p pol The Adventures of Carboman: April 2005

Friday, April 29, 2005

Keeping Tabs On The Body

It seems that I still have time for a couple more posts

From June 1995 Runner's World

You don't have to be chasing world records to fall prey to overtraining, that insidious paradox of getting zapped by your own zeal. Not only do you get slower despite working harder, but studies show you also risk depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia and a weakened immune system. Now thanks to Finnish researcher Heikki Rusko, PhD, there's a reliable test for overtraining. Better still, it'll warn you if you're on the verge of overtraining, giving you time to adjust before the bottom falls out.

Until Rusko's new method, the best you could do was either check your resting heart rate each morning (not very accurate) or have blood tests done (not very cheap). Rusko's new test picks up on the resting pulse technique but improves on it, as you'll see. Here's how it works:

- Lie quietly for 10 minutes. Then stand up and wait exactly 12 seconds before counting your pulse for 6 seconds. Write this number down.

- Next, starting precisely 90 seconds after you stood up, count your pulse again, but this time for 30 seconds. Write this number down.

- Now convert these two numbers to heart rates (beats per minute) by multiplying the first reading by 10 and the second by 2.

Do this test every day at the same time of the day. If you're not overtrained, these two readings will remain remarkably constant from day to day. If you're overtrained, or heading in that direction, you'll see a gradual rise in your heart rates - especially in your later reading. Rusko found that overtrained Finnish cross-country skiers showed 10 to 15 beat-per-minute increases in their second readings over a four-week period. The gradual increase gave the Finns time to ease up on their training. So take the test; you may need the rest.

Porter Shimer

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Busy Month of May

I'll be on 2 weeks' leave starting Monday (May 2nd) and for this period, the blog updates will be slow. The Carbo Clan will be relocating their home base to Puchong. There will be plenty of logistics headaches and even though we've cracked our heads to come out with a viable plan, there are bound to be screw ups and delays. There's no best plan. Just have to adapt and execute.

There are still plenty of tasks remaining before we can put our feet up. The house needs cleaning, the electrician needs to put up the light fittings, the aircond and heater units need installation, the furniture and curtains need delivery. And then there are the stuff from the present apartment to transport over.

I'll also need to apply for a phone line and write in/SMS to various parties on the change of address among other things. All these activities will sap me and I'll have little or no time to run. In fact, running will be the last thing on my mind.

With this movement, the present apartment will be vacant. I'm looking to either rent out the place and if the price is reasonable, sell it off. It's a nice spot with a well managed amenities and quiet surroundings. I like the place and it does have some sentimental memories attached to it but it's time to move on. If you know of anyone on the lookout for a place, do let me know.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Brooks Bonding Run Photos

Carbokid @ 2 years old

The Carbo Clan

Monday, April 25, 2005

Weekend - Borders & B(r)ooks

We're all naturally excited when Borders opened it's largest store in the world right here in KL last week. According to Runwitme, there are a 1.5 shelves worth of running books there. So hastened to Berjaya Times Square we did, Newton (PM18) and I, last Saturday.

As you enter the mall, it's located on the left wing, on the 1st and 2nd floor. There were so many books with plenty of space that we decided to just zoom into the running section (2nd floor). The choices are all right, reasonable but not spectacular. There are many copies of Lore of Running and the various Rodale Press publication but not enough from Human Kinetics. There's a copy of Jack Daniels Running Formula (which I already have) and 4 Hal Higdon titles. No George Sheehan (which I have), no Pfitzinger, no The Greatest (the Haile book) nor Paula Radcliffe's. I verified that there were 6 copies of The Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes in stock but after 10 minutes of search operation byn the store clerk and I, we couldn't locate it! So I settled for
Alberto Salazar's Guide to Road Racing. The prices of books were competitive (many even cheaper than Kino). I like the history, arts and reference sections which I will definitely check out at a later date.

Arrived late at FRIM on Sunday because Carbokid refused to leave home. After employing all tricks, lies and bribery for 10 minutes, we finally got out of the apartment. By the time we reached FRIM, thanks to Cheong's (PM12) drawn map, everyone had took off for the Brooks Bonding Run. PK mistakenly (or maybe in jest) thought that we were the first finishers. Nevertheless we received 2 Brooks socks and coaxed Carbokid to run about, explore and do whatever kids like to do. But he more or less remained stuck to us (too shy). For awhile before the crowd returned, he was the centre of attraction for the cameramen. We also took opportunity to wallop some food.

There were many familiar faces - even the fast athletes like Don and Goh Choon Aun were there. I suspect the elusive Runwitme too. We didn't win anything in the lucky draws. Before we left, Carbokid wanted to hike up the steep steps to the waterfall and as there were no way he was going to leave the place without going up, I brought him halfway. That was because the steps were getting narrower and it wasn't easy to accomodate the walkers coming down from the opposite direction. Nice cardio workout Carbokid had.

FRIM is a nice spot to spend the outdoors with the family. Too bad it's just too far from my place to make frequent trips there.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Carbo Kid's Birthday and a Discovery

Carbo Kid turns 2 today! It's hard to believe that it's been 24 months since he popped into our lives. It's been challenging so far and it can only get more difficult - all part of growing up.

As yesterday was a public holiday, the three of us we went for a nice lunch at the TGI restaurant at Subang Parade. As we were strolling around the mall after the heavy meal, I came across an outlet selling orthortics and special shoes. Orthortics are special shoe inserts to assist those with biomechanical problems such as over pronation, foot alignment among others. I was also surprised to find some Brooks running shoes on their shelves. Although I don't require orthortics, finding a store that sells them over the counter (as well as via prescription) is rare. Podiatrists are usually the ones to recommend these aids.

I don't remember the name but the store display looked a little on the expensive side. Indeed, those who went in had that rich look as well. I'm sure this store is a boon to runners seeking some foot relief. If you're one of them, it's located next to MPH Subang Parade, next to a children's educational shop.

More on Safety

The time during which many distance runners are out there are pretty unearthly. On weekends, we share the roads with drunk drivers or just those plain inconsiderate ones. So for the sake of our love ones, please exercise caution!

Run against traffic
While it does not guarantee your safety, at least you can watch the oncomings.

Wear light colour clothing
White caps and white tops will add visibility.

Wear reflective gear
Rank running gear with reflective strips higher in the shopping list. Many shoes (most models) and clothing (especially Nike's) have incorporated Scotchlite and 3M strips. Consider also taping additional strips to the vest or wearing an additional safety bib.

Lose the earphones
I'm not a fan of wearing earphones during my runs. It's not that I don't like the music but the cables and the MP3 unit itself tends to get in the way. More importantly, you can't hear oncoming traffic (especially from behind) or other dangers (such as muggers and dogs). We need all our senses to be on the alert.

Clear the danger zones quickly
If there are certain dangerous stretches and if you can't circumvent/avoid them, run quickly past these areas. Don't linger around longer than it's required.

I learnt from Tey's mail that Jenny was struck down in a hit-and-run case from the back and is suffering from multiple fractures to her cheek bone, shoulder, hip and a few more places. Passers-by helped to call the ambulance. The internal bleeding has also been stopped. Typical of her strength she's cheery despite the pain and setback.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Distressing News

At about noon today, I received a distressing SMS which reported that one of the club's top woman marathoner, Jenny Lim, had been struck down by a car and was in serious condition. Apparently she'd been running around the Section 17 area and was heading towards the KLGCC when the accident happened. I've no further information for now except that she came out of surgery about 2pm just now and is in stable condition. Her hip bone was fractured and there was internal bleeding. Another surgery has been scheduled next week.

Coupled with Justin's report about his encounter with bad traffic, this is a timely, if jolting, reminder to exercise extreme caution when running out there. Another danger zone is the Duta-IRB junction where extensive road works are on-going.

Jenny, a veteran of 43 marathons, is a tough lady and we pray that she once again calls up her unquestioned strength and recover soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What's it with some people?

I was on an easy pace with Gan yesterday - the weather had been hot and humid, a contrast from the previous week. In the middle of the 1st lap, I spotted this regular fella doing some stretching. Before long, and as expected, he passed the 2 of us. This fella is not tall and runs with a stiff upper body and arms. Only the legs will hop along lightly. In fact his turnover is very good and he's a good runner. I estimate him regularly averaging 6:30 laps.

After he passed us he kept a gap of 150m in front. After Gan completed his workout, I ran easily alone. Then I noticed that this fella slowed down considerably as if allowing me to catch up. As I was running very easily at my own pace, I just ambled along. Then he slowed down even more. It was to be another lap before I passed him. True to my suspicion he immediately picked up his pace again and overtook me. Naturally I was couldn't care less about it but what irked me was that he kept peering over his shoulder to see where I was.

There's a reason why a training run is called as such. Leave the intimidation or arrogance elsewhere - it has no place in distance running. If he wanted to run fast or slow, it's entirely up to him. Doing fast times and overtaking is best left at the races when it matters! In which case I outran him the recent Sunday. And so did Ronnie, to whom he dished out the same behaviour last week.

I have a message to this person, if he's reading the blog: "Lighten Up!"

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Larian Mesra Rakan Cop

My race report is up! Check it out at the Loft!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Midweek Long Run

Thunder rolled and the lightning streaked across the skies a couple of times. The rain poured and entirely whitewashed the scenery outside the window. And the time was already 4:30pm! It was too darn near my training time. I hoped that the thunder and lightning would subside as the rain showed no signs of abating.

My wish was granted and after fully kitted in my rainwear, the heavenly precipitation slowed to a light drizzle, so I discarded the jacket in the car and jogged to the park with just the cap protecting me against the drizzle. I was wearing tights and I appreciated the added support.

The first 2 laps was run easily - about 8:07 to 8:10 per lap pace. Li Sar joined in on my 3rd lap onwards. We continued in the same pace in the beautiful and cool weather. Folks were starting to come out from the shelter and occassionally got into our way. Saw Julian (who ran in the opposite direction), then Kenneth, Yong, Rohaizad and Newton joined in. Suddenly the bunch became much larger! The pace gradually increased - first to 7:50 per lap, then 7:40 and then faster. Because of the weather, running was easy.

By the time Yoda joined in, only Li Sar and I were running, with Newton pacing Yan, the newbie girl. Kenneth decided to join Julian to preserve his legs for tomorrow's track. As us trio were cruising along at probably 7:20 pace, Ronnie arrived with John. My last 3 laps were probably done in sub 7 pace. I'm still waiting for the return of my Timex which needed a relook at the rubber washer when I discovered some moisture seepage after the recent strap replacement.

It was a fine run and I'm just going to rest tomorrow while running 5 easy laps on Friday before Sunday's race.

Total laps: 11
Distance: 14.3K
Total Time: 1:23
Average pace per lap: 7:52
Average pace per K: 5:50

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

3 Lap PR

After missing Monday's workout, and nearly missing today's workout due to a long winded conference call, all my pentup frustration were unleashed at the KLCC track.

By th time I reached the track, it was already 6:30pm and I immediately set off on a brisk pace. Recorded a 6:50 first lap and felt really good. So I ramped it up a bit in the 2nd lap, intending to do a 5-lapper. I had Rohaizad and Newton for company for the 2nd, which was run at an even faster pace. The strides were really flowing and I was taking deep controlled breaths.

However near the end of the 2nd lap, a side stitch struck on the right abs. This was the second time I had this affliction - the strongest cause would probably be starting at a fast pace without warmups. I focused on exhaling hard with every left footstrike and it worked.

At the middle of the 3rd lap, by which time I was running alone, both sides of the abs felt a little sore, causing my strides to shorten. I kicked a bit more towards the end and discovered that I had run a pretty good time, which I believe had eclipsed my last year's 3K time trial at the track.

I'm now looking forward to this Sunday's 10K race and also the upcoming 3K time trial.

Total laps: 3; 3.9K
Approx lap times (didn't have a split enabled watch on): 6:50 > 6:10 > 6:17
Total Time: 19:17
Average pace per K: 4:50

The Allure of the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is perhaps the oldest Marathon in the world, having surpassed its 100th running (109th this year actually). Not every runner can run this but nearly every marathoner has dreamt of running it. 500,000 spectators line up along it's course every year, making it the largest viewed event in New England.

When you talk about running Boston, 2 factors are considered. The course and its qualifying time. Yes, you'll need to qualify first. According to the qualifying requirements, I need to run a 3:15 to qualify! Men of 50-54 need to run a 3:35 marathon. For the qualification table,
go here.

Once you've qualified, you will have to battle the course and in recent years, the heat. The course is treacherous with the last 5.7 miles being downhills.
Even experienced legs will buckle under the downhill pounding after the infamous Heartbreak Hill. Download the course map here.

A recent RW online poll asked whether the Boston qualifying criteria is too stringent. The following is one of the respondents reply:

"This year will be my second Boston, my first being last year. If it were not for Boston and its demanding qualifying times I might never have been motivated to improve. It took me 4 years and 6 marathons but I qualified at the Marine Corps Marathon and then again at the Baltimore Marathon. At times I felt the qualifying time was too difficult but I will never forget approaching the finish line by the Iwo Jima Memorial screaming, "I am going to Boston!" All the hard work and sacrifice made lining up in the corral at last year's start the proudest moment in my athletic life. When the F14 flew over the starters I had goose bumps from head to toe."
Garen F. Danyi - Easton, PA"

I suppose it's the difficulty and the history of this race that makes it so attractive. Not everyone can run the Olympic Marathon, so this is sort of an Olympics for the "normal" runners out there. Me? I'll continue fantasizing about it. Once in awhile, I'll take out and read the numerous race coverage in the back issues of RW, including the beautiful 100th Anniversary Collectors Issue. Oh yes, there's also the to-do task of lowering my PR of 4:41 first.

Brief history of the Boston Marathon.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Yesterday morning's long run weather was ideal. Slightly cooler than usual. The group comprised of Tey, CM, Kenny, Jason, Howard and I set off at a very easy pace - probably 7 minutes pace or so.

For the 3rd week, I ran without carrying fluids to condition the body. Along the way, Tey informed me that his friend from Penang loaned him a VCD titled Endurance. The conversation went something like this:

Tey: Dr, I've got a VCD from my friend. It's called Endurance. You want it?
Dr: (My ears immediately perked up and I asked him) Is it the one on Haile Gebrsellasie?
Tey: Yes, yes. My friend loaned me the discs. The quality is OK but pixelises a bit during the Olympic race scene
Dr: Oh? Could you pass it to me to duplicate? Did you bring it? (I was very excited, like a kid discovering a neighbourhood candy store)
Tey: Yes, I have it here in my pouch.

Let's just say that for the rest of the run, I had nothing else in my mind except that docu-drama. On the return leg of our run, Tey handed me the VCD as he knew I'd be leaving soon after the run, so there I was running and clutching dearly at this piece of sweaty treasure. I increased the pace slightly and caught sight of Rohaizad and Yong near the IRB crossing and later the other PACM regulars. With the quicker pace, I cleared the crowd of Hong Leong Charity Run participants who have yet to start. I also saw Penguin 2 and Chen (who both I think were doing the double hill route).

If you've not heard about Endurance, it's about the rise of the legendary runner up to his win (showing how he outkicked Paul Tergat) in the Atlanta Games. There's also a short clip of another Ethiopian legend, Miruts Yifter (Yifter the Shifter) winning in the earlier games. The mid-section of the show was pretty slow showing his family and how he was introduced to his future wife. There was also a clip of him finishing 99th in his first marathon. But just seeing Geb run is worth the price of the disc, which incidentally is not longer available new. Even so, only the VHS format is available. Finally before the credits rolled, the scene showed Geb, Tergat and the 3rd finisher standing locking arms, facing the crowd - a scene that got me misty eyed.

And now I've got difficulty burning the discs. TNS!

So Far...

It was still difficult getting into the Sunday regime and its 4:15am wakeup time. But since I'm in a no pressure phase, I just take each run as it comes, contented just to complete it. Usually however, I will end up having a good one.

I've been focusing on speed lately and inadvertantly. With an elevated fitness level and strength I now understand why it's a little tough running slow. Nevertheless speed and slowness are relative and as long as I keep the easy workouts comfortable, I'll be OK. That's why I'm eager to test out my speed in the shorter races for this month. Besides keeping the legs peppy, I'll still get the LT workouts in the form of the races. Targeted ones are this week's Cops Run followed by the 4x3K time trials.

In terms of my marathon training (Ipoh and/or Penang), I'm still at base training where I'm putting in 60% of mileage during the first 2 months of a 4-month program. From May, the bodily system would have adjusted to the stress of extra mileage allowing more miles to be piled on. I'm looking forward to the massages I'd definitely be having while on my department's Bangkok vacation on May 22nd (which will cause me to miss the NB PACM 15K). But I get to run in Bangkok, have the massages and get in some shopping (which will involve running gear) and eating. Furthermore there's always the 2nd run on May 29th. So I think it's a good tradeoff.

Here's to a good training week!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Midweek Long Run

"Finally I've got you babe!" That's what Ronnie would normally shout after nailing a tough PR or beating someone to the finish line. For me, it was finishing the KLCC 10-lapper in a PR which led me to believe that I've got stronger since the recent KL Marathon. In my 4 attempts prior to the marathon, I've not been able to match my previous PR of 1:16. Of course having a very good pacer in Li Sar counted a lot. She's definitely a couple of notches above my ability having finished consistently in the top rung (and taking home cash prizes) in the local races. Having a sub 4 marathon under her belt also strengthens her credentials.

Having started the first 2 laps at warm up pace, we logged increasingly faster laps. Today's workout was well attended - Newton, Rohaizad (both completed 9 laps), Ronnie and Justin, Kenneth and later Yong completed the roundup of familiar faces. I think with a more even pacing, 1:10 in the near future is a strong possibility.

8:27.45 > 8:21.95 > 8:11.00 > 7:47.69 > 7:14.08 > 7:05.69 > 6:48.95 > 6:42.31 > 6:42.95 > 6:38.01

Total time: 1:14.00

Monday, April 04, 2005

Look East Policy

A fascinating peek into how the Japanese trains for distance running. We don't get enough of these insights. Almost religious-like, logging mega-mileage and strict discipline, it's no surprise that distance runners are revered in Japan.

An Ivy-League collegiate team trains with the Japanese teams in a run-up to the elite Ekiden Relay Race. Want to know why distance running is so successful for this team of runners? It's to do with the education system. It's to do with the culture. Read on: http://www.letsrun.com/japan.shtml

The 2000 Sydney Olympics Gold Medallist for the women's Marathon speaks up:

Sagely Advice

The legendary Haile Gebrselassie has 13 training sessions a week. On Sunday he runs ONLY once. He also said that each week, he tries to do 3 speed sessions, one long run (1½/2 hours) and one or two Fartlek sessions while the rest of the sessions are endurance runs to help his muscles to recover from the hard training. Before you try emulating him, read the following extract from an interview conducted by BBC-Online last year.

When asked what has been the best advice he had had, Gebrselassie replied:

"Actually, there are two important pieces that helped me a lot:

1. Work hard! This is what my father has always told me. Nothing comes for free, so if you want to achieve something you will have to work hard.

2. Take your time! This was the first advice of my manager Jos Hermens. He explained to me that if you work hard and make the right choices, things will come your way.

In the beginning of my career I thought I could run a race every week. I felt great and wanted to show people how fast I could run.

Jos taught me not to run too many races and to train and rest well. When I started to do this, my performances got even better!"

You can read more of the interview here.