p pol The Adventures of Carboman: February 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday Run & Debut Podcast

I took yesterday off from running as I was feeling a bit tired and also because I've got lots more to do back to back before the week is over. Might as well get some rest in. My TOF when I set off today was 30 minutes - I wanted to keep it short yet of some quality in anticipation of tomorrow morning's run. What better then than to incorporate a bit of hills into a moderate pace run. On a whim, I decided to bring along a cheap MP3 player which could also do a bit of recording just for the heck of trying out a mini podcast. I dug the ancient hardware out of storage rather than looking at the expensive option of getting a new iRiver or Creative. So why don't you check my debut podcast out by clicking the image below and let me know what you think? Naturally it's all very amateurish compared to the professionally done casts at steverunner.com.

(click to download or listen)

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More Sources Of Podcasts & Vodcasts

Trawling the Internet have led me to yet another source of multimedia content relating to running. This time, it's the Real-Berlin Marathon website. So that you don't need to spend time searching for the pages, here they are:

Podcasts: http://www.realbuzz.com/podcasts/podcast_page/index.php?page=5

Vodcasts: http://www.realbuzz.com/podcasts/vodcast_page/index.php?page=13

Note that the Podcasts are Beginner-oriented while the Vodcasts are relevant to all runners. I love the videos of the NYC, Chicago, London and Berlin Marathons! It's easy to see why they're the top-4 marathons in the world in terms of organization, support and atmosphere. My other favourites are also David Bedford's London Marathon Pre-race briefing - damn funny.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sai Kai Ball

I think I've hit footie heaven. An enterprising friend stoked on Blue Ocean marketing strategies and Warren Buffet worshipping recently put together a website for non-cable subscribers like me. I watch only 2 to 3 English Premier League matches a season, so I've had to rely on Soccernet's Match Report for results and I'd to imagine the highlights of the matches from the report. Not anymore! With http://www.saikaiball.com/, I can now watch the goals (that's what matters right?) whenever I want! Check it out yourself!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday Run

I had a solid workout even though it was supposed to be a recovery run. After spending much of the day at the Honda service centre at USJ, I wanted to have a relaxing run. I made the right decision to bring along my laptop to the centre - at least I could get some work done such as correcting the previously posted photos. Due to some inexplicable reasons, the photos hosted out of Yahoo weren't viewable even after I made them public. I suspect it could be due to a competitive thing, Yahoo Photos versus the Google-owned Blogger. After migrating them over to Photobucket, the problem was finally solved.

Back to the run, it started out really easy, but by the second lap, I was already warmed up and was feeling very good. I continued to control my pace but every lap finished at least 10 secs faster. Then I just kicked the final lap to finished in the fastest lap time since I mapped out this new route.The number of laps and distance were exactly the same as yesterday and after reviewing my log, I found that I'd completed the workout 2 minutes faster. TOF was 52 minutes plus change. The plan is another 4 laps tomorrow.

This has to be the best running streak I've managed in a long time plus the most I've ran during any of my previous annual compliance leave. I return to work this Friday, so I've to make sure I make these few days count yet without overdoing it.


Sunday Run

After gnashing my teeth watching the MU and Fulham (that was only the 2nd time I watched an EPL game this season - no cable TV!) game the night before with Justin, I decided that I need to de-stress. So I skipped my morning run and opted to hit the roads only at 6:30pm. It was still hot then and coupled with a bit of tiredness, the going was hard. I'd been running 6 days out of 8 and since I'm still in the early stages of coming back, the tired feeling was expected. My target TOF was 1 hour but I stopped at 54 minutes. It was a tiring workout but there were some good patches while out there. All laps were on negative splits of within 10 secs of each preceding lap. I'm presently blogging from the USJ Honda Service Centre and I'm quite far back in the queue. I should be holed up here until 2:30pm after which I've got to do another errand. The plan is for a 40 minute recovery jog today. I reckoned my last week's mileage was about 40+K. It's been encouraging so far but there are lots and lots more to do.

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Sunday Run

After gnashing my teeth watching the MU and Fulham (that was only the 2nd time I watched an EPL game this season - no cable TV!) game the night before with Justin, I decided that I need to de-stress. So I skipped my morning run and opted to hit the roads only at 6:30pm. It was still hot then and coupled with a bit of tiredness, the going was hard. I'd been running 6 days out of 8 and since I'm still in the early stages of coming back, the tired feeling was expected. My target TOF was 1 hour but I stopped at 54 minutes. It was a tiring workout but there were some good patches while out there. All laps were on negative splits of within 10 secs of each preceding lap. I'm presently blogging from the USJ Honda Service Centre and I'm quite far back in the queue. I should be holed up here until 2:30pm after which I've got to do another errand. The plan is for a 40 minute recovery jog today. I reckoned my last week's mileage was about 40+K. It's been encouraging so far but there are lots and lots more to do.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Run

It was still dry until I drove past Desa Petaling. Then it started to drizzle. I spotted a major accident along the KL-Seremban Highway where firemen were present. By the time I got to the car park, Geraldine was already there. The rain had gotten heavier and Kenneth just got there. So the 2 of us sat in Geraldine's car chatting. I'd just handed the Penang Marathon forms to them. By 6:09am the rain slowed down and we decided to screw the rain and took off into the darkness. Kenneth had to go pangsai at Tijani's while Geraldine and I continued before looping back to allow him to catch up. Kenneth decided to continue to Hartamas with Geraldine while I ran back alone to the car park for the Beginner's session. Total Time On Feet - 1:26. Way excellent!


Friday, February 23, 2007

Chinese New Year Running In Penang Pt.2 (Back-posting)

CNY Day 3
My running plan was derailed due to the previous night's family dinner which ended late enough for me to shelf my early wake-up. As with most Chinese course dinner, there was too much time wasting, too much food and too much stage entertainment. I finally made some time to pay a visit to the nearby Starbucks to use its Wi-Fi. Managed to upload the delayed posting on the Penang Bridge Marathon.

CNY Day 4
A downpour threatened to scupper my plans this morning. It poured till 30 minutes before I was scheduled to leave the house. Luckily it stopped and I set off into the cool morning air. I'd planned to extend my run both in route and time spent on my feet (or Time On Feet - TOF) by adopting an out-and-back approach. The plan was to run till the end of Gurney Drive, take a left and head right up Gottlieb Road and run as long as 25 minutes before turning back. I figured this way I'd be able to get in a 45 minutes run, at least. I seemed to be able to get into the rhythm quicker today. Again it was a fully Uncle Hooi aerobic pace jaunt for me. There was more cars this morning as some folks were already back at work. The schools however were still out, so there were no-one outside the 2 girl schools (Phor Tay and Peng Hwa) when I passed. I heard the students at both schools are not the shy types! I managed to reach the junction of Gottlieb Road and Waterfall Road just slightly after 25 minutes. The return trip was 5 minutes faster aided by the downhill and faster pace towards the end. I finished the run feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated. I felt that I could go for another 30 minutes.

While I've a long way to attainment of Aerobic Nirvana, I observed that everything seemed to gelled (pun intended). My breathing and strides were relaxed throughout. Presently I'm just glad to keep this up and I'm not thinking of any form of speedwork until I'm able to run and feel this comfortable over a distance/time of 20K/2hours. The coming SMART Tunnel Run 14K will just be another aerobic pace workout for me. The KLIM? It's not a priority event for me so you can figure out my approach to it. Tomorrow's the last day to run in Penang before the clan heads back to KL.

CNY Day 5
Planned to run but my relatives wanted to take us to try out the famous oyster noodles along Gurney Drive plus vermicelli cooked in a variety of claypot styles. You guys should try this - excellent! Individual servings of RM5 only. I tried the oyster noodles but not the oysters. As I approach late 30's I'm consciously watching my food intake. I enjoy my food but stuff that are known to be "dangerous", I stay away. I don't quite like oysters anyway, really a taste to be acquired. I then shifted my plans to an evening run but with the kids asleep, my wife and I snuck out for more streetfood. This time a stretch of stalls along the Mount Erskine Road (approaching the Fettes Park traffic lights). We whacked the crab meat popiah, assam laksa and cold dessert. Very satisfying. In the end, no running.

The crab meat popiah seller and the laksa/dessert combo value meal

The fried oyster which I abstained. The amount of fat and oil used was simply ridiculous but the darn thing smells heavenly. Another view of my ice cold dessert (very satisfying if consumed in hot weather)

The perpetrator of the fried oyster dish and the peanut/caramel/sugar confectionery seller. Both are famous in Penang. Ask me where they're located and you shall receive the info!

CNY Day 6

The clan heads back to KL today. As you can see from the photos, the boot was packed to the max. And I'd have you know that the City's boot is larger than the Civic's! With the passengers and more stuff loaded into the cabin the rear of the car was heavier than the front. Naturally I was concentrating 110% on the roads (which were thankfully clear - and wonderful weather too!) and was always within the speed limit. Later in the evening I needed to stretch those legs and out I headed for a 30-minute plus run in the Pegasus (the second pair of the '05 actually. Bought at 50% mid last year with Justin). My pace was around 6:30 and later it was lowered to about 6:15. Wonderful workout and a wonderful week of running.

Will post separately on the CNY Day 7 action.

The Penang Bridge Marathon "goodie" bag.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chinese New Year Running In Penang Pt.1 (Back-posting)

CNY Day 1
After setting my alarm for 6:45am, I slept at 10:30pm on CNY eve. I was just too pooped. Was jolted but hit the snooze button and fought the urge to sleep on. But the battle against lethargy ended as soon as I rolled out of bed. The humidity was high and after just half a K, I was sweating and puffing. There weren't too many joggers along the seafronting road, there were quite a few walkers who comprised mostly of senior citizens. Managed about 6K which wasn't that comfortable for me as I went too fast at certain sections.

CNY Day 2
I was wiser. I made conscious effort to run at a very very aerobic pace and was rewarded with a good run. After all this was the base stage of preparations. The Caucasian girl I saw and gave thumbs up to the day before was there again, running at a fast pace as she did yesterday. The same kind of tank top but she was in shorts today as opposed to yesterday's blue short tights. I popped into the 7-Eleven for a can of 100Plus. I'd say I ran about 7K today. Will stretch a bit as I've got some plans for tomorrow morning's run.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Penang Bridge Marathon Official Launch

The Herd Moves
The clan's excursion back to Penang for the Chinese New Year started at 6:15am. That was keeping to our tradition of early morning start whenever we drive home. The traffic was smooth all the way and we didn't spot any of the police watch towers manned. However, I read that there are hidden cameras placed at trouble spots to catch speeding motorists.
Having stopped for short breaks twice, we eventually arrived in Penang at about 11:15am. Considering that we were travelling in 2 cars, with 2 kids and my Mom, it was good timing.

The afternoon was spent tidying up the stuff we brought home - the food, clothing and more food. CNY isn't CNY without the feasting, even though I don't really fancy the traditional feasting at home. Hey, when in Penang, the only feasting I or anyone should do are on the famous streetfood! The heat as expected was bad, I reckoned it touched 34C easily. With my light clothing, the discomfort was reduced if only so slightly. I'd planned to visit the spanking new Queensbay Mall sometime in the afternoon, once Carbowoman went out to get her hair done. As a result of our schedule, I hadn't manage a catnap when I drove out with C1 to the mall. The purpose of my visit was for the official launch of the Penang Bridge Marathon as well as to enjoy the aircond comfort of the place.

Penang Bridge Marathon (PBM) Official Launch & A Surprise
The PBM was officially launched with 4 months to go. This has to be the earliest the PBM was announced and it augurs well for those training for it. This popular event consistently achieves large turnouts of 10,000 participants spread over
the multiple categories and last year, the morning saw about 12,000 who made the crossing on the 3rd longest bridge in the region (For more info on the Penang Bridge, click here). From the looks of the launch, the organizers are shaping
the event to be a grand one. Aligning it with the Visit Malaysia Year '07 campaign is also a wise move. I promptly committed and signed up for the full marathon on the spot and was rewarded with bib # A0002. The welcome bag didn't contain anything useful for me as either there were vouchers for products I don't use or discount that were too little for NB, Nike, adidas, Body Shop and a couple more brands. As we were early for the 5pm launch, C1 and I made a quick tour of the large mall and I noticed that there was a collection of sports outlets. The Nike and adidas boutiques were located next to each other while further up the same floor was NB. On the 2nd floor, there was the first (insert *surprise*) asics boutique in the country.

Marathon Mayhem. The crowd at the launch

Signing up and ticket to pain

Chin signing up for pain. The state EXCO launching the event

The crowd and if you squint real hard, you can see the bridge in the distance

The adidas and NB boutiques

The asics boutique. "I'll get you for signing me up for the full!" C1 said

The asics outlet stocked all the latest training, racing and trail models and they offered a standard 20% discount on all merchandize. They also stocked socks but not the technical ones. The Trabuco VIII and Ohana were also offered at 20% off which was poor when compared to the 60% at a recent warehouse sale in Subang. Since I needed a large shoe bag, I grabbed one while C1 was busy polishing up his sundae cone.

Finally back down at the launch, I chatted awhile with Krishnan who was representing adidas (the official apparel sponsor) before slipping off to meet Chin whom at my egging also signed up for the full marathon. While Chin was signing up, several reporters crowded around him to snap his act of registration. Chin did the right thing by looking up and smiling at the cameras! An attractive feature of this race is that the 20 top finishers of the full marathon from the Men's and Women's Open categories will win a spot each on either the London, Prague or Berlin marathon - all 3 are key European marathons sponsored by adidas.The route is the same with the starting time the most drastic change. The full marathon start time is moved to 3am! The official website is here. To get the route map and entry form, head on to the RunnersMalaysia Events Page.

I sense a PR and yup, this is gonna be my 7th marathon.

I've decided to make Gurney Drive the primary running spot since I stay just 3 minutes walk away. I've also called my alma mater (that's the Penang Free School - established 1816, the oldest English school in the country) seeking permission to run on its grounds. Each loop around its field is exactly 1K. Whether or not I get to run there depends on my schedule.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Packing List

After giving up hope on the 2nd round of antibiotics, my throat condition suddenly cleared relieving me of the pain and dread of spending the already scorching Chinese New Year weather in futher discomfort. The improvement came on Fri when the right side of my throat felt OK, no pain and soreness. Then late Saturday, the left side's swelling subsided. I was asked to rest a little longer so I didn't run on Saturday. At least I caught up with sleep but I could still use more!
I spent Sunday packing up for my trip back to Penang for the holidays and nearly every article in my luggage are technical clothing. 5 pieces of Dri-FIT material T-shirts for daily wear - I even planned to wear this type of shirt for the first few days of New Year. Then 1 lightweight Columbia SPF GRT (a bit more about GRT) short sleeve shirt (strips of hidden vents line the back and sleeves) for dinner use. My pants are also the Columbia GRT type. Both Columbias were purchased with heavy discounts, in case you think I print money for a living. All the technical clothings can be compactly packed and light, and they're also very quick-drying. Even my briefs are those Dri-FIT ones! With the mercury hitting 34C in Penang, I'm avoiding cotton like a plague as they stick to the skin. My packing is incomplete without 1 set of running gear (including a classic Nike vest, which I think PM19 will appreciate) and my running shoes, in this case the Trigons. Another pair of Rockports loafers will be for the dinner, while my faithful Tevas for the walkabouts. I'd wear the Tevas to the dinner if not for the risk of getting an earful from the family. Hey, that's what technology must do for us right? Making harsh environments bearable? Oh yeah, my Oakleys are already in the car.
Must remember not to forget my laptop (for use as DVD player), iPod, shaver and the sunscreen. Like PM19, I've grown to enjoy running with the iPod whenever I run alone. With company, I think one should ditch the player as it would be rude. Caveat: For safety reasons, I suggest wearing an iPod only when running in the parks. Having it on when road-running would mean risking an accident or felony. I will also need to gather up some DVDs (A couple of Will Ferrell and Stephen Chow discs for laughs, Running On The Sun and Endurance for me to get out of the door, Spongebob Seasons 1-3 and Dora Season 1 for C1).
I hope I can sustain my well-being. My return to running has been full of challenges in part to the timing of Carbokid 2's arrival (he's already showing signs of his strength and kicking power - tiny fella but amazing powers, just like the ant and spider) and also my work but hopefully I've adjusted to the schedule a bit and will be able to sustain my running and maintain my health. With the El Nino weather upon us, extra care needs to be taken.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Derailed - Temporary

My road back to full training has hit yet another setback. The throat infection that I thought I'd got over is back, with a vengeance. It's very sore to swallow (even saliva), I've not been sleeping and eating well. Lately even my ears feel blocked. I suspect the infection has spread to the 3 ENT systems. I'm not sure if it's the nose or throat that caused the whole thing and the only way is to visit the ENT Specialist. As I'm covered under my company's employee insurance, I'll be visiting the panel doctor tomorrow morning for a referral letter for the insurer's Letter of Guarantee. Only then can I make my way to the hospital.
This is really frustrating not only because my plans have been start-stop in nature but also for the pure irritation and discomfort of the condition. And next Sunday is already the Lunar New Year. I really need to get this issue closed and buried before then.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Weekend Run

"I already know how to run slow. I want to know how to run fast"
- Lai Fong Sang. OK, OK, it was Emil Zatopek who muttered those words but it could very well had been Lai.

You know how it is. You managed to accummulate 3 days of back-to-backs and then hit with a throat infection. The moment the last antibiotics slipped down the throat, I've already set my alarm to join Choi for the next morning's run. As usual, I will run until somewhere near the Selangor Properties apartment before u-turning back to the car park to start the Beginner's Group. I started off with Geraldine in front but even before Padang Merbok, I was already smoked. Fook was almost thankful that I asked him to run ahead. I'm never in the delusion that I'm fit. With Fook and the rest away, I was relieved to find myself settling down to an even slower pace. I kept checking my rear on another woman who was running quite a way back - just so that she's safe. After struggling like hell up the Central Bank climb, I decided that it's better for me not to run until the intended u-turn point but to just run as far as 25mins will take me. This is so that my return trip will be thereabouts too. Running by time was my best option as I was hurting like mad. I kept thinking "Systematic Stressing" while going up the hills. It was really painful, the lungs, nostrils, legs, shoulders... every part of me were taking a beating. There's a heavy price to be paid after such a long layoff and I know there's no way to circumvent this. So I accepted it. This shocking process to the system needed to be carried out. My mind told me that I must accept this punishment.

On my way back I met "Locomotive" Lai who stormed past me while Kenny and Ronnie were some 70m behind him. Lai has been nicknamed Prefontaine for all his hard running but I think Emil or Zatopek or "The Locomotive" would better suit him. You see, when Lai runs, there's no slow runs, no matter what he said beforehand. And his gait and form is hardly what you'd call elegant. If you've seen how the original Zatopek ran, then you'll know what I mean. Chen is better suited for Prefontaine due to his affinity to the spirits and lifestyle, yet able to hammer the pace. But I digress.

I reached the car park pretty winded but surprisingly not soaked in sweat - the weather was very conducive. I decided to run with Kim (who ran the recent GE 20K in 1:50 something - her debut race!) in the reverse Carcosa Hill route and suffered for it. Kim is a natural talent having taken up running just 5 months ago on her company's fitness programme. Now, running is very much part of her life - she needs to run even if it's just 20mins! You rock, girl!

I was TOTALLY pooped when I got home. In hindsight I felt that I overdid it (total time run was about 1:25) when my longest run the last 3 months was 32mins. My body ache like I just completed a marathon and even after 2 hours of afternoon sleep, there wasn't much change to my body condition. I delayed taking the 2 painkillers until after dinner. As I was dozing off later, I was glad that I suffered this morning. To have suffered and went through the pain can only mean that I'm alive. Running mirrors Life. I slept really well that night I might add.

C2 had a day out today. We celebrated his full-moon (1 month) early since today's Sunday. The actual day is next Wed (the 7th). After some marketing, we left the home to pick up some Ayamas packages for delivery to some family members. Before that we dropped by the Kwan Yin Temple along Jalan Ampang to pay our respects and for blessings. Then C1 and I covered the Seputeh, Bangsar and Bandar Utama folks while C2, Carbowoman and my Mom headed back home.

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