p pol The Adventures of Carboman: February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Testing Weekend

15 days to tapering. With that in mind, my workouts are skewed more towards quality than quantity. If I learned anything from this cycle of marathon training, it's that I'm no longer as young as before. That's not to say I'm that old! You know what I mean!

Muscle recovery is good. My neuro-muscular setup can still handle back to back tempos and long runs but a week later my body system will let me know that they need to shut down. And that's in the form of sluggish workouts and extreme sleepiness. When that feeling hits, like just this Wednesday when I shuffled to a torturous 6.6K death march, I decided to take yesterday off. I'm also not running today to save my body and legs for Saturday and Sunday. I believe coming through this weekend will more than make up for today's rest in that it's simulating prolonged stressing of the system. To me missing the odd days won't hit me so much. All the confidence at this stage will come from the key workouts such as the back to backs, and weekend long runs.

Here's to a great wrap up to months of hard work and sacrifice, starting this weekend. Tapering calls for specific workouts and I look forward to that. Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


After waiting for a full day (KL is 15 hours ahead of NYC), I finally managed to submit my entry for the 2008 race online. The non-refundable processing fee is USD11 and if my application is successful - I'll know in June when the lottery results are announced - a further USD210 will be charged to my credit card. Ahhhh... that's not the end of it. There's also a USD35 deposit on the timing chip. Total charge will add up to USD256 or RM820 at the present conversion rate. Not cheap but it's going to be a once in a lifetime experience. Heck, I may even keep the yellow timing chip as a souvenir!

You might be interested in what RM820 gets you. According to the official website:

Included in Your Entry Fee

• Entry to the ING New York City Marathon 2008 including hydration and fuel stations, medical support, entertainment, baggage handling, security, the most enthusiastic spectators of any race anywhere, and more

• ING New York City Marathon Health and Fitness Expo

• Barilla Marathon Eve Dinner

• Fireworks Presented by Poland Spring

• Post-Race Party Presented by Clear Channel Radio

• Official Handbook

• Goody bag, including Official Program, souvenir shirt, race poster, snacks, and special offers

• Transportation to the Start

• Start festival: warm-ups, breakfast, entertainment, religious services

• Finisher materials: medal, food and beverages, and Continental Airlines/Foot Locker Heat Sheet™

• Finisher area where marathoners exit after the race

• Official finisher certificate

• Official Results Magazine published by New York Runner

To view a fantastic photo montage, check this out. For more tidbits on my quest, visit my other blog.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

20 Days To Tapering!

Only 20 days to tapering! Slightly more than a month separate training and race day! This morning's 30K was something I really needed to get in. I was glad that I decided against running the Circuit Run totally. Tackling the hilly route at my own pace in the later miles, I was able to stay focused and engaged myself in some mental exercises. Lawrence, Loke and I set off at 6am and it appeared even then that the weather was going to be cooperative. If the sun comes out at 7:30am, I was in for a bake.

Starting at 6am has more advantages this morning:- I was able to sleep a bit longer and there wasn't any rush down to Lake Gardens. I munched a Clif Bar and hydrated sufficiently before the run- The gas station will have open so I didn't have to carry water- Not running the Circuit Run meant that I need not run faster than I'd like to just to make it back in time to- I found out that the Circuit Run course included running the Carcosa route repeatedly. Not that I don't like that hilly stretch but I'd take an out and back course over loops.- I saved my knees from being pummelled by the concrete surface around the lake.

From the outset, the pace was going to be a little faster than what I wanted to do. My plan was to hit 6:30 until 25K and then see what I still have left. With Loke pushing the pace, I was contented to bring up the rear about 250m behind. I had RM10 tucked into my tights for drinks, so I didn't need to carry any fluids. Reached Hartamas in about 1:05 and I did the loop around the station. We continued on back towards the IRB building at a faster pace and while Lawrence and Loke went their way, I took a loop around the building and headed back to Hartamas. Running this route at the peak of marathon training is always a great experience for me. Seeing the runners traversing that route always seem to encourage and motivate me along. A surprise character that I met was Yaziz, who wagged his finger and admonished me to pick up my training. I have been training, old fella, just that I'm no longer a regular at Ronnie's shoutbox and am just occassionally updating my blog. Nevertheless, it was a timely reminder from him. It's always great to see him, Uncle Hooi, Kenny, Kit, Ang along the way.

I intended to make the full 30K distance this morning. That meant not sticking to just the traditional Bukit Aman-Hartamas route. To make up for the distance, I covered parts of Sri Hartamas after the park turn off, made sure I did the loops around the gas station and I also veered into the Matrade road. Having the 205 has kept my training honest. You just can't lie and second guess yourself when the GPS tells you that you've only done 22K when your body felt like 25K. Whatever it is you've got to make sure the distance is accurate else you could be kidding yourselves.

John came riding up Kenny Hills and gave me a very simple yet timely boost - "You did it! You've got your 30K!". Yup, I did it alone hammering the miles after 14K yet not alone in spirit! The last 5K was at marathon pace or thereabouts. Got back to the car park, quickly mixed some Endurox and refueled. Felt really great.

When showering at the public toilet, I noticed a large patch of blood on my briefs. I won't share the graphic details with you but the blood wasn't from my vital appendages! Obviously some chafing had occurred, but I didn't feel it.

2 more weeks of hard training!

7:01 > 6:41 > 6:38 > 6:21 > 6:15 > 6:41 > 6:14 > 6:13 > 5:50 > 6:06 > 6:07 > 6:09 > 5:46 > 6:01 > 5:59 > 5:58 > 6:00 > 5:52 > 6:03 > 5:52 > 6:03 > 5:51 > 6:01 > 6:27 > 6:01 > 6:16 > 5:55 > 5:49 > 5:30 > 5:31 > 5:45


Friday, February 22, 2008

Under The Cover Of Darkness

With only the sound of my breathing and the scrunching of pebbles with my every stride, I covered 8.6K this morning. At 5am, my choice of weekday running partners are very much confined to, well, myself. Forced by an increasing workload, I've watched in frustration as 2 weeks of training gone down the drain. Despite what my weekend running partners may think, I'm not a morning person, even though I regularly start my weekend long runs at 5am in the final buildup towards the marathon. The earliest starting time I've achieved was an insane 4:30am. Recently I've also got into running at night, setting off into the darkness at 8:30pm once I've taken care of some of the kid minding. My Mom has mildly protested but it's difficult to put off a marathoner-in-training.

Bosses have the propensity of calling meetings at 6pm. If I want to sustain a training program, I've to get my runs in early in the morning - very early. No problems for the weekend long runs as I've a couple early birds for running partners but weekdays are another challenge. Running when the skies are still dark poses a completely new experience, and a little vague. Due to the darkness, it's harder to gauge distance as we typically use landmarks as markers. Coupled with a little early morning grogginess, I run according to effort and after checking my splits against the Forerunner, I found the amount of effort expended to be surprisingly consistent with my pace. Having said that, I seldom let the watch dictate my pace. With practice, you'll know your pace. Sidetrack: my Forerunner ran out of memory last night and I had to clear the entire history to make way for new recording.

For safety and personal reasons, I don't wear earphones when running on the roads. So once you're warmed up, you'll notice how acute your senses are. Deprived of other distractions - there's no one else on the roads nor many other sights and sounds - your senses are focused on your breathing and pace, your eyes on the lookout for rogue stray dogs (most will run away from you), rogue characters and rogue drivers. A tip when approaching a pack of dogs - clap your hands to warn them of your presence - these mutts don't react nicely to being surprised by the sudden appearance of a runner!

You smell things too. Like the presence of cows. A bat once slapped into my face, causing a near cardiac arrest and an outburst of expletives. You'll also find that your shadow will be doing some form of fartlek workout with you, falling back behind you as you approach a lamp post, then gaining on you once you passed that same lamp post. By observing
your shadow, you'll also know whether your form is OK or your arms are a little high and swinging too much.

The guards patrolling my housing area have grown accustomed to my presence and a couple even asked how far I ran. All would wave when they see me. I'd like to think that I'm a one-man Rukun Tetangga as my path would cross with the guard on the motorbike. We always take the opposite direction you see, so we sort of complement each other, though the only "weapon" I have is my voice should I come across any suspicious characters! Just last night I stumbled on 2 of them - get this - jogging at 8:45pm! My routine must have triggered something in them. As I passed them I urged them to keep it up. Those guys were hardly of the shape of a runner but this is certainly a good start. Hopefully they will also watch what they eat.

Runners are quite resourceful and seldom do we accept being deprived of our runs. If the course of life puts a dampen on your time to run, roll with the punches. Explore ways to get your runs in. Whether it's early in the morning or at night, you can still get your runs in. You need to exercise caution and be savvy - wear light coloured clothing for example
- but don't we ALWAYS need to be concerned about our safety regardless of the time we head out on the road?

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Rojak Ramblings

Running Celeb

Lance Armstrong will seek to add a Boston Marathon medal to his 2 NYC Marathon's this April 21st. Being a strong on the hills, Boston should suit him as well. Whether he can beat his PR of 2:46:43 is another question. The pounding over the rolling hills will certainly test your quads and hams. Of course my favourite podcaster
Steve Runner will also be racing that historical route.

Running Politicians

Besides Armstrong, US Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will also be toeing the line for his 5th marathon. His 2006 4:26.05 PR is a tad faster than mine achieved in the same year. Read a fellow runner's take on the US Presidential candidates
here. By the way Bush's PR is 3:44.52 ('93 Houston Marathon) and Jonathan Edwards' (just dropped out of the Presidential race) PR is a 3:30.18 in the '83 Marine Corps Marathon! Our own politicians here? Ask them about Senamrobics and Golf la! Other than that, they're busy making fools of themselves in the eyes of the world - check the video out below:

No Headphones

More and more races in the US are beginning to enforce the
No Headphones ruling. That's the official logo below. This controversial move, in compliance with the USATF ruling, didn't go down well with a few runners there. Although I understand that running with headphones on on training runs are certainly dangerous, totally banning from races are quite unnecessary. Afterall, the course is closed. The only "dangers" I see are from fellow runners especially when approaching aid/water stations or the listener couldn't hear instructions or orders to move aside either for passing runners or ambulances. According to the NYC Marathon 's website, the NYRR are also discouraging the use of headphones as well. Let me tell you this. If I'm running a race, especially in a place like NYC or any other overseas races, you won't find me with an MP3 player. I'd rather enjoy all the experiences I can soak in - the sight, smell and sound. Give me all of it! You can read about public opinions about this by just Googling "usatf no headphones ruling".

Running Fella's Update

Ummm... that would be me. There are just 6 weeks, 4 if you exclude the 2-week taper, to go to race day. Time really flies. With 3 wasted weeks, my confidence level isn't too high. I'm disappointed with the spikes and dips in the mileage. But there's now a sense of urgency to get the weekly mileage up and really long runs in. The series of long runs began last Sunday with a 25K and will be extended this weekend, so it'll be timely to try out gear and fueling strategies. Since 90% of these long runs will be at an easy pace, I'll be out there for close to 3.5 hours. Have a good week of running!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

I've Been Slacking :(

The last 3 weeks have been quite stressful for me. It all started a few days after the GE 30K race when I was hospitalized due to an abdominal distress. Following my discharge I was embroiled in a week of intense work and of course there was the usual rush to clear as much things off my to-do list before the Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays. Finally there's the CNY travelling and holiday in the cauldron that's Penang Island. If you think it's hot in KL, you need to experience Penang weather. Having run in temps of 33C in KL, I won't be surprised if the mercury hit 37C during the week I was back on the island. The only tolerable time to run was in the early mornings. Add C2's present whiny and irritable temperament of late, which in part is due to his teething, it had been an exhausting period for me and the family. Even my usually cool Mom is distressed. And I'm considering maid assistance. For one who is really uncomfortable having an outsider living in, and on top of the horror stories revolving around the foreign maids, that thought itself is testament that the family need some domestic help. Signs are pointing to an increased responsibility at work rendering my evening runs an occasional luxury. On days that I mustered enough (most often due to an overriding need to relieve stress) energy/motivation to head out the door - once I just needed to go and I put in 11K at 9pm - my runs have been decent.

No problems speed wise (no real problems hitting 4:30 pace the last 2Ks on a couple of runs) but my stamina and endurance fitness level have seen a decline. I'm on the verge of self flagellation like what that albino character in The Da Vinci Code did to himself. My smattering of runs didn't even warrant an urgent update to my Buckeye log. With a 2-week taper plan, I'm left with only a full month's worth of training. And it needs to be a period of solid work. Hmmm... think think...

That picture of Clif Bar below? I'll write something about it after this Sunday's long run.


Choose Wisely

"Don't tell me I am voting for Obama because he's Black........don't play me small.....I am voting for Obama because he's brilliant".

Oprah Winfrey

Received this snippet from a friend and thought I'd post it in light of the upcoming GE. I hope that an upright character and a person with high and unshakeable morals will get the most votes. Like what Oprah said above, it goes beyond skin colour.

While walking down the street one day a Malaysian Boleh Minister is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I have made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Yang Berhormat.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules," says St. Peter.

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and dressed in the finest batik there is. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then indulge themselves on lobsters, caviar and the most expensive food there is.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St.
Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it' s time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the Yang Berhormat joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The Yang Berhormat reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I'm better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the Yang Berhormat. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning just like you during an election...... Today you voted."

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Very Important Date!

Mark February 25th on your PDA/phone/call/desk/Outlook/what-have-you-calendar! Coz that's when the NYC Marathon lottery registration opens! I'm gonna give it a shot! For more info, hit this link: http://www.ingnycmarathon.org/entrantinfo/applyfor2008.php


Friday, February 01, 2008

The Real Spirit Of The Marathoner

Thanks to Haris for featuring this compelling video. I won't spoil the moment with words. Just play it and be TRULY inspired.

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