p pol The Adventures of Carboman: November 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The adidas Seeding Program & All About Shoes

I could hardly believe my eyes when Tey SMSed me regarding my successful bid for the adidas Seeding Program. The Seeding Program is actually a wear test program initiated regionally to get runners to try out their latest shoes, just before they hit mass market. This program was opened to Pacesetter members and 5 were selected, so to me, it's like winning the lottery. But I did write one hell of a resume! What made me even more anxious when Tey SMSed me was that I won't be in office for 2 weeks and therefore will not know for sure if I was one of the successful one. Thankfully, I need not go into the office just to retrieve the email, thanks to Phyllis who forwarded me the email notification.

This morning I hastened to the adidas HQ at Plaza Damansara and was promptly attended by Mr Krishnan, adidas' Director of Running. Also exchanged some ideas with Mr Darren Choy, the MD. Then Krishnan dragged out a box filled with running shoes and I took the chance to try out several pairs which were the adiZero CS, the new Supernova Cushion and also the one which was alloted to me, the Response Cushion. Too bad they don't have my size for the Supernova because it's super plush! Here are some photos I took.

Nice surroundings of Plaza Damansara

The adidas reception

adiZero LT. Chen will like this!

adiZero CS

From left: Supernova Control, Supernova Cushion, adiZero CS, adiStar Control

The Response Cushion back at home

Brotherhood of Shoes

After taking a look at the number of running shoes I've had plus those in active duty, I feel very fortunate and blessed. There are many out there who have to scavenge for something to protect their feet from the elements much less have dedicated pairs for running. What we have in plentiful should be shared out and while the shoes can't be worn for running, they can still be useful for those underprivileged kids. Who knows, the shoes that we donate will end up on the feet of a future leader or world class athlete?

Watch this space for updates.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Penang International 12-Hour Walk Report

1 day = 24hrs

Work + Commute + (Family & Chores) + Sleep + x = 24hrs

Where "Work" = 12hrs
Where "Commute" = 2hrs

Where "Family & Chores" = 4hrs

Where "Sleep" = 6hrs

Where "x" = opportunity to run/train/walk/do whatever else

Read the full report here and for more "revealing" photos, click here!

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Friday, November 24, 2006

12-Hour Walk Packing List

It's 5am and I'm still at work but I should be able to wrap things up very soon. The project cutover has been pretty smooth considering. While the testers were at it, I took the chance to run thru my packing list and here's the picture.

I'm bringing some plasters and the 3M tape for the nipples and any blisters, a packet of GU gel I bought some months back, a strip of velcro for fastening the timing chip (am not lacing the chip up in case I need to change to my Tevas), 1-day disposable lenses (so that I don't have to bother with storage), lens lubricant/eye drops (coz I'll be wearing my lenses thruout the day and night), BodyGlide, Powerbar Recovery, the spare pair of NB socks I bought from SG 3 years ago, a Rbk arm pouch to carry my iPod and camera phone. My race gear is the PACM Brooks shorts and the Mizuno Dryscience vest . Not pictured are my Nike ClimaFIT rainjacket and cap, NB socks, spare Dri-FIT T-Shirts, the Tevas and either the Pegasus or Trigons (yup still fickle on the footwear!). I'm approaching this strictly as a fun and eye opening experience. Chance also to catch up with Haris, The Rock Crab, Becholi and Ah Pek (whom I owe much my this trip's arrangement to). Der_Pacemakers rocking Penang this weekend are Tey, Haris and I. Frens_of_Der_Pacemakers are Runwitme, Ah Pek and Aiman. Wish us luck!

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Scare

Midway thru a meeting on Friday Carbowoman called complaining about a bad stomach pain. The pain was akin to post-delivery and that's serious. She said she will see how it turned out. After lunch, it turned worse and the pain was there even though she remains seated.
I was co-conducting yet another meeting after lunch (I'm that busy these days) when the distress call came and we packed up immediately. That was 4pm. By the time we reached the hospital, it was 5:10pm. After inspecting the urine, blood, BP, womb, baby's heartbeat and condition, the Doc found everything to be OK and put the pain down to some intestinal distress. He adviced admission for observation.
After seeing her through the admission, I had to rush back home to eat something and shower. After that I fought the bad Friday traffic to Bangsar to pick up my Mom and then rush to Kuchai Lama to pick up Carbo Kid before dropping by the hospital with Carbowoman's spare clothings and toiletries.
Tonight is the 2nd night she's there and since the pain has more or less gone, we're hoping that she can be discharged tomorrow. I'm so tired, you won't believe how many typos I committed typing this post.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

KL International Marathon 2007 - Change Of Date

Those planning to run the 2007 KLIM will be happy to note that the date has been moved from Mar 4th to the 18th, following a confirmation with the FTAAA. This is to avoid a clash with the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. That means that I can do my final and longest run on the 4th itself before tapering. That is if I'm training for the full, which I very very much doubt so.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rush, Rush, Rush!

The pace has been frenetic as I'm single-mindedly clearing off as much work as possible before my 2-week compliance vacation. I'm typing this as my stress relief - take my mind off work for 10 minutes. My vacation starts with the Penang 12-Hour Walk and continues until Dec 7th. Though I won't be travelling anywhere, I've lined up a series of tasks to complete during that period, which is mostly to do with prepping the home for the arrival of Carbo Kid 2.

IOI Super Short Report
Other matters are so far away from my mind that I don't think I'm getting around to writing my IOI Run report. But I'll still try to put the whole race into a couple of lines. Bottomline is that I'm quite happy with my 38:34 timing, which is roughly 5:05 pace over 7.6K of hilly/undulating terrain. Only a bad stomach cramp in the right region prevented me from finishing the last 2K in typical barnstorming fashion.

12-Hour Walk
As for my preps for the 12-Hour walk, my return ticket is bought and by this Sunday, Tey should also have bought the KL-PG ticket. A word of thanks is in order for Chin and Tey for helping me with the tickets. I'm going into the walk with absolutely no training but strangely I'm not feeling anything (eg trepidation) except excitement. Perhaps the fear will set on me closer to the date. My loadup for the walk will be for the most part similar to a marathon, except for a spanking new iPod shuffle (see how small it is!) and a bicep pouch to keep the player and a packet of gel and camera-phone. At the athlete's area I'll have a couple of Endurox and Recovery sachets, another pack of gel and spare vest and socks and my sandal. I'll also bring along my rain jacket as it's been wet the past week in Penang. I did a 20minx2 fast walk last week just to test the NB890 and it failed me. At the end of the exercise, my right plantar hurt like helll. Looks like I need to call up my Pegasus to do the job.

NB Boutique @ Pyramid
If you love NB socks, you need to check out the latest NB boutique at the Pyramid mall. They stock imported technical running socks which sells for RM29 per pair. There are 2 types - the typical technical one and another called NBX racing socks which are thinner. I have to many new pairs that I don't need another pair. So there's no review here.

The company will be having a Community Service Amazing Race ala Treasure Hunt this weekend to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. The Carbo Clan won't be hunting but will head to the resort directly. En route ,we drop by the Taiping Zoo. None of us has been there before and it should be fun for Carbo Kid 1. The trip north is more for him as he can play for hours in the water park. So this should be the last posting till next week.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NB719 Review By Carbo Kid # 1

Carbo Kid # 1 is practising his report writing skills and what better that to put up a shoe review. Read it here!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Heaven & Hell

Having had enough of the horrendous traffic and of course work, for the last couple of days, a run was in order. So despite having confirmed my attendance to a Hari Raya open house organized by one of our corporate partners at the Sri Melayu Restaurant around the corner, I made up an excuse to skip it. That was even though the prospect of eating sticks and sticks of satay, rendang, desserts and what have you was being so tempting. After my bosses left for the same do, I packed up and was doing my laps by 6:20pm.
Coach's horde was expectedly there warming up and from what they were doing, I knew they were about to run at a considerable effort - TEMPOS! By my 3rd lap, I found myself about 100m behind the group, incapable of nearing them. They started with a warm up lap which wasn't that slow anyway, with Ah Toh and Rich leading the way. In the following pack were 6 more fellas, including Azwar and running alone another 50m behind was Uncle Singh.
Uncle Singh was running quite well. In fact, he's no pushover. He's quite a regular at the track and he even beat my 3K time trial timing last year. Not by much but he still smoked me. That being the case, I was finding it hard to draw level with him. I managed to do that only in the next lap just after Rich and Ah Toh lapped me, running hard. I found out from Uncle Singh that they were doing an 8-lap tempo run.
My lap times have so far been faster than expected so I thought I could squeeze in another lap before packing off at 7pm. So I went a little faster and dropped Uncle Singh.
After reviewing my lap times, I saw how "dahsyat" my pacing was. Run in negative splits with a drop of 20 odd seconds each lap. Wow! I slept like a baby that night, with a smile on my face.

7:59 > 7:32 > 7:12 > 6:58 > 6:35. Total: 36:17
Average: 7:15 (5:34 road pace)
It was hell. Was stuck in a meeting the whole day. Rarely are my meetings short nowadays. At  8:15pm I could wait no longer, as I was to have picked up Carbo Kid 1 hour ago, and I extricated myself from the room. Hugged Carbo Kid when I saw him and told him that Daddy and Mommy was sorry to be so late, had dinner and reached home at 10pm. Rebooted my brain with an episode of Spongebob (hardly paid attention as my consciousness was fuzzy already) and slept just past midnight.
Very interesting morning at work. Yes, I plan to leave the office by 5:30pm today and am looking forward to the weekend! I decided that I'll be wearing off the NB890 for the Penang Walk. Socks of choice will be the Thorlos. I've rigged a strip of velcro to accommodate the timing chip, so, switching to my Tevas midway through the walk won't be an issue. Registered myself for the ridiculous 20-lapper at KLCC. How the hell am I going to complete 10 much less double that distance!!! But the medal beckons.
Carbo Woman's med check. We've some questions to ask the doc. 2 more months before Carbo Kid gets a wrestling partner. In the afternoon, I'll be measuring Sunday's IOI Run route.
The IOI Run. 3.5K of uphill and 3K of downhill (if my estimates are correct, subject to measurement on Saturday) is definitely not an easy thing. I'm having "Pain" as breakfast that morning.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Saucony Trigon 4 Ride Review

A 12 oz cushioned shoe for the neutral runner. Meshed upper, single density midsole with midfoot support bridge. Blown rubber forefoot and carbon rubber heel plugs. Flex grooves on the forefoot adds to flexibility. Softer HRC (High Rebound Compound) plugs are inserted to high impact areas in the forefoot and heel. The shoe is built on a semi-curved last...[click here and select the Trigon 4 review to read the entire review]. Comments are most welcomed.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Nice Rubbers

Since a couple of year's ago, Runner's World Magazine has been having what they call the Shoe Summit where the Editors of the publication around the world meet up with the shoe manufacturers to get updates on the latest and coolest shoes that are in the pipeline. They also vote for the shoe of the year, which was won by the 2006 Nike Pegasus (last year's award went to asics 2100). What I like about the magazine is that they have been adding more and more multimedia content into their website. Most notable were their New York and Fall marathon podcasts (which I've downloaded and will add to my online collection - I shall publish it here when I've completed the migration) and now, the coverage of the said Shoe Summit. There were altogether 9 short videos of the featured shoes but I choose to only feature 8 here as the 9th is a women's only shoe from Reebok - the Premier Hatana. Nothing against the fairer sex but I thought I can easily and quickly do a 2x4 collage of the images here for those who hasn't downloaded the excellent videos. In my opinion all runners should be more informed about their running footwear. Not only are they spending huge sums of cash on them, they rely on the gear to protect them. What appeals to me, besides the cosmetics and design (naturally), are the technology that goes into each of them. Sometimes they're derivative of each other and just called by another name (blame it on the marketers!) and some don't actually work but it shows that some thinking power actually went into that piece of fabric/rubber/plastic combo we lace up each time we head outdoors. Enjoy the pictures. Oh yeah, if you want to download the videos, hit this link.

As you can see there are quite a bit of focus on performance trainers for the coming spring collection. Nearly all models have new technologies embedded in them. It's going to be an interesting year.


Entering Unchartered Waters

In a couple of weeks time, I shall be lacing up my shoes for a very different sort of event - for me that is. I'm a naturally fast walker when I head outdoors. My colleagues have a hard time keeping up with me as I shuffle to the nearest eatery at lunch time. I find slowing down when walking with my family an art to be mastered. The only time when I found walking slow a necessity was after a marathon or during my dating days.
So come end of this month, I will not only be experiencing race walking, a decidedly different exercise than heading out to grab a bite, but staying on my feet for the most parts of 12 hours. Yup, it's the Penang International 12-Hour Walk. I've not decided on which gear to pack and wear but bringing along spares are definitely a good idea. That includes a spare technical shirt, socks, my Teva sandal once the shoe gets too warm, the tube of BodyGlide lubricant and my carb-protein drink powder for refuelling. Light shoes or fully cushioned ones? Thickly padded Thorlos or thin Nike Dri-FITs? Ultra events are to be approached slightly differently and over the next 2 weeks, I will have to sort these decisions out.
I'll be entering another unchartered territory in a couple of months. But that's a story for another day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


After some days off the Internet, I finally got the chance to heave a sigh of relief. Just for awhile. The last 4 days had been the busiest phase in the project so far, at least until when the time comes for training, UAT and subsequent implementation. From now on, the effort required by the project team will increase exponentially. If you think that leaving your office at 6:30pm meant that you have lots of work, then you've yet to experience my company's definition of work.

Anyway, the project I'm involved is akin to revamping the entire Microsoft Office, except that we're NOT dealing with Microsoft Office but the banking system. There are financial, franchise, regulatory and a multitude of other risks involved here. At over USD25 million, this is the most expensive project I've been most deeply involved in. We're not the first country to hop on board this new platform but the fact that Malaysia is such a financially regulated country, there are many gaps to bridge between the standard system versus one that's compliant with the local environment.

The entire project team is close of 80 members comprising of project sponsors (senior management who drives S classes), to equally important business user who travels on a moped. Interfacing the seniors with the users are a team of 8 of which I'm one of. Our tasks are to understand today's and the new system from the angle of processes, regulatory, marketing requirements. We should know how the business operates and are able to justify to the business and the system folks on why certain functionalities must be made available or removed. In short we're supposed to be balanced between business and technology.

Our International Technology Office flew in their business analysts for 4 days since Monday. The collection of experts comprises of Singaporeans, Philippinos, Indians, one Hong Kongite and several Malaysians. During the 4 days, everyone did nothing but park themselves in 4 to 6 meeting/conference rooms to scrutinise the requirements, engage in debates, negotiate, plan timelines, review and review and review the 800+ gaps that have been pre-identified in the past months. One of the goals  is to reduce the gaps substantially as gaps=time=cost to any project. Any project manager worth his salt will tell you that. Having too many gaps will also defeat the purpose of having a standard global system to leverage on as well.

My role during the 4 days, besides being involved in the multiple tracks (as many as 5 concurrent tracks a day) was to be in charge of logistics ie from ensuring the rooms and projectors are booked, the LAN points are working, there are sufficient drinking water (over 12 cartons consumed in total), attendees keep to their timeslots, and being the reference point for the local team pertaining to their schedule and participation. I wished I had more time to immerse myself in my own tracks but as I was already on full stretch, I wasn't able to contribute as much as I liked. The 2 contract head counts had not come on board yet, so the core team had to fire fight for now.

Day 1, Monday
The regional team arrived and I greeted them and allocated them to their respective rooms. Got everyone settled down and sessions started. As there was no direction on lunch and dinner arrangements, everyone split to their own groups for their meals. Day ended at 12am.
Day 2, Tuesday
The tracks resumed. Lunch with the regional folks was supposed to dim sum at Minmax Restaurant at Darby Park but torrential rain changed the plans. Venue was changed to Nikko Hotel's chinese restaurant instead. Ordered more water after the 6 cartons were fully consumed. Day ended at 1am.
Day 3, Wednesday (the worst day)
Needed a java jolt, so downed a large cup of San Fran coffee. One of the contract staff reported to work. I was quite pleased that my verdict of her (I conducted her first interview) was shared by my bosses. I conducted a briefing to her and got her to read up some process manuals. She couldn't dive into work as her network profile wasn't ready yet hence she couldn't access the workstation. More and more sessions started and concluded. Equally many overrun their slots due to complexity. Lunch was at the Royal China Restaurant. Not bad at all, but Nikko's were slightly better. Day ended at 12am but not before realising how tired I was when at 10pm, I absent-mindedly carried the empty pot (instant noodles in the stomach) up the stairs with the intention to take my shower. That was how wiped out I was.

Day 4, Thursday
Another java jolt was required but the effect was little felt. Crunch time as everyone was rushing to complete their tasks. The regional team leader was cracking the whip on her team but they showed admirable composure under stress. It must come from their experience in handling such high profile projects for Europe. Lunch was at Pelita and I was too tired to finish the rice. Felt bloated. Concentration on the road suffered due to lack of rest. Knocked off at 12am.

Today, Friday
All save for the regional team member was around. She was to conduct the wrap up session with the local core team and it was such a fantastic overview of their process that I don't know if it was drafted by Stanley Kubrick. It was that eye-opening. Before lunch I rushed out to Plaza Sentral to send Carbokid's Leap Pad unit for exchange (calibration issue). Then I had to leave early at 5pm to pick him up as the nanny needed to go somewhere.
As I'm typing this, my eyelids are getting heavier and the only reason why I'm waking up early is to collect the Trigon 4 that Seecube is delivering to me tomorrow morning. After that I need to rush home to wait for the installers to fix up a water heater unit to the ground floor bathroom. Then I should be off to collect the IOI Run bibs for some of the Pacemakers. In the evening, I'm going to try to catch the MU game at a nearby mamak stall or vegetate on the couch burning up the DVD player.
Have a good one y'all.