p pol The Adventures of Carboman: January 2005

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rotten Week

1) Kid fell sick, got cranky, had disturbed sleep
2) Sheer fatigue resulted from the previous roaring 3 weeks
3) Production issues/investigations at work

The past 1 week had sidetracked me in more ways than one. Started with my kid'd throat infection and then the general feel of malaise throughout the course of the weekdays and weekend. The training had been tough going, which got me thinking that perhaps I've overtrained. I don't have any modes of cross-training so that may have contributed to the staleness. It's been only running, running and running.

As a result I dropped my weekly mileage by almost half this week, hoping to stop the slide. Even this morning's 30K was reduced to a 20 as I didn't want to force it. I had only 4 hours worth of sleep last night as Carbokid has been kicking me every 30 minutes or so (he sleeps next to me).

I've also re-stocked on Endurox which I'm taking twice a day to aid recovery and recuperation.

Lessons learnt:
- Find a means to cross-train: stationary bike, strength training
- Find pockets of sleep opportunity
- Get a 6-pack Brand's Essence of Chicken (need to stock up on the nutrients)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Runnus Interuptus

Was just entering lap 7 of 8 yesterday evening when I got a call to go home. Spent time in the jam working out on how to salvage the week's mileage and decided that I've got to run twice a day on Thur and Fri to reach 70+K. And due to my son's sleeping problem last night, I couldn't make this morning's workout.

Not very nice isn't it? Shit happens and one just needs to adapt and try to do the best one can given the circumstances. 60+K would be more realistic this week. On a brighter note, perhaps events are conspiring to allow me to get some rest in. It remains to be seen. 5 weeks to KLIM.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Running During The Holidays

As Chinese Lunar New Year approaches, I'm cracking my head on how to put in my runs. Workout options are as follows (the higher the boredom rating, the more boring it is):

1) Gurney Drive Gauntlet
1 way end to end is around 1.5K. To do 15K, I've got to hustle 5 times each way. Mind numbing but not unlike KLCC! Have to keep a look out for the waves and bad traffic though, unless the workout is very early.
Terrain: Flat
Traffic: Human and Vehicular
Boredom rating: 4/5

2) Botanical Gardens Blast
Choice of 1K or 2K loops. Air is definitely cleaner and very cool in the morning
Terrain: Undulating
Traffic: Human and Simians
Variations: Can alternate loops as well as detour out to the nearby Youth Park
Boredom rating: 3/5

3) Gym Jive
Provided I can gain access to one, this has to be the last option. A good thing is that I can shower and change after the workout. The holiday season will ensure that there will be no queues to the treadmills.
Terrain: Adjustable
Traffic: Human
Variations: Can manipulate speed and incline
Boredom rating: 5/5

Looks like the best choice has to be No.2. I'll have to make arrangements with the spouse to get out of the shophouse (my in-laws) early.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

PACM 30K Practice Run

Over 260 runners turned up for this first run. An outstanding number of which about 2/3 of the number (by my estimation) ran the 30K.

A modification to last year's route saw runners shuttling between the IRS office and the Hartamas Petronas station. 2 sections were extended (one near the IRS office and the other a loop around the Petronas station) to reflect an accurate distance.

After the usual registration - latecomers didn't get their Powerbars - and a warmup session, we were let loose. The general mood was pretty serious and Martin and I kept pace together and we were soon joined by Yong and then Chen. Jason and CM were running up front and were only "caught" nearer Hartamas.

As usual, the fantastic volunteers who manned the traffic controls and drinks stations were fantastic. Not carrying my bottle meant that I've got to hydrate well at these stations and I drank up the water and Powerbar Performance drinks. I took the unopened Powergel at the 20K mark.

Martin and I maintained a strong pace together and were about 2.5K from those behind the lead runners. Coach Chan were monitoring his runners from his van and gave me a thumbs up each time he passed me - that kept the pace and spirit up! Saw PM1 who touched down last night following his Hong Kong honeymoon. He did 1:36 for his 20K - must be his knees, strengthened from his "cross-training" ;)

By the last 5K, the sun was already up and shining into my eyes. The 7K fun runners (Larian Kanak-Kanak. In Malaysia there are all sorts of run!) were also coming from the opposite direction, so I had to speed up to avoid most of them.
A glance at the watch as I entered the car park showed 2:55.37. The same time as last week's 30K! I'm so glad with my effort that I could...EAT! And ate I did - downed 2 bananas I brought along, half a cereal bar, 1 bottle of Performance and later a cup of instant noodles. I also managed to sample the Powerbar Recovery drink.

Dr Moira and hubby both gave an enlightening talk about sports injuries, complete with footcasts for illustrations. It was another fantastic run to cap a breakthrough week and I'm looking forward to the 3rd 30K next Sunday. There will be no break as I'll get plenty of that during the Chinese New Year week.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

New Rubber

After deliberating for a week, I finally got the NB 753 from the 1-Utama NB Boutique for RM167 after discount. I thought I'd better not wait for the new stock to arrive as I'd need to break in the new shoes in time for KLIM. They will be put thru a rite of passage starting tomorrow's PACM 30K Practice Run.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Little Tired

Am a little tired today. My legs are mostly fine though. Probably since I've not had a rest day since last Sunday's 30K. It's been 30K, 7.8K, 9.1K and 17K (totalling nearly 64K) for the past 4 days. I think it's been an excellent progression for me, if I'm allowed to a little pat on the back. I'm looking forward to Friday's 15K and Sunday's 30K - which is definitely going to be a blast and a test (to see if last week's 30K outcome was a fluke).

If I do run today, it'll be no more than 6.5K at an extremely easy pace.

Mid-Week Long Run: Wet Evening

A few months ago, a rain as heavy as yesterday's would either have put me off my run or have soaked me to the skin should I choose to continue the workout.

But I now have the benefit of a rain jacket and cap, and though I've worn them a couple times, I've yet to test them out in a heavy downpour. When I started, it was just drizzling lightly, so the cap was just sufficient. Within the first 10 steps, the heavens opened up and I made a dash back to the car to retrieve the jacket and when I resumed my run 5 minutes later, many pairs of eyes were staring at this crazed runner.

To this folks, sheltering in the shade, stuck in their cars and offices, I'd like to say that we runners are NOT maniacs. We just love the outdoors. We're kids at heart. Do you remember your childhood when you played in the rain? When you would jump from puddle to puddle? It's fun! Certainly more fun than being cooped up in the office. If it's fun you're after, rain or shine won't bother you. Just like we runners.

The rain was heavy enough that before my first lap is done, my shoes were already sploshing wet. The wind drove the rain at a 45 degree angle but the cap shielded most of it. The jacket provided adequate protection (I wore it without the detachable sleeves) and kept me warm but not overheated.

If there was a challenge running in heavy rain, it was maintaining an even pace. As a result I tired quicker than normal. The last 3 laps were mental and I was glad I had the company of Justin, Rohaizad and Karim on various parts of my run.

All in all, a satisfying completion of a trio of mid-week long runs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Public Holiday Run

I'll be running the Pacesetters 15K Double Hill-Carcosa route this Friday. Those who want to join me can meet at the usual spot at Bukit Aman at 5am. This 15K will set up the Sunday's 30K nicely.

See you there!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Running For Help: Rebuilding of Tsunami Stricken Countries

Click The Logo Above For More Details

Sunday, January 16, 2005

30K Long Run

I got home from PM1's wedding at 11pm and after showering, laid out the running gear and hurriedly set the alarm clock for 4:15am. I hit the sack at 11:40pm and immediately drifted off to sleep. It was hardly a proper way to get ready for the intended 30K. Thankfully, I'd made arrangements with Penguin2, Martin and Yong to meet at 5am and that got me out of bed.

Yong had not run this far in ages while this was Martin's first 30K. Needless to say Penguin2, battle hardened by his commando approach to races as well as marathon exploits (3:55 PR) was looking forward to the run despite also having attended PM1's dinner. The plan was to run the same 30K route as next Sunday's Pacesetters 30K Practice Run. All of us carried drinks and cash (to top up the fluids at the Hartamas Petronas). Also to run at 7 min pace and see how it goes.

As it turned out, it went very well. We completed the distance and I did a good time as well - 2:55. I attributed this to the wise pacing adopted (we surged periodically), great hydration plan, the good company (equal balance of chatting for diversion as well as moments of focus) and also the nice route. None of us took PowerGels! From the 15K onwards we had more runners who were doing 20K for company.

My weekly mileage was finally achieved and I'll hope to complete this week in the same fashion. It'll be another 30K next Sunday.

PM1's Big Do!

PM1 aka Ronnie See finally tied the knot last Saturday. Of the 40 over tables of invited guests, 3 were filled with runners. Here are some photos. These will be moved to PM1's Yahoo Photo album next week when he returns.

Julian, Yen-Nee and KNN-Man tucking in

Official photographer Tey with Han and Alden on duty

"Knowing me, knowing you"

"Wish that damn cameraman would stop shooting us and let us get on with dinner!"

While others chat (Psychotary in dark brown shirt), KNN-Man continues eating

KNN-Man and his woman

The medal chaser and his radiant wife, Psychotary and the Sax-Man

Petaling Runner, Justin and Newton. Yes, that's Penguin 6 in red at the back

Yew Chee Chung, Lai Huat and Yoke Fong

Penguins 2, 1 and 3 taking in the chicks' cheers!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Tsunami Videos

We've received a few videos on the recent Tsunami disaster but no site offers as complete a collection as this one. There are many many videos to be downloaded. I finally got to see the extent of Nature's fury, previously unseen on broadcast TV.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Off Day

Yesterday's long run meant that I've run since last Sunday. However a power failure, which knocked off power supply to the Klang Valley and southern parts of the country mid-way through lunch resulted in me climbing 15 floors to my office.

So much for resting the legs today.

Keep It Going, Keep It Going

Run, Run, Run, Rest, Run, Run, Run! Looking good. A few more days to the weekend and the 30K!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Elusive PR

The regulars at KLCC have been hitting PRs after PRs for the 5, 8 and 10 laps with such regular frequency. I'm typically better over a longer distance which is why it's been so difficult for me to break 1 hour for the 8 lapper (10.4K). I'd set off according to pace and go crazy after the 3rd lap only to completely fizzle out.

Newton (PM18) on the other hand have PR'd like nothing by simply observing and maintaining pace. And yes, drinking milk. On his egging, I tagged along for another attempt to break 1 hour for the 8 lapper. The strategy: do a warm up lap, then hit 8 laps at 7:00 per lap.

It was very hot when we got to the park and I hadn't hydrated as well as the day before. The warm-up first lap was covered in 8:30 sharp and we picked up pace to 7:08 for the second - Rohaizad tagged along on this one. The 3rd was 7:00 sharp and then I decided to open up the pace in the fourth and surged forward. Didn't felt really fast though and Newton was just next to me. Then I pressed on further in the 5th onwards and concluded the workout in the eighth lap - decided to take the warmup lap as valid as I was already nearing max. If I was fitter, I could've pushed one more lap and lowered the time. And to extend the imagination further (hey, I can dream too, right?!), another lap could've yielded a 10 lap PR as well.

Oh well, another day!

Here was the outcome:
Lap 1: 8:30
Lap 2: 7:08
Lap 3: 7:00
Lap 4: 6:56
Lap 5: 6:43
Lap 6: 6:57
Lap 7: 6:46
Lap 8: 6:36
Total: 56:41.23
Average Lap: 7:05

Finally aced sub 1-hour. And I was surprised I was able to sustain the surge. Except for Lap 6 where I lost the pace a bit, all lap times were progressively faster. An improvement finally, thanks to Newton's egging. Incidentally, Newton didn't do too badly either, coming in about 15 seconds after.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Volunteering With Mercy Malaysia

I'm no stranger to volunteer work. When I was schooling it was a norm to help out at the Old Folks' Home and other charity organizations. This part of my life slackened after I joined the rat race and subsequently became non-existent after I got married and attained fatherhood.

My chance came when my company put up a call for donations and volunteers to help out Mercy Malaysia at the Nationwide Express warehouse in Shah Alam. A fantastic number of volunteers (over 170) were raised. Work shifts were flexible, so together with about 30 others selected the 10am to 2pm block.

Groggy from just 4 hours of sleep the previous night, I made my way to the Taman Melati LRT station where Joyce will pick Jessie and I up. Newton will hop on near his home. Getting there was a pain. The morning rush hour was sickening so I took the chance to catch some shut-eye, even though I couldn't really doze off.

When we got there, many Citibankers were already hard at work. All the women were busy sorting out the thousands of plastic bags of clothings. Some had masks and gloves on. These womenfolk were soon joined by about 100 workers from Western Digital. Our motley group of men rallied to the rear of the warehouse to receive the sorted clothing. Busy forklifts hurried here and there with loads of cargo.

The centre section of the warehouse where the food items were stored. We've cleared plenty of the stuff, hence the available space.

There's nothing methodical about our tasks - no further need to organize. We just need to stand ready to receive the loads the forklifts were throwing us. It was all pure muscle work. We chucked thousands of bags of clothing, shoes and what-nots into a stack that nearly reached the roof. The large packages were really heavy but there were a couple of large men in the team hefting them like nothing, one of whom by the name of Sonny, impressed me with his strength.

To understand the work we had to do, picture this:
1) The hundred over women sorted and packed the clothing
2) The forklifts shipped the stuff to us
3) The 10 of us men (A few Good Men??) stacked them high

Newton and I, exhausted after the heaving. Note the mountain of clothing the 10 men piled on. Please, don't donate any more clothing. They need food!

It wasn't particularly hot but we were drenched. Being two of the lighter men around, Newton and I stationed ourselves on top of the heap to move the smaller and lighter bags to the top of the pile. This went on for some time. Then I went to look for more help amongst the women and managed to locate a few more men and assigned them to our team. I also passed the word to the women to ensure that they bind the bags up more securely as many came undone.

While most continued this labour, Sonny and I redeployed inside the warehouse to tackle the bags of rice. We had to stack the 5 and 10kg bags into piles of 50 and 100 on the wooden pallets. A few more experienced Nationwide guys then helped to arrange the bags so that they can be wrapped in transparent plastic which looked like the shrink-wrap you use at home, except this is much stronger.

Our team was so efficient that we cleared the entire day's work in 4 hours. The Nationwide folks were impressed - I guess they expected bankers to be wimps! The Citibank company's coordinator rang back to the office to redeploy the afternoon and night shifters to the Red Crescent office as things were getting a little critical there. We were the last Citibankers to leave the warehouse at 1pm. After a quick lunch nearby, we refreshed at Jessie's club and returned to the office. I'm really pooped as I'm writing this report and I will have to give today's run a miss.

To those reading this posting, I'd like to stress the following:
1) Don't donate anymore clothing - there's already more than enough
2) Do donate food. Rice, instant noodles, bottled water, bisquits, hygiene products are what's needed the most
3) For goodness sake don't use these facilities as a dumping ground. You can see how much garbage in the picture below
4) Go out and help at the Red Crescent Centre in Jalan Ampang. They open over the weekend too

Look at the amount of junk inconsiderate people dumped here! These were sorted out by the ladies earlier

Happy volunteering!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Longest Midweek Run

I continued breaking in the new Mav yesterday. My plan was 13 laps which translates to 16.9K. If completed, this will be a new achievement for me. Never have I run this far during midweek. In order to ramp up my mileage I've got to do this.

Sharp 5, I was out of the building and by 5:20pm, Newton and I were ready to go. We started very slowly and I felt heavy the first 2 laps after Tuesday's 11.7K. Soon enough, Kenneth joined us and the 8:30 per lap (6:32 per K) pace continued.

After the 3rd lap the scorching sun subsided a little and it became more comfortable to run. I started drinking from my bottle after the 4th lap even though I didn't feel thirsty. The 3 of us picked up more and more runners with each round we covered. Rohaizad, Yong and Justin joined in quick succession while Ronnie had been running at a quicker pace on his own.

I glanced to the side and we looked quite formidable. Imagine a flight of WW2 fighter planes flying in squadron formation. The posse swept everything aside. After the other casual runners (and there were many good looking babes) stopped, we were still working the miles. Coach and his understudies arrived but they were just waiting around to start.

I finished 13 laps in 1:43, averaging 5:53 per K. A good distance covered midweek. I'm confident of hitting 70K this week. Structured stressing continues. Oh yes, I've taken down the race bib collection for 2004 from my cubicle.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Why I flunked Singapore 2004

After reading this article in Jim's website, I now know the following reasons contributed to my downfall:

  1. Lack of mileage - contributed to the cramps and hitting the wall hard. Body can't sustain the effort
  2. Weather - Lack of hot weather training, contributing to cramps
  3. Unrealistic early pace - mind duped me into believing that my great feeling at 24K was due to fitness level, not knowing that I was falling into the overconfidence and positive split trap

All are elementary errors. No wonder experienced marathoners said that it takes at least 5 marathons before we learn. Need to knock these into my thick skull and get my act together.

RIP My Wave Rider!

My Wave Rider had taken me through training for 2 marathons, marathon race days and well as some 10Ks and Halves. After 800K of pounding, it's now time to retire the shoe. I'd wanted to get the Creation 5 or the Rider 8 but fate would have me buying the Maverick 3 instead.

The warehouse had only a size 9 for the Creation (RM499 before 38% discount) and the Rider 8 will only reach our shores end February. By then it'll be too late to train/break it in for KLIM. So I settled for the RM186 (after discount) Mavericks. The Mavs are loved by many people. It's a nice mix between a stability and cushioning shoe and it weighs only 10.8oz. The Mav 1 were cult favourites while Mav 2 were flops as Mizuno got their fit wrong. The Mav 3 is a return to the Mav 1 fit and for RM186, I'd have to say I'm darn happy! Saved myself some precious dough for the Rider 8 or Creation 6 to replace my NB1023 which has logged over 500K.

Here's to more great memories with my Mav 3!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Structured Stressing

After listening to Coach Chan's advice and speaking to some experienced marathoners, training 80-90K weeks are beginning to hit home. The aim of high mileage training is to stress out the body and mind so that come race day, you'll feel as comfortable as walking in the park. OK, maybe not that comfortable but close to it. As one gets comfortable with the distance, speed comes naturally and if not, building a speed module into the program will not be too taxing.

I'd like to think of the high mileage sessions as structurally stressing sessions. Planned workouts instead of just logging the miles. I had the opportunity to do just that over the last 2 days when I decided to push the envelope a bit to do back to back 20Ks. With my Mom in town, the task of taking care of my son (who has taken to running and hopping) was solved thus freeing me to run with complete freedom.

I had the good company of like-minded friends for these 2 outings. The first run was on New Year's Day and I ended up completing the workout 9 minutes faster than the usual timing - new year, new vigour? More likely, I dragged into the pace by the other runners. I was determined to slow down drastically for the second run and did so successfully. I was pleased that the second workout took a bit out of me - a sign that I was working hard. Towards the final 4K especially, my lower legs were hurting as if in the 30th K of the marathon.

After finishing the run, Coach's entourage was just about to start their 30K. True to his philosophy, they were starting at 7:30am (heat training) and were reminded to run at their own pace. No one carried hydration packs as Coach had bottles of water and gel packs in his following van.

Towards the late afternoon, I was tired but didn't get the chance to catnap. Though my legs have recovered today, I've decided to skip training today as my resting heart rate was in the 50s this morning. It's been a great learning experience and I shall definitely pursue this method of training over the coming weeks leading to the KL Marathon in March. This form of training needs to be monitored carefully as there will be increased risks of the body and mind breaking down. Whilst I may not get the chance for another back to back 20Ks, there's always the chance to do a couple of 15Ks on weekdays.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

New Year, New Hope

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's been a challenging year - plenty of ups and downs. The year unfortunately ended with the tsunami disaster which swept over a large portion of north-western Sumatra, parts of Penang and sunny Phuket, Sri Lanka, Maldives and other surrounding coastal towns. The total death toll stands at over 120,000 at this time with much more anticipated as rescuers recovered more and more bodies. The number is astounding - I can't imagine how many that number represents. Maybe if you picture this: a fully packed Maracana Stadium (the largest football stadium in the world) in Brazil can "only" hold 100,000.

That wasn't the only catastrophe to hit this planet. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, perished as a result of armed conflict in Dafour, Sudan. The level of aid granted to the African nation didn't reach the amount raised for the tsunami disaster. Perhaps the Sudan case presented a greater political challenge. In any case, it was really tragic that the people of Sudan have been forgotten.

So besides having a get together between us runners on New Year's Day, I thought it was a good opportunity to dedicate something meaningful in memory of those perished. A 20K run it was.

On my drive down to Bukit Aman, I encountered the usual party "kakis" comprising of Jinjang Joes, A2A9s, Scooter Gangs still roaming the streets at 4:30am and I thought how silly they were to have missed enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning.

It took awhile for everyone to turn up, so we took off only just before 5:30am. The morning was quite blustery and chilly. I found that I was huffing and puffing harder than usual and thought that my missed week of workout was taking its toll. I only realized that I had been running harder than usual when I checked my watch at the halfway point - 58 minutes, a full 8 minutes faster than my usual pace. I took a shorter return trip as my left knee was acting up forcing me into some short walk breaks and a slight limp. I completed the second half in 59 minutes.

As it was still early and with my Mom accompanying my Mrs Carbo and Carbo Kid at home, I could join the guys for some breakfast and to view Tey's amazing photos from his awesome marathon adventure. It was also nice to have caught up with Azwar and getting to know a newcomer Howard.

A nice cool and cloudy morning, a nice start to the year. Another long run beckons tomorrow!