p pol The Adventures of Carboman: January 2006

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Back in Penang

Against the backdrop of the ultra modern and posh 1 Gurney Avenue super condos, a lion awoke from its slumber. Urged on by the drums, gongs and cymbals, its eyelashes twitched. Still groggy from its long slumber, getting on its feet is not an easy task. With the persistent drumming, it appeared irritated at first but as the momentum of the beat picks up, the lion's initial petulance gave way to inquisitiveness as he checked out the surroundings. The gathered crowd was beginning to be enthralled, particularly the kids. Urged by the drums, the lion made its way into the shrine, paying homage to the gods and deities. Joss fragrance filled the midnight air. It's now past midnight bringing and end to a generally tumultous year of the Rooster filled with catastrophies, ushering in the year of the Dog. Despite the ban, large scale fireworks lit up the skies. As the lion continued its acrobatic prancing on the platform, I wished I had an SLR with me. There were plenty of dramatic moments to capture. The rechargeable batteries of my compact camera had expired and I'm not able to go beyond 20 shots. Will post more stories and pictures soon.

To all celebrating, a very Happy Chinese New Year! May you and your family enjoy good health, good fortune and happiness!

For video clips on lion dance, shot during the 2000 Genting World Lion Dance Championship click here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

RFT Update

As of 11:30am today there are nearly 28 runners who have indicated their presence. For those travelling home or going on leave today or tomorrow, here's wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! Have a safe trip and see you guys on Feb 4th 8am!

Mr & Mrs Ronnie See

Jantzen Tey
Alden Yap
PK Chan & Friends
Joviet Sim
Janet & Friends
Light & Easy Club
Lawrence Leong
Running Couple
Ajeep Der_Hamsap Fella
Stanley Ngooi & Daughters
Lay Hoi Cheong
CS Wong
Tan Chee Wee (Penguin 11)
Tony (Penguin 3)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Run For Terence (RFT)

As you're all aware our running kaki, triathlete, duathlete, commando ultrarunner, Terence (Penguin-6) has been diagnosed with brain tumour. With his wife not working and his own job is at stake, whatever assistance and support we extend him will be useful. Runners are known as a supportive and positive bunch. It's time to come forward to help a fellow sportsman in need. Treatment for tumours are often expensive and debilitating. The patient will also be weakened substantially by all the drugs. Besides resting and taking proper food, it's also beneficial to take food supplements such as antioxidants. All these require money.
To show our support for him,
Der_Pacemakers and friends are organizing a run in his honour, after which we'll be passing the hat around to collect some contribution for him. You can also pen down messages for him in a book. As this is a non-competitive run, please bring your own refreshments. Typical of Terence's care-free attitude, you can run any number of laps you want.

Date: Saturday Feb 4th
KLCC Park, the large space between the carpark and the mosque
Any number of laps (1.3k per lap)

Please turn up to support him and spread the word around. For more information or to log down your interest to participate, please visit Der_Pacemakers Blog. Thank you.

Quickie @ KLCC

Left office only at 6:30pm and therefore could only do a short run. Short but can still put in a good quality session right? I ran past a big fella wearing the 2-day old Air Max 360 (see previous post below). He was walking. Hey, for a RM600 purchase, at least run lah! TNS!

Was surprised that the legs were fine and the lap times were dropping and dropping. Then Ronnie ambled by me - he sported a pained expression (like a lau-sai look), complaining sore legs. I'm looking forward to today's longer run. And of course the long holidays.

Monday, January 23, 2006

New Book On Parenting

I read in The Sun newspaper (Jan 18th) that there's a new book out called Wow by Vasanthi Ramachandran (Pelanduk Publications, RM23). In the short book review, a phrase in the book caught my eye. It said "Say it with pride that you are a mother. Live your life in such an exemplary manner that when your children think of excitement, they think of you." I think that's a fantastic approach not only in excitement but for other qualities in life such as honesty, humbleness among many others. I believe it also applies to fathers as well.

The book is about how to develop the personality of the mother who has the most important role in shaping the character of her children. The author believes that the mother as the role-model needs to read, exercise, dance, have a great sense of humour, and enjoy life. Only then can she ingrain these feelings into her children.

At RM23, I think it's a steal but I can't seem to find it in the bookstores.

State Of Denial

I'm in a state of denial. Ever since I learnt of Terence's tumor, I was at a loss of how to react. I know Terence from the days before he ran his first marathon in KL. All the while a bubbly and happy go lucky, I was an ardent fan of his blog. Colourful narratives filled the postings and he cooked up some pretty mind-boggling phrases like "Dew Nia Seng" among others. Words that don't mean anything until you read it from another angle.

His sense of adventure spiked after completing his run-walk routine for his debut marathon and after that nothing seems to be beyond him, even though some of us had doubts. He tackled the duathlon on a mountain bike while most were on their expensive racing models. He tackled the triathlon and more marathons like he was on tour. His family often tagged along on race day.

Both of us have strong interests in war stories, fiction or otherwise and our conversations are always littered with war lingo. So it was no surprise when he pioneered the "commando style" marathon racing where he would travel to an out-of-town marathon by a late night bus, arriving there on race morning and jump straight to the starting line. Timing is of no consequence to him, always prefering the experience over the fast times. He got the endorsement of John Bingham's Penguin to call his group of runners The Penguins and they gained popularity among the local running circles. He and his group should be proud to have inspired many to take up the way of life.

I think the proudest moment would be when he was admitted into the Powerbar Team Elite last year (and he was again retained in the team this year). He told me last year that he was shocked to find himself in this team of elite athletes and he was in complete awe of their achievements and abilities. Where Terence lacked in speed, he more than made up in his resolve. In the deplorable Johor Marathon (now a defunct event, justifiably so), he related that some officials tailing him made some derogatory and snide remarks about him bring up the rear and that he should just hop onto the sweeper bus and let everyone go home earlier. He just took his time and upon crossing the finish line, went straight to one of the senior officials and let the person have a piece of his mind.

When I called Terence last week, he didn't say how bad his case is. Unlike his brother who had surgery to remove the brain tumor, Terence is opting for drug treatment as he fears that brain surgery is too risky. I also asked him how his family is taking it and he said his daughter Eunice is confident her Papa will be OK and his wife is taking it the best as she can. I put myself in his shoes and I can't imagine myself in his position. The scale and impact render all other matters irrelevant. Your priorities suddenly become clear. Life takes a new meaning and direction. It seems that suffering jolts us from this hazy stupor of battling it out trying to finish work, arguing with colleagues, rushing here and there and to point us in the correct purposeful direction. With suffering we seem to appreciate life more.

Life to Terence is always an adventure and some of his exploits were stuff that make urban legends in the running circle. Terence is finding that he's in a hot LZ. But many of us pray that he and his family hang on with the kind of attitude we know him for and with the thought that the runners out there are with him all the way. That's an affirmative.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Great Eastern 30K Race Report

Click here to read. Going to bed now!

Friday, January 20, 2006

2006 Mizuno Lineup

With the exception of the expensive Wave Creation 6, the recent models of Mizunos tend to slant towards the "responsive ride" characteristics. Which suits runners (usually faster ones) but my preference is for cushiony ones, at least for training purposes. Hence I've found less and less compatibility with these shoes. Don't get me wrong. I've owned my fair share of Mizunos - the retired Precision, the donated Rider 6 and the still in use Maverick 3.
Well the new running season is well underway. Shoe manufacturers (for some companies, the designers) are busy coming out with new models and updates to their line of footwear. Below is the 2006 lineup for Mizuno. Note however that the US, European and Japanese market/range are different. Get detailed info from their US website. BTW the Wave Elixir seems to be the Maverick replacement.
Cushion Models

Creation 7            
 Rider9                Precision 6            Wave Idaten
Stability Models
Nirvana 2                    Inspire 2        Wave Elixir           Wave Revolver 3


Air Max 360 2006

Trust it to Nike to come up with a product launch befitting a Harry Potter book launch. Midnight tonight will see hip Londoners whipped into a frenzy, after spending some hours in a queue, to part with USD159.99 for a pair of this foamless shoe. In case you did a double-take on the price, yes, the indicative price is USD159.99 which translates to slightly above RM600. If this price turns out to be true, then I think the price for a pair of running shoe has just turned ridiculous. I believe the chip and motor-embedded adidas-1 is still the most expensive at close to RM1,000.
Which shouldn't be a problem for the affluent and credit card toting hiphop crowd. But will they benefit from a foamless midsole (which cushioning properties are claimed to remain as new even after 500K), 12oz, a completely reflective upper, 1-piece dynamic inner sleeve, breathable mesh, and flex grooves that allow the feet to move naturally? Not likely, unless they embark on a mission of clubbing, grooving and breakdancing (is it still in?) marathon. In KL, Nike has started the hype a week back when they ran a teaser promo along the busy Bukit Bintang area displaying the history of the Air Max.

It's pretty obvious what these shoe companies are doing and while decent models are still being made, a huge percentage of production are still
geared towards fashion.
For a dose of hipness, visit the Nike Air Malaysia website.

Under wraps...for now


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Let's Get It On!

I just made myself a potent mug of coffee. I need it to focus on a super sensitive project I'm handling which calls for me to study some system specs. Thank goodness for the world's 2nd most traded commodity (according to Wikipedia), I will have the buzz to do so. For more caffeine laced info, hit this link.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lunch With PM1, 21, 33 & 40

I had loads to eat for lunch today at the Avenue K foodcourt. I wolfed down 2 chapatis with dhal (lentil gravy), 1 bowl of potatoes and 1 bowl of spicy chicken, and now I'm fully stuffed. Tomorrow's lunch will be 2 of my ex-colleagues (one of whom have joined my present company) and I expect it to be another carbo loading party for me. I was just informed that this Sunday's 30K race will start at 6am instead of 5am, which means I'll still be running at 9am. But I think it should be all right if the pacing is done sensibly. I'm not as concerned about the heat and sun as much as the terrain. We'll be running through some pretty treacherous ups and downs. By the end of the race, I'm sure more than a pair of calves, quads and hams would've blown.


Everyday, our consciousness are assaulted by a mix of emotions from every levels of distress/sadness to joy and hope. If that notion is true, then today seems to be a typical one.
Sad and distressing news I caught in the local papers recently:
- Man killed by a small bomb. The online version of this report has no pictures but in the paper edition, there's a touching photo of the widow and her daughter. According to the police, it was an act of business rivalry or prank. In all likelihood, they have no idea.
Jogger raped and killed. This happened while she (a sweet looking 25-year old) was out jogging with her sister who was running some distance behind. The victim was a regular jogger and at 6pm, it was still bright. She was apparently pulled off into a vehicle and was found a few hours later with her throat slit. Everyone out there needs to have greater situational awareness. A fellow runner also covered this tragic news in his site.
Uplifting ones that hints that Life if still worth living and fighting for:
- Haile adds another World Record to his already illustrious career. 58:55 for a Half Marathon anyone? He's been strong this year and Tergat's record will certainly be at risk.
- Tri-Geek Kahuna finds a hero in his son. Written with such affection that only a Dad can.
Us 3 siblings were brought up in a strict environment with religion playing a large part of our lives. While I lost some childhood freedom, I gained some discipline and balance which provided some grounding during the tougher times. Nearly every Sunday would be spent at the Sunday School or at a prayer class. I also represented my Sunday School a few times in the national level quiz competitions. There were the national written exams too which I scored tops in the levels but I stopped short of completing the Diploma certification (which was issued by the Buddhist Council in Sri Lanka) due to timing. A posting in Rohaizad's blog brought back lessons learnt from those days. Suffering and happiness and every emotional feelings in between have no permanance, physical and emotional changes happen constantly. If we possess greater awareness of our feelings, there is every likelihood that we'll be able to check our emotions and actions (attributed to greed, hatred and misguidedness) and not react rashly. It may not eliminate all the crimes of the world but we will see less of it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

New Balance Pacesetters 15K

Forms to this tough but well organized event are out! Even before the 30K race is flagged out. Talk about efficiency. But please do the race organizers a favour - register only after next Sunday's 30K! They've got too much things on their hands already. BTW, if you want to volunteer either for the 30K or 15K, please let me know. Yes, barring anything unforseen, I ought to be volunteering my services for the 15K.
click here to access site
Click on image to access the official site


Just got back from the long run. It wasn't as long as I wanted. Indeed, not many achieved the full 30K target this morning. Though it was cool right up to 7:20am, the sun was gradually increasing its strength and by 8:30am it was sunny and warm. The first 10 was run with Kenny and CCHoo. Rohaizad and Tey were hammering the pace about 150m ahead. I felt they were a bit fast so I hung back. Plenty of miles left!

I picked up the pace on the return but the knees grew increasingly stiff. As I had drained my Gatorade and I didn't detour back to the car park for replenishment, I ran the 2 loops around the lake without fluids. It wasn't so bad but my knees were achy and I thought there's no point in risking it.

Training has been good this week. Hope to keep it going and get the knees back to being race ready!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Weekend Bliss

Saturday Plans
Do some CNY shopping for the in-laws, watch Harold & Kumar, Brothers Grimm and Bridget Jones Diaries 2. Carbo loading, wash car, mop house, check out some nurseries (the plant-type).
Sunday 30K
Come one come all! Tey and his gang, Rohaizad, Yong and I will be going for it this Sunday at 6am. Though we'll be starting together I expect the bunch of us to split into 2, with Tey leading the faster group. We should reach Petronas within 65 mins, return to the IRB in 25 mins, roll back to Petronas in 30 mins and finally back to the start by 9:15am. We ought to be able to avoid those running the Siemens 10K, I suppose. I would've liked to do a 33K at least but looking at my present conditioning, it'll be quite a challenge. I'd also like to get home earlier this Sunday. We'll see.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Surprise In The Mail

I received a pleasant surprise in the office mailbox today. Sandwiched between tons of office letters were a package from Amazon.co.uk and a padded envelope from New Zealand. The former bore a copy of Paula Radcliffe's autobio "My Story So Far" and the latter, 3 photos of me finishing the recent Singapore Marathon. Both packages cost me a bomb - the book RM82 and the photos RM150! Could've easily bought a pair of shoes with the money, but then the photos are priceless - it's difficult to get good running shots and since I won't be doing Singapore this year, they provide some good memories.

As you can see from the photos below, the packaging for both items are well done. No bends or creases on the products. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Related article: My Bookcase

Great Run

Had a great run with DK yesterday. The plan was to take it slow and easy to Hartamas and then run down to the mosque, pass by Dataran and Merbok on the way back to the car park. In the end we opted for a much tougher route back instead of the usual. We detoured to the Double Hill and coasted home. In hindsight, we were fortunate we didn't take the National Mosque route as the road would've been packed with people and cars, today being a sacred Muslim holiday. The tougher route also serves to prepare us for the very tough 30K race coming up in about 2 weeks' time.
The club needs plenty of volunteers for the Saturday as well as race day. As you're well aware the runners will enjoy the Powerbar Endurance drink on the roads, therefore there are plenty of work required to mix the powders into 1.5L bottles for race day use. I heard there are about 30 cartons of 1.5L bottles to be filled plus many other tasks. Those interested to help out, please drop me a note and I'll hook you up with the persons in charge. If you're not running, please answer this call to action - it's time to give back to the sport. Thanks for helping!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

1st Back To Back

With the year starting off how it ended - bad - I finally got a chance to put in a back to back runs. Starting off with yesterday's holiday run and today's 9K. Unsurprisingly, my knees stiffened up as they were shocked into the action again after such a long stretch of inconsistent training. If I carry on like this and end this week with the planned 30K, I can fully expect the ITB to poke it's ugly head again. I'm gonna take it easy tomorrow - really easy and hope just to knock off 8K.

Carbokid is enjoying pre-school and we've built a regime of reading and singing before bedtime into his schedule and he's taking it OK so far. But I've got to be the one sending him to bed as he'll just take advantage of his Mom and refuses to make the trip upstairs. And he's just added "Oh My God!" into his vocab.

In Therapy

Had a great run with DK yesterday. The plan was to take it slow and easy to Hartamas and then run down to the mosque, pass by Dataran and Merbok on the way back to the car park. In the end we opted for a much tougher route back instead of the usual. We detoured to the Double Hill and coasted home. In hindsight, we were fortunate we didn't take the National Mosque route as the road would've been packed with people and cars, today being a sacred Muslim holiday. The tougher route also serves to prepare us for the very tough 30K race coming up in about 2 weeks' time.

club needs plenty of volunteers for the Saturday as well as race day. As you're well aware the runners will enjoy the Powerbar Endurance drink on the roads, therefore there are plenty of work required to mix the powders into 1.5L bottles for race day use. I heard there are about 30 cartons of 1.5L bottles to be filled plus many other tasks. Those interested to help out, please drop me a note and I'll hook you up with the persons in charge. If you're not running, please answer this call to action - it's time to give back to the sport. Thanks for helping!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Hope To Get It Going

After being in a funk for the last 1 week, I was happy to lace up again. The weather was cool and it would later drizzle. The rain was a good thing as it sent most of the folks who crowd the running track scurrying into the nearest KLCC Mall. After completing the 4 laps with Newton, I decided to carry on as long as I can before my wife called. The call came just as I completed my 7th lap. It was a very nice run and I agree with John Jerome in his book "Elements of Effort" that one of the reasons man run is because of the natural urge to be free. I was indeed free of the shackles that had bogged me down for most of last week.

Popsicle Bunnies. I love this scene - so cute, simple and absurd!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

30K Series For KLIM

I've learnt not to publish my training schedule as I believe that if I do that, my plan is jinxed. However since there are a few marathon newbies, I don't mind sharing my long run plans so that they can tag along for the ride. On long ones such as these, it's good to have some company. Here it is:

Jan 8th - 20K
Jan 15th - 30 to 35K
Jan 22nd - 30K (GE-PACM 30K)
Feb 5th - 35K
Feb 12th - 30K
Feb 19th - 35K
Feb 26th - 20K
Mar 5th - KLIM

I usually start my 30K at 5:30am. Anyone who wish to join me are most welcome. Just drop me an email so that I can expect you at the Bukit Aman carpark. Happy training!

CarboKid Starts School!

Today is CarboKid's first day in school - prekindy actually. We intended him to attend school only in February considering the many holidays that January has but after looking at the payment structure, we thought it's best he starts with the other kids. Makes it easier for him to adjust as well. The school was the last one in a series of 5 establishments that we went about reviewing. Some seemed to be quick in bringing out the fees table while some took the trouble to patiently walk the parents through the curriculum while 1 was obviously a money making venture. Anyways I called Carbo Woman (who is with the Kid) and she said he acquitted himself well. No tears! It certainly will be an exciting year for him. Incidentally, all of us enjoyed Wallace & Gromit last week. It was a very entertaining movie and you need to be fast to spot the humour and references that come up in nearly every frame, that I'm sure I missed quite a few. Do make sure you check out the signboards and don't miss a couple of adult references! A certain addition to the DVD collection then.

Cheers To A Cracking New Year!