p pol The Adventures of Carboman: August 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Any Which Way You Lose

In the world of romance, one single rule applies to the men:

Make the woman happy. Do something she likes, and you get points. Do something she dislikes and points are subtracted. You don't get any points for doing something she expects. Sorry, that's the way the game is played.

Here is a guide to the point system:

You make the bed (+1)
You make the bed, but forget the decorative pillow (0)
You throw the bedspread over rumpled sheets (-1)
You go out to buy her what she wants (+5) In the rain (+8) But return with Beer (-5)

You check out a suspicious noise at night (0)
You check out a suspicious noise, and it is nothing (0)
You check out a suspicious noise and it is something (+5)
You pummel it with iron rod (+10) It's her pet (-10)

You stay by her side the entire party (0)
You stay by her side for a while, then leave to chat with a college buddy (-2) Named Tina (-4)
Tina is a dancer (-6) Tina has silicon implants (-80)

You take her out to dinner (0)
You take her out to dinner and it's not a sports bar (+1)
Okay, it's a sports bar (-2)
And it's all-you-can-eat night (-3)
It's a sports bar, it's all-you-can-eat night, and your face is painted the colours of your favourite team (-10)

You take her to a movie (+2)
You take her to a movie she likes (+4)
You take her to a movie you hate (+6)
You take her to a movie you like (-2)
It's called 'DeathCop' (-3)
You lied and said it was a foreign film about orphans (-15)

You develop a noticeable potbelly (-15)
You develop a noticeable potbelly and exercise to get rid of it (+10)
You develop a noticeable potbelly and resort to baggy jeans and baggy Hawaiian shirts (-30)
You say, "It doesn't matter, you have one too." (-8000)

She asks, "Do I look fat?" (-5) [Yes, you LOSE points no matter WHAT]
You hesitate in responding (-10)
You reply, "Where?" (-35)
Any other response (-20)

When she wants to talk about a problem , you listen, displaying what looks like a concerned expression (0)
You listen, for over 30 minutes (+50)
You listen for more than 30 minutes without looking at the TV (+500)
She realizes this is because you have fallen asleep (-10000)

Now what chance do you have???

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Worth Reading: Misc Running Articles

Back To Work...The Enjoyable Kind

Went for a short workout yesterday. Had braced myself for an energy sapping workout in the blazing heat but it turned out all right. Just as I finished lacing up, Kenneth and Draco Loong popped up around the corner. Immediately I eased into their slipstream. Kenneth said they were running at 7:30 pace which I completely didn't believe. A lap later, my doubts were confirmed - my estimate was nearly spot on. No way I could slow down then. On and on and I was enjoying the leg work again after 2 weeks of pigging out on my Mom's cooking. My nasal passage immediately cleared - been struggling with congestion lately - which served to underline the importance of continued activity. I reviewed my lap times at the end and was glad that the 2 weeks' stagnation didn't really eat into my speed. Now to really get my endurance level up again before Putrajaya! 19 days left!

7:14 > 6:55 > 6:54 > 6:18
Total time: 27:24

Monday, August 22, 2005

On The Putrajaya Half & The StanChart SG Marathon

...Putrajaya Half
Looks like I need to buck up in my training. Running had taken a back seat the past 2 weeks - just when the haze came. The home cooked food my mom had been dishing out had only added to the lethargy. You can say that my duties as father, husband and son took the front seat. I was glad that Rohaizad took it upon himself to check out the Putrajaya route last Saturday. He SMS'd me while the clan was on the way to Subang Parade. Read his description of the route here.

...StanChart SG Marathon
After much speculation, adidas has signed up as the co-sponsor for this year's StanChart Singapore Marathon, taking over from New Balance. This change promises to be refreshing. Although I'm not exactly an adidas fan, there are many things to look forward to - possibility of a bigger expo, new products such as the adiZero range of performance trainers which were designed with the Asian feet in mind, and who knows, (dare I wish?) perhaps a visit from their best known ambassador, Haile Gebreselassie?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Back To Work

After 4 days of eating crud at the training center, I miss the Pelita roti telur. I was looking forward to the usual relaxed atmosphere at the eatery but was I in for a shock when I found the whole place crawling with MCA delegates. This has something to do with the Annual General Assembly where the top dogs seek re-election. The waiters and regular customers who usually enjoy a relaxing morning there seemed highly stressed. Looking from the angle of running, the waiters were into their tempo workout - scampering here and there. Fortunately they were well trained and service was quick and polite all the way. Garbed in their yellow tops (the women) and the all-white dress code of the men, they occupied 90% of the seating space of the restaurant, wolfing down liters of teh tarik and plates of roti canai and fried noodles.

While waiting for my food to be served, I cast my observation around. I saw that nearly all the delegates bore similar appearances. The following were what I saw:
- 95% of them (regardless of gender) are aged 40 years and above with probably 50% of those over 55
- Many men wore the trademark jade rings and Rolexes (fare or otherwise). Most are potbellied and are smokers
- Besides the usual political banter about who will be voted in or out, I noticed that there were quite a few elderly women. And I mean elderly. I wonder how they can serve? Worse, are they taking the party as a get-together old folks club?
- Shoes make a man. To know a person, just look at the shoes. It's true. No matter how immaculate (or how white, in this case) they're dressed, one look at the shoes will tell you whether they're slobs. Sad to say that this category were aplenty at Pelita this morning.

I will leave all these thoughts as they are as politics are not my cup of tea.

Where In The World Is Carbo Man?

Yes, yes. It's been a very quiet week for me. In case you're wondering, I've not gone into hibernation nor suddenly develop a case of anti-social behavior. The reason being I was away on a 4-day Project Management course at the Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM) just 500 meters away from my office. It was a thoroughly eye opening period for the 22 of us and we've came away with many ideas and learnings. As with most theories, the challenge is putting them into practise especially with different methodologies employed by different corporations.

On running? My arch enemies out there will be happy to know that I've not run for 2 weeks. The completion of the course yesterday was, in fact, a relief to me as we had to study for the daily and final-day exams. As expected when I opened my office email this morning, nearly a hundred mails were awaiting my response. Sigh... I'll resume my run this Sunday.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Park And Blogs Are Quiet

Listen closely. You no longer hear the hard breathing of runners coming around the bend. The park is deserted. No walkers and runners can be seen. Anyone seen at the park would probably be just the park keepers or people traversing it to get somewhere. Previously maniac athletes, deprived of their daily tonic, are reduced to a frustrated lot, unable to release their pent-up energies. Like one person said, "No running, no sex, no life, no mood!". I certainly emphatise with him. It seems that the city has gotten quiet as well - the dust probably diffused all the noise. I've not seen birds in awhile. Even the hardy and boisterous crows are conspicuously absent. The whole place is dead. Life as we know it has disappeared.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Trying, Very Hard, To Look On The Bright Side

Ever the optimist, I found myself up against the wall to come up with a list of positive things to write about this haze. Below are those that I can think of. If you've more, you're most welcome to add to the comments.

- Extension of the Mega Sale
- "Working in the clouds" impression
- Sales in pirated DVDs will escalate since folks will want to remain indoors
- In true spirit of "Malaysia Boleh" we've joined the ranks of the most polluted nations in the world
- We may get to host the Global Conference of The League of The Most Polluted Nations
- Our endurance athletes will get to train in the oxygen deprived environment as the Africans
- Our complexion will become fairer as the sun rays will not penetrate the cloud of miniscule dust
- Cheaper air tickets
- Smokers will save on having to buy their cancer sticks. They just need to step outside
- Humans will develop sonar ability, much like the bats, to navigate in the muck outside. And yes, our ears will also grow larger much like the bats
- AP means more than just Approved Permits. It also means Air Pollution

Hicham El-Guerrouj

Got this interesting bit from Khoo (PM28). It provides some insight to the training of Hicham El-Guerrouj. Don't know who he is? Then hit the link to a feature in Time and Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


It's with a melancholy mood that I'm writing about Der_Bench. You see, we miss it very much. It has provided comfort for our tired legs and feet after a hard run at the KLCC Park. Der_Bench is also a meeting point for us regulars to catch up after our workouts where gossips and jokes are oft traded. It's also a pretty unassuming piece of fixture occupying a small footprint near to the 700 metre mark of the track. With the haze descending upon Klang Valley casting it's gloom everywhere, we, well I, find myself missing it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Ethiopian Running Heritage

From the chapter "A Time To Run"...

"So it was that Mamo Wolde came to be, a young runner inspired by Bikila who won the next Olympic marathon in Mexico City in 1968. Wolde, however, was a reluctant gold medallist. To collect his prize he needed to beat his hero Bikila. And for this quiet man born and raised in the small village of DreDele, such an act seemed blasphemous.

As the race progressed, Wolde was content to run behind Bikila for one of the lesser medals. The previous day he had won a silver medal in the 10,000 meters, so already his Olympics was a success. But as the American sportswriter, and also the fourteenth-place finisher in that 1968 Olympic marathon, Kenny Moore, later reported, Wolde had little to say about his fate over the course of that marathon run.. Moore writes "... Bikila was running hurt that day in Mexico City. After ten miles, he turned and beckoned to an ebony wraith of a teammate, Mamo Wolde, a fellow officer in Emperor Haile Selassie's palace guard. Wolde wove through the pack to Bikila's side.

"Lieutenant Wolde."
"Captain Bikila."
"I'm not finishing this race."
"Sorry, sir."
"But Lieutenant, you will win this race."
"Sir, yes sir."
"Don't let me down."

And Wolde, thinking some runners were out of sight ahead, took off. None was, but until the tape touches his chest, he couldn't be sure. He won relieved, by a masterful three minutes."

Don't Blame Nature!

A widely circulated daily is still claiming that the cause of the current hazy conditions are due to fires in Sumatra, the dry weather and the South-West Monsoon. In the minds of the politicians (the meteorologists ) the question to the problem is always related to nature. "Why can't it rain when we need it?", "Aiya, you South-West Monsoon, why do you keep blowing?" instead of the more appropriate "Let's make those bastards pay!", "Let's see how the 2 countries can work more closely to tackle this matter". From the way the public is being informed, the South-West Monsoon seemed to be perpetual and occur throughout the year as it's always blamed for the haze. And the rain is either always too much to too little. When it comes down too little, it's blamed for the drought such as in Seremban - it's never about proactively detecting potential issues. When it pours, it's blamed for the flash floods - it's never about providing adequate and efficient drainage system or punishing those who throw rubbish into the drains. It's never to do with the arrogant, greedy and self centred humans - from the lowly ignorant planters and their unscrupulous businessmen bosses who burn the land right up to corrupt government officials.

Now, though, the "haze" word is being challenged for the word-du-jour status by "AP" but that's another issue.

Haile's Track Menu

I've reached the very engrossing parts of Haile's book. Since this commodity is so precious to me, I shan't be able to loan (do forgive my selfishness) or worse, photocopy the book for you. However, I'll share with you some notable sections from the book. Here's one showing a sample track menu dished out by his coach. Mind you these are run as part of the day's workout. There would've been an early morning run before the track and/or another evening run.

1. 4 mile (6K) tempo as a warmup
2. 1,200m X 4 - all run in 2:55
3. 800m X 4 - all run sub 2 mins
4. 400m X 4 - 55 secs
5. Gentle cool down

It doesn't mean that if you're an elite, your workouts will be any easier.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Risky Situation!

I'm sandwiched between 2 colleagues with running noses and cough! If I'm to catch the virus, let it be now, or else my Putrajaya outing in a month's time will be going down the drain. While I've been taking my doses of vitamin C daily, I'd have to bring out the Echinacea again.

Weekend Getaway & Hill Trail Running

The clan had been talking about going up to Genting one of these weekends. My Mom hasn't been up there in awhile and the trip would be nice for all of us to get some fresh and cool air into our system. The chance came when a colleague invited us over to join her family there in their apartment. What timing! So after servicing Ben the Car, we're going to hustle up.

My colleague told me that there's a hilly trail just behind the apartment. A hike up will take 50 minutes, so I reckon a run should take 30 minutes. Depending on how the actual trail looks like, I may do an hour's worth of workout! What a bonus - a mountain getaway plus altitude training! Will carry a camera to snap the trail!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Selecting & Caring Of Technical Running Apparels

Selecting proper apparels:
  • Keep it light and loose around the underarm area
  • Avoid cotton, choose the new technical microfibres such as Dri-FIT and ClimaCool. If you look closely, the surface of the fabric that's on the inside is knitted closely while the outer surface is coarser. This is to enhance sweat evaporation. you will notice that your entire vest is wet - this is normal and prooves that the fabric is working for you. It means that thru capillary effect the moisture is siphoned from your skin to the outer fabric, the better it is to dry faster.
  • The latest fabric marketed by Nike has "smart" properties where the shirt combine Nike's zone venting (large mesh at the most critical areas ie the back and sides) feature with the tiny fabric bubbles which opens up to let out the hot air and let in the cool air. The downside? A RM168 price tag!
  • Check the seams and stitching to ensure they don't present chafing pitfalls. Pay attention to the inner thighs and nipple areas (avoid stitching that runs across the nipple region)
  • If you run in the dark, vests with reflective strips may help. If you can't find these reflective types, stick to light coloured ones

Care for microfibres:
  • Hand wash in cool water and remove immediately
  • Line dry out of direct sunlight instead of squeezing it
  • Avoid softeners as they may clog up the fibre pores
  • No need to iron

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Flashback: 2004 Singapore Marathon Photos

While Ronnie is contemplating on registering for this year's Singapore Marathon, I visited the event photo album which featured some pretty nice shots from the 2004 race. The following few caught my eye.

The one on the left is sweet. Ummm...can we remove the fella in red?
The elites showing superb running form. This photo doesn't reflect the
speed which they're running - FAST!

I love this photo. This kid was participating in the Kid's Dash category.
So, Ronnie, still thinking about it?

The Friggin' Haze Is Back!

I had a shock yesterday when I looked out the office window at about 4:30pm. Thick haze had shrouded nearly everything and visibility was down to 1K. Kenneth called me a few minutes later and told me about it - I think he decided to skip the track session yesterday. Wisely so. As I humped my way to Lot 10 at 6pm I saw to my horror some women who were on their way to the KLCC Park. I adviced them to give their workout a miss as the air was plainly unhealthy - stank of burnt material. To my surprise also I saw Rohaizad running briskly at the park! Thankfully he stopped not long after I spotted him. I had layers of wetted tissue covering my nose and mouth as I walked to Lot 10. The entire walk was tough due to the polluted conditions and as I've mentioned the tissues covering my nose made breathing all the harder. In any case I reached my destination in 18 minutes (a good time if I may say so) and hopped into a 7-Eleven store to buy a bottle of water. I'd drained the bottle dry even before I was served by the cashier. Not wanting to keep my folks waiting at Isetan, I just gestured to the cashier and left the empty bottle and cash on the counter.
The air was only slightly better this morning. The news said that it was caused by the burning at the oil palm estate near Cyberjaya and Putrajaya which was suspected to have been started by illegal immigrants clearing land! If this was true, then the fuckers (no guesses to their nationality) deserved to be cast into the fire as well. Not only are they burning their own land back home, they're brought their habits here too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My Reason For Running The PJ Half

Below is the mail trail between PM12 and I about my decision not to participate in our company's Treasure Hunt this year (even though the team I'm in are favourites to win) in favour of the PJ Half Marathon which happens on the same weekend. 

Running, really, is much more to turning up on race day. It's much more personal than that. When you run well on that day, it's a culmination of all the hard work put in over the weeks and months. The regimen and habits that you've incorporated into your lives. It's about knowing what you want and decide on your own accord and free will, to adopt the lifestyle required to achieve your goal. When you have that mindset, skipping a social outing like clubbing or drinking session, for example, is no longer an issue, no matter what your friends think of you. All these make it a much more rewarding experience regardless of your success level.

The same attitude can be seen in the lives of successful people out there. Of course, in that context, the application of such discipline becomes even more complex - but in essence, they're the same mental approach. The more I immerse myself in running, the more I see the relevance of Bill Bowerman's message to his fledglings in "Without Limits". In the motion picture, the character played by the perfectly casted Donald Sutherland said, "Men of Oregon, I invite you to become students in your events. Running, some say, are an absurd past time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning in your running, chances are you'll find meaning in another absurd past time...Life". 

The wonderful thing is that I don't need to become an elite athlete to appreciate that pearl of wisdom or to see the benefits. Like me, you can also balance family and work commitments with running. The challenge is to apply it to our daily lives.

If you're not yet a runner, isn't it time to give yourself a chance to be one?

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going." - George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

-----Original Message-----
From: PM5
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 10:56 AM
Subject: RE: PJ Half registration

should be. you see, once winning something has become a quite normal, it not unusual to seek a greater challenge, or even quitting (like lance armstrong...wah lau comparing ourselves to him!). for me the hunt has failed to excite me as much as last time (time constraints aside). i feel that i've been running particularly good this year and i need to see how much better i can do. i'm always amazed at how much the human body can be pushed. reading about the performance of elite athletes is one thing but to actually run at higher intensity and pushing it is another - and it's really a high especially AFTER the event.

-----Original Message-----
From: PM12
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 10:49 AM
Subject: RE: PJ Half registration

i also have a grudge with PJ Half after being mistimed last year.
is the qualifying time still 2 hrs 15 mins?


-----Original Message-----
From: PM5
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 10:43 AM
To: PM12; PM18
Subject: RE: PJ Half registration

cannot lah! the pj half medal remains elusive for me after 3 or 4 attempts. must try harder to get it this year. need to finish sub 1:50 to be assured. either way it needs to be a pr attempt for me in order to get a medal. the week before is putrajaya where i'll take it easy and enjoy the sights as medals are assured. after pjhalf, it's shah alam 10K where i'll try to pr yet again - the shah alam route is apparently very fast with many fellas pr'ing last year. it'll be nice to be able to pr the 10k distance 3 times this year!

-----Original Message-----
From: PM12
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 10:39 AM
Subject: RE: PJ Half registration

but you guys are the favourites!

actually it is still possible to kill 2 birds with one stone.

go for the hunt on Sat morning, return on Sat night (sleep
and carbo load in the car) OR wake up super-early on Sunday
morning and drive straight to the Stadium!!!


-----Original Message-----
From: PM5
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 10:30 AM
To: PM12; PM18
Subject: RE: PJ Half registration

even if it's treasure hunt, i'll be going for the run. just let me know.

-----Original Message-----
From: PM12
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 10:27 AM
To: PM5; PM18
Subject: RE: PJ Half registration

Sept 18 right?
i have a feeling it is Citibank Leisure/Treasure Hunt Day.
PM18 is going to check with Bernard...


The Greatest

"On top of all this, Gebrselassie's hearing things. One simple word over and over: Yichala, Yichala. It is possible, It is possible. Five meters out...now three, and this single word is still circulating in Gebrselassie's head. He can only feel Tergat by his side now; his vision is clouding, his ears are ringing. Then somehow he remembers, Lean, Lean. It's a beautiful dip, too: graceful and balanced with his arms out to his sides like wings. He's taken off; he's across the line first for an incredible nine one-hundredths of a second victory. It's a race that will never be forgotten. The day the world proclaimed this humble Ethiopian the greatest runner of all time."
A heart pounding excerpt from the prologue of Jim Denison's book on Haile Gebrselassie.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Klang 10K Race Report

My Klang 10K race report is now up. Click here to read.