p pol The Adventures of Carboman: January 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year, New Rubbers

A new year, new shoes and gear lineup from all the major shoe companies out there. The running forums are alive with speculations, sneak previews and anticipation of new rubbers. Runners are always on the lookout for the Holy Grail of a shoe that will carry them to a new PR.

The new models are for their Spring '09 lineup and while most will only be available from March to June, some are already available on the shelves here. Case in point are Saucony's range, which sees updates to previous year's models plus a new model in the Roadster. The Roadster features an interesting midsole configuration, the Grid Compression Cradle technology. It's important that shoe companies continue to invest on innovation during these times of recession, so it's nice to see Saucony exploring new tech. You can download the catalog here.

Just last week I chanced upon the new Nike Start which was on the shelf of their KLCC boutique. It features the ultrasoft Cushlon midsole and from the colorways, looks to be geared towards the fitness runners segment.

I'll continue to update readers of this blog should I get news of any exciting development in the wonderful world of rubbers, I mean shoes.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I've received lots of email support from the Platinum Group runners since "shocking" them with my disclosure to skip this Sunday's 30K race. For all of the votes of confidence, I'm thankful. So perhaps I owe my well wishers a slightly more lengthy explanation to my decision. My reluctance stems not from my lack of fitness nor doubts of hitting a certain goal time. In fact, returning a good race time has never been my plan. Even if I was game for a time trial, the new race route has effectively ended any such foolhardy thoughts.

I've never been afraid of toeing the starting line when my fitness isn't that of a jerboa (I don't know why I mention jerboa except that they're so cute and have runners' thighs) and weekly mileage of an arctic wolf (a beautiful animal which covers a wide territory and therefore travel high mileage in search for food). I've had my fair share of running under the influence of medication previously and finishing the races embarrassingly slow. My decision to DNS, therefore, is not due to these assumptions.

It's because I can't seem to shake my persistent cough. Some bouts of light-headedness (for no reason) have also been bugging me especially towards the evening. It's probably stress at work. If it was going to be a 20K I'd have no hesitation in gritting it out for 2 hours or so. But I reckon that to cover 30K hacking my lungs out can only slow my recovery. The US National Library of Medicine mentions that coughing is "usually your body's way of healing" so I need to let this malady run (pun intended) its course.

I still hope to collect a finisher's medal, knowing it'll be a rare thing for me this year, so I'll leave it till Saturday night to decide. But if you ask me right now if I'm going to be at Lake Gardens this Sunday, my answer would be a "No".

On separate note, kids shouldn't have to face this situation or this. But that's the sad truth. Often in a war, there's no right parties - the children suffer for the adults' pride, ignorance and arrogance.

I'm going to show these articles to C1 tonight. There are life lessons to be learnt in both examples about being thankful, humble and living simply.

NB. After posting this, my wife informed me that she had to work this Sunday (she's in the same project as I'm in). Since we've but 1 car, there's no way I can play any part in the race.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009


One of the many training runs for Penang Bridge Marathon done in the rain.

Start of the NYCM training

1 week before NYC, flashing her Skins

Post-race dinner with friends in NYC

Walk-abouts at Central Park

Farewell dinner at the pizza-less California Pizza

Happy trails, dear friend! Thanks for the memories and many miles of great runs.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Live Simply

Since the start of the new year, the office aircond now shuts off at 6pm. It's definitely not conducive to working conditions but we're definitely contributing to the company's cost saves and also the environment. While the media, business world and governments throw around catch phrases like "Conserve" and "Cutbacks", reflective of the tough times ahead - the Malaysian Government is denying that we're in recession - I've however embarked on my own mission and it's called "Live Simply".

It means living an uncluttered and uncomplicated lifestyle, getting rid of excesses from the house, leaving as small a carbon footprint as practically possible, save up and/or increase the contribution to the children's education plans, living with the 29" Panasonic CRT TV instead of the 42" plasma and minimizing the nice-to-haves. I've gone through 2 rounds of spring cleaning my kids' toys and given away those that they no longer play with or interested in. The fact the kids didn't raise any objections clearly proves their disinterest.

An on-going exercise involves rummaging through the little 300 liter fridge to dispose expired foodstuff and other knick-knacks such as fast-food sauce sachets, bite-size chocolate bars and medicine. The little Panasonic is 10 years old and is still functioning well. But the capacity is just too small and with a week's grocery, there's little left for other things. So buying a larger fridge is in the plans. A larger fridge will mean a larger space to stock up on things we don’t need, so a periodic review of its contents will have to be established.

Trickier to handle are my sizeable book collection. I've yet to go through the stacks but the ones that I'll be disposing off are the novels. The culled books will hopefully be put through a yard sale, the same treatment for the many framed pictures I have. Since I barely have time for listening sessions anymore, I'm also considering selling off my hi-fi separates consisting of the Audio Refinement Complete amplifier, Marantz CD63SE player, a pair of Tannoy M2 speakers, sand-filled speaker stands, Nordost cables and interconnects. It has be a lock, stock and barrel sale if I decide to part with the electronics.

2 more areas where my household can certainly discard more of are clothings and bags. There are just too many. I've sold, donated many of mine but my wife being the hoarder is not doing enough. She hoards clothings, clinging on to those that used to fit her many years ago hoping to return the golden years of fitting S sizes. But with no exercise routine, the realization of that dream is a foregone conclusion. Don’t tell her but I've already secretly added many of her old t-shirts to the donation bin.

My mom is another hoarder. She’s the hoarder supreme of containers, plastic spoons, tin cans and bottles. Always seeing the usefulness of the stuff for storage for "things". Except that we have so many of those things that our Whatever subterfuge that I'm planning will have to be done very covertly or I'll risk upsetting her.

The key to parting with items is to be disciplined. It's about casting a critical eye on everything and subjecting every possession to questions like "Can we live without it?" and "How many times in the last 3 months have we used it?" It’s also useful if the cleanup exercise be done section by section or room by room so that your attention can be undivided. And you might want to approach the initiative by asking yourself that should you be moving from a house to an apartment, what items will you be discarding? If something is adding to the clutter, chances are it’s ripe for severance of ownership. Having less things in the house mean you spend less time and effort cleaning and doing other household chores.

Unfortunately even with a successful execution of the series of cleanups, my house will still not look Zen-like bare, something quite impossible with 2 kids and 2 hoarders. But at least, we will literally have less baggage to carry.

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