p pol The Adventures of Carboman: September 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Road To New York City

I guess by now many of you would've known that I'll be heading to New York City to run my 10th marathon this November. For the uninitiated, I've actually set up a NYC Marathon blog sometime ago to document the facts and personal experiences of the race. To follow my adventure, I'll meet you at my other blog, Road To NYC.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Prince Liam The Brave

I admire my friend Marci Glotzer’s running of all her NYCM with Fred’s Team (named after the late NYCM founder Fred Lebow, who passed away of cancer) in support of The Aubrey (about Aubrey Barr) Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). It’ll be Marci’s 3rd NYCM this November and this time around she’s running it in support of a little boy. His name is Liam Witt and he was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Neuroblastoma. He has been bravely fighting this deadly cancer with the help of friends all over the world since February of 2007. Liam has gone through nearly a year of aggressive treatment that included chemotherapy, surgery to remove the tumor in his abdomen, radiation, and is currently receiving 3f8 antibody therapy at MSKCC in New York City.

Liam’s parents, Larry and Gretchen, maintain a blog to provide the latest status on Liam's health and progress. will be posting good news and any concerns related to Liam's battle with this disease. It’s difficult not to be moved by the bravery of the Witts in facing this very difficult challenge to a boy who is not even 5. It gave me an insight to how busy parents cope while maintaining a brave and positive front for their children (Liam has a younger sister Ella, who adores him). I can’t pretend to understand fully the complications, heartache that this disease brings but when it happens to kids, it digs even deeper into me. Liam may be 4 but in my books he towers in bravery. Here’s an excerpt of one of the postings by his Mom.

“Liam just finished throwing up for the third time in an hour. Chemo throw up for Liam is a total body experience…it sounds like his toes are throwing up and every vertebrae in his back. It comes out his nose. He makes an awful wretching sound. He spits frantically to clear the throw up from his mouth while whimpering “there’s more – don’t move the bucket!” And over and over he says, “I don’t like throwing up. I don’t like it at all.” But tonight, after his third throw up session and before I had even wiped away the combo of spit, he raised his head from the throw up bucket and said in a cautiously excited voice, “Mommy – One plus one is two! And two plus two is four!” And as soon as I had him cleaned up, he curled into me and started picking out the letters he recognized on the front page of the newspaper. “Mommy – There’s my letter – and L. And that letter is for dog it’s a, a, a, D! And that’s my other letter…a W. Over there is a snake letter. What’s it’s name again?” The effects of the anti-nausea pill are finally setting in and he’s asleep covered in a Batman blanket that arrived yesterday and surrounded by little puppy, big puppy, monkey puppy, duck puppy, super soft yellow blankie and pilly the pillow which has the ever-present magic rock attached to it and a new addition, a lucky stone passed along from Aunt Franny’s son Ben.”

Liam may be a world away but there are no boundaries for cancer. The disease can strike anywhere and anyone. Cancer is the global war. The doctors and researchers are doing a heroic job in the fight, but they also need our help. If you’re moved, you can contribute to Marci’s cause via MSKCC’s secure website here. You can donate any amount via credit card.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Nike+ Human Race 10K - Singapore

Go global
Nike Sales Malaysia's invitation to participate in the Singapore leg of the Human Race was too good to turn down especially when the city state was the only South East Asia venue to host this global event. Trust it to the sports marketing giant to put on a superb show, uniting 25 cities, celebrity runners and iconic athletes, and not to forget one million runners together for the benefit of 3 charitable organizations (20% of the registration fees go to the runner's charity of choice). For this to work, Nike latched on to the power of the Internet, weaving the event promotion, registration, and training into their Nike+ portal. This allows participants to set up virtual challenges and log their training. Those who couldn't make it to the appointed venues could also run the race virtually. The choice of date was significant since it's to take place on Malaysia's Independence Day - 31.8.2008. Each registrant has their own selection of beneficiary for personal reasons and believing that children are indeed our future, my choice was ninemillion.org.

About the charities

The ninemillion.org campaign was created in 2006 by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in partnership with Nike and Microsoft. The goal of the campaign is to give more than nine million children better access to education, sport and technology by 2010. The ninemillion.org website exists to raise funds, but also to give voice to those who often go unheard, allowing visitors to see pictures of the camps where children pass much of their lives, read refugee children's stories and understand what refugee children's lives are like.

Lance Armstrong Foundation
The Lance Armstrong Foundation - LAF - was founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. The LAF is a nonprofit organization located in Austin, Texas focusing on providing practical information and tools people with cancer need to live life on their own terms. LAF's agenda include Prevention, Access to screening and care, Improvement of the quality of life for cancer survivors and Investment in research.

World Wildlife Fund
WWF was born into this world in 1961. Since those early days WWF has grown up to be one of the largest environmental organizations in the world. Currently there are more than 1300 WWF conservation projects underway around the world. Almost all WWF's work involves partnerships with local non-profit agencies and other global NGOs.

A scare
My participation, however, was nearly derailed by the muscle strain I picked up just 3 days before race day. Luckily I recovered enough to make the trip down, even though I was a little stoned by the muscle relaxants! Everything had been arranged by Nike from our flight and hotel stay to race pack collection, and thanks to Frank who helped pick up the flight tickets, all I needed to do was to be at the KLIA on Saturday morning. I was the first to arrive and soon enough I was joined by Frank and Pueh Tian. We killed time at McDonald's while waiting for the boarding time. Only at the waiting lounge did we linked up with Niki Cheong from The Star and Richard Augustin from the TimeOut KL magazine.

Our ride in the tiny 737 was pretty bumpy and there were so much thick clouds that I knew it would be a wet weekend. We cleared customs very quickly and before long reached the Gallery Hotel soon enough. There were many banners promoting Sunday's race from the ECP stretch all the way into the CBD area and the results show - due to the level of awareness generated, Singapore was the first country to fill up and close the registration process. I'd say it's a result of good marketing, a large population of fitness enthusiasts and a credit to the Singapore government's health and fitness programs.

For the rest of the report (plenty of photos!) hit this link.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Citi Vertical Challenge Report

August was a rather mixed month in terms of running. The excitement at the prospect of playing a big role at spreading the gospel on running at the office place was tempered by the disappointment of missed evening training sessions. Since I've always propagated the need for runners to share the benefits of running with others, the "loss" was easier to take. The organizing committee laid out a series of activities culminating with a Vertical Challenge where teams of 6 runners will tackle 35 floors in the fastest possible time. To get the cubicle dwellers into the mood, weekly walks were organized at the KLCC Park. My role was to give a couple of talks on proper shoe and gear selection, and tips on running. I ended up doing 3 sessions as there were many who couldn't make the earlier talks. I brought along some props and went through some slides and videos. The props included several pairs of running shoes and apparels. I felt that the props were important since it allowed the participants to touch and feel the examples. Not many can visualize the difference between normal foam and the denser medial posts of stability shoes. Nor feel the softer blown rubber as compared to the harder heel material. Some things just needed to be touched and felt.

Close to 45 people attended my talks and though not resoundingly successful, I'd like to think that at least the 45 will now be much more informed when shopping for a new pair of trainers.

On Aug 27th, close to 40 teams lined up at the respective transition areas for the Vertical Challenge. Besides being on a diet of 40 odd Ks per week, and a couple of stair workouts, I put in a Yasso 800 (6 x 800m) 2 days before the race, just to get the juices going. Stair running is totally different from normal running and I made this clear to both the teams I helped put up. Some were getting a little tensed from the prospect of winning the top 3 prizes which carried cash awards. The women's team is pretty strong while the men were no slouches too but as we men found out on race day, there are hidden talents in the bank. The event was managed by FTAAA under Vegi and 21st Century Sports, so we got somewhat the same "treatment".
I was the first runner in the 2nd last wave start. The first runners had the toughest leg since we had to negotiate a short outdoor stretch followed by a slippery 20 meters of marbled surface before reaching the stairs. And it rained up to the start time.

As expected the start was fast and furious, with just a bit of shoving. My wave consisted of 5 runners and I was the 3rd to reach the stairway. Things passed in a blur and I certainly ran faster than in training. I didn't time myself but I think it was about 30 seconds. With another floor to go, I was already in pain but just a few steps from catching the 2nd runner. I quickly passed the ribbon (like those used in the Ekiden Relay) to my team mate and exited the stairway with my quads in a jellied state.

A short while later everyone had gathered back at the ground floor lobby exchanging stories. Our lead woman runner had actually slipped as she entered the building and grazed her knee but quickly recovered to overtake 2 on the stairs! Her team would take the 2nd place and RM450 in prize money. The men? We weren't informed of our position but we weren't in the top 3. I was disappointed. We were 2nd in our wave having battled back from 3rd position but as it turned out, the top 3 prizes went to the teams from the later wave, all of them footballers and majority of them Indians! They covered 35 floors in less than 3 minutes, since their teams were more balanced.

Post race with 1 member missing

The women's team which placed second

Nevertheless, everyone had fun (there were finisher's medals for all), which was most important, and the girls even bought us Thai lunch and dessert the next day. The amount of food we consumed led me to believe that we expended 600 calories but topped up 2,000 calories. How about that for over-replenishment? The downer was I badly strained my left quads so badly I couldn't walk properly. Even the triceps hurt from all the sudden pulling up the stairs' handrails. The quad pain was bad enough to put my participation in the Nike+ Human Race 10K the same weekend in serious doubt. Only after popping some muscle relaxants, and 2 days of heavy bandaging did the leg recover sufficiently to make the trip.

Next report: The Nike+ Human Race 10K

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