p pol The Adventures of Carboman: December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005: Year In Review

What a year it's been! I've raced more than ever, rediscovered the thrill of the short races, ran in 2 other countries, trained twice a day, ran at 10pm, made plenty of friends and for the first time didn't start a race I registered. Rather exciting! Read the full article here.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Parity & Sanity Restored

After cussing the weather for the last 4 days, I finally had a chance to work out my frustration a bit yesterday at the KLCC track. Started steadily and worked down the time to 6:15 for the final lap. Some bands were doing soundchecks on the stage setup at the EXXON carpark, so we had some not-my-type music to accompany my run. Then joined Au, Yong, Rohaizad, Rachel and Ronnie (R&R) at Der Open Space to chat about this Sunday's New Year Run. The bibs look fantastic, a true collectible to be framed. Everyone was geared and Ronnie looked "kan cheong" enough to "lausai" in anticipation of the big day.

It's the last working day of the year today and I'm looking forward to ridding this year. It's been a challenging year. Running wise very gratifying, family wise good, work wise sucks, opportunities wise hopeful. Can't wait for better things to come. The clan will be watching our first movie together Curse Of The Were-Rabbit - at the cinema tonight. The movie is going to be a riot - Carbokid and I thoroughly enjoy Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit's mini episodes on DVD (A Grand Day Out, Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave). While not many appreciate British humour, I think Nick Park and his team at Aardman are geniuses.

So to you and your loved ones and family, A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Rubber!

Heheh, this time it's not a pair of running shoes but loafers for the office. Rockport baby! Picked it up today at the Isetan Sale at 10%. Still paid RM296 for it, which is still cheaper than the pair of beaten up Hush Puppies I'm wearing now. Shoes (working or running) nowadays are really overpriced, so might as well get a pair that's really good, comfy and durable. My Hush Puppies lasted 3 years and still stuttering along and I hope this Rockports will go the distance too.

It's damn soft - as soft as the Pegasus! I shit you not. It's waterproof and the cushioning is due to Reebok's DMX technology. Heck I could run in them!

Another thing. Until Dec 31st, Isetan is selling a few good Mizuno models at 50% off. The Maverick 4, Atlantis and Mustang 3 are all going at amazing prices. Hurry!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bosses Suck & Some Irrelevant Thoughts

Let's tackle the thoughts first:

I've harboured this nagging question for years: How the heck did the construction crane rise with the building it's constructing? Take a look at it the next time you spot one. The cranes that I'm talking about here are those that sticks out from the centre of the building (usually out of the lift shaft) and transports materiel from the base to the level/floor that's being worked on. It's damn precarious and if you look closely it sways as it rotates carrying the loads. The operator sits in a small cabin attached precariously on the side and can navigate the equipment even without line of sight and purely by radio com. They're that skilled. Have you ever wondered as the building rises over the months of construction how does the crane rise along with it? How do they add the steel "rungs" to it? How do they take them down when it reaches a dizzying height of 80 storeys for example? If you know the answer, please email me!

Now on the bosses:

They seem to take pleasure in heaping misery on their staff. Mine just told me not to hope for anything (ie promotion) next year as the recipients have already been earmarked. He also said that he can't see any significant project that I've contributed this year that is known all over the bank. The phrase "known all over the bank" is subjective but in my place of work, it means one has not trumpeted the accolades enough. The worst comment he made was "If you can run a marathon, I don't see why you can't deliver greater things in 2006". An answer immediately came up on my mind but I bit my tongue and just shook my head. The fact of the matter is running and working while sharing some traits (in that we torture ourselves to no end) are different. The difference? PASSION. What sets a great job apart from an average one is the level of passion the executor put in. I've great passion for running and all that it stands for and I'll gladly do anything associated with it - from volunteering, training and racing, teaching and spreading the running movement and more. I'd run 7 days a week if there's no such thing as a rest day. And being a smoker and non-exerciser, who is he to comment about running? What does he know about training and running a marathon?
I got over being upset the moment I stepped out of the office but I can't help but question my passion for my work. It's diminished. It's not that I don't care for it anymore but I just don't have the desire to go the extra mile. Just do what needs to be done and get out of the office.

Indeed greater things beckon in 2006 and I hope a greater percentage of the success will not be office-work related.

Pass It On

This is certainly a good piece of marketing from Mazda, in conjunction with Runner's World. Encourages the corporate types to get out there. Having Dean Karnazes as the poster boy helps too I guess.

2006 London Marathon Field

Spotted these snippets in the RW site.

Flora London Marathon Is More Stacked Than Ever: We already knew the April 23 Flora London Marathon was going to be quite the contest with Paul Tergat, Haile Gebrselassie and Hendrick Ramaala all signed up and gunning for one another. But now with the addition of Italy's Stefano Baldini (Athens Marathon gold medalist), Morocco's Jaouad Gharib (a two-time world champion), Khalid Khannouchi, Kenya's Martin Lel, Felix Limo, & Evans Rutto (all major marathon winners over the last several years) it's a must-see event.

Anyone running London next year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What Can I Say?

I was right! I mentioned in my post below that I thought I saw Howard Shore conducting the orchestra in King Kong. It was Howard Shore! Peter Jackson gave him that cameo after not agreeing with his scoring of King Kong (which was eventually given to another fine composer James Newton Howard) Read about it here and here.

In the second link there's a part on Munich (initially titled Vengeance), the trailer was shown before King Kong played. Going to be a fantastic watch and guarantees to raise a few eyebrows, which means this will not make it to Malaysia. Thank goodness for the pirates! I managed to locate this gripping journal which I suggest you read before viewing this movie. Read also this thesis paper on the incident.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Of Christmas & A Darn Fit Santa

Merry Christmas one and all! Decided that today was auspicious enough to start my KLIM training and wasn't really expecting a big crowd at Bukit Aman. To my surprise, there was a reasonably large group of runners comprised mostly of regulars. Most surprising of all was seeing John in a Santa hat distributing sweets at the car park. He would later join the large group on the Hartamas route. I wasn't comfortable with the brisk pace and punctured on the return trip. Back at the car park I caught up with the fellow runners and collected my Great Eastern 30K bib. The event company Total Sports were handling the Siemens Race registration. Ronnie were distributing the New Year's Day Run bib and was heard reminding Adam on the time. Runwitme was there as well (I would later see him again at Ikano). Back home I quickly cleaned up and left the house to meet up with my ex-classmate who was visiting KL with his family. I think I'll do a 10K tomorrow morning.

Santa sans tummy                        Carbokid @ Ikano

For more pictures, visit the KL Penguins website

Friday, December 23, 2005

The BIG Ape

Was on medical leave on Wednesday. The prescribed medicine by the 2nd doctor I saw literally knocked me off my socks. The rest did me some good and on Thursday I was better enough to get out and get some things done. The wife and I started the day by checking out some pre-schools for Carbokid. When I got to the first school, I received an amusing call from my colleague who informed me of the hot date he went out with the night before - how big her boobs was among other things. Told him that I just got to a school and not to distract me! Hahaha!
Just before lunch we got a call from the furniture store that they were on the way to deliver my Javanese coffee table - something they owed me for close to a year! So we rushed home all the way from OUG and settled that. Then we got down to sweep and mop the house before leaving again this time to catch King Kong at Sunway Pyramid. Our tickets were 3rd row from the front which wasn't too bad. It was our first movie outing since she was pregnant with Carbokid. That means it's been about 4 years ago! Having a kid really put paid to all these excursions amongst other things, especially when we're raising him all by ourselves most of the times. Even when we were on leave, we'd usually not send him to the nanny's, opting instead to spend time with him.

The movie was good though I felt that it was a little bloated. Some scenes are a tad too long. A tighter editing would've made it really good. Below are some thoughts that went through my mind as the movie unfolded:

1. Naomi Watts looked gorgeous - she'd always been that way to me since Mulholland Drive and 21 grams
2. The sets were fantastic - most of the Depression NYC background probably CGI. Is that the old man from The Green Mile?
3. When can we get to the journey to Skull Island?
4. Naomi is awesome, will I be able to see some exposure like 21 grams (lucky Sean Penn!)
5. Not enough chemistry between Adrien Brody and Naomi! C'mon Adrien, it's Naomi! Hold her hands! When you landed on the island for the first time, you were walking ahead of her - hold her hands man! Flex your Pianist fingers!
6. Jack Black and Colin Hanks work pretty well together. Orange County revisited?
7. The dinosaurs CGI kick ass. Fantastic battle scenes
8. Mmmm.. Delectable Naomi in a stained camisole running around barefooted chased by a hairy fella
9. Is that Howard Shore (score composer for the LOTR trilogy) conducting the theatre orchestra at the Kong premiere? Certainly looked like him. Cameo? Maybe this will be revealed in the Collector's DVD set
10. Dastardly humans. Using planes against Kong! Get the tough guy some Stingers and we'll see him take out the entire USAF!
11. Naomi looked sooooo good.

How can I pre-book some tickets for the Wallace & Gromit movie? Please let me know as I want to take Carbokid to this one - he likes this duo!

Monday, December 19, 2005

An "International" Marathon?

You know it's pretty shoddy when:
- An "International" marathon's website still shows the previous edition's (held Mar 2005) information with 11 weeks to go
- Previous year's "expo" held at a hotel has been scrapped
- The series of official training runs organized are not covered in the newspapers. Worst, the 1st of these runs have concluded!
- I receive no reply to an email I sent to the organizer

I won't mention which marathon this is but if this marathon is the most participated in this country, you get the idea on the state of marathoning here. Oh yes, for those who want to download the entry form to the KL International Marathon, hit this link.

No Go For Siemens

I've pulled out of Siemens 10K slated for January 15th so that I could focus on the marathon training. There really isn't much time left till the Mar 5th race day. Coach Chan's underlings have begun their base training a couple of months back and I know some of them are already hitting 30Ks in their long runs.

It was a shock to the body and the anaerobic system yesterday at the Mizuno 10K. It's been awhile since I ran at that effort - my last 10K being months and months ago. Taking into account the long Chinese New Year-Awal Muharram-City Day holidays, there remains 10 weeks of training left, including this week. Factor in the time you'll need to take to move your body and mind back into the mileage game mode, you can appreciate the fact that there is not much time left.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sau Kong Run - Mizuno Wave Run

It didn't turn out the way I would've wanted but given my condition, I couldn't have asked for more. The hilly race route made things worse though the weather did all it could to help. So cool it was, it came close to running at Awana!

In the end my overoptimistic pace couldn't be sustained as I succumbed around the 5K mark. A series of walking and running followed. Practically everyone I knew whacked me and by the time I found my pace - so different from marathon pacing! - it was already at the 9K mark. That was when I took off after Ngae. Crossed the line in 1:00.26 for a 310 position. The mud at the finishing stretch thoroughly seasoned my Filas and this meant that I had 2 unhappy races in them (Putrajaya and this one), both times under medication.

Along the way I was glad that seasoned runners came forward to volunteer their services, including Penguins 3 and 8, Adam and many more. In hindsight I ought to have helped but the medal urge was too great. With this the 2005 season is over and I'll soon be taking off where I left off - training for KLIM which is just slightly over 2 months away.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Cold & Other Maladies

When it rains, it pours. This seems to be the case lately on money matters. Having lost a chunk of dough on the house tank recently, the car and the currently tenanted old apartment of mine wanted in on sucking me dry.

The power steering tubing sprung a leak last evening and though it turned out not to be a major job, it still cost me RM150 to replace that particular section of the aluminium/rubber tubing. The mechanic said that the part hardly breaks down, but I told him that my luck's been pretty shitty these days. The tubing apparently was worn off from the rubbing against another part of the engine. I suspect this misplacement resulted from the carelessness of the Perodua mechanic when he changed my timing belt last month. Somehow the correct positioning was altered.

Then I received a call from my condo management that the unit directly below mine reported that water has been trickling down his balcony. What is it with piping these days! I've not yet gone over to take a look and I'm praying it's not a serious issue.

So basically all my bonus will be used on correcting these really really pain in the posterior problems! And I've been unable to shake this stubborn cold off.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Back To The Grind & Some Diversions

Thanks for all the messages posted in response to my Singapore race report. With 2 weeks to go to the New Year, there's one final event left to run, which is this Sunday's Mizuno Wave 10K. I've not run a single step since the marathon, even though I could've, except to chase after Carbo Kid. The other contributing factors were the piling work resulting from my 1 week's Singapore vacation and subsequently 2 days of on-the-job training on Creativity. The major project which I'm leading has also run into a glitch and the boss had given me another high profile assignment. Then I was feeling a little under the weather due to my nose which has been troubling me the last 1 week. Coupled with insufficient sleep, all that stress is a pot of brewing trouble waiting to boil over. I will catch up on sleep and naps this weekend.

No expectations this Sunday except to have a good time catching up with running friends again. I'll be running easy the first half of the race since the course passes through the double hill section and then depending on condition (the leg speed must've deteriorated somewhat, I'm sure) I'll take it from there on the downhills until the finish line.
The start to 2006 will see an unusual number of longer runs leading to the KL Marathon in March. There's the Great Eastern 30K and the 2 practice runs to look forward to before the marathon, therefore the mileage game will have to continue. Perhaps after the marathon, I'll be able to refocus on a couple of 10Ks to maintain some sharpness, which is always good.

On the listening front, I'm now revisiting my favourite Spyro Gyra tunes from their Very Best Of album. I remembered watching them live (another concert I had the fortune of attending was one by David Sanborn) the PWTC for RM40 many many years ago and was enthralled by the level of professionalism they brought to the stage. After procrastinating on whether to buy it when it was on sale here (it's no longer available in KL now), I finally bought it from Grammophon in Singapore. All the songs bear testament to the band's superb gelling in presenting music that bridges contemporary, latino, smooth, neo-classical jazz. My favourite track is The Unknown Soldier but I could sit through double playing of the album with no problems.

The band is awesomely tight like The Rippingtons but unlike The Ripps whom rely heavily on the "Russ Freeman sound" which can be a little tiring these days compared to their halycon days of the late 80's and early 90's, Spyro Gyra's creativity lies in their ability to create diversity around
Jay Beckenstein's trademark sax. To learn more about its current members click here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Singapore Marathon 2005 - Race Report Up!

Race report is now up. Read all about it here!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

OK, That Wasn't My Last Post

So OK, the previous post was not my last one. The Singapore Marathon website has just been updated! If you're running it this Sunday, do check the site out. Some updates include the following:

- Powergels will be distributed at the 30K mark!
- Isotonics served (every 6K) is 100 Plus (hopefully it's the non-carbonated version or at least pre-opened to let out the gas). Water stations serving Ice Mountain are at every 2K

And it'll be nice if this chick will be cheering me home

Now for a bit of corny stuff. The Disney cartoon Hercules was a dud but the lyrics of the theme song is powerful and is relevant to the challenge that lies (especially for marathon newbies) ahead this Sunday morning.

Go the Distance

I have often dreamed
Of a far off place
Where a hero's welcome
Would be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer
When they see my face
And a voice keeps saying
This is where I'm meant to be

I'll be there someday
I can go the distance
I will find my way
If I can be strong
I know ev'ry mile
Will be worth my while
When I go the distance
I'll be right where I belong

Down an unknown road
To embrace my fate
Though the road may wander
It will lead me to you
And a thousand years
Would be worth the wait
It may take a lifetime
But somehow I'll see it through

And I won't look back
I can go the distance
And I'll stay on track
No I won't accept defeat
It's an uphill slope
But I won't lose hope
Till I go the distance
And my journey is complete

But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero's strength is measured by his heart

Like a shooting star
I can go the distance
I will search the world
I will face its harms
I don't care how far
I can go the distance
Till I find my hero's welcome
Waiting in your arms...

I will search the world
I will face its harms
Till I find my hero's welcome
Waiting in your arms...

Singapore Here We Come!

I'll be on leave tomorrow to finish packing, so this will be my final posting before scooting off to Singapore. For those who are not making the trip down, do wish us the best. For those going down be it to partake in the event, to sight see, to support friends and family, to check out the DVD and CD stores or to visit the Star Wars Expo (you guys know who you are!!), enjoy yourselves and hope to see you there! Remember to say "Hi!". The Carboman will return sometime next week.

Have a safe journey and run your best!

The perfect warm up routine!