p pol The Adventures of Carboman: July 2005

Friday, July 29, 2005

Misc Updates

Been out of the blogging world lately as many things have been going on at the same time. So much so that I've not run in exactly a week. If you've been following my blog, my Mom dropped by for a visit with a bagful of stuff from the States - a couple of DVDs for Carbo Kid and a book for me. Her visit is to also "look after" my wife who was in for a minor surgery to remove a lump from her breast. The surgery itself was a small thing - a 30-minute procedure and she was discharged the very next day. The tissue sample will then be lab tested at length for any cancerous element. Chances are the lump is benign, meaning it's harmless. On the flipside, malignant would mean cancerous. My Mom is basically preparing all the nutritious food for my wife and the rest of us. It's great to have her around again. She will be returning to the States for her final 6-month nanny stint next January after which she will return for good. If any of you are on the lookout for a good midwife for your planned offspring from August '06 onwards, look no further for an experienced person in my Mom. Afterall, she's been to London, the States, Japan, Singapore and the local states to do specially this.
I've been busy setting up the notebook, installing some applications and doing up the various settings. A very tedious affair considering my old clone desktop is on the verge of failing - it kept freezing up. I've got to send it for reformatting as well as some maintenance by a vendor as I've no way of backing up the data on the CD-Writer. The frigging Nokia PC Suite literally screwed every damn thing up.
When I returned from my leave, I found that my office PC upgrade was incomplete. For nearly a day, I was incapacitated, unable to work. Even before the PC was brought to life, I was also caught up with a major meeting which ate up half of my day. That very night, Carbo Kid had a sleepless night apparently distressed by some nightmares. I must've had only 4 hours of sleep.
Only today, some semblence of routine returned to my life and I'm able to resume some blogging. I've got my Klang 10K bib from Tey (my gratitude goes out to him for facilitating the collection and distribution) but once again, I'm not sure how my race will turn out with a week's inactivity. Well, I'll just run I guess! Incidentally this will be the final race before I turn my full attention to training for longer distances. Yup, it's time again to bring on the halves and THE full!
I may bring the clan out for some shopping tomorrow. But I'm also toying with the idea of driving up to Genting for some fresh air - a bit of altitude experience before Sunday's crunch.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Busy Few Days

Weekend was OK if at bit hectic - lots of running here and there. By Sunday evening I was pooped but still managed to clear up some ironing backlog. I've yet to wrap up my precious book - just didn't have the time coz hey, I don't use the usual wrapper. I tend to lean towards the self adhesive type, so this can't be hurried lest you get creases and air bubbles when putting the wrapper on.

The delivery guy just passed me my notebook just now and I'm busy installing softwares and copying files over to it. This is my first notebook and it'll definitely add to my out-of-office productivity.

Lunch was the simple but delectable Jalan Bandar beef ball noodles. On my way there after cancelling the phone line to my old apartment, I popped by a used bookstore and enquired about running books. Most of the stuff they have there are priceless. I spotted a 12-book colelction written by Churchill on the WWII campaigns. Each costs RM48 (mind you this is 2nd hand)! OK back to running books. I was pleased as punch that they have a good condition Running with Legends by Michael Sandrock! The Kinokuniya sticker was still there showing the original price of RM80++. It was sold to me at RM50! After reading it a few months ago (it was PM19's "bible"), I was tempted to grab the last copy at Kino, so thankfully I opted to wait. 2 fantastic running books acquired within a week! Does it get any better? This Sunday will be the Klang 10K. Maybe it will get even better for me heh?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Lim Peh Beh Tahan Liao!

Carbo Man's Mom is back from the States! And she's making a trip down to KL today with my Haile's (brief about Haile) book and Carbo Kid's Wiggles DVDs. The weekend is here and I'm waiting for my notebook to arrive. And the Mega Sale is back tomorrow as well! So much anticipation - so kan cheong! Like the Hokkiens say "Lim Peh Beh Tahan Liao!"

For the most parts of tomorrow, we'll be at home catching up with Mom, finishing some house chores and tidying up while there's a dinner planned outside in the evening. I'll run a bit on Sunday morning and then we will head downtown to the Bukit Bintang area as I've got some stuff to do. The missus, Carbo Kid and Mom would probably chill out at Borders while waiting for me. In fact they've not been to Sg Wang, Lot 10 for a long time as well.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Random Jottings

On Death Bed
I dreamt that I was on my death bed, with just minutes away from the next world. I distinctly felt the coldness dripping my hands and feet and remembered calling out to my wife and she sat down beside me. No sign of Carbo Kid (probably studying overseas!). Finally, I muttered something like "The only thing that matters is love" (or your company...something like that, I can't remember exactly. Then I woke up.
You Gotta Hand it To Penguin-6
If you'd like to know what I'm talking about, just visit his site. I don't know how he knows where to get such photos but I know that he sure brightened up many persons' morning.
Community Service Message
Kenneth has an important message to all gym-rats, sedentary and workaholic folks out there. To find out, hit this link.
Park Diversion
A small section of the KLCC Park will be closed for 2 months. Walkers, joggers and runners are now diverted to a small curved path near the new upmarket condos currently under construction. There will be no PRs set at KLCC during this period as the diversion is quite annoying. Not only that, the diversion signages posted there has diversion spelt as "divertion". Talk about being assaulted visually each time you pass this area.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Deed Is Done!

Being a sucker for pain and suffering, I've this morning paid SGD29.75 (early bird + returning entrant) to register for this year's Singapore Marathon. 3 days after the opening of the online registration, my race ID has reached 526! And Alex, who confessed to being kiasu, registered on the opening day itself and was rewarded with 008!

Alex Leong - 008
Jamie - 526
Jantzen Tey - yet to register
Jason Lim - yet to register
Joviet Sim - yet to register
Runwitme - don't know registered or not
...and many more!

Half Marathon (yet to register)
Kenneth Teh
Ronnie See

Julian Chan
Tan Bose

Andrew Mong
Bernice Chee
...and many more!

Will you be joining us in Singapore? Hit this link and sign up for the race of your lives!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sunday Long Run

I completed my first 20K in months today, much to my relieve. I've been attempting to gradually shift my weekly mileage higher and higher again in anticipation of the coming long races in Q4 this year. This run will also help stress the legs out easing into higher mileage . In some ways I'm looking forward to test myself out on a couple of 21Ks just to see where I stand. I've not run a single halves this year.

So while some fanatics are racing in Melaka and PD today, I showed Simon the Hartamas route. He's a little familiar with KL having been here a few times before. After picking him up from Jalan Sultan Ismail, we headed to the Bukit Aman car park where Munning was already there. After a short chat, the 2 of us took off at a very easy pace. The morning was really cool and I was glad to find that the Jalan Duta intersection has been reopened - the flyover is completed but still unopened. So some care is still required to cross the road safely. Most of the way I ran slightly in front and we chatted little. I guess we really wanted to conserve energy.

Reached Hartamas with no problems and after a hydration break, we set back. Either I was running faster or Simon was practicing his race pace, he fell further back but I always waited for him. By the time we reached the Bank Negara junction we parted ways as he ran/walked back to his apartment located behind the Shangri-La Hotel. He said the route is quite challenging but nice for training and that he's looking forward to running there again. And in case you happen to see a 6 foot Caucasian running at the KLCC Park at about 7pm or so, carrying a small backback, chances are that'll be Simon. Remember to say "Hi!".

Friday, July 15, 2005

A New Friend

Through the Internet, I now have another friend in running. Simon is a Londoner but is in KL for a medium term assignment. He had worked in Hong Kong for 9 years and Singapore for 2. A few weeks ago Simon wrote in to the Pacesetters email checking on the running scene here in KL and I thought he'd reached the right place.

We made arrangements to meet at the KLCC Park on a wet Friday evening and the rain had slowed to a drizzle when I got to the park. I had only my ClimaFIT cap on and after lacing my shoes and didn't see Simon at the agreed spot, I set off. As it turned out, Simon was waiting in the shade just a couple of yards ahead.

We chatted quite a bit and I learnt that he's currently training for an ultra-race across the desert in Egypt in September - a 240K trek across carrying noting but own supplies without a crew!! If you were running with us at that time you would've seen my jaw dropped. Simon prefers cross country than road running and personally I think he's more of the adventure racer type. It's really a remarkable thing that he's attempting to do this September. To put the distance in perspective, his race is longer than Badwater (135 miles - 216K) and even more extreme as he will be crewless (Badwater racers had crews attending to them) and will need to navigate by compass. I suspect Simon is a trained ex-SAS or British Special Forces operator!

Our laps went by quickly in the cool weather and he decided to call it a day after the 5th while I continued on for another lap. The meeting aside, it had been a most enjoyable run. I hardly felt any fatigue and my legs were fresh to the point that I was looking forward to the 20K (my first in months!) with Simon this Sunday.

8:16 > 7:50 > 7:44 > 7:37 > 7:17 > 6:40
Total time: 45:26
Average lap: 7:34

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Nailed It!

It was way back in Jan '05 that I clocked 56:41 for the KLCC 8 lapper. It's always been challenging for me to run consistently fast on this difficult course. My road 10K timing is better that the one done on this undulating course. But yesterday's weather, freshness in the legs, a leisurely day brought about from being on leave (had to take the missus to the hospital for a checkup) got me perky and ready to put in a fast run.

Justin and I started at a leisurely pace enjoying the cool and breezy weather. The rain had just stopped and the conditions were just wonderful. On our 2nd lap we saw Kenneth about 200 metres in front and perhaps in our eagerness to catch up with him we brought our times down to 7:09. I was still perky and I told Justin that I'd like to keep the pace up even if I may not be able to hold it for 8 laps. Heck it felt so good to run fast that I couldn't give a damn about how many laps I could do at that pace. Justin had had a punishing day the day before but yet could still hammer it out.

Kenneth stayed with us for a lap and then motioned us to go ahead - he must still be sore from Monday's intervals. The next few laps passed very quickly. In fact I didn't realise that we were already in the 6th lap and I thought we were running too fast with a 6:30 5th lap. So we made a conscious effort to slow things down hence the drop to 6:43. Then with 2 laps to go, Justin pulled away and I just tried to keep up. Ronnie had shouted that I'd better PR. The 7th lap felt very fast and I felt my diaphram tightening up but I just grinded my way through the last one, which surprisingly was even faster.

At the end I felt really good in nailing the 8 lapper, reducing nearly 2 minutes of the previous timing! I need to thank Justin to running alongside me even though he was a little sore from his own training. Running alone at that pace for 8 laps would not have been easy. That night my legs felt great - I could feel the muscles tightening which is always a good feeling that you've done a good workout. I downed the remaining bits of Endurox and accompanied Carbo Kid for his nightly adventure with Disney's Tarzan.

7:40 (5:53 pace) > 7:09 > 7:01 > 6:50 > 6:30 > 6:43 > 6:33 > 6:22 (4:55 pace)
Average lap: 6:51 (5:13 pace)
Total time: 54:51

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

2005 Singapore Marathon

Registration opens July 15th! For more info, do a tempo run to http://www.singaporemarathon.com/2005/index.asp! Thank goodness the fee is similar to last year's.

According to the website, 14,905 participants from 91 countries participated in the event with the following breakdown:
. Full Marathon - 4,694 participants 
. Half Marathon - 3,549 participants 
. Quarter Marathon - 4,675 participants 

Balance from the other relay and kid events.
This year the organizers are expecting 18,000 participants with a 20,000 capping. The 2005 route will follow closely to the 2004 one with just a few tweaks. It's also interesting on how they provide and canvass for volunteers: http://www.singaporemarathon.com/2005/volunteers/index.asp , http://www.singaporemarathon.com/2005/volunteers/positions.asp


Congratulations is in order to Kenneth for embarking on his fitness regime a year ago! I'm glad that there are success stories like his amidst the fact that there are more smokers, especially among the youth of today, than it was 10 years ago. After discarding nicotine and putting on a pair of NBs, he's not look backwards since, reeling in PRs upon PRs as well as taking up speedwork at the track. To him I wish many many years of happy running and breaking personal barriers. I hope through indirect or direct means, he can inspire more to take up this transformation.

If you're a non-runner who chanced upon this posting, I've just this to say: Forget spending your hard-earned money on a gym membership. Just run! Whether you like exercising in a group or alone, just run! In rain or shine, just run! 20 minutes or 2 hours, just run! Get out there! Your life can be that much enriching in so many ways. Don't know how to start? The group of us would be more than happy to help you get started. We're at KLCC every Wednesday, hanging out after our run near the mosque area or just look for a bunch of happy looking people running. You'll be equally happy too after your run!
The message says it all!

Burning Feeling Is Good

Yesterday's weather was once again good. The rain stopped just before the usual workout time and after picking up some DVDs from Wisma Central, I power walked to the carpark to change and hit the park. I decided to run clockwise more often these days to balance out my usual anti-clockwise direction. This usually eases off the repetitive stress on just one leg and it's worked for me along the course of marathon training when my ITB would usually flare up.

Kenneth was already in his first lap but contrary to his posting in the shoutbox that he was going easy, he was apparently hitting it. Turned out that he was doing 1K reps. Nearly all my runs were progression runs and yesterday was no different averaging 5:30 pace right down to a flat 5:00 for the final lap. Julian was still running comfortably with his friend KT when I started the slope repeats near the KLCC Convention Centre.

The first "hike" up took me 44 secs and it felt too easy. I then step on the gas a bit and brought down the time to 42 secs which I held consistently for the next 5 reps. The last rep was accomplished in a near-sprint mode - 30 odd secs. I was not satisfied with the little amount of stress the legs were being subjected to. True, my lungs and upper body were getting a good workout but the legs hardly felt "pushed" as at 150 meters long, the incline is simple not long enough. I could also use with a steeper gradient such as the one near my old apartment which was 400 meters long and 20 to 25 degrees incline. Good hill reps should take about a minute to get to the top each time.

I wasn't satisfied and still am not. Them legs need a tougher workout but I won't be able to run today as I've got an appointment later this evening.

7:35 > 7:26 > 7:04 > 6:29 (5:00 pace)
Distance: 5.2K (without hill reps)
Average lap: 7:09 (5:30 pace)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Dude Where's My Card?

The KNN fella has received his Singapore Marathon invitation card last week. In his excitement, he SMS'd me and I rushed to my old apartment where I'd moved out from to check. No card! Then I remembered that I registered using my colleague's address because at that time I thought I'd already moved to the new home. So I informed my colleague to keep a lookout for a card from Singapore for me.

The excitement hadn't caught on yet as it's still a long way to go to December but chances are that I'll be running my 5th marathon in Singapore again. That'll be my 3rd attempt since 2003 at finishing with a good time there. Since Standard Chartered took up the title sponsorship from Exxon-Mobil in 2002, the Singapore Marathon has always been a wonderfully organized event. The event has grown by leaps and bounds over the years in terms of participants. The number of cheer teams dipped slightly in 2003 but I hope the organizers will put up bigger incentives to lure more teams this year.

Running Singapore is naturally challenging, not in terms of terrain (it's rather flat) but in the weather. Located just off the equator, runners can anticipate hot and humid weather nearly all the way. To read more about my previous Singapore Marathon experiences, hit the links below:

The 2004 Invitation Post Card

My 2003 Singapore Experience | 2004 Experience

Friday, July 08, 2005

Of BMW Drivers and Other Brain Dead Ones

Several BMW drivers have been getting on my nerves lately. From the office twerp otherwise known as my ex-boss to some beemer drivers out there regardless of sex or race. You know these assholes. They usually drive their machines in the following manner:
  1. Tailgating
  2. Zipping in and out of the heavy traffic
  3. Drives with one hand on the steering
In fact the only, OK two, differences that set them apart from the usual Jinjang Joe bastards in modified Protons are that the BMW drivers are better dressed and you don't hear the in-car music as they zoom by. In short instead of Jinjang, you'll probably see these rich bastards in Bangsar - which makes them Bangsar Bastards.

Which makes me wonder at how many newly rich idiots there are out there (as the BMW drivers of old I've seen are definitely well behaved). Perhaps the makers of the ultimate driving machine are attempting to test out their car safety on actual Malaysian road conditions.

My rant is not over. How often are you bugged by drivers who seemingly are oblivious that their headlamps are on high beam? You either get the blur types who are simply unaware or those whose right headlamps are on high while the left sides are on low. My only speculation on how this happens is that when they had their lamp bulbs replaced, they didn't check on the elevation or positioning of the replacement bulb - a simple task that won't take 5 minutes. The brightness of their headlamps are only dampened by their dimwittedness.

How about this. After waiting in a jam 500m away from the traffic light for 8 minutes, the traffic cop signals for your side of traffic to move. The cars at the front of the queue take off! And then you find yourself waiting for the car in front to get moving and when it does, at 20km/h!!! You clench the steering and grit your teeth and wonder how homosapiens made it to the top of the foodchain by being a slow mover. Then the traffic cop pointed at your car to stop but Slo-Mo got through to the other side. You feel like banging your head on the dashboard and as a reward get to wait another 8 minutes for your next turn.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

PBR No More

Word has it that the Penang Bridge Run is a no-go again this year. I shall not speculate but I really hope that this isn't due to some political suck-up or uncooperation between certain departments. This means that the likelihood of me returning to Penang in August has diminished. This also means that there are no races for me in August, which is not that bad considering I intend to play the mileage game again after Klang (July 31st) to prepare for the year end's longer races: Putrajaya Half (Sep 11), PJ Half (Sep 18) and Singapore Marathon (Dec 4).

5:58!!!! Lim Peh Boh Siang Seen!

The weather yesterday was superb for running and my plan was to do 5 laps medium pace followed by 10 hill reps. When I got there, there was no sight of Ronnie nor Justin, so I took off on my own. Soon enough Justin caught up with me - he was already going into his 4th lap at 6:30 pace. I told him that it was too fast. So we compromised on a comfy 7:30 lap.

Before long Justin pointed out our very "Zatopek" to me who wasn't running that slow. Indeed he was all that Kenneth had described him. "Zatopek" was obviously suffering but he kept his flailing arms and legs going, clapping to psyche himself up. Justin and I agreed that if this fella picks up the sport big time, he's capable of runing some mad times. You see, in terms of bravery and pure guts, this novice has no peers - at least it seemed that way.

We soon got ahead of "Zatopek" and our pace picked up little by little. On my 4th lap, I got my share of runnus interruptus when my wife called to go home. With the auditors around the office, she'd been working pretty late last week, so she wanted to leave early. I suggested to Justin to hit a fast final lap and off we went. I only managed to hang on to him for 1/2 a lap after which he pulled further and further away. I simply didn't have the leg turnover - the touch-go-touch-go-light landing-fast takeoff "thing". But was I shocked when I checked my watch after the final lap! 5:58! It certainly didn't feel like it. I thought I was running 6:15, which I've been clocking a few times already. Another milestone - my fastest KLCC lap.

7:54 > 7:28 > 7:07> 6:56 > 5:58 (4:30 pace)
Average lap: 7:05 (5:25 pace)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Chapati + Dhal = Breakfast of Champions

I had 2 chapatis for breakfast just now. Though not ultimately filling, they're good food. I've been catching up on my reading lately and am about a quarter into Dean Karnazes' Ultramarathon Man (DKUM). This title certainly has more zip to it than CarboMan but I think this crazy fella has earned it. I hope to finish it by end of this week, if not the next.

My usual reading habit dictates that I dig into a few books at the same time. Lately due to the lack of time and to maintain focus on each book cover that I've opened, I've switched tactics and decided to finish one at a time - a sort of "Finish What You Started Policy". Granted some books just can't be read cover to cover. An example would be Tim Noakes Lore of Running, which sometimes transport me back to my High School Biology days learning about Adenosine Tri-Phosphate. After DKUM, I'll make it a point to finish firstly Jack Daniels' The Running Formula.

Dri-Tech Briefs Review

Technical fabrics like Nike's Dri-FIT, Sphere Dry, Reebok's Play-Dry, Asics' Coolmax and adidas' ClimaCool and ClimaLite, have been around for ages. In this country, these performance fabrics have been incorporated primarily into the running tops and shorts as well as socks. Their sole purpose is to keep the wearer cool and dry by employing a layering method is pulling moisture away from the skin towards the outer surface of the fabric. The evaporation resulting from the capillary effect is what keeps the wearer cool.
Up till recently, serious athletes can get these apparels quite easily but have not had the chance to experience it on a more intimate level unlike our brethrens from the US and other running-developed countries. While not a sports brand, Renoma has been associated mostly with office and casual wear. They are quite well known for their range of underwear. I chanced upon their sports briefs recently during a excursion to Isetan KLCC and what caught my eyes was the "Dri-Tech" word inscribed on the box. The briefs look the same as any other, the styling just slightly more dynamic with "sportier lines" - gosh I didn't know words used to describe cars could be used for briefs! Anywa, the feel of the fabric is really smooth almost silk like, to the point that you just know it's going to be comfortable.

I've worn them for 2 days now, both occassions not while out running, so I can't vouch for their efficacy under duress. No doubt they're very comfortable on normal times. Later today, I'll be able to test them to full effect when I go for my usual workout at KLCC.
Even if they fail to perform when worn for a run, for just RM29 for a box of 3, it's still a good buy for normal day-to-day wear.

The briefs performed well yesterday. Besides the usual laps, I also put in some hill repeats. I didn't feel any discomfort at any time. Most importantly post-workout, I noticed that the briefs were much drier than the cotton ones. This shows that they dry faster. I'd give this product a thumbs up!

Monday, July 04, 2005

4 Weeks To Klang

PM20 came over on Saturday morning for a morning run around my place. From the start I knew it was going to be a hard run, not because of the company but because of the route which we were to take. Undulating all the way, the entire landscape of the route was barren, devoid of shelter and towards the later part a little dusty due to the construction of a new phase of housing. The fact that we were starting late at about 8:15am didn't help our cause. And while we learn to see the benefits or silver lining in the downside that life dishes us, the only positive I see that could possibly be gleaned from the intended run was the toughening up of the body and mind in the harsh conditions.

We jogged off slowly past the playground where Carbokid was playing with his Mom and before long we left the "safe" confines of the housing area for the roads outside. There weren't many cars and the roads were sufficiently wide enough for the 2 of us. At one point I could help imagining that I was running in Ethiopia - with the dirt paths and, hot and barren land around us. As expected a few passers-by cast us some stares. I wonder when can we have a running culture that's so strong and entrenched as some countries in the west.

It was a push towards the end and we were pretty exhausted from the heat. We completed the approximately 7K run in 39 minutes. Not too bad at all and when PM19 dropped by clutching a VCR and the Fire On The Track VHS, it capped off a Saturday morning perfectly.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Finally A Cool Evening

I had a thoroughly good workout yesterday. It was nice to run hard again in training. Not that I have any choice as the showdown has been set. In case you're wondering, I'm referring to the face off between the CarboMan and Der_Vulgar Fella (PM20) during the Klang 10K. We've got 1 month to prepare and my threat alert is already squawking like mad. While PM20 has been hitting the tracks, running repeats, I took advantage of the cool weather to run a 5-lapper.  Lap times were: 7:46 > 7:30 > 7:07 > 6:45 > 6:17. The average pace was 5:25 per lap. If done over a distance of 10K to 15K, the workout would've qualified for what the Kenyans called "Progression Workout". It's a simple workout where one would start slow and gradually pick up the pace until you will finish at race pace. Since my 6:17 final lap is close to my race pace of 4:48, I think I've done well. The key is finishing very strong in the workout. So while PM20 has been strengthening himself at the track, I've been steeling myself up in a different way. Who will prevail come July 31st? Watch this space!

Lunch just now was kebab at KLCC with Mun Cheong. Then we walked over to the spanking new KL Convention Centre for the Maxis 3G launch. I thought the whole deal was pretty hyped up. I'm a person who's not too keen on using the mobile phone as a multimedia equipment other than to make calls, SMS and a rare MMS. Surfing the web, gaming, performing other downloads using a mobile are simply not viable to me. Screen size aside, the startup and monthly costs are too high. These propositions are best left to notebooks.

On the way to the convention centre I bumped into Gavin Bong. He just came out from the Expo as well. Having been consumed with work, I hope to catch up with him at the races, and that's usually post race coz he's in a different class altogether.