p pol The Adventures of Carboman: May 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008


Wow! Justin asked me if my RMAF timing was a PR. That got me wondering as well as I've been too busy with other aspects of my life rather than keeping track of PRs. I know I've been clocking good timings at the races since the start of the year but with the exception of the GE30K and the KL Marathon, I've not really paid much attention to PR hunting ever since.

I thought it'll be nice just to know. So here are what I discovered:

Jan - GE30K 2:56.47 - (PR of 5 minutes 20 seconds over the 3:02.27 achieved during the GE30K '06)

Mar -
KL Marathon 4:16.05 (PR of 10 minutes 11 seconds over the 4:26.16 achieved during the KL Marathon '06)

May - NB15K  1:18.48 (PR over the 1:16 achieved during the NB Volunteer Run ' 04 which was  short over a modified course)

May - RMAF Half Marathon 1:48.28 - (PR of 53 seconds over the 1:49.21 achieved during the KL Games Half Marathon in '96)

It's almost unrealistic that I'll run a good time for next weekend's Sundown Marathon but I hope there'll be at least a couple more before the year is over.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Classifieds: Suria Utama Townhouse

Suria Utama Townhouses (freehold) are newly built and located at Bandar Utama (BU12), just minutes from NKVE, Centrepoint, 1-Utama, Puay Chai (2) and Sunway Mas/Dataran Prima. Exclusive and quiet - 30 units only - and tucked in a greenery corner of BU12 with 2 layers of security 24/7 and individual alarm system within each unit. With an area of 1000 sq.ft., there are 3 bedrooms and 2 baths fitted with showers. The kitchen is fitted with cabinets, Electrolux cooker and hood.

Price: From RM370K (Apartment is 3-storeys high- Ground, First and Second). The units on sale are units on First and Second floors.

Please call 012-3828916 for viewing.


RMAF Half Marathon Race Report

Efficient delivery of runners to the starting point, prompt flagoff, spectacular first section of the race, accurate distance markers, ample refreshments, Powergels, post-race breakfast, nice finishers medal. Could this race really be in Malaysia? As it turned out, yes! Just about the only thing wrong was my lack of training. So it wasn't surprising that even when I boarded the bus that would be ferrying us to the start (felt that I was heading to Fort Wadsworth for the NYC race!), I had no clue as to how I would be running the race.

All doubts were laid to rest by the excitement of starting off from the runway of the AFB (Air Force Base). Just after the gun went off, we were treated to a fireworks display and all of us took off to the runway. The area was sufficiently lit as the KL-Seremban Highway was just parallel to the 2K strip but the organizers shot plenty of flares into the early morning sky to ensure a surreal experience for all of us. I felt like an army grunt running to take up positions in the trenches to fend off enemy attacks - think WW2 and Vietnam War scenes!

Frank reported that he ran very comfortably - I was too until the 10K mark. The early splits were very fast nevertheless, for a Half Marathon. I reached the 10K mark in 51 minutes and promptly realized that I won't be able to sustain the pace until the end. The course was quite all right but with most tackling the 10K distance, the half marathoners were somewhat spread out, making the Federal Highway and Seremban link quite boring and very challenging. A few of the climbs late in the race made things extra difficult too. So it was with great relieve when I crossed the line in 1:48.28 (average pace 5:18). After the customary photo sessions and catching up, I drove off the base with nothing but admiration for the uniformed personnel who handled their duties professionally. I made sure I thank each one I passed on the way out. All of them waved back with a smile and one even replied "You're Welcome!"

Next race will be the Sundown Marathon. It will be difficult but I'm placing enjoyment over performance. With little or no training, that's the only strategy to adopt.

Photo credits: Tey, Runwitme and Ronnie.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Double Champions!

Carboman takes time off from writing about running to congratulate Man United for clinching the Difficult Double of EPL and European Championships! You guys were great...and very lucky too! Photos courtesy of UEFA.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

NB PACM 15K Race Report

Another measly training week for me. I told myself that since this is "just" a 15K distance, I shouldn't just roll over and submit to running a lousy race. Most certainly I will not just run a lackadaisical pace. If I somehow crash and burn somewhere at the Double Hill stretch, so be it. But running has taught me one thing - to always try my best in whatever situation and condition.

The start of the race was quite abrupt and G and I were just heading back towards the starting line when the horn went off! We were looking for her starting ribbon (they ran out!) and hadn't quite gotten back to our original position. The start was moved to the road behind the field as opposed to the main Jalan Parlimen. As a result the runners were jam logged. Some, as we, who tried to circumvent the crowd ran on the road shoulders and one runner tripped and went down in a heap. He was perfectly OK flashing a sheepish smile.

The first K was 6:40 I think (I've yet to review my 205 data) but as soon as there were gaps, we were skipping past the runners despite the hilly stretches. On the several occasions where I checked my splits, I found that my sub 5 minute pace was quite comfortably sustained. The usual suspects were encountered along the way, with Kelvin unusually muted until I egged some noise out of him. Chen also was surprisingly very laid back and even paced with me until I pointed Choi out to him. Choi was running consistently about 200m ahead and I used him as a gauge. I think it was at the Bukit Tunku stretch that I lost G and I went alone. Chen dropped back at a water stop allowing me to overtake him. Then he caught back up with me and paced for some distance. At another stop I dropped him again as I was picking up the cups rather swiftly.

I felt that this year's route was quite challenging as we had to cover certain hilly sections twice. I dropped pace going into the second palace loop but got my second wind soon after. the Central Bank hill then sapped me again before I shuffled hurriedly toward the finish. The runner next to me suddenly shouted "Let's sprint to the finish" and the bunch of us made a mad scramble to the finish arch.

My position of 173 and timing of 1:18.48 was an improvement over the 2006 race of 1:24 (I didn't run last year). So overall I'm quite happy with the results and still consistent with my goal of getting faster with age! I shall continue with that mindset until my body tells me to start slowing down or else!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Winding Down A (Long) Training/Racing Cycle

It's been a long time since I took an extended break from training, even though coming into the end of this training cycle, my running had taken a back seat to work. The euphoria of making New York lasted 3 full days and now all attention is back to work. As I'm typing this I'm also weighing my career options having been offered a job with another company. Though very important, my decision will not be based solely on the renumeration offered but also on my middle to long term plans. I'm speaking to people in the industry to get a better feel on the directions, what corporations are looking for and other career wisdom from these people. I've even spoken to both my bosses and they've provided very good feedback as well as the plans they have in store for me.

In 2 weeks' time, I'll be running my 9th marathon in Singapore (second for the year) and my plan is to run really easy with no pressure at 6:20 pace. I'm aiming to finish comfortably and enjoy the night running experience. This race will be part of my winding down training cycle. Following that I will do absolutely no running for 2 weeks, recharge, recover and just enjoy some quality time with the kids, before entering the Periodization Phase starting July. Through personal experience, 4 months is just about right for me to peak. Any longer, fatigue, staleness and boredom will set in. And realistically, 4 months of training is a luxury!

I really look forward to every of the upcoming phase. It'll be one exciting year and one heck of a ride. Won't you join me?

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Initial Take On The Progrid Guide

Choi finally delivered the Progrid Guide (the 5th edition in the Trigon series) yesterday morning. This mild-stability model feels slightly lighter than the 2120 and in fact in terms of build, the Guide appears to meld the 2120 with the Pegasus.

A friend complained previously of the old Trigon 3's smell out of the box and even after many miles in them but thankfully this pair smell somewhat like Bata! Which isn't too bad actually - brings me back to the school days. Slipped in my feet and the immediate feeling is that the arch area is well supported. The forefoot is roomy and walking around the office's thinly rugged floor felt very comfortable. Instead of the pillowy cushioning of the Vomero, it was more of the responsive and bouncy type similar to the Zoom Elite. I'm not sure if this was due to the Progrid but it certainly is more comfortable than the traditional Grid. Great! This is what I need.

I took it for a 7.8K run later and like the feel a lot. The bounce was there and it certainly is responsive enough to handle faster workouts. The laces are rather long and they flapped about a little. I'd have to triple knot them or tuck them under the laces on top of the tongue. The arch and medial area felt supported and the ride very smooth. With my iPod on, my run yesterday was the longest weekday run I had in a long while. Thoroughly enjoyable.

After the run I examined the 11.7oz shoe a bit. I took out the insole and saw that there's a layer of foam under it. This seems to be standard in midrange shoes these days. The forefoot is made of soft blown rubber that's as squishy as Nike's Duralon, while there are many flex grooves to make the ride flexible and smooth. The medial post is firm and placed more forward straddling the arch area equally. This placement will counter late stage pronation and is ideal for me as I don't need that much support.

Until I take them out longer I don't know about its ventilation properties, long run support and cushioning, and durability.

This shoe have seen changes since the last model. It felt more supportive and moulded to my feet. It's also definitely lighter. I think it can still be improved in that the ankle collar can be made thinner using memory foam. The heel area outsole can also be a tad thicker.

This pair will certainly be my main long run shoe for the NYC Marathon. I will only use the Vomero for 15Ks and below.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Runners2Runners Program

For Immediate Release!

I am launching a program whereby I am recruiting runners as members to help promote and create greater awareness on Saucony running shoes within the running community. This program is called Runners2Runners Program.  All appointed members of this program will be reference as “Saucony Shoe Ambassadors”.


For those interested to participate, please send an email to Choi Chik Choy (cchoi_2020@yahoo.com).  Please include your personal contact number in your email. Upon receiving the email, I will give the interested party a call to further evaluate on whether they will be the right candidate for the program itself.  Selection of the candidates will be based on certain criteria that will be highlighted during the discussion.


The key objective of this program is to promote the Saucony brand and also to offer another brand of running shoes to the running community itself, and hopefully coupled with value for money models.  Let's get together and make the running community more vibrant, knowledgeable and last but not least helping each other in anyway we can.


Runners2Runners here we come !!!!



Signing off……


Choi Chik Choy



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Monday, May 12, 2008

The "Inaugural Putrajaya Midnight 30"?

Kit and Anil laughed when I told them that the midnight run we were about to embark on was only my second run of the week and if all went to plan my week's mileage would be 35K. For us who cover 50K in training mileage in 2 (read that again) consecutive days, my lack of runs was indeed a joke. I found it laughable too but there wasn't much I could do about it. I was too dug in at work right up to the morning of the run.

The idea of a midnight run was mooted by Tony Quay, who wanted to give the runners registered for the midnight Sundown Marathon on May 31, a taste of running into the witching hour. A 20-minute nap in the afternoon was all the luxury I had and after the household retired to bed, I left the house at 11pm. The after-dinner coffee seemed to be working as I was still wide awake. The drive to Putrajaya was longer than the usual 18 minutes I'd have taken, as the security closed off one of the most frequently used entrance/exit to the main thoroughfare as a way to discourage illegal racers. After taking a very long detour I finally arrived at the Palace of Justice (POJ is a misnomer actually, given the countless high profile misappropriations that's been reported recently) where many cars were already parked along the main road.

The area was very well lit and the food and refreshment tables were already set up. As the crowd of runners swelled, so did the collection of food and fluids too. There were bottled water, grape cordial, isotonic, bananas, watermelons, red bean soup, chiffon cake, french toast, nasi lemak to ensure no one ever goes hungry. I relied mainly on my own chilled drinks. Saw many familiar faces, including Munning, Ben and Yee Hua, Haza the celebrity Running Mom, Uncle Sonny and Aunt Jenny among many more. Even Mohan came all the way from Singapore to join the group.

Before we were let off, Tony was busy organizing the crowd which totalled 75 and Chan Wing Kai snapping away on his trusty Nikon. Since it was already close to half past 12 midnight, Kit, Anil, Frank and I were eager to get things started. Once Tony finished his pre-run briefing, we were off running as the lead pack. I was running in shorts as opposed to my customary tights as I wanted to test my legs without the supportive tights. I was also in the relatively new (but broken in) Vomero instead of the Kayano or Elite, so coupled with the time of the day, it capped a hugely experimental experience for me. Even if I'd done 2 12-hour walks before.

The night, or more accurately, morning was cool with a gentle breeze blowing and it made for a very consistent relaxing pace for our quartet. Having run the hilly Hartamas route, the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) hill was a piece of cake and with the strategically located base station at the POJ we had plenty of chances to hydrate every 4.5K. Except for a few stretches we ran against opposing traffic most of the time. The entire route was well lit with the main avenue in incandescent white while the PICC loop was in amber yellow. No problems at all in terms of visibility.

Throughout our run I was surprised by the number of people chilling off at the area. They were either loitering, taking photos or just lazing around. They must've had the same thought on seeing so many runners too. We encountered a few small groups of bikers and fast cars but otherwise it felt safe. We were even passed a couple of times by a police patrol car as well.

The pace got decidedly faster after the 10K mark but it was still comfortable for me. I struggled a little between the 19 and 20K mark but got back my 2nd wind soon enough. The problem really started from 29K when the pain on both my calves and arch areas got bad enough to warrant a change in shoes. However even after changing into the Kayano, I couldn't finish the last 2.5K. The legs were too bashed up and I decided not to risk it. While Kit went on alone towards the Prime Minister's Office I turned back at the roundabout, half walking and half running back to the staging area to complete 31.6K. Kit was very strong that night and covered the 33.3K distance while Anil and Frank both did about 30K. Frank who already ran a quick 10K race that morning still had another 5K charity run a few hours after completing the 30K in blisters! Now that's what I call "The Man With The Iron Legs". I'm sure his week's mileage is on the exact end of the chart from mine! To read about his exploits hit this link.

I had a chance to think about what happened as I rested while catching up with the others over a banana and dessert. The lack of running obviously was a factor, but perhaps not as much as the choice of shoes - see next paragraph. To a lesser extent, the shorts while kept me cool, provided no support to the punished legs.

Now a bit on the shoes - the Vomero 2. This is the highest end cushioned model (voted Best Update in the '06 RW) in the Nike stable. Instead of the responsive cushioning of the Zoom Elite, the Vomero offers an extremely plush and almost pillowy ride. It's so soft that after I changed into the Kayano, it felt like I was running in a pair of sandals. And that is an honest to goodness assessment. After running in them for close to 100K, I can also attest that this shoe's stable enough for a neutral to mild overpronator like me (certainly stabler than the neutral Supernova Cushion). It also has an amazingly smooth ride. Its Cushlon midsole however, may be too soft for midfoot strikers like me and so unless you're a full-fledged heel striker, you may find the shoe sapping your energy and in the process fatiguing the leg and foot muscles more.

I got home at about 4:30am and promptly got down to washing the running gear while showering downstairs so as not wake anyone up. After a full 2 hours' sleep the whole house turned into a barn with the 2 kids shouting. It was only at 3pm that I managed to sneak back into bed for a 3 hour siesta. I'd planned for a Mothers' Day lunch outside but Mom had prepared a steamboat lunch and dinner.

My strategies between now and the Sundown race would be to put in some quality runs, workouts that are not focused on speed but aerobic and muscle conditioning. I need to get out there and workout those muscles again. The speed workouts will be this Sunday's New Balance 15K and the following weekend's RMAF Half Marathon. As for the Sundown race itself, I shall start off at a very very decent pace.

Some notes on running at Putrajaya

  • Featureless with the exception of the administrative buildings and wide avenues make running there an exercise for the mind as much as the body. The long straights promotes the use of same muscles and may not necessarily be easier than a more undulating route.
  • The cobbled surface in several sections were uneasy to run on.
  • The tarred roads were definitely easier on the legs than the tiled stretches.
  • Plenty of parking. Take your pick.
  • Rather cool and breezy at night.
  • For safety reasons, inform the police of your plan and route. I felt safe even when running alone at some stretches The area is well lit, so no problems with visibility. It's not so advisable to venture out from the administrative precint as the roads are definitely dimmer and lonely.

Some notes on marathoning at midnight
  • The pace could potentially be slower due to the circadian cycle.
  • It'll be ideal if you can squeeze in an afternoon sleep of an hour or two.
  • Coffee is OK. Make it black one if taken close to the starting time.

More reports: RunningMom Frank

Finally, MANY THANKS TO TONY AND HIS TEAM for organizing this gathering-run. Everything and everyone was well taken care off and there was nothing more we could've asked for. From food to safety, well done and thank you!

Edited: I also observed many cockroaches by the sidewalk. I wonder if these 6-legged pests are replaced by the 2-legged versions trawling the government buildings in daytime.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Not Much Happening, And Yet Lots

Work, work, work! I'm backing up my supervisor who is away on 2.5 weeks' vacation on top of a critical project I'm handling. Sandwiched between those 2 tasks are daily conference calls and endless production issues. On top of this weekend's midnight run at Putrajaya, I've to be on standby after the run for a major parallel run testing. And since we plan to take my Mom for a Mother's Day lunch on the same weekend, there shall be no sleep for the weary. The following weekend will be another standby duty before I head off for my own 2 week holiday.
My running has been hit badly and I've this morning decided to ditch a strategic approach to tackling Sundown. Instead it shall be an extended cardio exercise done at 6 to 6:10 pace. I've also decided not to wear the Zoom Elites and revert to the Kayano. Note to self: Take it easy.
On a separate note I found this article intriguing. Bring 'em down!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day Run

Enjoyable long run this morning with the gang. The men - Choi, Frank, Cheang, Kit, Tey and I -  were like Secret Service Agents protecting the First Lady Geraldine as we started off from the usual meeting place at about 5:10am. The morning was cool but humid and I sweated buckets. The pace were very easy the first 10 and I was glad I kept to the pace. There was still a long way to go and memories of the recent 2 long runs were still fresh in my mind. No way I'm going to go through the same difficulty again. Many of the guys were lamenting Liverpool's loss in the Champions League semis. For me Liverpool would've been easier meat for ManU but I think having Chelsea as final opponents would add extra impetus and motivation to Mancunians. I think the game will be explosive - hopefully I'll be able to catch it at the nearest mamak stall then.

I somehow felt strong throughout the run and though I didn't keep at eye on the watch, I wanted to run 6:10 pace the first 10 (which I didn't do in the end), then lower it to 6 flat the next 10 and under 6 for the final 10.  Was running alone for the most part which turned out to be a training of some sort too for the mind. The plan was to include 4 loops around Petronas to meet the target mileage.

I caught up with Ronnie and his posse just as they were about to run the final 10K of their 20K distance but after weighing if I should use them as my pacer, I decided against it - they being much much faster runners. Sure enough Ronnie, ChinYF and Stanley swept past me soon and TPC drew up and pulled away not far in front. The lead pack was about 100m ahead but were gradually extending their distance from me. At first 150m, then 200m and finally I don't see them anymore just before the Wilayah Mosque.

I was however locked in pace with TPC who was toying with me with his fartlek approach to running. I didn't run to catch up with him as he'd naturally drop back and I'd be level with him after which he'd pull away again. This lasted till the Tijani hill when I decided to experiment a little by pressing the gas and drew level with him. At the top of the climb, he blew his gasket and I went my way. I then pressed my pace in the downhill to try to build a gap as I passed Chin who was walking and stormed downhill in sub-5 minute pace at the 29K mark. I was running at about 30K race pace now - something I certainly can't sustain over the marathon. But by doing so builds confidence. I covered my last 10K of the 30K in about 52 minutes.

Back at the car park, we swarmed around Choi to check out the latest wares from Saucony. I can certainly attest that their 2008 range are hot. After chitchatting with the folks I left the car park for a hearty noodle breakfast. I somehow knew that I'd meet Newton at the eatery and true enough he arrived with his family.

All in all an excellent day of running!

1 6:47  
2 6:46  
3 6:41  
4 6:16  
5 6:20  
6 6:58  
7 6:10  
8 6:07  
9 5:59  
10 6:02 1:04:05
11 5:58  
12 5:45  
13 5:41  
14 5:53  
15 5:47 1:33:08
16 5:41  
17 5:49  
18 5:38  
19 5:45  
20 5:49 2:01:49
21 5:21 2:07:10
22 5:40  
23 5:16  
24 5:19  
25 5:34 2:28:59
26 5:18  
27 5:24  
28 5:10  
29 4:54  
30 5:01 2:54:47
31 5:20 2:58:12