p pol The Adventures of Carboman: September 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mouth Watering Rubber

The Precision 6

Midweek Long Run

I had a rewarding run today. Something I've not done since the KLIM training earlier this year. And that was to put in a double digit run on Wednesdays. The evening weather for the last 1 week has been conducive, despite blazing hot afternoons. Depending on how I was feeling, my aim was to do 8:00 to 8:20 laps for 10 laps. A 8:20 lap is equivalent to a 6:15 pace, my target marathon pace. The going for the early laps were quite OK but I was a little worn towards the end. To compound the issue, I was fumbling a few times with my watches lap buttons - proof that it's really been awhile since I had to press that button so many times!

I had Adam for company for my 3rd and 4th laps and when Kenneth joined in they both took off at a faster pace which I felt was not I wanted to do. Today was strictly a workout targeted at improving my stamina, so I can't be distracted by faster runs. So I plodded on and was surpised that my pacing has been quite consistent throughout the 11 laps. Yup, because I screwed up the lap button, I didn't realise that I'd gone a lap above my target. As I stretched and chatted with Adam near The Bench (which was incidentally occupied), I noted that my legs weren't sore, a good sign. Ronnie and Justin were hammering their final laps.

Lap times: 8:03 > 8:08 > 8:03 > 7:51 > 7:57 > 7:56 > 7:48 > 7:48 > 8:12 (stopped for a quick drink) > 7:56 : 7:23
Distance: 14.3K

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Running Movies To Watch Out For

If you're resourceful enough, try looking for these movies. I've placed them in the order of my wish list.
1) Five Thousand Meters
Every four years, the world of track and field focuses on one event, and in 2004, the focus was on Athens. Across the U.S., runners dreamed of representing their country, competing against the best, and being an Olympian. Five Thousand Meters: Nothing Comes Easy chronicles the quest of nine runners attempting to make the team in the 5k. Some were considered favorites to make the team. Others were virtual unknowns hoping to breakout at the right time. But through the training, the injuries, the races, the disappointment, and the breakthroughs, they will give everything they have to chase the same dream.
Website: Official Site
2) Four Minutes
Synopsis: Premiering on ESPN2 on October 6th, Four Minutes is based on a screenplay by sportswriter Frank Deford, Four Minutes portrays the build up to Roger Bannister’s legendary first sub-four minute mile on May 6, 1954. With artful action shots and a dramatic soundtrack, Four Minutes director Charles Beeson effectively captures the intensity of the mile race, while his use of actual vintage race footage helps seal the authenticity of the film.
3) Saint Ralph
Synopsis: Set in Hamilton in 1954, Saint Ralph is the unlikely story of Ralph Walker, a ninth grader who outran everyone's expectations except his own in his bold quest to win the Boston Marathon. Ralph is a fatherless 14-year-old with a seriously ill mother, who knows he's a time bomb waiting to explode into greatness, except that he has no idea where that greatness will manifest itself. An unfortunate incident of self-abuse in the community pool inadvertently sets him on this road when, as penance, Ralph is conscripted to the cross-country team. Desperate to believe a miracle will bring his mother out of a coma, Ralph becomes a convert to the church of running, and determines to win the Boston Marathon.
Website: Official Site

Reading Material

Link to some eye opening articles on endurance sports:

October Runner's World

The October issue of Runner's World sees a return to relevancy. Having been a reader since the '80s, though I rarely buy them since the late nineties to present day, I saw their articles gradually lose direction. They used to be very focused on training - case in point Owen Andersen's articles - and ground breaking research news as well as providing accurate shoe reviews. I particularly relished their in depth reporting of the major athletics events including the World Champs, Boston and New York marathons and of course the Olympics. Many of the race reports were unbelievably thrilling read. Indeed my own race reports were mainly inspired by the editors' writings.

Over the years, perhaps due to changing of the times, the mag has given in to the pressure of advertisements. George Sheehan had passed on, Owen Andersen left for their competitor Running Times and I miss the hilarious Finish Line writings by contributors. There are loads and loads of ads now, many of which are not even related to the sport. I felt that many articles were also recycled material. Granted, the former is a necessity given the need to cater to new readers but for a long time reader like me, my interest dwindled.

So it was with surprise and delight that the current October issue sees a return to form. Nearly all of the articles are what I need at this juncture of my training - high mileage survival, dealing with back pain, a digression by Amby Burfoot on the oft spoken issue on hyponatremia and eating plans. The bonus feature is on Deena Kastor. Aron Ralston who famously severed his right arm with a knife (caught under a boulder while on a mountaineering trip) is featured in the "I'm a Runner" section.

2 more days to the weekend.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Magical 20

Looking forward to Part 2 of today, where I'll be seeking to hit the magical 20. Justin who used to Live2RockZouk had done it before and I think the time has come for me to also reach it not only once but twice this week. It's gonna be interesting. The more adversity is I face, the better I perform.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Long Run & Encounter With The Walkers

Started off on my first 20K in a couple of months with Tey at 6:05am after waiting a bit for Justin. After awhile it was obvious
that he wouldn't make it so we went off at a slow pace into the dark. I was seasoning my 890. On our way to Hartamas we noted that the cops were already setting up the traffic cones in anticipation of the Malay Mail walkers. Same for the refreshment stations. I was tempted to make a grab for the sponges and water bottles! As it turned out we got to Hartamas just slightly over an hour - which wasn't so slow either. Certain stretches were a bit labourous for me having skipped this route for a long time. In fact, I still don't find travelling nearly 33K (each way) for a 20K run economical, especially when the cost of living is escalating.

The return trip to Bukit Aman was slightly faster but it got plenty interesting as we merged with the front walkers of the 7K category. While the top 4 senior men were gyrating their hips, I was trying to avoid bumping into them. And because they were constantly weaving from one side of the road to the other, I too had to do the same. The FTAAA officials were asking me to back off as well. It was exciting to watch the walkers duke with each other. The leader was too much in front to be overtaken so that battle was for 2nd placing was between an Indian and a Chinese who traded leads. At the same time I swore the 4th walker wasn't really walking and true enough he was warned by the official on the bike.

As I turned at the Central Bank junction to head towards Bukit Aman, a Chinese Coach asked me in Mandarin why I don't have my bib on. I replied that I'm running and not part of the event! He must've thought that I had been disqualified.

Mileage Bank Account

Management guru Stephen R. Covey in his bestselling book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" talks about the Emotional Bank Account. An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that's been built up in a relationship. It's the feeling of safeness you have with another human being. If one make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping his commitments to you, he build up a reserve. (For an excerpt on this hit this link).
Midway through a run I had a hairbrain idea which I thought may just kick start my career as a running guru. Hey, gurus are a dime a dozen out there nowadays, so why can't I join the bandwagon?
My message is this: Build your Mileage Bank Account. Remember that. And remember that you heard it from me! So if you're asked next time whether you have an MBA, just nod enthusiastically! 

Friday, September 23, 2005

Puchong Night Attack

Met my running friend again last night as he was leaving his house for a run...at 8pm. I was home early just after completing 3 steady laps (a couple done with Kenneth) at KLCC. Deep inside I was very sweaty and feeling very unfulfilled. Added to that I noticed the return of my aggression - which was a fantastic thing. You need a certain level of aggression during a training program. I don't know about you but this feeling provides me with one of the greatest motivation. The kind that gets me through the day to day task of sliding on your trainers and haeding out there to do the "job". And this feeling is BACK!

So I told my wife that I have to have another go when we got home. After ditching the stuff at home, my Mom was around preparing dinner so Carbokid had a minder in the form of my wife, I changed into another pair of shoes, took a gulp of drink and set off into the night for my version of the famed Thursday Puchong Night Attack. In the end I did a good 28-minute progression run around my neighbourhood's undulating roads. Certain stretches of the roads were tight so I had to be extra alert. At least there are no strays at night. There are the usual stares but hey, someone's got to start the revolution and change the mindset right? So it was I had my first run with my friend. He had a certain relaxed movement about him something I'll be focusing on during my runs - staying relaxed. Back home, I was still sweating as I had my extra helping of rice. I slept last night feeling satisfied.
It's Friday today and the first week of my training is coming to an end and there are 3 more sessions left from today till Sunday to complete the first part of the mileage game.

10 weeks to go.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Another New Friend

It's not often you get to know 2 new running friends in a day. 2 laps into my evening run, I found myself running at about the same pace as a Kwai Low. I broke the ice by asking about his shoe - a splendid looking Gel Cumulus 7. It looks even better than in the magazines. Art is a marathoner from Houston and has been here for a week plus. We chatted for awhile before I decided to drop off the pace as we were going sub-7 each lap which was way too fast for me given my program. There weren't many regulars at the park today with only Ronnie, Justin (who made an rare appearance) and Li Sar who was walking in preps of this Sunday's Malay Mail Big Walk. I guess the rest were still sore from the recent Sunday's race. There were however plenty of "sights" if you catch my drift.

The Gel Cumulus 7 which Art bought for USD75

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A New Friend

I made a new friend today. Met him early this morning as he was starting his run at 5:30am. Believe it or not, a crazy runner right in my neighbourhood! It was just the tonic to spark my spirits again. I spoke to him briefly and he told me that he was moving towards 2 sessions a day. Apparently he's had it with missing workouts due to work - his boss has been heaping work on him. So he figured that if he keeps his weekly mileage at 70K by splitting up his single daily workouts into 2 a day including 2 long runs a week should get him to the start of the Singapore Marathon with a pretty decent shape. I thought I was dreaming when he said Singapore Marathon but it's true. I think I'll keep an eye on this chap every now and then from now on. Maybe I'll ask him where he got his Mizunos from.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bye Bye PJ!

It's official! I'm skipping this Sunday's PJ Half. So much for wanting to exorcise the ghost of 2003 but I've to be pragmatic about the decision. My right calf (plantaris area) is still busted and I'm walking with a limp. When I squat to chat with my kid, it's painful - luckily my toilet is not the squat type! How to run much less to do 19.5K of it? So I've got to cut my losses, even if it means not turning up for a registered race for the first time, in hope that I'll recover by Monday to ease into my marathon training. I said "ease" because upping the proceedings immediately after recovery is not wise either.

To all racing this weekend, "Go Rock PJ!"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Plagued With Problems

In the grand scheme of things, my problem is a non-issue. What is a muscular strain compared to world hunger? But I'm still pretty anxious. You see the muscle at the back of the knee connecting the calves are very very sore. Such post-race soreness are usually gone within 2 days but now it's into its 4th day. With the PJ Half just around the corner, I'm in 2 minds yet again. Last week it was my fever and this time it's the dang muscle. In a greater picture, how would I cope with a shrinking window of training before the SG Marathon? There isn't much time left taken into account the 3-week tapering period. Which is why I've decided to skip the Shah Alam 10K in hope of putting in longer runs. Realistically I have 1.5 months to ramp my mileage up to 70K of which some 35Ks are done on Sundays. These are desperate times indeed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Jodie Foster Is Still Looking Good At 43

My exit out of the office was delayed yesterday to 6:35pm. By the time I was changed, it was 6:45pm and Jessica was into her 2nd lap. I had little option but to do a fast effort. The legs are generally alright except for the right calf and quads. Managed 2 fast laps before the wife called. I'm not gonna be seen at the office at 5pm sharp today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Great Eastern Pacesetters 30K

Have you registered yet? This race will be an excellent prep for the KL Marathon in March next year. There's also a 20K category but who will want to miss the chance to hit the wall? Think about it but be quick - places limited to first 800! Click on logo to download form. Visit Pacesetters site for more info.

Click here for form! 

Putrajaya Race Report

My Putrajaya race report is up. Hit this link. Another race this weekend - PJ Half Marathon. Whether it will end up as disastrous as last week's, check back this space to find out next week! Hahahaha! I'm crazy liao! 

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Not Running In Putrajaya

I'm counting myself OUT of this weekend's race. Much as I've been looking forward to it, I've got to be realistic. I came down with fever 2 days ago while at work. That has severely weakened my body and I was on medical leave yesterday. My joints are aching and the cough is back. I won't be able to recover in time for Sunday. I can't think of walking 3K much less running a hilly 21K route. Any PM team members are welcome to take over my bib, which is with Ronnie. Don't let it go to waste - not only is the fee paid, but there's the medal and cert to be collected as well. Spread the word amongst the PM team members.

Kien Mau,
Sorry for disrupting your plans. Hope you can still find an alternative transportation to the race.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Shoe Review: Fila Flow K4

Can't Afford Them Nikes
The 2005 Pegasus was my shoe of choice but at  RM340, I found myself priced out. My secondary  choice was the 2004 model which was a very well  received version, soft and cushy albeit a little  tadpole like in the looks department but the RM202  offer was no longer available.

How Now Brown Cow?
My choices then were narrowed down to a handful of  NB models but I was apprehensive of their  durability in the heel strike area. The new models  seem to be poor in that area despite the Ndurance  carbon rubber material used. Mizunos on the other  hand are workhorses in nature. You can literally  run them to the ground but they're just  overpriced.

An Obscure Brand?
While not a household name for running shoes -  their expertise being in tennis - Fila has been  producing excellent racers and performance  trainers for some years. At the elite end, many  top Kenyans are in their stable while locally this  brand is well received by the triathletes. Azwar  himself loves the K4 Racer.

I found myself in a Fila shop for the 4th time  recently in Penang and was glad that their sale  was still on. I had trouble finding my size for  the Flow K4 performance trainer in KL. The Isetan  salesgirl told me several weeks back that this  model is currently being phased out (probably for  the arrival of the K6) and the popular size 9 and  my usual 9.5 are no longer available. But they're  available plenty here in Penang. Although the  running websites tend to feature the grey/black  version, I chose the red/white one as they don't  look as dull. 1st try of 9.5 is too small, which  show that the Fila fit and last was snugger. Size  10 was perfect.

Visual Rundown
The extensive use of mesh is just great and the  removable sockliners are also vented. The shoe is  slip lasted with 2 large vents in the middle of  the last to allow the warm air to escape. Also a  moisture draining feature I think especially  useful for triathletes who may choose this model  as their footwear of choice.

One Cool Shoe
The Flow technology apparently focuses on keeping  the feet dry and cool by channeling air into the  midsole through strategically positioned vents and  air channels in the midsole. Upon closer scrutiny,  I saw where these vents are. Beside the ones in  the last, there are 4 small holes on the lower  medial and lateral sides of the shoe. You can see  them clearly in the middle photo of the 2nd  column. The toeboxes are vented further with 4  holes placed vertically.

Bright Too
Large reflective strips are placed at the front as  well as the heel counter area. Nice.

Support Features
For a 10.5oz shoe, this model certainly pack  plenty of support features. The decoupled heel  works together with the small medial post to slow  down the rate of pronation. This is useful support  feature in the later stages of a long run/race.  Meanwhile a transparent midfoot shank provides  rigidity much like asics' Trusstic System and NB's  Stability Web.

As mentioned earlier, the 9 was just too snug for  me but the 10 was perfect. They're snug around the  midfoot and you can even feel the arch support  (some may not like this) but offers plenty of  breathing space on the forefoot with a nice  toebox, essential to accomodate the swelling of  the feet in the course of a distance race.

The Ride
The feel of the shoe was really really smooth -  smoother than the Pegs and Maverick. The fluid  heel to toe transition just has to be experienced.   The ride is responsive and I felt that the  3Action rear cushioning is even better than the  Precision. The 3Action material is supposed to  provide a blend of stability, cushioning and  responsiveness. The forefoot outsole is made of  dimpled blown rubber with plenty of flex grooves  for flexibility while the heel wear areas are made  of EverGrind, a proprietary rubber and metal flake  compound that's supposedly 10% lighter, cushier,  flexible yet more durable. I hope it's as lasting  as Mizuno's X10 material.

First Run
The medial posting was hardly noticeable, being  very small but I think towards the later part of  the race, the support will be felt more  substantially. The smooth and responsive ride was  there too. Whether or not this shoe will be in my  Singapore Marathon packing list remains to be  seen. I'll need to test them out over a series of  longer and slower runs. I find that I perform as  well in responsive shoes these days so I'm  optimistic that this pair, bought at RM203 after a  40% discount, will be suitable for me.

First Race
I'll be wearing the K4 for the Putrajaya Half next  week, so I'll be acquainted more with it pretty  soon!

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."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Italian Rubber

I've no previous experience of the EverGrind (metal flakes added to the extended wear carbon rubber ensuring that the heel strike area will last 80% longer than traditional outsoles) material but Fila was confident enough to issue a 7 month guarantee on it's Fila Open tennis shoe which uses this outsole.

If the Flow K4 sets your pulse racing, check out the
Flow 6 aka "Fuyo!". I shall be posting some shots of my Flow K4 soon. I'm very excited with the shoe - certainly an excellent half marathon pair, but whether it suits me over 26 miles (and change) remains to be seen.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Welcome Back PM26

PM26 aka Der_Hamsap Fella is back to work after a long rest following his biking accident. And just as suddenly my mailbox is beginning to come alive with colourful emails that I just daren't open at work. My days are brighter, my steps are sprightlier and I've regained a new lease of life.
Welcome back, PM26! You know what I mean!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Why Do You Run?

Check out some of the reasons why some fellas out there do it. http://www.sportinglife.ca/MyLifestyle/running/articles/whySome.asp

If you have your own reasons, feel free to share and comment!

LRT Ride

Carbo Lady is at home taking care of Carbo Kid who's not yet recovered from his cough-fever. He's had the problem since our trip back to Penang. Of course travelling with a sick kid is never pleasant. There was hell to pay as he was clingy and problematic the entire stay. Can't really blame him coz cough and fever are a damn combination to be down with. Since they may require the use of the car today, I'd take the LRT to work - my first time.
Below were my experiences this morning:

- Rubbed knees with a fat lady. I was seated and she was standing right in front of me. Our knees touched and my line of sight was her spare tyre! Not a good way to start the day!
- The recorded voice on the speakers aren't so bad. This male voice sounded professional in both languages (rare) unlike the lady's on the Putra line.
- Damn the non-integrated lines! I had to cross a busy road to switch lines. Trust it to the "selfish-chauffeur-driven-buggers" to make transportation decisions
- Damn the ticket price. Over RM3 one way to get to work!