p pol The Adventures of Carboman: February 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pressing Matters

Carbokid isn't quite the same kid lately. For the past 2.5 weeks, he's been difficult to handle, throwing tantrums when we send him not only to his nanny's and school but also when picking him up in the evenings. This is all the more unusual since he has a collected and easy going demeanour. Even when he was cranky he could be easily pacified. We'd talk and reason with him and he'd be OK.

The recent problem was compounded when he appeared seemingly confused by his troubles - bawling and saying that he doesn't want to go to the nanny's and school, but yet when we pick him up, he didn't want to come home with us! He was also quite clingy. The "What To Expect" book and several Internet resources said that this behaviour was normally a result of transition. The kid is finding it hard to adjust to the daily goings-on: leaving early to school, then to nanny's, in between activities, and back home.

However we suspect that it stemmed from school. After spending a couple of weeks in the ground floor classroom, Carbokid's class was moved upstairs to a much smaller/enclosed room. Not only that, he had a change in teacher. That morning he probably couldn't adjust to the sudden change and he wetted his shorts twice. Highly unusual as he's potty trained and he knows how to say that he needs to go to the loo. According to the school, just when the teacher was about to put on his shorts for him, the nanny arrived, so Carbokid went home with just his T-Shirt on covering his upper and lower body. I suspect he must have been traumatised by the experience and wasn't the same since then. And I suspect (but I've no way to prove) that the school didn't attempt to find him a pair of spare shorts and even reprimanded him for soiling the 2 shorts.

Nearly every day for the last 2 weeks we've had to cope with him and we've stopped him going to school. We've even spent the recent Monday and Tuesday in Penang, hoping that he will be more relaxed. But last night he was happily playing at the nanny's and refused to come home with us. So we let him spend the night there and Carbowoman and I took the opportunity to catch up on some rest we desperately needed. We had a nice dinner at a Thai restaurant and got our 8 hours of sleep. Before we retired we called the nanny and found that he's perfectly all right there.

All these taught us that sometimes when things are not going well with the kid/s we will get the feeling that we're not being good parents and other thoughts of inadequacy of helping the kid. While this is natural, we need to recognize and arrest those negative thoughts and focus on doing the best we can. Parents can't possibly handle or know how to deal with everything. What we're doing now is to return Carbokid to the old simple ritual, hoping this will bring back his old assured self. This therapy will take awhile but kids do recover from traumatic experiences.

KLIM is just but the least of my worries. I've not run a single step since last Sunday's final long run and I can't see myself running another step up to the race. Work has been bad and my external "hobby" has just taken off. Most importantly Carbokid needs his Dad's energy and time. So life as it is is pretty packed. Because of that I'd be shelving my racing for a few months and when I find time to run, it'll be for reasons of maintenance rather than training/medalling. I spoke to Justin about this last evening and my decision, surprisingly, wasn't that hard to make, given the more pressing matters at hand. I'll be back to the races, I'll grant you that but perhaps it's time I take a break for now.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Final Long Run

I was asked what my week's mileage was and I replied 40K (today's 33K and 7K over 2 week days). I also burst out laughing when I said that because of the incredulity (spelling?). This training has got to be the worst I'd managed to string together but come what may I'll be giving my best on race day. I've already prepared my mind to accept the pain and discomfort that's to come.

A surprise this morning was Kenneth who started later with Jessica. There were 8 of us who started off into the darkness at 5:08 this morning and I ran mostly with Penguin2 at 6-minute pace. Reached 10K mark in exactly 1 hour and 20K in 2 hours. 30K in 2:52 and the balance 3K in 18 minutes. The final 8K of my run was with Jessica, whom I'd caught up with. She was running pretty strongly.

Before I left the car park, I tried Kenneth's GT-2100 and it was a stupendous shoe. However I found that the midfoot shank contributed to some pronounced stiffness around the arch area and becuase of that I believe this model will cause some problems such as sore arch to me. I've got a neutral gait hence I don't need the stability features. Otherwise, the 2100's heel and forefoot cushioning was the best I'd ever sampled. It deservedly won the Shoe of The Year Award. Perhaps the Landreth or Cumulus would offer the same feel (minus the stiffness).

Friday, February 17, 2006

We're So Tired

For the past 1.5 weeks, Carbokid has been acting out of character. He's been clingy, didn't want to go to the nanny's in the morning, didn't want to attend his pre-school unless the nanny or us be there for him. In the evening when we retrieve him from the nanny's, he wouldn't want to go home. He bawled for 20 minutes in the car last night and this morning was in cling mode so much that we couldn't drop him at school. Carbowoman had to take a day's leave to manage him at home where he's OK. The switching of environment is evidently distressing him and even though he loves the school, we'll pull him out until he's more stable and assured. Hopefully this is just a passing phase that will blow over soon. We're very tired.
Not that I'm in the right frame of mind but there's been next to no training this entire week. I don't consider 4K runs training at all and yesterday didn't buck the distressing trend. Managed only 3 hard laps (with a duathlete named Shahrul) and 1 cooldown lap. I've basically left my lungs on the rubber track with the 3 laps and I've got no juice left. Lifemou would be relishing the swig of Jack Daniels and righfully so. I'm in no condition to mount a race effort on Mar 5th.
The hard lap times: 7:17 > 6:18 > 6:12 = 19:48 (30 secs off my 3-lap PR)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

To Lifemou:

I've no natural speed and I certainly didn't run my first marathon in 4:19. In fact, I've not run any marathons faster than 4:39. I've also no cross-training regime and I'll probably fall to my death if I go rock climbing (without a harness of course)! I consider the 30K performance a fluke - I couldn't have outrun you. No way, uh uh.
I've missed so many weekday workouts that I've found updating my training log a painful attack on my conscience. Like you, the boss species have heaped misery on my plans with senseless tasks. Some so pointless that I'm beginning to think he's got a vendetta against me. I fully expect to "smell your exhaust fumes" in the coming KLIM. But at least it's a fun activity we're going to be engaging in. The only armour I have on me are the Sunday long runs I've put in over the past month and the final one this Sunday. I'm not even sure if they will prevent a total wipe-out by you.

So in the spirit of competitiveness, I'm going to resort to some tactics to supplement the above.
By the way, aren't you supposed to be partying on the night of Mar 4th? Check your fridge - have you stocked up on the beer? Hehehe...

For some Lifemou wit, visit http://lifemou.blogspot.com - he's really a nice fella!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day Madness

It rained at about 5pm just now, turning the already bad traffic into a veritable nightmare. Different people would have gone through different challenges. Here are just 2 sets of folks.
Courting Couples
Having made dinner bookings, they were cursing and cussing firstly at the weather, then the traffic and finally at the car next lane who was jostling into theirs. For the man driving to pick up his partner, he was seen gnashing on his fingernails. For those not on the roads, they can be seen hand in hand at the KLCC Park wary of over-enthusiastic park wardens who were out to nab amourous couples who can't keep their hands to themselves.
With Carbokid unwell, Carboman (having ran only 4K) and Carbowoman (also unwell) were exploring ways to get to the nanny's who in turn was planning to bring her family out to dinner - and it was already close to 8:30pm!
Ps. Am sleepy, hence a posting that's littered with grammatical errors.

Monday, February 13, 2006

This Isn't The Alcohol Talking

This sounds like nuts but I'm thinking of attempting a 36K next Sunday, pushing off at 6:10 pace up till the 10K mark. Start time 5am to simulate race day. This will be the last long run prior to tapering. The route: The usual 30K practice run route and 2 loops around the National Mosque/Dataran Merdeka/Padang Merbuk circuit.

Interested parties please indicate in the comment section. Hope to have some company. 

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Satisfaction, Another One Please

This morning's run was good even if it wasn't fantastic. The start was so difficult as I was running alone. Most had run in yesterday's Circuit Run and would either be resting or running at a relaxed pace. Only nearing the 10K mark did I encounter the recognizable faces - some Penguins and more later on. The pace held was very close to 6 minutes. I reached the 10K mark in 59 minutes, 20K in another 59 minutes and 30K in 57 minutes. I did another 3K close to 20 minutes. This week's mileage was off but I was able to put in 3 quality runs. Next week will be the final week before tapering.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New York New York!

My dream of a New York burns. Experience it here!

asics 2006 Catalogue

I've been eyeing the above for awhile. It's a small booklet, nicely produced and inserted into the Aussie edition of the RW magazine (forgot which month). But flicking it, even though it's a mag insert would seem like stealing - something I wouldn't want to do.

Opportunity presents itself just now when I bought the Mar issue of the US edition where they feature the spring shoe review. The Aussie issue was there on the shelf, so I took the asics catalogue out and asked the shopowner if it was OK for me to have it. I was glad that he said OK.

The booklet catalogue was simply marvellous. You wouldn't believe how many models they feature in there - 120, across different sports from volleyball, walking, running and more! There are also some brief on the tech behind the shoes. I've had experience with 3 old models of asics and I've no complains except why the heck are asics shoes so expensive nowadays? Forget Nike as most of their models are fashion oriented but asics has to be up there with Mizuno in the price range. While Mizuno are available in this country, there are no asics retailer in the country except in the state of Penang.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Visit To The Ti-Ratana Welfare Home

CarboKid's pre-school paid a visit to the Ti-Ratana Welfare Society this evening. As it turned out the visit was not only by the pre-school but a sort of open house for the public in conjunction with the Chinese New Year. There are a few homes managed by the society but this visit was to the kids' home. We saw so many kids there and while some were perfectly "normal", a number were special.

As I was accompanying CarboKid as he was checking the place out, one kid sudddenly ran up behind me and gave me a hug and by the time I turned around he or she (I didn't know who did it!) had ran off! Then there was a girl who kept asking me (in Mandarin) whether I was a celebrity. I was amused by the question and though I wanted to tell her that I was THE Carboman (in jest of course) I couldn't as I don't know to how say it in Mandarin! So I just replied her "No". There was also a special kid who kept playing hide and seek with me.
We didn't stay long but it was an eye-opening time for me. It's been a long time since I visited such homes, the last time was when I was still in secondary school. It was a reminder to us how fortunate we are to have a home and parents who love and are there for us. These kids, many of whom are orphans may not enjoy that privilege but from what I see, they are in good hands.

For some photos, hit
this link.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Update on Terence

I spoke to Terence just now and he would like to thank everyone for the contributions. He's very shocked and touched by the amount of support garnered. He'd also like to thank PM1 for the tokens of appreciation. Terence will be admitted back to the Tawakal Hospital today for further tests and should be there for at least a few days. I'll be making arrangements to pass him the cheque these few days as I'm still receiving some contributions. I'm stopping collection at lunch time today to facilitate accounting and the final sum will be published to all. As it stands, the collection has exceeded RM4,000. For the run report, please hit this link.

Brought 2 u by

Monday, February 06, 2006

For Marathon Debutants

The KL Marathon is just 4 (including this week and tapering period) short weeks away. The weekly mileage should be in the peaking stage and experienced marathoners may also be putting in some form of speedwork in the shape of long intervals or tempos. The things that are certain to be running through debutants' heads include self-doubts and race strategy (often the most beguiling, I kid you not). Let's tackle each one.

For those trying to string together a week's worth of good training would either have made good of the lax traffic or left cursing for the missed days as a result of the merry-making. If you find yourself in the latter group, there's no reason to fret. You've put down your commitment by registering (I'm assuming that you know what you got yourself into!) and started your training. But despite logging the miles, you still have doubts. This is perfectly normal. It's probably not helped by the many advice you've received from numerous runners. Just know that you've trained the best you can. No point worrying. Run smart, have a realistic goal and you'll pull through. The marathon is such that you'll get the hang of it once you've run a few. No single advice is correct or wrong. You need to find out what works for you and this only comes through experience. What's important is for you to focus on these remaining weeks of training and not risk undoing all your hardwork by unnecessary worrying. Enjoy your debut experience and come back for more (yes there's joy at the end of all that pain!).
Race Strategy
Some have decided to run negative spilts, some even splits and some are even considering positive splits. All are not easy to execute and in terms of feeling good at the end of the race, the last option of running positive splits will give you none of it. Let me rephrase that: Running positive splits WILL NOT give you an euphoric feeling at the end of the race. You will curse and swear with 10K to go. It'll be the longest and hottest 10K you'll ever run and when you finally get across the finish line, chances are you won't be attempting another marathon anytime soon. There! I didn't mince my words.
Any which way you look at it, unless you're Steve Jones (Welsh one-time world record holder), there's no sense for such a bravura. From all angles you lose.
As I've said you're already going to be hurting up there in your head and all over other parts of your body. By running faster outside your comfort zone so early, you're going to be pounding harder. The extra pounding will get to your lower legs and back and you'll know the pain when it hurts in the final quarter. From the pain, you're going to be discovering parts of your body you've never known existed. Compounded by the race day adrenalin rush, you're setting yourself up for disappointment more so if you've set yourself a time goal (another no-no for first timers).
Not only that, you'll lose any psychological edge you have when others overtake you while you trudge along (also known as the Death March). Now think about the confidence you're going to reap when at this late stage you're passing strugglers instead - provided you've paced well earlier on.
It's Proven 95% Of The Time
For your first marathon, it's wiser to err on the side of caution. The concept of banking in time to cover as much ground before crashing and resorting to a walk-run routine have too little benefits to be adopted as a viable tactic. Instead of a possible 30-minute PR (for example), you only managed a 5-minute improvement. Think about how many times you've heard runners lamenting "If only I've started out slower".  Simply put, the risks outweigh the returns.
What To Do Then?
Be confident that you've trained well (even if you've not) and be confident of your own pace. Don't be sucked in at the start. Go easy at the 1st 10K, stay relaxed and enjoy the atmosphere (you're running your first of many marathons! While others are dreaming about it, you're actually doing it. Isn't that awesome?). Continuing to stay relaxed, up your pace by 5 secs per K and hold it for the next 20K. If you've done this well, you would've passed a considerable number of runners who went out too fast. Yup, you don't have to wait till 30K to begin passing people!
After 30K, it's down to mental strength and guts. Think positive thoughts, reaffirm your beliefs. Just holding the pace will get you past so many more runners. As your confidence grows, you level of fatigue will seemingly drop and even when you think you're going slower, you may not be. The right pacing strategy won't safeguard you from hitting the wall but at least you won't struggle so early and you won't crash that badly. You'll be able to finish strongly and come back for more.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

2nd (Or Was It The 3rd?) 30K

OK I admit the title was unusual but it's been an unusual morning to say the least. With this week's mileage down the drain, I started this morning's 30K with some trepidation. In what style will I be dragging my sorry butt back to the car park? But yet again I found myself running strongly. The 1st 10K was completed in a languid 1:02, while the next 10 was surprisingly fast - below 50 mins (1:52). Then I was held up for about 3 1/2 mins in the queue paying for the drinks. The last 10 felt bad but somehow I still covered it in less than an hour. Saw quite a few fellas - Shahrom pacing with Cecil, Azwar with the tri gang, Ah Toh leading the fast pack, Jessica who had come out of her hibernation and Li Sar whose lunch pasta (plus my dinner of 1/3 bowl of Tomyam Noodles, 1 packet of Thai Fried Rice, 3 sticks of satay, 2 pieces of pastry) could've contributed to my rather unusual run.

I dread tomorrow. After a week's rest for the festivities, it back to the grind. At least there'll be greater consistency in my training, a critical phase this is. The next 3 Sundays will hopefully be 35Ks before entering the tapering period.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Run For Terence - The Run

Over 40 runners (young and old) turned up at the KLCC park to show their support to Terence this morning. It was, I think, a tremendous response. It could've been a larger turnout if not for the Chinese New Year celebrations. The weather was hot and while most just ran a few rounds, there were also a few who just couldn't give up their weekly mileage. Ronnie contributed plenty of tokens of appreciation in the form of glasses and ceramic containers, which was distributed to all who came. Janet contributed in a unique way - she ran 10 laps to raise RM1,000 on top of her own contribution.

In the end a total of RM4,060 (about USD1,082, excluding the pledged amount) were collected. A cheque will be cut out in favour of Terence and we will make arrangement for it to be handed to him. It is hoped that the collection will in some small way lighten up his burden. More importantly he now knows that there are so many healthy lungs out there who are standing behind him in this hour of need. Here, I'd also like to record my thanks to all who came. Your presence proved that there are indeed many generous people in this world and runners do stick together.

Those who contributed were:
  • Cheong Shih Heng
  • CS Wong
  • Newton Yap
  • Rohaizad
  • Ng Ping Loong
  • Lay Hoi Cheong
  • Jenny Lim Kui Eng & Family
  • PK Chan & Grace
  • Wan Yew Leong
  • John & Wai Min
  • Steve, Stupe, Light & Easy
  • Lim Fang Hau
  • Chan Chui Miew
  • Chua Rho Wen
  • Ronnie & Rachel See
  • Jenny Lee
  • Aeow Family
  • Sim Boon Haw
  • Tey Eng Tiong
  • Eng Seok Jiun
  • Eng Seok Ling
  • Mr Kong (Seok Ling's Boss)
  • Phyllis Kok
  • Lawrence Leong
  • Teresa Goh
  • Carol Low
  • Jason Thiang & Sook Ying
  • Sook Yuen
  • Maryann & Leslie Yee
  • Ong Siok Bee
  • CC Ho Ching Cheong
  • Ho Ching Tai
  • Tony Quay
  • Hau Wan Lin
  • Keshab Kumar
  • Kelvin Ng
  • Ajeep Rashidi
  • Steven Ng
  • Kenny Tan
  • Janet & Sponsors
  • Lisar Oon (pledged)
  • Julian Chan (pledged)

While some were already running, I took the opportunity to update the rest on Terence's condition

A short briefing/update before the run. Spectacular view, no?

Distributing the tokens of appreciation

Group photo

Mr Bon-Bon and his friends who came to lend their support

2 of the few young ones who came. It was really heartening to see these young 'uns

Counting the contributions

Lay penning down his words of encouragement

Janet (in cap) who ran 10 laps to raise RM1,000 from 2 sponsors with her chaperones

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Finally, A Run!

After 4 days of not being able to put a single yard into my training, I decided that enough was enough. While others were ticking off their 30Ks, I was fighting to get more restful sleep in. If I can't sleep well, how am I to wake up for the morning runs? The traffic and weather were too uncompromising to run in the evenings, so morning had to be the only option.

After knocking off at 11:30pm the night before, I got up at 6am and was out of the door in 15min's time. Gurney Drive is just a road crossing away and while walking to the start of the 1.7K stretch of waterfront, I realized how humid it was. I was sweating like a pig before even the 1st lap was through. The air was heavy. The sound of the waves breaking were the only comfort as I toiled over the street. There were quite a few people relaxing, exercising on the sidewalk. There were even some party goers from the night before. After upping the ante for the final lap, I stopped for awhile to watch the sunrise before walking home. Tell me what better way to start the day.

Total Distance: 10.2K
Time: 1:02.25 (11:46, 11:02, 10.24, 10.07, 9:57, 9:06 - 5:32 pace)
Average Lap: 10:24 (Pace: 6:02)