p pol The Adventures of Carboman: June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006


The message below was recently sent out by a long-serving employee in my company. Some details are intentionally masked to maintain some confidentiality. Otherwise nothing else is changed (including spelling and grammatical errors).
"Today I have reached my retirement and also my last working day with xxxx. It has been a wonderful and memorable 36 years and 5 months if I'm not wrong with this great international organization. It's time for me to bit farewell and goodbye to my colleagues, friends, for those who knows me and also to my current and previous OIC and supervisor, and also not to forget all the RMs from various units, which I have been working with. My heartiest thanks to all for your kind co-operation, quidance, patience, teamwork and most of all your friendship and understandings.
I wish all of you continues success and best of luck, especially to those tellers(ladies) from xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with I have spend half of my working life with them. It has been most unforgettable, wonderful, memorable and most of all I'm going to miss you guys ladies talk and gossips. Anyway it has been a great pleasure working with all of you and I would like to express my sincere apologies for any inconviences caused.
My very best wishes to all of you and do keep in touch. I can be contacted at my H/P xxxxxxxx.
This was then followed by a very gracious message from the CEO:
On behalf of everybody at xxxxxxx, let me say a big THANK YOU for giving almost 37 years of your life to this company. Your contributions are lauded, and your presence will be missed. After such a long period, it should not be Good Bye, but rather, the Italian "Arrivederci".. till we meet again. Because at xxxxx, you will always find a home..
Wishing you the best in your retirement,
All the sentimentality got me thinking. What if I was the old-timer? What would the CEO say? My twisted mind got to work:
"So, you finally decided to call it quits. Got tired fighting the system heh? Whatever it is, you can't deny that we've helped you buy a house, a car and looked after your medical benefits right? While those are tangible things, what about those lunches with der happening chicks? Yeah, I admit there are quite a lot of scumbags too but that's der fact of life and every company has a fair share of them. Anyways, like der Hokkien phase, just "KNN" them like how you did - they deserve it anyway. We're sorry we took away your chance to run more often but having work is better than being downsized isn't it? Else how are we to justify your fat paycheck? Wishing you der best in your running. Always remember to pia kau kau lat!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

KLCC Pacing Chart

For those who make KLCC their training ground, you'll find the pacing table helpful. This compilation shows the KLCC pace per lap relative to the road distance and allows you to train/pace accordingly and be able to differentiate between training or racing pace. Click on the link below to download.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Will Ferrell Is Nuts In "The Producers"

I'm loving hillwork. Though the workout is much shorter than the time taken to do a 20K or worse 30K, it still leaves you very much satisfied...and alive. It's difficult not to feel alive especially when your lungs are worked near the max and your legs and arms are pumping like mad. Incidentally "mad" is also what the casual walkers also think of you as you pass them repeatedly up and down the incline. A 1 lap warm-up around the lake was followed by some stretching before another lap, this time via the Carcosa route. After that I ran 2 sets (3x2) of steps at the Panggung (outdoor theatre) before rounding the morning off with 3x300m of hill tempos. Since I wasn't running as often I decided that 300m was sufficient but in reality the minimum distance of the climb should be from 400m to 800m. I really enjoyed the 3 variations of hillwork and my legs were still alright. No sores on Sunday nor today.
I believe hillwork works the same as tempos in that it perks up your lactate threshold thereby increasing your tolerance of lactic acid accumulation. As a result your running economy (ability to process O2) improves. If you incorporate steps or intervals into your regime, your leg turnover also quickens, making you a stronger runner. You will also develop the kick necessary for a strong finish.
Some tips on how to handle the hilly workouts:
- Warm-up for 2K, followed by stretching
- Have ready your plan before-hand ie the number of sets you want to accomplish
- Start out slow and gradually increase the intensity over the repeats. Your goal is to complete your plan
- For hills, choose a stretch that's at least 400m and don't slow down towards the top. Run through.
- For steps, focus on the leg lifts and steps, keeping your concentration on your form
- Drive your arms but yet keep them swinging relaxed
- Maintain an upright torso with your head looking forward. Looking downwards won't aid intake of air
- Reaching the top, walk back down again. Downhill running presents a greater chance of injuries than uphill where there's much lesser pounding
- Running hills should only be attempted if you're not a beginner. Doing too much too soon will only bring about injuries such as ITB. For more info on ITB, check out here and here
- Finish your workout by warming down for 2K and stretching

Friday, June 23, 2006


As I was driving home yesterday, a radio DJ was asking listeners to tell him what kind of eulogies they'd like delivered at their funerals. In the midst of wrestling with the traffic jam, I got down to some thinking.

Here it is, at least those that I can think of:
  • I'd like to know that I've been a responsible husband and father, that I've provided them to the best of my abilities
  • That I've lived life full of "pia", which meant that I've given it all I've got
  • That I've lived a life that's free from guilt - I've not done anything to betray the trust of my spouse nor kids
  • That I've at least made a little difference in some people's lives, that I've inspired some to go beyond their pre-conceived boundaries
The above are certainly not conclusive and much like Life's Mission Statement, the list will expand and evolve. I'll be thinking more about this from now on. Thinking about them presents a wake-up call to me as those outstanding items that are yet to be done or achieved, had better be set upon or set right ASAP. There's a new urgency in Life, and you no longer waste unnecessary resource fretting about trivial matters. That's what I hope anyway.
So what would you like to hear at your funeral?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Finally On The Shelves But...

I popped by KLCC's Studio R as they had banners shouting about their Sale. To my surprise, they now stock asics shoes. On the shelves are the GT 2110, GT 1100 and Cumulus. Just 3 models. They're priced beyond the reach of most runners, the "cheapest" being RM399 for the 1100. Mind you the 1100 is considered the entry level to asics' GT range. With that, I need not go into how much the other 2 models cost.

Monday, June 19, 2006

First Impressions: Nike Speed Triax 100 vs Timex Sleek 50

Took delivery of the Nike yesterday. Was offered too good a discount to ignore. Having only toyed with it last night and this morning, here are my first impressions:
Nike's design has always been hip but Timex's is also functional. Both are 4+1 button design. Nike is typically skewed and it's dot-matrix display doesn't particularly improve the readout unless you have the large-sized version (yes Nike offers 2 sizes for the same model). The skewed design is a love-or-hate-it thing, though I don't mind it at all.
Verdict: Timex holds the slight edge, though they too have launched their Optimum Viewing Angle (OVA) series. See picture below.

The Nike weighs significantly more than the Timex. The resin used are somewhat similar. Both watches come with perforated straps which aids breathability but the Timex's strap is wider ensuring that the watch sits more securely on my wrist. The Nike is thicker, almost as thick as a HRM but this is no reason why it should weigh heavier.
Verdict: Timex wins

Alarms: Nike has 2 alarms but Timex has an amazing 3. You can set Timex's to any particular day. Verdict: Timex wins hand down
Time: Both have 2 time zones with optional chiming. Verdict: Draw
Chrono: Standard. Both will display split and lap times, though Nike allows the user to choose whether to display one or both. Verdict: Draw
Countdown Timer: Timex allows 2 options ie a once-only or looping timer but I don't see the Nike having this function at all. Verdict: Timex wins
Target Time: Nike allows the setting up to 50 target times. This means the user can track whether or not he is on target pace. Verdict: Advantage Nike
Interval Timer: Timex has 2 interval timers that can work hand in hand. This means the user can set repeated timers to handle run-walk sequence, handy for beginners as well as ultras where walking is a viable option. The Nike also caters to the run-walk programs and hard-easy workouts though I've yet to try it. Verdict: On paper, Nike holds a slight edge
Lap memory: Nike's 100 while the Timex is 50. Both are enough for long intervals and marathon but the Nike will be able to handle most ultras confortably. Furthermore Nike allows the storage of up to 30 runs. As with the Timex, this includes all the laps made, total time, average lap and best lap. Verdict: Because on top of the 100-lap memory it allows the storage of 30 runs, the Nike excels
Scratch-Proof: Yes for Nike, none for Timex, which explains the scratches I have on it. Verdict: This is a no-brainer. Nike wins
Night Light: Yes for both. Verdict: Draw
Power-save: Self explanatory, this feature allows the user to set the watch display off after 1 or 6 hours. In today's high-cost of living, this is a smart feature. Verdict: Nike wins
Contrast: This is another nice power saving feature. Verdict: Nike wins

Readability: Both Nike and Timex deliver good readability. The only downside is Nike's poor representation of the secondary texts which are just too small. Verdict: Timex wins
Menu: The Timex menu is accessed using a single button whereas Nike's alarm menu is accessed via the View button, which is pretty odd. Verdict: Timex for simplicity
Time/Date Display format: Timex has a very good readout. The Day, Month, Date, Time, AM/PM are all clearly displayed while Nike offers Day or Month, Date, Time and AM/PM. Furthermore, the AM/PM words in the Nike is way too small, thus making the option of setting the time to the 24hr mode much more practical. But then again it's not often that you can't differentiate day from night. Verdict: Timex wins because there is additional info displayed
Function Button placement: As opposed to Timex's buttons, Nike's buttons are built nearly flushed with the body. And because of the shape of the Nike, pressing the lap button takes some getting used to. This is made worse with sweaty fingers, and when you're running fast. Nike designers should have adopted the Timex approach and made the View button the Start/Lap button. Verdict: Timex wins
Function Button response: Both Timex and Nike score low on this count. Button response is not consistent - sometimes you have to press harder for response Verdict: Draw

Bottomline: On plain countback, Timex wins but the Nike is feature laden and running specific. One expects Nike to excel in the Usability but somehow they complicated things slightly. It will, nevertheless, be the watch of my choice from now till next month's Bridge Run. Need to familiarize myself with it before the July 30th big race.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day Run aka Larian Sapu Lantai

This is an event I love to hate - the PJ Half Marathon. Medalling has eluded me in all my attempts (about 5 times, I believe). I skipped the 2004 and 2005 editions due to illness and I nearly missed this year's as well having just recovered from flu/infected throat on Monday. There had been no training but I needed to run. With work and family taking up all my resources, I needed an avenue to release. Screw timing, completing this race would be an achievement. This week's mileage? 21K, if I finish the race!

As it turned out, I didn't do that badly - 2:05.11. Ran most of the way except some brief walks. The starting was very tough as I was forced to breathe through my mouth due to nose blockage. It was a very annoying thing especially when not running fast. There were quite a few "sights" in this year's race, evidence that the womenfolk are getting more liberal. That's good for the sport.

Entering the stadium Cecil and friends shouted that there are still medals left and told me to push. I thought that it was pure nonsense with the clock already past 2 hours. Only upon crossing the line was I told that the guy in front placed 200 and therefore is going home with the last medal! I didn't feel too badly as that was never my expectations but it was really really close. The chap was just literally just steps ahead of me. Now I know the feeling of "sapu lantai"! Anyways, it was still a satisfying feeling as I know that even with no running and having just recovered, I didn't slide down the drainpipe of doom. In fact from 260+ position, I've closed down to 201.

Congrats goes to the many strong performances by Jason, Draco, Sim, BoSe and *surprise surprise* a certain were-rabbit who made his long-awaited return to the scene.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sense Of Longing

Excellent singing by Buble, this song captures every nuances of his vocal emotions. It fills the listener with an aching sense of longing. Before I ramble on, let me get back to my CD player.


Another summer day
Has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I wanna go home

Maybe surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel alone
I just wanna go home
Oh I miss you, you know

And I've been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
Each one a line or two
"I'm fine baby, how are you?"
Well I would send them but I know that it's just not enough
My words were cold and flat
And you deserve more than that

Another aeroplane
Another sunny place
I'm lucky I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I've got to go home

Let me go home
I'm just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

And I feel just like I'm living someone else's life
It's like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right
And I know just why you could not
Come along with me
That this is not your dream
But you always believed in me

Another winter day has come
And gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I'm surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I've had my run
Baby, I'm done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It will all be all right
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home

Monday, June 12, 2006

Very Tired & It's Only Monday!

Weekends are like weekdays. The only thing is that in lieu of office work, it's house work that I'll be doing on Saturdays and Sundays. Carbo Woman is basically incapacitated - slump in the lounger and getting up to visit the bathroom, eat and puke. So I have the Kid (who thankfully has been pretty cooperative), running out to buy meals and doing the chores (vacuuming, mopping, washing the car and laundry are fine but I hate the ironing part!). I'll have to strategize my tasks to avoid running myself into the ground. Spread the house chores over the entire week: 

- do a bit of ironing every day
vacuum during the weekdays
- mop on Fridays
- catch some pockets of sleep whenever I can

It's all for the better that I don't have Astro - that allows me to at least grab some sleep which otherwise would have been sacrificed for the matches.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Singapore Weather Revisited

I under-estimated the weather and over-estimated my fitness level and I paid dearly. I started out my run at about 8:30am but yesterday's cool and shady skies were missing. Instead the sun was exerting its power and the heat was unbearable. Starting too fast also contributed to my suffering. By the time Justin arrived, I was already dragging my feet into the 4th lap. I had drained half my water supply too. And I managed to last for another 2 more before calling it quits. My timing of 45:26 was the longest training run I've done in a long long while.

7:18 > 7:13 > 7:11 > 7:49 > 8:06 > 7:46 = 45:26. Average lap: 7:34

Friday, June 09, 2006

My Therapy

Some people say that looking at greenery will provide relief for sore eyes. Well, I think I'll take the pictures of Gebreselassie duking it out with Tergat anytime. Not only are the sight of them in frozen in perfect flight a sight for sore eyes, they also provide some stress relief for my brain. The pain and effort etched on their faces celebrates Life and the mere thought of how wonderful the human body (its capability to respond when pushed) is is enough to lift me up. How about that for a 2-in-1? As you can see the photos are positioned strategically next to my PC monitor. And what's that golden orb thingy???

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

1st Med Check & Car Test Drive

Took leave today to take Carbo Woman to the Sunway MC for her 1st check up - a belated one really. A couple of our colleagues have good words to say about one of the obs-gyn specialist there and since the hospital is the closest to home, this will be our hospital of choice to handle the pregnancy.

Despite our apppointment we didn't really get to see the doc until nearly 11am. That meant that we had waited for close to 2 hours. Thankfully the waiting area was large and clean and there was even a playroom for the kids. So Carbo Kid didn't have to suffer the waiting as much as The Woman. The doc turned out to be every bit as professional, even though he's not a smiler, and shook our hands when introduced. After a quick Q&A regarding some medical history and on the first pregnancy, he got down to check The Woman. BP was fine and the ultra-sound showed the fetus's (1, so not twins - phew!) beating heart - he estimated that from the size The Woman is about 2 months into the pregnancy.

The ultra-sound also revealed 2 cysts. While generally benign, he said that we should take tissue samples to be sure. This should have been cleared should The Woman heeded my advice to do her PAP smear tests every year. Now the negligence is coming to cause us some concerns. The cysts (one of it is of medium size) could be just "old" blood and could cause some spotting later on. Serious cases can cause miscarriages. So the doc took some tissues and suggested that we just observe them for now. They could be removed anytime during the pregnancy.

Next up was the internal exam. Using a speculum, he could literally expose the internals and he beckoned me to take a peek inside. Our first doc didn't give me this chance so I valued the experience. Peeking inside, I could see a red colour tongue-like growth coming out from the cervix entrance. This was what he wanted me to see - "the thing" is actually a growth. He said that he needed to remove the tissue - it's large and looked evil to me, so it had to come out. After a quick procedure, "the thing" was executed/decapitated. It wasn't painful but the PAP smear was. The bill? RM600 cool ones.

We got home and had some time to rest before the appointment for the car test drive. I was to put the facelifted Sentra 1.6SG (RM85K basic auto version) through a test. The sales lady wasn't too technical, so she can't answer all my technical questions. So I just drove the car, incidentally my first experience with a Nissan. We took it to Putrajaya but heavy rain derailed my plan to really push the car. In the end the drive was generally an easy one. What do I think of the car? It felt good to drive though not dynamic nor responsive. If a sedate and safe driving experience is what you're looking for, this is the car. The smoothness reminds me of the Camry. For power, you'll need the 1.8 (RM100K). It's almost certain that we won't be getting this car as at RM85K, it comes only with airbags - no ABS nor BA nor EBD, which I feel are important preventive mechanisms. The airbags only help after you hit something. So we'll have to take the City (RM80K, with all the safety features) for another more thorough drive.

And my message to women out there - please please do your exams ie your breast self examinations, PAP smears and so on. Please realize that your bodies are designed to be more complicated and sophisticated than the mens' so there are lots more preventive maintenance that you just have got to do. For your loved ones. And menfolk, please whine until your spouses do those tests!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Alternative Sunday Haunt

I just may have the chance to do my Sunday long runs. Oooooh...just the mention of "long runs" fills me with a sense of longing, stirring up old feelings of those early morning journeys with other hard-core runenrs along the dark roads to Hartamas. Those days are long gone - travelling to and fro to Bukit Aman takes too much time and eats into the fuel rationing. After casting my eyes around, Putrajaya (13 mins away from my home) may just be my salvation. I'm not too familiar with the sprawling area except that you can get pretty lost in it and that place is devoid of shade. The roads are wide though and offer a variety of routes for the runner/biker.

I've got 2 options:
1) Do loops around the Shangri-La. This is a boring option and while the loop is very large, you'll end up taxing one side of the body and legs. Of course you can alternate the directions.

2) Start from the mosque and simply run towards the PICC (convention centre). It's straight all the way past 2 bridges, wide boulevards and gives you the option to add some detours. Round trip should be in the region of 10-12K, but I'll need to verify that. Thanks to Julian who pointed this option out to me and to Ajeep who clarified that this was the Powerman route.

I still need to start early though probably around 6am. That'll allow me to finish by 7:30 and be home by 8am latest. For a half marathon training, these long runs should be sufficient. Workouts on this route can be pretty exciting: hammer the flats and go steady up the climbs or steady flats followed by hill attacks. Take your pick.

Now to pre-empt the pregnant wife first. If you don't know already, mood swings are a by-product of pregnancy - hormonal thingy.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Penang Bridge Full Marathon Bib For Sale

If you've been following my postings, you'd have known by now that training for the marathon distance would be impossible. I know "Impossible is Nothing" and all that sort of thing but if you want to incur the wrath of the wife (in her delicate state), then go ahead. I'm not about to risk that! I suppose running a marathon in my home town will just have to wait for a couple more years. However, I'm not about to give up on running shorter distances of 21K and below. Even if I survive on a 20K diet every week, I should still be able to pull off a couple of half marathons. ChinPG has been kind enough to help me register for the 23K edition, so now I can "dispose" my full marathon bib.

Category: Men's Open Full Marathon
Original entry: RM30
Now selling: RM20 (or nearest offer)
Contact Carboman by posting in the comment box or email

Der_2nd PAR

After a period of much anticipation, during which some pretty hilarious "spoof" posters were designed, der_2nd PAR (Pacemakers Anniversary Run, to the uninitiated) took off with much fanfare. 9 teams comprising of 4 members each were to tackle the challenging KLCC Park. A runner was to run 2 laps totalling 2.6K as fast as he or she could, negotiating the tricky corners and undulating terrain. If you're familiar with the grounds, this unfortunately meant running at anaerobic level, all-guts, lung-burning, limb-flaying, mouth-gaping, eyeball-popping, nose-flaring...well you get the idea...effort.

Fortunately, all the runners that morning had those requisites in bucket loads. The field had strong and slower runners but it didn't matter. Everyone seemed to soak in the jolly atmosphere and turned in superb performances. Some, like my team-mate Cheong, were revelations. I'd bet he didn't know he could run so fast. His wife would probably had thought he'd keeled over in exhaustion. Well, he didn't and not only did he ran a superb first lap, he kept up the effort for the 2nd. Probably by being the first runner, he had added motivation. Probably he was awakened by Jason's 1-lap demo on how to finish strong. The others also ran like men/women possessed, Ah Toh in particular clocked a ridiculous 4:19 first lap.

By the time I received the baton from Cheong, I was already in the zone. Shutting out the cheers, I took off pretty fast. But having no runners alongside nor in front of me (I only had Justin to pace me the final 400m), I lost all sense of pace. Only when I completed the first lap did I know that I'd passed a runner. A few seconds later, my stomach gave way and cramped up. The pace I ran was way too fast for a 2-lapper but I can't let my team mates down. With a mouth that looked like a goldfish gulping down air and brows all knitted up (the lau sai look), I wobbled through the painful 2nd lap. The more air I took in, the more painful the cramp was. It was only past the halfway mark of the 2nd lap that I managed to pass another runner. Thankfully Newton was waiting at the start of the transition area when I passed him the baton. Then I trodded to the grass and bent over double in exhaustion - an act repeated by nearly all the runners (that's the spirit of pia!). Newton also ran a strong and consistent race to maintain position and then it was our fastest runner's turn to run the anchor lap, and he did so superbly, overtaking another team. That pretty much ensured that we didn't finish last but then the position was immaterial. There was so much fun and comradeship amongst everyone that the timings were relegated to being the least important factor. Very rarely do we see an event that has so many doing personal bests and yet the timings weren't as important as the experience and opportunity to come together as people passionate about running.

As with this year's New Year Run, der_PAR would not have been possible without the unflinching support of Tan Sri Rohaizad (we hope he recovers from his injury and return to running soon) and the various sponsors - Chen, CM and DK.

For full results, hit
Der_Pacemakers Network.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


There's life in them old legs! The plan was to have an easy run around the park but after some egging from PM1, I decided, rather apprehensively, to tag along DK for his quest for a 1-lap PR. Going into yesterday's run, DK has already clocked an impressive 5:40 something (compared to my 5:51) last week, so for me to go below 5:30 is definitely tough. My stomach containing the lunch pasta, 2 cream puffs and some nuts did nothing to increase my confidence. I nevertheless was game enough to see how long I can last the pace.

After completing my warm up lap, I waited for the rest to finish theirs. The staggered start made sure the run would be interesting. DK and I would go first followed by Yong and Draco and finally PM1 and Aeow. The gap between each group was 20 seconds.

DK started off very fast, so fast that I immediately asked him if we were going too fast, to which he shrugged a reply "Are we? I don't know lah!". So I thought to myself to just keep up. Except for the bridge portion, I hung a step behind DK. Some parts I even drafted behind him. DK was running fast and looked good to maintain the pace for the lap. At the bridge, I clapped loudly to clear some holidaying crowd off our path and DK veered off pace slightly. He caught up and took back the small lead at the Convention Center stretch and held it going up the uphill hook. I thought I could pick it up at the top of the climb and hit the downhill fast but DK didn't drop pace at all. At that point I was contented just to hang on for a good finishing time behind him. The only sound that I hear was my heavy puffing and the wind noise and we cut through the air. I don't remember the crowd

Rather suprisingly, DK slowed down a tad towards the foot of the downhill and my momentum took me past him and I kept up the pace, increasing slightly. I've always finished strongly in races and time trials, so I kicked clear of him. I saw Rohaizad and Newton waiting at the finish line and thought I'd wrapped up the lap. Coasting towards the finish, the 2 shouted to pick up the pace and I heard someone coming from behind - could only meant either DK or PM1. As if jolted from my stupor, I kicked like mad and crossed the line in a photo finish with DK. A tenth of a second separated us - 5:11.83 and 5:11.84. What a rush! Though I don't consider the run as a race or a direct competition with DK, it reminds me of the epic battles of Gebreselassie-Tergat  (photos below) and Tergat-Ramaala (see photo below). The rest too ran the lap of their lives. I'm looking forward to this Saturday!  

I Love This Tagline

Taken from the NB poster featuring their latest 8505 which "runs" on the NB Zip technology. The picture won't fit this blog, but you can click here to view. As you can read from the last line the poster said: "You like to run now. Turn it into love."