The marathon saps both body and mind. We had pretty cheerleaders to hi-five us in the Singapore Marathon but this time around we will have to rely more on our training and willpower to nudge us past the last 10-12Ks.
In those tough final miles of this Sunday's race, I will remember the dialogue between Sean Connery's character James Mason in "The Rock" and Stanley Goodspeed played by Nicholas Cage.
When James Mason handed Stanley Goodspeed a handgun before an impending firefight with the baddies, Mason warned Goodspeed not to "fuck up". To which Goodspeed replied:
SG: "I'll try my best." JM: "Whiners and Losers say that they'll do their best. Winners get to go home and fuck the Prom Queen." SG retorted: "Carla (Stanley's fiancee) was the Prom Queen" JM: "Really?" (astounded look on his face)
I always find this scene funny. The chemistry between these 2 leads are always a joy to watch. Hopefully the final part of the race will also be an enjoyable experience for me.
The results just in! We managed a creditable 7th placing. It wasn't the usual treasure hunt. Rather this one comprised of a drive hunt, a short walk hunt at Alamanda Putrajaya and a mandarin throwing competition at the main lake in Putrajaya.
The journey would take us from behind Sunway Summit to the jam-logged SS14 and 15 (in USJ), to the equally bad Bandar Puchong Jaya and finally to Putrajaya. The team recruited a new face, Wen Dee to be the 4th member and she acquitted herself well, helping Newton in qualifying for the mandarin throwing Grand Finals.
The main hunt saw the team stumble in the anagrams and some observation based questions but we rallied strongly back in the 2nd portion of the hunt and hauled ourselves back to 7th placing. This was thanks to the superb mandarin throwing and the walk hunt segments.
As this was a small hunt, only the top 3 teams in the hunt proper took home cash prizes, with the 4th and 5th placed teams winning hampers. For qualifying in the mandarin throwing Grand Finals, our team took home RM200. We went home really tired, the haze not helping at all. However our journey home was not before Newton being called up to demo some kungfu skills!
The entire running fraternity must have griped so much about the haze that it rained last night. It must've started at about 11pm last night - thundering down in torrents - and continued to 8am (as I'm typing this). I looked outside just 5 minutes ago but I'm not sure if the haze has cleared or the blurriness is due to the rain. I hope the rain came down over the hot spots so that the flames can be doused. That'll take care of the root of the problem. Coming down over residential areas will only bring about temporary relief.
My son has not yet woke up and we're supposed to pop by the Lake Gardens for a while before adjourning to the Juara Indoor Stadium for the company's Family Day.
Trust it to the Americans to come up with all things related to documentation. For every single process, they can write pages of manuals, documents, attach multiple steps of compliance to them, put in some requirements for monthly reporting and lastly tag the whole damn thing to the Audit.
The Chinese on the other hand, traditionally at least, have no use for documentation, preferring instead to rely on word of mouth. While this eases the red-tape somewhat, it has some downside. Modern medical science have no records of herbal and other traditional treatments favoured by the Chinese. Facts get distorted over the years. For all you know, there's been a cure for cancer and we don't know about it!
I view documentation as a necessary evil which can easily be abused or taken overboard. I know because I'm in the midst of doing this shit at work right now.
Anxious runners are monitoring the air quality over the last 1 week, fearing the deterioration of the haze situation. Indeed, today has been the worst so far - only 2K visibility in most parts of central Kuala Lumpur.
Some colleagues have already reported some traces of sore throats and with the KL Marathon just 9 days away, I'm thinking of coming out with a contingency plan of wearing a lightweight facial mask on race day. Most of my runner friends are staying away from their runs these few days.
You can be sure that racers from areas not affected by the haze, including those from overseas, will be shocked when they land in KL next week. They will suffer from the choking muck and us KLites will either have fallen ill from breathing the foul air or have adapted to it!
They called it the Chap Goh Meh Treasure Hunt but CGM has already passed. Anyway, since the event is pretty low key with only 30 cars, we decided to enter. It'll be a form of "refresher" for all of us after last year's fall back to earth (Citibank Treasure Hunt), where we failed to make it a quadruple of titles.
The team is very relaxed and we look forward to a good outing.
The reservoir of thoughts seemed to have dried up this week. Calm before the storm? Or simply just a way for the body and mind to fully recover and prepare itself for the ordeal to come in 1.5 weeks' time?
The right ankle aches a little but should be OK with some ice treatment. More irritatingly is the pain on my right hand - in between the thumb and the forefinger. Could it be carpal tunnel syndrome? It's definitely nerve as the pain is not always there.
This was supposed to be run in conjunction with the PACM 2nd Practice Run but with a bad cough racking my body, yesterday was the absolute last chance for me - there being only 2 weeks to go to race day.
Yong, Tey, Martin and Uncle Hooi (who will be running the HK Half Marathon next Sunday) started with me at 5:05am. I intended to run at a slower pace, aiming to just complete the targeted 33-35K. Instead I found myself at the front after the 2nd K. I couldn't talk much else each time I would be hacking non-stop. So I focused on keeping my breathing comfortable (I've gotten quite good at this). I thought my pace was much faster but upon reaching the 10K mark, I was actually slower by 2 minutes. John, Thomas and Adam had already zoomed past me. Thomas aka PM6 has improved so much. We ran our first marathon in Singapore 2 years ago.
Since I was pretty far ahead, I decided to turn back and continued on. Hydrated well throughout and didn't crack open the PowerGel. Though the last 2.3K around the lake were tough, I improved my timing by 1 minute. The training log showed that I negative-splitted yesterday.
It's 2 more weeks and I'm already feeling a little nervous. Time to review the training log and decide on a race pace to stick to. Come race day, I hope that smart pacing and the PowerGels (I've not taken any in training for KLIM) will be sufficient enough to carry me through the wall.
Good takeaways: - Negative splitted - No reliance on PowerGels - Good mindfulness on breathing
For those who persisted and run with a bad cough, you'll know how I felt. The first two laps were run very slow - 9:00 per lap - but the coughing were prety bad. Though the phlegm were pretty much reduced following an early morning treatment, but there were enough to tickle the throat and send me into Cough Hell.
Only towards the end of the 5 lap workout did the coughing fit stopped and I even managed to pick up the pace. In the end I was just thankful I could run today. Later with Rohaizad's help, I distributed the 15K forms to the park regulars, including 2 leng luis (which I'll let Rohaizad tell more about). Oh yes, Newton also PR'd his 5-lapper in his new Max Moto (picture below).
In my place of work, it's the process to submit your medical chit to your boss before it's recorded down into the leave system. As he put down his John Hancock, he remarked (as always) about my fitness. The conversation went like this:
Carboman: Boss, please initial on my MC Boss: What happened to you? I thought with all that running you're very fit
C: Oh, it's because of the running that sometimes one can get a bit sick. It's a kind of stress too. B: Looks like it's not working for you
C: In my depleted state I can still outrun anyone here and I can prove it. Come for a run later? (You can see my agitation here as it's evident that non-exercisers have no grip on the subject matter) B (chuckling, walking away): Not running lah. I don't run.
C: Then you're all going to suffer since some of you voted me as the Department's VOE Champion. Anyway, fitness should not be confused with health. One can be fit by may not be as healthy (A Department VOE Champion handles things like extra-curricular activities among other things...) B (chuckling)
Moral of the story is not to waste your energy explaining concepts to non-exercisers/non-runners. They simply can't grasp the idea.
My throat flared up the Monday of the Chinese New Year week. It was so bad that I had trouble swallowing. Rest was not forthcoming as Carbo Kid hung us out to dry - didn't want to sleep, perhaps due to change of environment. We had to drive around in the car until midnight, check whether he had fallen asleep and then only take him home to be tucked in. And there's no guarantee that he won't wake up just as we're about to put him down on the bed.
The weather definitely didn't help and out of desperation I went to the doctor. This doctor comes highly recommended by my in-laws. Among the reasons was he charged cheaply. I waited for 10 patients in front of me in his seedy looking and musty clinic. When he saw me he immediately suggested an injection. So even though I hated to be jabbed, I had no choice. I needed to get well fast - the New Year is but 2 days away! I also took home quite a bit of medicine. In all the bill came up to...RM25. Darn cheap. I really can't think of any reason why I was hit by this throat infection except to blame it on the weather. For 2 weeks I've watched my diet diligently, avoiding the problem foods like mandarins, cookies and fried stuff.
The throat cleared up end of the next day and I should be elated except that I was still not getting enough sleep due to the kid. The weather was still hot, with one afternoon hitting 36C! Perfect for Badwater training, deplorable for doing every other thing.
This went on until the day we left Penang for KL. The journey from Penang to Ipoh wasn't so bad. Only some expected traffic at the Juru toll. But the jam was about 5K long immediately after exiting the Taiping tunnel all the way to the Jelapang toll. Total time taken from Penang to Ipoh: 2 hours. Met up with an old friend for lunch in the equally blazing Ipoh and left at about 3:30pm.
Things went downhill from here. We were baked for 4 hours before reaching Rawang. The longest crawl was the 30K journey before the Rawang rest stop. After that it was free flowing.
I'm now still recovering from the after effects of the journey back. The cough has been very persistent and the phlegm has turned from thick yellowish gunk to white (signs of recovery). I've gone to 2 more doctors, desperate to find a quick cure and have even done the nebulizer. The throat irritation is caused by the phlegm. The sooner this is rid off, the faster I'll recover.
OK so the shoe is a gimmick! But it got your attention!
I will be distributing and collecting race entries at KLCC park during the weekdays, so if anyone wants to register please make it to the park. Bring along the entry fees (RM40 for public, RM30 for Pacesetter members).
It works like this: - You fill in the form - Pay the entry fees - I'll register you with the Race Director - Race Director will either post you your registration cards OR you can choose to hand collect from me at KLCC
Just had to squeeze off a long run before heading home to Penang tomorrow. And I'm lucky I did as there were just many runners this morning - probably having the same thinking as I, what with the expected feasting and sloth. Not many knew the throat pain I was harbouring and at the start, I thought of just going along with my feelings - miinimum 20K and we'll see from there.
In the end I felt good enough to complete about 33K in roughly 3:15. This translates to just a shade under 6 minute pace. The feeling was that I could do 2K more but decided to call it a day. I had Jason, Yong, Martin, Wong and Yap for company this morning but Martin and Wong let the pace rip and we couldn't spot them after 20K. My last 2K was run along the circuit runners where I spotted Petaling Runner, Chen, PM1 and Justin.
I reached home completely pooped. Had a bottle of Endurox, 1 Chewy Bar, 3 bowls of porridge, 1 glass of honey, and popped down the medication. Then I hit the sack for 45mins.
Gonna ice them limbs - need to recover for tomorrow drive back to Penang. Happy New Year!
In view of the 1) upcoming Chinese New Year holidays, 2) Heatwave season and 3) Long runs, I got my hair cropped short 2 days ago. I hate having fancy hairstyles, perfectly happy to have the simple short all-round cut. And once I get comfy with a saloon, I'd stick with it. Best if the stylists (as they like to be called these days. "Barbers" somehow sound demeaning) are regulars there.
There were already a few customers having their hair done and I waited for my turn. I switched my attention to the stylists at work and there were 3 ladies and a guy. The guy had previously worked on me before and his handiwork is not bad. And he's quick.
Another woman, who is also the boss was dressed in a floppy kind of pink dress that has a neckline that more or less plunges down to her midriff. Her lilac coloured lace bra peeked out from the various sections of the "dress". She's not pretty and with that kind of getup, automatically qualifies her the "whore look".
The other girl was much better looking. Young, about mid-twenties and sporting highlighted hair, she wore a tight black short blouse that exposed her abs. Her jeans were so low cut that I wondered if she wore any underwear. I know they have this type of underwear that's called the hipster cut - a very low hip hugging (hence the name) type of panties and the one this girl was wearing has got to be one of the lowest variety in the market.
The exposed flesh (so fair!) in the midriff caused me much anxiety of the nicest kind. Her skin was smooth, not a hint of spot, wrinkle or ruddiness. And she was to be my stylist! Mine, all mine!!! OK OK, for that 1 hour or so. As she was working on me (OK, my hair), I tried not to stare at her flat tummy mere inches away from my face. Her touch was very gentle as she ran her fingers through my hair unlike the typical Helgas who will have no hesitation of snipping at your flesh and pulling your hair.
I had trouble tearing myself away after paying the bill.
I've not run in such a hot condition since the last Singapore Marathon. I'd already ensured that I stuck to a 7-minute/Km pace but it didn't matter. I was whacked nevertheless and couldn't complete my 13 lapper, managing only 9. There won't be any running today due to an evening appointment.
After a frustrating week, I'm pleased to report that I'm back! Seemingly recovered from the exhaustion of previous weeks' exploits, I decided to run this morning.
Justin was the only one who turned up and we waited for awhile for Ronnie. While chatting some other Pacesetters went off on their runs. I spotted Lawrence, Bruce, David Lee and family, Jessica and a few others.
I opted not to run the double hill route as I thought I'd play it safe since this is the so-called "comeback run". I was prepared to go alone around the Lake but I was to have Justin's company since Ronnie SMSed that he was unable to join - pretty unusual, but then he's already married. You get what I mean? Without Ronnie around, Justin's company was most welcome as Justin has the ability to also run slower unlike Ronnie!
Anyway, we set off at about 6:10am and the pace picked up considerably with each 2.3K (approx) lap. The last 3 laps were done at my tempo pace. We wrapped things up after the 5th lap and immediately hit the carbos at the nearby stall. We spotted Chen later ambling back to the car park. He looked exactly like he appeared in his "Awana Torture" photo.