2 hours to kill, assuming he had difficulty with the crazy slopes and 45KM of them all.

After an hour and a half, I had to go to the loo. I went into the cubicle which was just vacated by a participant, only to find that she had thrown her sanitary pad into the toilet bowl...

What the heck!

What's wrong with that woman???

And you know what? I bet some of you are friends with her, so I can't disclose who she is. Hah!

I took a slow walk back up to the transition area and just as I stepped into, GS waves frantically at me, signalling that Kenny was back.


I kind of took my time taking the timing chip from him (my legs weren't warmed up enough yet, sorry, teammates!) before running off.

Up to 1KM -
Downhill was fun, but I had to make sure I wasn't going too fast to die on the slopes. Waved at supporters along the way who were cheering the participants. Very sweet of them!

Up to 2KM -
Up heading towards the direction of and passed Kenyir Lake Resort and Spa. Slowed down and walk-run-walk-run as much as I could, overtaking some individual participants along the way. Don't think they were pleased to see me running past. Was trying to keep a Mat Salleh lady within sight - she just jogged up all the way. *Envy*

Up to 3KM -
A gentle incline and then downhill and flat, it was a lovely run along this stretch. Stopped at a water station, said thanks and poured water on myself. Ran past a tall guy who remarked, "Eh, lajunya!" ("Eh, so fast!") but I smiled and told him of course, I'm doing the relay bit. :D

Mat Salleh lady was still within sight, joined by another.

Up to 4KM -
I don't remember much, just that I was telling myself to keep a 6:00 pace. But generally I knew I was going a bit too fast as I was panting like mad. It was warm and I wished I had worn a running vest instead of my TMBT t-shirt, and didn't have my water bottle in hand. It was such a hassle.

Up to 5KM -
It was a -20m elevation and everyone took the opportunity to run a wee bit faster to make up for lost time. But it was a bit worrying as everyone knew what was coming. We could see it from afar!

Ran alongside Chan Yew Wah for a while and introduced myself. I mean, hey, if we're Facebook friends, might as well put a name to a face. :)

Up to 6KM -
Walked. No bloody way was I going to run up that crazy incline (up to 170m). Ok, I tried jogging a bit. Then walked again. It was frustrating not being able to go fast without zapping your energy immediately. Told myself, no way you're going to kill yourself now when you've still got halfway to go. But wait, it's only halfway! C'mon, hurry up!

Only to walk again. Then jog. Walk. Jog.

Time check: 36:28. Okayyyy not too shabby!

Up to 7KM -
OMG WHY IS THE CHECKPOINT SO FAR AND UPHILL?? Why are there so many inclines! Where is the yew-turnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ...

It was a mental challenge to be sane. I walked a lot by then. 

Lesley Tan was running back and I wished her good luck.
Saw Fendy and Zul coming down the slope. Fendy said, "1.5KM to go!" as Zul and I hi-fived each other. 

And soon I spotted the marshals holding out the checkpoint ribbon and the one and only stall which served 100plus. There was a pakcik photographer who definitely took the opportunity to snap pictures of walkers like me. *sobs*

I joked with him whether he could photoshop the picture to make it look as if I was running, instead of walking. With a cheery wave, I set off - I was terribily glad that the inclines were done with and let's get going!

Up to 8KM -
Hmmm... where is the junction to the dam? It felt like forever. At every turn of the road, I'd perk up, expecting to see the road leading to the dam.

Up to 9KM -
Wished Pui San and Yim good luck as they trudged uphill.

2KM to go! YAY!!!!
Gave the water station a miss. Got onto the road on the dam itself and sped up. Or so I thought. Overtook a guy from a Mixed Relay team who stopped to take a picture of the gorgeous dam. Wish I had my phone with me to do the same. 

A boy in blue and I were pacing each other and then it got pretty tense for me. I was on his left, and he on my right. Soon, he started veering towards his left, getting too close to me. So I slowed down and went on his right and kept up pace. He sped up too, so both of us were shoulder to shoulder. Then he veered towards the right again!

What on earth ... geez. So I changed sides again to be on his left, and AGAIN the same thing happened. I couldn't take it anymore so I said to him in Malay, "Er, you do know the road is quite wide, right? Why are you sticking so close to me? Don't knock me down! I'm in the Relay category, you don't have to kill me!"

With that, he apologised and moved to the far right of the road. Hehe. But eventually we started chatting (hmm, yeah, chatting at 5:35 pace? I must have been bored!) and I found out that last year he participated in the team category and this year was his first time as an individual.

Up to 10.5KM -
I became lazy and decided to slow down a bit. Just in case there was another slope waiting for me, right at the end of the flat road. Time check at 10KM was 1:00:36. Sigh, Not too shabby, I guess.

At the final water station, Uncle Chan encouraged me to add some ice cubes to my water bottle (so sweet!) but I declined that it wasn't necessary, since the finish line was near. I drank some water, with him encouraging me to drink more (in case I faint from dehydration?) and I poured some on myself, before making the final run.

Aww bugger. Spotted Andrew snapping pictures! I was hoping I would be able to escape the photographers because I look like crap. (And I was right!)

To the Finish -
Sped up to my capability (5:45 pace, what else? hehe) and spotted Kenny, GS and other supporters standing in front of the gate. The teammates decided they'd cycle and run with me towards the finish line, although I was sprinting by then.

300m to the finish line - hurry up!
Photo credit: Kenny

A Mat Salleh guy was ahead of me and I didn't know whether it would be polite to overtake him so I could cross the finish line FIRST or what. In the end, I slowed down as he jogged across the finish line, with me right behind. I DID try to shy away as I'm sure he wouldn't want me in his finishing picture.

1:09:38 for 11.57KM.

Aiyer, so shites.

But thank you to the volunteers who hung the medals around my neck and putting a cold towel on my shoulders/back, handing me a banana and 2 slices of watermelon, a can of 100plus and a cold bottle of water. That was great!

Trying to be a good sport instead of moping over my timing!
Photo credit: Kenny.

With friends!
Photo credit: Andrew.

I was moping about my time the entire trip back (with a huge migraine bothering me as well) and wondered if given the chance, would I have done it any differently. My intention from the start was to keep at a 6:00 pace and it seems like I was more or less there.

So I shrugged off the grey cloud which had been looming over me and told myself, never mind, *pats back* I was more or less on target.

If I had my phone with me, I would have taken pictures of the slopes for you to appreciate. Ha!

Click for larger view.

The splits. If not for KM2, KM6 and KM8, I guess I would have stuck to my 6:00 pace.

As first timers, my teammates did fabulous and I'm sure both Kenny and GS are itching to complete a triathlon on their own very soon. For me, I think I'll opt out from relay events for the time being, as the (self-imposed) pressure to do well is too much to bear.

We're still waiting for the official results to see where our team stands. I HOPE we're not the bottom 3 or something... *cross fingers, eyes and toes*

I was wearing my Skechers GORun Ride for the event and I must say that I was glad there was no usual chafing usual to my right foot. After pouring water on myself at almost all water stations (except 2), I realised after completing my run that my shoes were squelching from both water and my perspiration!

This run also reminded me again and again that I need to train the damn hills or I will suffer during the Nestle Fitnesse Malaysia Women Marathon. Huaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh.

Photo credit: Andrew.

Possibly related posts:
Powerman Malaysia 2012
First Weekend In October

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Post-Kenyir Triathlon

Plain tired and just need rest?

I don't know.

We got back pretty late from Kenyir last night. Traffic from Kuala Terengganu to Kuantan was heavy with traffic on the trunk road so it was quite frustrating when you're in a rush to get back to KL.

I was suffering from a bad migraine (due to running in the heat - I tend to get it after a long run since I'll be out in the sun for too long) and was on the verge of throwing up every now and then. I had to keep my mouth closed tightly because it would just be too horrible if I threw up in Kenny's car.

Unless I threw up into my bag, which would be a silly choice.

Thankfully we stopped somewhere for a loo break and I had no choice but to pop 2 Panadols which were in my bag in the trunk.

Then I had to wake up early this morning to rush off to the Immigration Department to renew my passport. What the hell. I had to submit some documents tomorrow at the latest and the application required the expiry of my passport to be beyond 1st of November 2013. Geez.

And then it was back to the office where I struggled to get some work done.

Stayed in during lunch time to make up for lost time and well, I wish I could tell you that I did a wise thing and stole forty winks but no, I think I played Candy Crush Saga on my phone instead. 

Smart move, Von.

Oh, wait. I think I was doing a bit of work, too.

Come 3.30pm I was ready to crash.

And then I got depressed that I was feeling tired.
I also became frustrated when I recalled my running leg yesterday at the Kenyir Lake International Triathlon.

Why couldn't I have gone any faster?
Why wasn't I strong enough to gallop uphill like an antelope?
Why did I have to wear my TMBT t-shirt? It felt heavy.
Why did I have to bring my bottle when there were water stations at each 1.5KM?
Why was I bloody bloated? I still am.
Why am I weak?
Why am I still not strong enough?
Why why WHY!

Mentally beating myself up doesn't seem to help. 

So I made a decision to skip badminton tonight because I figured I needed to rest or I wouldn't be able to recover in time tomorrow to continue with my marathon training. Someone also said I should be on "forced rest" but he must have forgotten he said that because he kind of took it back today? He accused me of being lazy, or something to that effect. The cheek.

Come 4.30pm I wanted to sniffle (out to self-pity) because I have so much work to do this week that my marathon training may be compromised. Sigh. I could also be going into the office this weekend, who knows.

Back home and by 9.30pm, I was thinking if I could sneak in a quick 5KM run but looking at the dazed state that I am/was in right now, I have/had to hold myself back.

Rest rest rest.
After all, I'm supposed to listen to my body, right?

But I don't believe you should listen to it all the time.

Especially when it is lazy.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Surya Yoga - Juice & Salad Bar

My 2 week trial with Surya Yoga ended last week and you know what? I'm secretly missing the pain and agony that usually embraces me after a tiring workout.

Yoga mats available to be borrowed during class.

As Aman Suria Damansara is out of the way from my office and home area, I was not able to attend most of the classes they had to offer. 

Yoga blocks - in case you can't reach the mat/floor.

During the two weeks, I managed to attend two of Jo's classes, a beginners' yoga and Gentle Flow. In both classes, the moves are almost similar, with plenty of sun salutations, archer poses and more, but Gentle Flow is definitely less taxing than beginners' yoga.

As an instructor with years of experience, Jo makes it easy for me to follow her classes. She cites each line and instruction with familiarity and a lot of soul, that you cannot help but to do your best to mold your body into that particular pose as much as you can. (Tough for a stiff beginner like me!)

And then she makes you hold that pose until your muscles tremble and you'll perspire like crazy.

I'm just kidding.

But it's true in some way!
Do bring a towel, by the way. In case you do perspire like crazy. :D

With Jo, you just want to be able to glide gracefully from one pose to another in a fluid motion as she demonstrates each pose in languid ease. Unfortunately, I am as fluid as lumpy porridge so I believe you graceful lots will probably fare better in her class than I did. (Because I'm old and stiff!)

She's a great person with an ever ready smile on her face. :)

I'm like a spy cam in class, snapping unflattering pics!

I managed to attend last Saturday's Pilates class at 9.15am and boy, the studio was crowded!

Saturday mornings are very packed, with two classes going on simultaneously. It's either beginners' yoga by Foo or Pilates by James. I opted for Pilates, believing that my muscles would not be too sore after class.


That morning's class required the use of a resistance band and soft ball. I wish I had taken a picture of my resistance band - you would have been so proud of me. It was lilac, and matched my purple yoga mat! :D

I thought I would be able to take it easy that day before the Brooks Half Marathon 2013 but I was wrong. The stretches that morning worked my quads and abs (not really! I think I had too much fats around the middle) and my muscles were pretty sore after class.

I'm definitely going back for more suffering. I realise that I hate doing my core exercises so I might as well go for Pilates to be forced to work out my core. *Shrug*

Observing the crowd while having my brunch.

Since I had the morning free, I ordered some food from their Juice & Salad Bar. It is a small area to mainly cater for the regular goers, but they do receive orders from people in the same block.

5 colour rice, homemade yoghurt and juice.

The portion of rice was huge and I was stuffed after two thirds through it.  With diced capsicum, carrots, celery and tomato, it was a lovely dish to enjoy whilst it was still warm. The pumpkin and sunflower seeds added some crunch to it and I did enjoy the dish a lot.

I finished the whole dish!
I consoled myself that I needed the carbs for my run the next day. :D

Slightly sour, but tasted homey! :D

I also tried their homemade yoghurt which was topped with diced apple and cornflakes. I was wary at first, thinking it was going to be super healthy with a strong sour taste but to my delight, it wasn't too bad. Phew!

The sourish taste was still there, but with delicate hints of sweetness, which made it enjoyable. I was secretly hoping that it would taste like ice cream but hah, fat chance!

I think my BFF and my youngest sister would have enjoyed it. :)

I must have ENJOYED my meal so much because I used that word so many times in this post!

 [Click pictures of the menu for a larger image.]

Now what else would I recommend, hmmmm. I've tried the Thai Spaghetti which I really liked because of the scent of lemongrass in the gravy. 

They recently had a Free Salad Day where the regulars voted for their preferred salad and French Golden Mango topped the polls.

I must try that the next time.

Photo credit: Surya Yoga

Looks like I missed out on their Free Salad Day. Dang!

So, anyway, if you feel like dropping by to try any of their dishes, do give them a call first to order in advance, just in case they may not have it in stock. :)

Oh, in case you don't want pasta or salad, they also have sandwiches!

Note: It is open on Mondays-Thursdays 10am-9pm, Fridays & Saturdays 10am-230pm, closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Related post:

Other review:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Hate Getting My Period

Are you bloody ready?! (Oops, mind the pun!)


I hate being all PMS-y during the week before it's due.
I hate the acne outbreak that I will suffer.
I hate being bloated and my belly, face and thighs retain water worthy of the Indian Ocean.
I hate being ravenous all the time.
I hate the funny feeling in my tummy, unsure whether IT is coming today or not.
Or maybe it's gastric, I dunno.

And most of all, I hate it when IT finally comes, hallelujah, I may have to skip a day or two of running because of bad cramps.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on this subject. Whatever I say here in this blog post is entirely my opinion, based on my experience *ahem* and information available on the Internet, which may or may not be accurate. :)

If you read my Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012 race report, you would know that it was one of the worst races I had in my entire running life (just 4 years, going on 5). The only other time I ever felt weak due to that Time Of The Month was during one of my long runs in 2011, when the hubby and I were training for the 2011 Fubon Taipei Marathon. I felt weak and lethargic, and my muscles ached as I ran that I wanted to walk most of the way.

I was never a huge fan of monitoring my menstrual cycle until running become serious business I realised it was easier to identify my mood swings, the reason for my food binge-ing, being bloated, weight increase (up to 2kg!), acne and I could anticipate when Day 1 would come.

Oh, and to be make sure I have the necessary items in my handbag, just in case. *angry face*

It also became easier to rearrange my workout schedule beforehand. Say, if I had a group run or a long run I had to attend to on Day 1 and 2 of the cycle, I may opt out or inform the hubby that I'll be running slow, and slot in my moderate (not easy, not hard) run during Day 4 or 5 of the cycle. (Maybe on Day 3, too if there is less lethargy.)

As Michelle Looi mentioned in her DR interview, there is no need for you to cancel your workouts just because it's that Time Of The Month. Opt for a light or easy workout instead.

If you've been running for sometime now or if you're new to running, I would suggest you monitor your menstrual cycle. If you don't like the old fashioned way of putting a teeny weeny star on your diary or calendar, you may opt for one of the phone apps available for free such as Period Plus, Period Tracker, Period Diary (I used this on my last iPhone), Love Cycle and many more.

Don't worry. These apps are very discreet and the icon on your phone will not scream "PERIOD" for all to see!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Brooks Half Marathon 2013

I never had any intentions of running this event so to find myself at Bukit Jalil Sports Complex at 4am this morning was rather puzzling.

What was I doing there, I thought to myself. I should be in bed and waking up only at 630am for my long run!

As I've never ran in the Bukit Jalil area before, I didn't know what to expect. Everyone kept telling me there were hills to be wary of. Jamie had a plan to run at a 6:00 min pace so I thought I'd follow suit, and Calvin hopped onto the bandwagon as well.

L-R: SC Khoo, Kenny, me and Jamie
Photo credit: Kenny.

Nick, Jamie, Calvin and I started off together, and it took us approximately 3 minutes to cross the start line that held up a tiny arch. (It was a sorry sight, in my humble opinion.) We were cruising during the first 2KM, at 6:56 and 6:35 min pace respectively, until Jamie and Calvin disappeared to attend to nature's call.

Nick and I continued on, confident that the both of them would catch up.

But after a while, we had a sneaking suspicion that they may have had unknowingly ran past us ... and we were right!

It was only when we approached the u-turn and checkpoint at 7KM-8KM did we spot Calvin on the other side of the route. Hey!

The humidity was unbearable. Running through housing area where there were occasional unlit sections of the route was dangerous. I found myself pretty much slowing down just to peer cautiously onto the road to watch where I'd placed my foot.

The water stations were always packed with people and it was frustrating trying to wrestle through the crowd just to grab a cup of water. I was glad I had my bottle in hand (water + isotonic drink) because there were no isotonic drinks served at any of the water stations.

Nick grabbed himself a bottle with some water in it at 10KM thereabouts (we were expecting the water station to be at 9KM!) and ran off to the side for his water break. He told me to go ahead and he'd catch up.

I was wondering whether I was going too slow for him as whenever we checked our watches, we'd find our pace hovering at about 6:30. I kept telling him to go on without me but he said he wasn't on training mode so yeah, he was in no rush.

So he left me at about 11.5KM and I never saw him again. Dammit, don't tell me I was boring company!

Anyway, I sped up or so I thought, but in actual fact, it was still a 6:30 pace. *grumble*

I saw a guy on the side of the road with people trying to resuscitate him, which was worrying. It's not a fantastic sight to see a runner collapse at all times.

By then, I was running on 'feel' and trying to stick to my targeted marathon pace of 6:23 but it was hard. Not because I was feeling weak, but it was just bloody crowded!

We were running with the 10KM and 5KM runners at this stage and it was frustrating to find myself stuck behind a slooooooow runner on the right side of the route every now and then, and worst, one with a sour body odour. *gag*

Ran past the Calvary Convention Centre, a slope or two, Astro ... and I'm not really sure what else I saw.

Come 17KM I was eager to speed up a little as I finally realised that I had been going too slow all along. Even slower than my targeted marathon pace! 

17 - 18KM: 6:07 min pace
18 - 19KM: 5:56 min pace
19 - 20KM: 5:54 min pace
20 - 21KM: 5:50 min pace

If I thought I could sprint towards the finish line, I was so wrong. It was too freaking crowded! 

The clock showed 2:21 which was a letdown for me but whatever. My watch displayed 2:18, telling me that I was 10 minutes off my targeted time for the run. Whatever.

Grouped up with Jamie, Choon Yuen and Calvin for about 10 - 15 minutes before I sped off (with false supply of energy!) towards the nearby park to hobble/crawl/walk/jog another 10KM just so I could record a cumulative 30KM run today. Stopped at 7.1KM as I had to meet up with some friends during the prize giving ceremony. 

With cheery people: Lum Oldman, Weng Woo & Yin Yin
Photo credit: Sharon Chow

 It was great to bump into familiar faces. :)

She won 2nd place in the Senior Veteran Women's 21KM Category!

Pros about the event:
1. Massive space outside the stadium for runners to gather around and queue up for food and drinks, etc.
2. Finisher t-shirt distribution was smooth.
3. Milo was awesome. I had 4 cups!
4. Medal trophy is cute.
5. The kids with the kompangs near the start line was great.

1. Did not enjoy the route with its unlit sections and narrow checkpoint mats.
2. Orange vest and finisher t-shirt - I don't like orange colour!
3. No isotonic drinks at water station.
4. A sponge station would have been great.
5. The start line did not display a 'START' arch - it was not noticeable from afar. I wasn't even sure that it was the start line in the first place!
6. The route was not wide enough to cater for the huge crowd.
7. Distance markers were almost 1KM off until 18KM.

With two young lovely ladies who were hoping to bump into femes people
but the femes people had already left! :)

Let me digress from this race report and talk about my marathon training.

Pre-race: 1KM
Race: 21.4KM
Post-race: 7.1KM
Total: 29.5KM - I don't care! *stubborn* I'm taking it as my 30KM LSD for today!

Ran/hobbled/walked/crawled around the lake about 14x for 7KM.

To have enjoyed the race meant that I didn't push myself hard enough. The fact that I could have a conversation with Nick during our run (except when I was trying to keep up with him!) reflects the effort put in. It does bother me a little, but it serves as an indication that my targeted marathon pace of 6:25 shall be about just right. If I had stuck to a faster pace say, 6:00 - 6:15, I may not have finished the race with some energy to spare.

Although it was troublesome to have the bottle of water/drink in hand, it allowed me to hydrate as and when required.

I consumed only 1 power gel; the first half at 10KM, 1/4 at 13KM and the remaining 1/4 at 16KM. I don't think I needed it but I thought I might as well. Who knows, I could have cramped at 19KM!

I ran up all the slopes. Yay!
My legs felt fine, no signs of cramping.

My right foot (near the bunion) was starting to chafe at some point. I'm beginning to wonder whether my GR2 wants to run the MWM or is pleading sick leave with one month's notice. 

Refuled with Gibraltar Latte (RM8.50) and Carbonara Spaghetti (RM17.90)
at Coffee Stain by Joseph, with Kenny and Andrew.

Went home and had a bowl of ice-cream to wrap up my brunch.
Napped for 2 hours.
Where we ran!

p.s. Quite glad to know that I wasn't *that* far behind my 2 pacers, 5 and 3 minutes behind Jamie and Calvin respectively.