p pol The Adventures of Carboman

Friday, October 02, 2009

I've Moved!

Hi everyone, I've moved this blog over to jamiepang.com, where I've consolidated my 2 running blogs. The new site provides your with more info at one place, and all my past postings can be found there as well. The tags and categories of the blogposts are very extensive over there and you search using the tags. I wanna say thank you for following this humble blog and the new site does allow us to take our relationship to the next level. Don't forget to bookmark jamiepang.com!

Creative Commons License

Jamie Pang Photography
by Jamie Pang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


Monday, July 27, 2009

In The NST

My colleague prompted me on this. I'm not sure if many of my running friends buy NST but here it is. You can see that Yuan Yufang seemed to be taunting a certain someone as he tried to keep pace with her! Joking nia! Click on each image to enlarge.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Newton Stability Racer Trialing Run

The premise of barefoot running being the most efficient form of running is the basis for Newton Running's line of shoes. Incidentally we also tend to run the fastest when we land on our forefoot and toes (observe the next time you're out on your run). Remember the time when you're kicking like crazy towards the finishing line? Newton Running also believe that by landing in the sweet spot - that's the area in the metatarsal region - you also minimize injuries as you cut seconds and minutes off your PRs. Proponents of Pose and Chi Running would agree to that. You can check out the visuals on the optimal running form. The upper of the Stability Racer are like any other performance shoes but what I like was the minimal overlays and sock like feel. Everyone in the trailing group agreed that the fit is superb. They were in various stability and neutral models, while I was the sole (pun intended) runner in the racer. But flip the shoe around and you'll see the key difference - the beefed up forefoot with the red actuator lugs. These lugs are part of Newton’s Action/Reaction Technology. When executing the recommended landing form, the Land-Lever-Lift, the ART is supposed to return energy to your strides. But since the majority of the runners land on their heel rolling forward, changing and adapting to this new concept takes some practice.

In Newton Running's website, to adapt to the Action/Reaction Technology, start with short, slow runs (about a mile or so) a couple times a week for the first two weeks. Focus on good form and gradually increase your time and distance as your body feels ready. As with any sport, too much too fast can cause injury. That's a big disclaimer and in fact a few friends I know who are already forefoot runners also commented that they needed 2 weeks or more to adapt. For heel strikers, I'd put that period longer, to perhaps a month.

I'll share a bit of my experience culled from my short run in the racers last week. As mentioned, the fit was first class, very comfortable. At about 8.8oz for the size 9, the shoes gave me a light and fast feel. The forefoot lugs made for a slightly awkward feel, like wearing a pair of cycling cleats. Your forefoot are slightly raised, think reverse wedge of the typical running shoes. But when you start running, you'll automatically transit to a forefoot form. The running experience felt lighter but since I'm not fit presently, my form deteriorated after the 5K mark of the hilly route. It's noteworthy to point out that once you started running, the unusual mid/outsole configuration didn't feel as awkward. The stability racers have medial posts that extend from the arch area to underneath the metatarsal heads to combat early and late-stage pronation. After periodization in the shoes, I believe doing 15K in them shouldn't be an issue. During the periodization, soreness in the calves and lower legs will be the norm as your muscles re-learn the moves. And since this is a niche product, existing forefoot runners and runners intending to transit to the forefoot running form should be able to benefit from the Newtons. The Newtons come in an eco-friendly packaging as you can see form the picture above. If you're interested, you can check with Choi of CCube Sports Hub or contact him at 019-3289083.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


In the past few months I’ve donated several pairs of shoes to charities. Here are some of them including the total mileage logged in them.

Brooks Axiom 2 - 267K
Not a particularly favourite shoe and retired after spending long periods in the shoe cabinet. The mileage logged in it was way below the expected 600K. Durability was average. I bought it in anticipation of a sponsored entry to run the NYC Marathon is 2007. But as we all know the trip didn’t happen. Yes, I went on my own accord in 2008.

Asics Gel Kayano 12 – 573K
Now this is what I call a good shoe. Purchased at 50% off, this pair saw me returning briefly to asics. Comfortable and plush as a stability trainer it wasn’t light – around 12+ ounces. But I logged some great miles in them. Will be missed.

Nike Vomero 2 – 490K
Didn’t last as long as it should but what a plush model this was. Perhaps the softest shoe I’ve ever worn, I rotated between this pair and the Structure Triax 11 during the early stages of my NYCM training. It was overshadowed by the cushion/stability blend offered by the Lunars and served mostly as a backup pair. In recent months, it developed an irritating squeak which came from the torn heel plug. Handsome and comfortable shoe and will be missed too.

Nike Zoom Elite 3 – 520K
Very durable lightweight stability model. But at 10oz it just barely made it into the performance trainer category. Had some very good times in them and broke a few PRs too. It’s still in a very decent shape but I’m now eager to break into the Elite 4, so this pair has to go. It could’ve been made even better if there were less overlays and wider in the forefoot.

The following are relegated to walking/casual wear duties:
Zoom Victory - too firm and stiff in the heel.
Zoom Start – soft enough for a short run but not stable enough for me.

Still active:
Asics Tri-Foster (which I’ve strangely been wearing for spinning!), Saucony Trigon Guide 5, Nike Lunaracer, Nike LunarTrainer (to be used for shorter runs since it’s approaching the end of its lifespan), Nike Structure Triax 11 (which I need to trash more). Both the LunarGlide and Elite 4 are waiting on the wings.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nike LunarGlide+ Trialing Run

I was among the approximately 50 privileged people who were invited by Nike Sales Malaysia to the launch of Nike's latest running shoe in the Lunar lineage - the LunarGlide+, the earlier 2 models being the LunaRacer and Lunar Trainer. As the name suggests, this iteration supports the use of Nike+ gear be it the Sensor with the iPod or Sensor with the Sportband. Among the invitees were models and celebs, triathletes, national athletes, bloggers, serious runners and members of the media. It was great catching up with many of the familiar faces again, including Richard (TimeOut), Niki (Bangsar Boy), Pueh Tian and Frank - all of whom were part of the party down in the Singapore leg of the Human Race. Other running friends - too many to list out - were also there. With the number of active people, the goodies which Nike laid out for us and the M&Ms, bananas, marshmallows and drinks, suffice to say that the energy levels in the Bowerman Room were pretty high.

Chien Yi and Wong Li-Zren (Nike's EKIN) were among those whom I met when I walked into the room and after registration and collecting my press kit and gears, I settled down in the role of a photographer. Afterall, I was trying to build up my experience of shooting with the flash. Back to the shoe.

The most obvious difference you'll notice when you pick up the LunarGlide+ is the increased weight. At 10.6oz for the men's US9, that would be like a brick compared to the sub-6oz of the flyweight racer and the 9oz of the trainer. The reason is obvious. The Glides are meant to cater to a wider spectrum of runners from beginners to the advanced. As a result it also sport a more plush build as well as having durability properties incorporated into its design. Flip the shoe over and you'll see the use of BRS1000 as the heel plug. You'll also see the that the outsole features cut-aways to reduce the weight. Though I don't think it contributed much, the grooves certainly will contribute to greater flexibility. The cutaways reveal the yellow LunarLite foam, which actually sits within the external midsole carrier.

The outsole appears unconventional, a mixture of mini waffle-like patterns. The upper has the usual Nike tech built in such as the Flywire support system and mesh fabrics for breathability. Other than the bold black and orange look, the shoe has minimal overlays, which I favour, regardless of brands and make. Runners who know their shoes would know that Nike incorporate several gender specific models on top of the generic product lineup. You can see the differences between the men and women Vomeros, Pegasus and Structure Triax - all part of the Bowerman Series - but the Glides have much more women specific features to differentiate from the mens. The women's model is lighter as 8.6oz since they averagely weigh lesser than men. Since women's forefoot are broader than men's the Women's Glides have Dynamic Fit Technology built into the medial side of their shoes. Women will also benefit from the Arch Strap (cosmetically similar to Saucony's Arch Lock, but less rigid). The heel counter of the women's model is a 2-part and softer design as opposed to the single cupped approach of the men's model.

The Arch Strap on the women's model

Both the men's and women's LunarGlides are much more padded than their predecessors, the Racer and Trainer. In fact the 3 are different shoes altogether. Perhaps the most important feature to me as part of making the shoe more appealing to the masses would be the Dynamic Support. The Dynamic Support system in the Nike LunarGlide+ midsole is comprised of the aforementioned LunarLite foam core that sits within a firmer foam carriage. The LunarLite foam core is cut to fit into the carriage at an angle creating a deeper cushioned lateral side. The medial side of the Nike LunarGlide+ mid-sole features a rear-foot wedge that has been contoured into the firmer foam carriage which provides stability on an as-needed basis. What this means to the distance runner is that the shoes will provide stability support in the later part of the run when you fatigued. When a runner is tired, it's an established fact that his gait and form can turn pretty inefficient and downright clumsy even. The angled wedge of the shoe's support system will kick in to provide the benefit of added support. See picture below.

This picture of the left shoe shows clearly the higher wedged of the medial foam.

Seamless inner construction will make sockless running a possibility

When I slipped into the shoe, I wasn't impressed with the flat and very firm forefoot. But the thick padding on the shoe's collar and the use of seamless contruction inside the shoe certainly upped the comfort level. Added to the roomier toebox, the fit was much better than that of the Trainer. Nike have obviously took into account the feedback provided by runners. After the briefing by Nike's Marketing Manager, Menaha, and the technical walkthrough by Wong, several personalities came up to talk about their experiences - just to get everyone in the mood for the impending run.

The light drizzle failed to cause much concerns and after taking the group through a short stretching session we were off. The plan was to run 5K but a misdirection saw us doing only close to 2.7K. Throughout the route, I made sure that I ran over different surfaces and the Glides maintained a firm hold on all the wet surfaces. The thing about this shoe is that it will feel bouncy and comfortable when you run in them but very firm when just casually worn. The larger toebox and the padded collar rendered the old problems afflicting the Racer and Trainer obsolete. No noticeable heat buildup in the shoe and it's one that I'll be quite at home up to 21K. Of course this theory will have to be tested during the long runs.

Now which of the Lunars do I like the most? Let's just say that the Racer is still my shoe of choice for key races while the Glides have overtaken the Trainer in terms of a training shoe role. Personally with Injinji socks I've very little problems with blisters when wearing the Racer. In closing I'd like to thank Nike Sales Malaysia and Wong for hosting us - with the latest gear, good food and good company.

Note to Nike: Any plans of including the Lunar Series into the Bowerman line?

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Podium Of Infamy

After the fiasco that was the StanChart KL Marathon, runners in this country were once again slapped in the face by appalling race management. Read the comments on the recent Ipoh "International" Run here and here.

It's general knowledge now that the organizers of the KL Marathon bungled in the bib distribution, timing (a recent case surfaced on the 3rd Malaysian women finisher who looked deceptively dry and inappropriately dressed - perchance a local Rosie Ruiz?), and so on and so forth. Now we have another group of organizers to join Octagon on the Podium of Infamy.

I won't mince my words below but things have gotten so bad that it warrants a strong message.

Some race organizers have proven year after year that they have no intention of improving. We as operators of our blogs reserve the right to ascertain which event we want to feature. The event owners aren't paying us anyway. Previously we’re just doing the runners and organizers a favour by including their races in our blog calendars. But if their races suck we shouldn’t continue to “help” these organizers. Instead we should mark them down as black-listed races – call the category “Proven Disorganized Races”. If we continue to help provide free advertising for these scumbags, we’re just condoning bad events and putting our fellow runners and friends - or worst, inexperienced beginners - at risk. So we bloggers should act responsibly NOT to feature such races in future. We should also be aware of the possibility that unless we start boycotting these lousy events, organizers will continue to set up events as a way to suck up to the politicians who arrive late in their tracksuits. All at the runners’ expense. Are you still willing to be used as pawns?

I've time and again warned organizers who seek to put together races without much thought of the responsibility it comes with, that the success and failure of the race will be shouted across the blogs. And lately we've seen 2 classic examples of failures being lambasted by many.

Let this be a warning to future organizers. We runners have had enough of self-serving and irresponsible event management. And the voice of discontent will reach a crescendo if such feedback go unheeded.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Through The Lens

So that I don't dilute this blog with my present diversion, I started a new blog called "Through The Lens". Since TTL is already taken up, I'd no choice but to settle for a less impactful URL. If you like what you see there, I hope you'll bookmark it.

I'm not a technically sound photographer, in fact you'll probably see plenty of mistakes in my shots. So there will be no dishing out of any photo tips in the new blog. I'm not vain enough to pretend that I know a lot, certainly not as much as running, so I'll just shoot and post the interesting stuff I see. This new blog will complement my online gallery at SmugMug.

What happens then to The Adventures of Carboman? Well, it'll go on, as with this blog when I return next year. There will be sporadic updates for sure. Simply put, I'm merely expanding my field of vision. So when you see me, there's even more to talk about now - running and photography.

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