p pol The Adventures of Carboman: March 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Where Are You From?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Coffee, My Friend

I've been relying more on coffee to keep me awake while on the roads to work. I add a bit of the black powder into my usual mix of unsweetened low fat, high calcium milk. As long as the car is moving, I've no problems with my state of wakefulness but the traffic inevitably slows down when approaching city limits, specifically along the KL-Seremban Highway (a misnomer since "Highway" alludes to smooth flowing traffic). That's when I struggle to pry those eyelids open. Music helps just a bit but since listening to Steverunner's podcasts, I've been keeping torpor at bay. I did question my sanity of sticking to those 5am runs and have decided to reduce the frequency of those runs by limiting them to 3 times a week while the rest of the workouts are in the evening. I don't have the chance to sleep in on weekends as I typically wake up the same time on Saturdays for my short runs with Choi's group before conducting the Beginner's session. I've to be realistic on how much I dare to push my body as the last thing I'd want is to be down with some illness. Sundays are for long runs which are also done around that time.

The good thing about the 5am runs is that I'm already conditioning my body to face the 3am flag off for the Penang Bridge Marathon. That's training specificity. The other good thing (if you can see it that way) is that I occasionally have lost motorists, stray dogs, owls and cows (I'm serious) for company. I've ran into a couple of large owls who suddenly flew past me (and scared me shitless!) and a herd of cows. I can handle the cows as I can detect their presence via my olfactory sense. There's been no problems with the dogs as well as I'd give them a heads up that I'm approaching by slapping on my thighs or clapping - yup, they don't like to be surprised too. They usually run off when they see/hear me. I've twice been stopped by passing cab drivers and motorists who can't get their bearings right. The patrolling guards around my neighbourhood had gotten used to my presence and it's good to run into them while on my rounds.

To get over the loneliness of my runs, I sometimes listen to my iPod albeit for safety reasons I only wear one side of the earphones. My playlist are loaded with uptempo tunes as the last thing I want is doze off and run into a ditch.

Now that you've finished reading this post, why not take part in my latest poll on the right?

Monday, March 26, 2007

End Of One & Start Of Another One...And A Scare

The week, that is. Had to come back to work yesterday. It was supposed to be a commando hit job but ended up in the trenches for 5 hours. Anything more than that would've been a case similar to the Battle of Mogadishu. While I was in the office, Carbowoman and Carbokid 1 spent their time hitting KLCC and by the time I picked them up, Carbokid was thoroughly worn out from all that walking. Poor fella. Sent him for a hair cut and then while his Mom did some grocery shopping at Giant, he hit the indoor playground. Anyways when we went home he was fine albeit very tired. After dinner while he was lounging watching TV, he suddenly cried out, shouting "So painful!" and tears started running down his face. At first we thought he just wanted attention but when he didn't stop, we realized that it could be something wrong. He pointed to a spot just above his archilles tendon of his right leg and I ran my fingers round the area and felt hardened tissue. I didn't know what to make of it - there wasn't redness, nor swelling but he was twisting around in pain. I certainly wasn't a cramp as he could move his lower leg and toes - no seizure at all. So I used a little Flanil (warned him to expect the heat beforehand) and massaged the spot. He was still crying then. After awhile he quietened down but later in the bedroom the pain came back again and this time I used an ice pack even though there still was no swelling. We really didn't know what to make of it.
He was fine this morning and we didn't bring up the subject at all. But we will monitor the situation. If indeed there was some injury to the lower leg, we'll need to send him in for a checkup. I don't know if he landed wrongly on his feet while at the playground or something or he simply twisted his ankle without knowing it.
I came in late to work this morning as a replacement time-off from yesterday. That allowed me to put in a 10K run this morning. Started off very easily but increased the pace significantly until I ended the workout at 6:32 pace, which was 12 seconds off my 2006 marathon pace. The Forsters felt good and the next run in them will be a 20K. Hope to do an easy 6 this evening in the 2120s.

Friday, March 23, 2007

When It Rains...

  • It's the best time to run, coz that's when 95% of runners skip their workouts
  • The tracks are free of human traffic
  • The roads are going to be log-jammed
  • It's an opportunity to put in a second workout of the day
  • It's a good time to introduce your relatively new shoe to the puddles
  • Your 8 laps feel like 5
  • Your 5:30 pace feels like 6:00
  • Other people think you're crazy to be out there doing laps but it's OK coz you feel great challenging the norms
  • The conditions add satisfaction to the completion of the training run
Being a speed workout day, I set the watch's pace timer for 7:30 (5:46 road pace, similar to my recent KLIM pace) laps for a total of 5 laps. That would've put my workout at 46:30. I decided on a 7:30 pace as I'd already ran in the morning with some hill bursts, so I didn't want to be too gung-ho about it. As it turned out my first lap was already 7:09. With Newton in tow, I slowed down to 7:18 for the second. Somehow it didn't feel hard enough, so I clocked another 7:09. Newton stopped while I continued for the remaining 2 laps, both under 7 minutes. Total workout was 35:20 for an average pace of 5:25. The shoes are being air-dried today, so today's run will be a chance for the Pegasus to come out and play.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Message In The Disruption

Following a high of the KLIM, my training momentum was checked for 2 days when it rained heavily enough to prevent me from going outside. While I believe there's no loss of cardio fitness or even speed from just 2 days off from running (some of my team-mates will beg to differ), the disruption to the routine caused me some irritation. My mood wasn't too good as I tried to rush off from the office just so that I can run (which I couldn't obviously, hence my rant).
I've since arrested the disruption and it's business as usual since yesterday evening and from the way I was running there's been no loss of fitness on my part. I suppose this is one way to drive home the message to me that rest is indeed part of training. Yesterday's was a 30-minute cardio workout and this morning a series of short hill bursts following a 4K warmup. Things are looking good for another evening run of 5-6K, which shall be done at tempo pace.

Monday, March 19, 2007

KLIM 2007 (Half Marathon) Race Report

This is not a race

Yup, you read that right. I didn't approach this as a race but merely a stepping stone towards my full rehabilitation as a marathoner. This morning's run was to allow me to gauge if my training has been in the right direction and also as a proving ground.


Having laid out my gear, including breakfast the night before, I was out the door pretty quickly. Breakfast was a puff pastry with half a cup of hot Milo. In the 3 Nike bottles were some concoction (nothing illegal, I assure you) in varying degrees of dilution. I don't concoct things on race day so this confirms that the morning run was part of my training for the big one. I also opted not to wear the Forsters after testing it out on a tempo run yesterday. I felt that my condition had not reached the level where I can do away with added cushioning and support. I carried a pack of GU gel and a pack of Agel.


For the full report, click here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Nike+iPod Trial Session

I was recently invited by Nike Malaysia to test out the soon to be launched Nike+iPod kit. You can read my account of the session here. To view photos, go to my Photo Album (select 2007 Nike+iPod).

After the adidas' office, visiting Nike's spanking new office was quite an experience itself. The common theme running (pun intended) through these sporting giants' premises are tradition and products. In Nike's case, the conference rooms are all named after legends and their best-loved products. There's the AirMax room, the Sphere room and the Bowerman room, which I found it hard not to take a picture of, even though it's just the door! And this is just Nike Malaysia. I can't imagine how wide-eyed I'd be if I'm at the Nike Campus, Niketown or the many parts of Oregon such as Beaverton or Portland. I'd be like a little kid in a candy store.

Let me know what you think of this Nike+iPod device.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The (Not So) SMART Tunnel Run

It took me 2 months to kick-start my 2007 at the races, and 6 months since I ran more than twice a week and even longer since I really put a training program to serious work. With my weekly mileage hovering about 70% of my max planned, my approach to this run was that of training, just to lock up the week's workout before the start of a fresh one. I was deliberating up to last night on my run plan when I finally decided to adopt a conservative start and if physical conditions permit, will run at LT pace.

To read the full report, click here!

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

What's new from asics, Ecco, Keen

I won't write much here except to let you enjoy the following videos. You can see for yourself how developed the sporting industry is in the US. For people like us here in Malaysia, we can only wonder how long it'll take for us to reach the halfway mark of that development. It's imperative for us to encourage more to take up the sport. Besides the obvious health benefits we consumers are the catalysts to change in the industry. Without us, there will be less new products, little innovation, complacency by the local industry players, etc...you get my drift. Enough ramblings, you can now drool on these shoes!

Video grab of the chat with the Saucony representative

Join Special Projects Editor Warren Greene as he travels to the top gear tradeshows to see the latest trends.

World Shoes Accessories Convention, Day 1
See the latest shoes from Ryka (MC2), Teva (Raptor), Saucony (Trigon 5) and New Balance (882) with Brand Editor Warren Greene

This is the women's model. Looks good, with fewer overlays

World Shoes Accessories Convention, Day 2
After a morning run in the Red Rock Canyon Recreation Area (check out the scenery!), Brand Editor Warren Greene sits down with Asics (Kinsei 2) and Avia to see their latest products.

The never-before released image of the Kinsei 2. Addressed the heel-to-toe transition issues of Kinsei 1

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Satisfying Friday Run

I finally had my first over 1-hour run since half a year ago at the park yesterday. The pace was comfortable and I got my mileage in. The first few laps were with Ronnie and Newton, after which I went alone until it was dark. The Friday traffic was horrendous made worse by a broken down trailer, which blocked an entire lane. Thankfully my level of endorphins were at an elevated level and with the RW NYC Marathon podcast blasting from the car stereo, the external goings-on didn't affect me.

On another note, I learnt that tomorrow Tunnel run distance is actually 16K instead of 14K. That means it's going to be a 10-miler and I'll be going the furthest so far at this stage of my training.

Note to Mitch: Thanks for your feedback on Endurox. Yup, I refuelled within 2 hours. If you've your own blog, please send me the URL. You can find my email in the RunnersMalaysia website. Cheers!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Setting Things Up For the Weekend

Once again I arrived at the park late, but not as late as the previous 2 days. But I won't complain as I got my run in - woooo hoooo! OK, that felt good. Anyways Cheong and Newton were finishing their runs and Rohaizad was going great guns, running at a brisk pace. I went on my own and tried hard to lock down a Lactate Threshold pace, which resulted in all laps under 8 minutes. I was tired at the end but not wiped out. To aid recovery, I had a serving of Endurox mixed with Sunkist Orange/Grapefruit juice after dinner, followed by copius quantity of fluids. At last I've found a palatable way of drinking Endurox!

TOF was 45 minutes plus while the average road pace was 5:50, which is a marginally quicker pace than the day before. Today's run will definitely need to be a 6 miler but run at a comfortably easy pace. Tomorrow is strictly a rest day to catch up on household chores and the family while Sunday will be the SMART Tunnel Run 14K. I've yet to decide on how I want to run the race - do I run it at an easy pace or a tempo training, or a combo with the tempo pickup midway through the run? Either way, it will only be a training run for me contributing to the big picture.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wednesday @ KLCC

I've been able to run at the KLCC Park of late as Carbowoman has yet to return to work following her delivery of C2. I expect things to change next week when she rejoins the workforce. I won't be able to go for my evening runs except when she needs to stay back at the office to clear her work. Until then I intend to make full use of the remaining days of the week to do the laps at the park. Just a few days running around the rubberized track and I'd regain some sense of pacing, which hopefully will put some discipline into achieving my long runs.

Once again I was late in starting my workout. After picking up Kenny's car keys (he was halfway his workout) to retrieve the SMART Tunnel Run bib and keeping it in my car, it was already 7:10pm. Started easily and after a couple of laps, I was on TK pace firstly with Kenny, then with Loco Lai and finally with Ah Toh. 3 different fast and loco runners. I did mention that the pace was TK pace and they were doing their warm down lap. Even so, I had to be careful so that Loco Lai didn't drag me along on his version of warm down pace. In the end I managed only 6 laps due to lack of time unless I want to reach home and have dinner at 9pm. Compared to energy, time is the greater enemy in marathon training for people like me. But it makes crossing the finish line even sweeter, knowing that we've successfully negotiated the various obstacles along the way.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Happy Tuesday

As I stepped out into the office lobby, I saw that the rain outside was too heavy, so with another colleague, we rode the lift back to our respective floors to retrieve our umbrellas. I was cursing silently and she was likewise irritated by the downpour as well. We chatted on the way up and she asked me whether I was heading home, to which I replied au contraire. I've got a date with my run. "Running is like sex. You've gotta do it, when you've gotta do it. Just carry on come what may," I said. We had a good laugh. She asked if I was training for a race before I got off. By the time I got to the car to change, the rain suddenly eased to a light drizzle. After tucking my ClimaFIT cap into my shorts, I jogged to the start and without breaking stride, immediately commenced my run. The time was already 7pm. I can't leave at 5:30pm sharp or at the drop of the hat you know! Anyways, the plan was to cover as much laps as I could given the limited time. Cheong was supposed to join me as well.

Running at KLCC meant that I can gauge my fitness and pace again. The 1.3K lap allows one to monitor the splits closely and if one chooses to run there at least thrice a week, he/she can develop an acute sense of pace, like I did leading to my KLIM PR last year. The distance is short enough so that you can correct the pace quickly with each passing lap. Where I've been running the last 2 weeks (while on vacation), each lap is nearly 2K, which meant adjusting the next lap will have to be over the next 13.5 minutes or so, given my current pace. At KLCC, I can tweak my pace every 7:45 to 8 minutes.

After a conservative start, my lap times were getting faster and faster. I noticed that my pace isn't that far from my "home training" pace. In fact due to the undulating nature of my home route, I'm able to deal and run more comfortably at KLCC. It appears that my home route is helping me develop some strength! I finally spotted and lapped Cheong (he'd come late) en route to my 7 laps.

8:11 > 8:16 > 7:56 > 7:37 > 7:31 > 7:13 > 6:54
Total: 53:42, Average lap: 7:40 (or 5:53 road pace).
Interestingly, a 7:40 KLCC pace will yield a 4:08 marathon.

When comparing the 53:42 I did just now with the distance I covered at home, I was surprised to find that I was able to cover a full K more at KLCC in the same given time than the home route. I will sleep happy tonight.


Monday, March 05, 2007

A Blessing In Disguise?

As I'm typing this, it's pouring outside. Having planned to clock a 1-hour run, I'm shattered. Even more so when I just got off a 2 1/2-hour conference call with our regional development team and in dire need of releasing some stress. But after reviewing my training log, it may be a sign for me to rest for a day. It's been a daily affair last week except for a day off. Perhaps it's too soon to evaluate the possibility of me returning a good time for the Penang Marathon, but after staring at the pacing chart I stuck to the walls of my cubicle, I know I've got some serious work to do. Just to share with you, to finish in roughly about the same time as my PR of 4:26, I need to maintain a 6:20 pace (insert gulp!). To run a 4:11 marathon, I need to conjure up 5:57 splits (insert double gulp!!). For a 4-hour race, I've to somehow do 5:42 for each K (insert fainting here).....

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Continuing The Base Building Phase

For the elites, the base building phase can take up for 6 months. And that's before they embark on a 4-month marathon specific training. For me 4 months will have to do. Next week will mark the end of 1 month's return to training and the entry into the serious stuff where emphasis are placed on the long runs of up to 25K, tempos, hills and threshold runs. BUT before that begins, I still have to wrap this week up with a longer run tomorrow and to complete next week in a flourish. Here was what I did this week.

Carbokid 2 had his second injection today. As expected the poor fella bawled but not for long. He has been very colicky of late and it can tax even the most patient caregivers. There's no way out except to comfort him the best we can and hope this phase passes quickly. C2 is definitely different from C1. C1 is darn tough even when he was small - so tough that the doctor was surprised that he (C1) didn't cry at each of his innoculation. Then C1 wasn't colicky at all and was quite problem free in his baby days.

Running was again around my housing area. TOF was 52 minutes and change, close to the timing and pacing of Monday's workout. I noticed that of late, I'm running at a faster pace, something I need to correct quickly as I look to extend my runs beyond 1 hour.

It's back to work! The 50 of us from the Tech Group went for a "hoi kong" lunch at the Minmax Restaurant. It was the 2nd 8-course meal I've had this Chinese New Year. I know, this is nothing compared to what some of you had had but I guess it's OK. Next Friday is when the real action will be - a Japanese Buffet dinner at Jagoya at the Starhill Centre. I believe it costs RM100+ per pax. They serve some very expensive stuff there, so my workouts next week will be geared in such a way that I can indulge in this dinner. Next Saturday's is our departmental Teambuilding with planned activities such as paintball and a spa session at one of the more expensive spas in PJ (can't remember the name). I've opted for a facial, body scrub and Japanese massage package. I will be sure to run hard the whole week and really enjoy the spa! On the work front, I counted 200+ emails waiting for me at the office which will definitely add to my list of outstanding items.

I ran with Newton (it was really some time since he ran) in the evening. Planned was 6 laps but we managed just 5 as he needed to return back to the office to clear more work. TOF for me was exactly 45 minutes.

An early date with Geraldine, Fook and Grace. It was nice to see Grace again and she seemed to have recovered from the knee injuries. As they proceeded to Hartamas, I did my usual 30 minutes out and 30 back routine and found that I completed the same distance 6 minutes faster. A "warmdown" jog with the Beginners around the lake completed my morning workout. The evening program will be some grocery shopping at Tesco, followed by an outing with a close friend to catch the Liverpool-Man United match. Once again MU didn't play with the kind of incisiveness during their charge to the title. But then, in the many seasons when they won the title, many games were decided in the final few minutes, with a bit of luck as well as some individual brilliance. And all that came together in the Anfield game. Liverpool will have felt hard done by but that's the nature of the game. The Kopites will have to try again next year. As for United, 2 more wins should more or less wrap things up. Woo hoo! Now to concentrate on the Champions League.

Clips from www.saikaiball.com

Wrapped up the week with a LT workout. Total TOF was 40 minutes. There are loads of things to strategize at work tomorrow which will demand quite a bit of thinking but run I shall, in the evening. There will also be some planning required in the training aspect as next week will be the final week of base before the serious stuff come in.

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