Monday, December 31, 2007

Unplanned Run: Pacemakers Network Run 2008

As the Pacemakers always says..."run like kok"

Picture from pmtey

I called up Raymond this morning after reaching Lake Gardens. No pickup. I thought he's busy managing the run, but soon found out my call turn out to be his alarm clock :)

Manage to meet up with a few guys I read their blogs, namely carboman and seecube.
I also met up with Tan Ay Peng, who managed to run 5 loops for MR 25. That's a whopping 50 plus km. I couldn't make it this year, but looking forward next.

Actually I didn't plan to run, but since Kelvin Ng mentioned that the course is 3.8km per loop, and the total race distance was 13.8km (6 loops), I was wondering if I could do it in one hour. That means each loop has to be 10 minutes and below.

I timed myself, and soon found myself running among the real runners. For the first 4 laps, I managed to clock all below 10 minutes per loop. But not for the remaining loops.

In the end, I managed to clock 1:02:03. And I did a check on the fast results coming in from That'll mean that I could come in 3rd placing for my category!

I should have joined officially :P

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Registered for Sundown Night Marathon 2008

I have just gotten myself to hastily register for 84km event after I found out that the initial 100 seats for 84km has been taken. Read here. So, if you guys are planning to run this ultra, better be fast. But there's plenty of seats for the marathon distance (5000).

I am setting my target time 10 hours for this race. But if I could run any faster, that'll be better.
But in my mind, I am just going to have fun.

Running at night certainly has its' advantages. With no sun, no heat, you can really enjoy running. Another thing is, I found out another prominent singapore triathlete dude who did 168km, named Adrian Mok. And he's the guy behind 70.3 Aviva. He's also behind this sundown race.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I was supposed to be joining Raymond Hee in chin woo biathlon, but things turned out otherwise. So had a quick 20km run in bkt aman.

Weather was great, and since it has been raining for days previously, the clear sky was a welcome for a Sunday morning. Joining us, was Kelvin, who kept us quite occupied with his chatty nature. Well, at least running was not boring.

On the way coming back, a guy who looks not quite malaysian ran passed by. His built reminds me somehow of Moroccan runners. Very sturdy and thin, but same height. I decided to give a chase for the last 5km back, and boy, this guy is fast, but he doesn't seem to be pushing it, while I am.

I realized after following his back awhile, that he has a fast cadence. Not necessarily big wide steps, but well fast rhythm legs. I managed to catch up with him. He mentioned he had abdomen pain. Yet, he can still run that fast?

On another note, after covering 147km, I am giving second thoughts of running 260km to Kuantan. I could give and take, push 100km and all is well. But 147km thought me another aspect of ultras, that is so quite different.

First, running during your sleeping hours is certainly a challenge.

Secondly, it's pretty lonely. I like to run alone, but it was a bit too much. It's not like a formal race event, where you got supporters, and water stops. There's nothing. No one to cheer you on, whatsoever. So when you are down, you are really down. It takes great courage to push again.

Thirdly, running in these obscure areas, with no 24 hours shop is tough. If there had been food around, I could've run faster. I'll need to think of carrying other food source besides yucky powerbar. And yea, some salt repleshment too.

It still made me think, the path taken was indeed crazy.

But said that, I would try to push for 171km first, and perhaps 200km. That extra distance is taking a detour to kampung chennah after 22km road to kelawang. Lets see how...

Monday, December 10, 2007

How far can we go?

How far could we really go, actually? Where's the limit? I really have no answer, but from my experience running long distance, you can push it more than you think so.

This excellent article from New York Times ponder on how athletes use a strategy called disassociation.
It's pretty simple. In fact, I think most endurance guys already have their own way of pushing further and faster.
The main point is not to think of the pain so much, by thinking on other things.

For example, if the weather is too hot, I would just look down at my shadows while running. I imagine it's the cool zone which I will keep on chasing. On my ultras, I don't think how long I have covered, but how much distance left to cover. Thinking of previous distances might make you want to stop and say that's enough beating for your body for the day.

There's was once I ran a half marathon in the morning, and went swimming 2km in the evening. Frankly, running half marathon is enough of a torture for the day, so my swimming was really really slow. Every part of my body is in fatigue mode. But surprisingly enough, with 200 meters to go, from nowhere, I felt a resurgence in energy and stamina. Where did it came from? Logically, there should be less and less as you push more and more. With that, I could push myself to swim faster and stronger.

Your body is probably more capable than what you think you can!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ultra Run 147km: Road to Kelawang

I had been training harder for this attempt. In total, I ran 7 half marathon long distances for training. But what lays ahead is just beyond description.

I started just before 7am, carrying 3 powerbars, some money, hand phone, water bottle, and IC. What I did noticed was that the sky is one hundred percent clear. Not even a speck of cloud in the sky. This means, the sun will be having a jolly good day. But I was hoping that at least some cover will be available.

Target destination was the same as the last. Ampang hill was pretty not bad. Tekala hill was a bit harder because the sun was higher up in the sky. But thank god for the wind. It's so windy, when you ran, you feel like cycling down a hill.

Finally, I reached Genting Peres. At this point, I've got nothing to complain except the heat. In my mind, I made a choice, if I reached 50km, and it's still cloudless, I'll turn back. Turns out that at 50km, there was some cloud. So, foolishly, I continued. Foolish because, it turns out the sun will have it's revenge until sun down.

The path after that was running on tarmac, with the sun beating down. The heat is unbearable. Only an idiot will run in this.

When I finally reached the town Kelawang, it was 6pm. Better than my previous time. Because I so deadbeat by the heat, I was thinking of getting on the bus to Seremban, then back to KL. Calling it a day would not be that bad after 72km. However, i found out that the last bus is over. So, I sat at the restaurant, reflecting on how I could go another 75km, while eating rice with chicken. It was tasteless. I was not even enjoying eating.

The waiter suggested I sleep at the surau for the next morning bus. I thought for awhile. Run, or no run? Waiting for the next day, ain't that bad. But that'll be boring.

So, I started out back again. Because the wheather has cooled, I was able to run consistently more than the day. At this point, my right quad was in pain. The legs are all I have left. So I crafted out a strategy. Run 2km plus, then walk a bit. It somehow worked. I found myself enjoying each destination reached at the km marker.

Finally, I reached the start of the hills. I sat down on the curb awhile, to relax and massage some stiff legs. It was dark, but darkness is something I just got used to it. I vowed not to be beaten by the hills again. So, I power on. One thing about hills here, it's really tough.

I finally reached Peres around 1am. Legs are still fine, although each time I ran, I need to start very slowly because it's just hurting. But after awhile, the legs could run properly. The night was also cloudless. You could just see stars brilliantly in the sky.

As I kept on going, I was getting sleepier on the run. I tried to get some sleep while running just by closing them, but it won't work. So I decided sleeping on the tarmac would be a good idea, if only for a few minutes.

After finally reaching the end of 42km from kelawang at 3am, I still have like 30km to cover. I found myself too tired that even walking, I am going in the wrong direction. At some points, I just sit, and got some sleep for a few minutes. Then kept going. Another thing is, I've just had powerbars and water since kelawang for refuelling. It's the worst food ever. I craved for something else, but no shops are opened. I was practically pushing forward on an empty system.

Finally I reached Hulu Langat bt 18, where I was glad to see a few restaurants opened. I had roti sardin, a cup of coffee and tea. By then, it was 7am.

The final part of this run was great. It was as though, a new set of legs just came in. I could run and run continuously. Maybe it was the caffeine or the breakfast, but as long as I could hammer in the miles, that's all that matters.

When I finally reached the finish line, all I could think was bed.

Total time on the road: 25:59:06

Looking down from ampang hill...

Going down ampang hill

Had some snacks here with iced tea..

Tekala hill...scenery was great..

self pic at somewhere near tekala...

start of 42km to kelawang...still no sign of clouds...

taking a break before reaching Genting Peres. There's a small waterfall here for refreshment.

Reaching Genting Peres...still no clouds !

There's some clouds but none covering the sun.

Going back on road for another 75km.

Had breakfast here at hulu langat bt 18...gladly refuelling for the next 20km plus run.

Reaching hulu langat bt 14

Just happy to see civilisation again.

That's not my tail, it's the pouch bag strap :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I came, I saw, I ran

I went to Singapore for a business convention with a colleague. It was my second time on the island. We stayed at NSS hotel, which is a budget hotel nearby Raffles Hospital. The hotel was quite old, and it even had a manual lift. A person is needed to pull the lever, sort of like an on and off handle to operate it.

On the day of the event, which was at The Legends, Fort Canning, we took a walk rather than using the MRT. It was a way to savour the life and sights of Singapore. But my colleague swear he won't walk again next time, because by the time he got to the hotel, he was drenched in sweat.

The next day, I took a run around the city. Singapore is trying to make the whole city as a garden concept, and they really did made it such. Though there's concrete everywhere, sidewalks are well planted with trees, and shrubs.

There's a few other runners too, who I suppose are training hard for Singapore Marathon 2007.
I didn't actually planned where to run. So I followed a shirtless dude with HRM for awhile.

Another thing is, you can get shoes quite cheaply here. I got a pair of Adidas (not the adizero of course...), for only SGD 39.90. There's also New Balance shoes selling for 19 SGD...dirt cheap.

Good luck for those running this week in SG marathon...It'll be fun.

Start of the run..

At Pearl Park

I am still following this guy...

Merlion park...

Running along the river

The trouble of running is stopping for traffic lights....

Running down Esplanade Drive...almost no cars on a saturday morning..

The Durian...

Quite a small park...

Back to Fullerton hotel again...

Self pic War memorial park.

Adidas ad of 2 singaporean runners...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Google Map now supports Malaysia Roads

I was suprised to see malaysia road maps on using google map. Now, as road become more obvious, runners can see what name of the road and also surrounding potential routes.

Check it out...and thanks Google.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Google Road Map Available to Malaysia

Allright, here's something you probably don't know. I've attended a webmaster's gathering last saturday, and in delight, the google representative for Malaysia, Hanson Toh, announced that Google is working hard to create street maps for Malaysia. They have a non complete version, but it's looking great.

Here's a sample showing the road path (non highway) from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Kelawang:

View Larger Map

What this means for runners, you can easily use the map to measure the distance of roads.

Try's a blast..

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bukit Aman Training Run

Bukit Aman conjures an image of the police for Malaysians, but for runners on a run, it's the best place to train & meet other runners.

Last sunday, Raymond Hee & Raymond Ng & I had a run. We started at 6:45am. Already I could see lots of other runners starting out. Vincent & Khoo joined in the early run, but soon outpaced us. Yeap, they were that fast.

The route is scenic, with rolling hiles at some parts to make it tougher for runners. But I think the most fun part of the run is meeting others on the same trail. So far, I have just run alone, and well...the feeling is different. Running can be much fun if you got a few partners.

The end of the route is a petronas station, which I have no idea where. That'll be 10k, but you could another 1k going around it. So to and back will be half marathon. Double this, and you have a marathon. :)

On the way back, I am feeling a bit bored, so I pushed a bit. :)

On comparison with my usual 12km or 20.9km in Cheras, it's much easier and milder. Hence I was able to run up & down with ease. For my training runs, I do lots of hills. Total elevation up is 236 meters. I've got so used to fighting hills, which is quite rewarding for strength training.

But definitely, this is a good place for run.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ultra Run 147km: Road to Kuala Klawang DNF

Starting running...

Actually I don't feel like writing this. But I think writing it down, will prevent anyone crazy enough from doing this course.

Before the run, I brought along 3 powerbars, 1 small pen torchlight, a tape, and some money to go through the journey. I started at 7:00am, which is a bit late. But since I am preparing to stay awake 24 hours, I guess it doesn't make much of a difference.

Dawn in Kuala Lumpur...

Running up Ampang Hill...

Running down Ampang's a superb view... ones...

At Kampung Tekali...there's a wedding going on...

Going down Tekala hill...

It rained so much, practically lots of water gushing down. I really had no problem on hydration...

Road is the usual, from Cheras, up Ampang Hill, then Tekala Hill, and finally reaching the start of the 42km to Kuala Klawang. At this point, it's 30km. Previously, I stopped at the same store for nasi lemak, and had a chat with the owner. He asked where I was heading, and I told him Kuala Klawang. Then he asked, how? I said by running. His eyes grew bigger in disbelief. Then he asked again, is there anyone following. I said no.

42 km back breaking run to Kuala Klawang...

As I start the 42km leg to Kuala Klawang, I was still feeling quite ok. The weather has been nice, and cool. But as I reach the 50km mark, things become hotter. I sat down for awhile on the side of the road, pondering the next 22km to run. I set a mental task that another 10km, there's Kampung Sg Muntoh or heaven, as I would put it because there's the place they serve 100 plus and watermelons. And after that is another 12km to Kuala Klawang. Sounds easy hypothetically. But the worse has yet to come.

Genting Peres....surprisingly empty...must be because of Lumut Powerman..

At 50km point...

It's still a long way to go...

Because it was 1pm, the sun is merciless. Needless to say, the sun had me until 5pm. I was roasted. I changed between running and walking. Running in the hot sun is a terrible experience. When I reached Kampung Sg muntoh, I had what I mentioned before. It feels so nice to sit in the shade, that I don't want to run anymore.

I seriously don't want to run in the hot sun....

After awhile 5pm, rain clouds formed, and the weather cool significantly. And then it started to rain. I ran quickly to a Mobil petrol station. Luckily it was near. There's a surau nearby, so I did a combine prayers and had some snack. After this, it's only 5km to Kuala Klawang. Once the rain stopped, I ran continuously till I reached the bus station. I was a bit on the emotional side as I finished 72km. It was 6:30pm.

Finally reaching Kuala Klawang after 72km...

I had dinner with rice and tomyam. Mentally I struggle to find the solution for another 70 plus km. I was thinking, finishing 42km at 1am, and reaching cheras at 6am. It was really wishful thinking.

It was a beautiful evening with 2 rainbows...

I restarted running at 7pm plus, reached the mobil station (and did combined prayers again), and then continue on. Since this place is so remote, you don't have street lights. That's when I started to use a pen torchlight I bought a day earlier. It was the only tool to keep sanity in this remote dark area.

Gas station, 5km after Kuala Klawang...this would be my last stop.

Soon I was reaching 21km on the run, but will need to face 21km of gruelling hills of Kuala Klawang. Mentally tired, and with my right leg lower shin in pain, I was really to throw in the towel. Now, the pain is unbearable, I am practically dragging my right leg forward. Every step is painful enough.

I thought of home, and how far it is. I still got 50 plus km to cover, to get back to cheras. The thing that broke my spirit was really not the night, but having going up the hills again.

So, I thought I could get some help to get to hulu langat by flagging down cars. Maybe I could get a lift. But as I learned the hard way, no one will stop for you at this part of the road. Understandable, who would do that? The suspicion is on a guy, out at night, who might have bad intention. Not one car stopped.

But finally out of my suprise, a police car heading to a police station nearby stopped. He asked some details, and identification (which I didn't bring). I told him, I need a lift to at least Gabai. I also told him, where I came from, and what I was doing. He was just bewildered. But what he answered next totally disappointed me, because he can't go to Hulu Langat, because it's not his area of control. You see, hulu langat is in state of Selangor, and we are in Negeri Sembilan. But he offered to drive me to Kuala Klawang which I declined. I just wanted to move forward. Not going back to where I came from.

So, I made the decision to go through 21km of hills in the dark. It was already 9 or 10pm. Sometimes, when you run this place alone, it feels like dreaming. But with battered legs and mind, I was really not enjoying it. It's one km after another battle. A battle with physical pain and mind. Sometimes I wish I could just lay down and sleep, but I had to go on.

I finally reached genting peres at 1am. Not a single car passed this area. As I sat down, I told myself, I will continue to a bus stop before Gabai, and then wait for the morning bus. But the next run downhill turned into a walking affair. My right leg is busted. I did try running once in awhile, but the pain keep on coming back.

At last, I made it to the end of 42km leg at 3am. Yup, I completed 84km back to back, but there's nothing to celebrate. So I walked another 3 km to the bus stop, slept a little while at the surau nearby, waiting for dawn prayers. I did the prayer, with a congregation who was also suprised to find someone running / walking from kuala klawang. But I didn't told them, I went there earlier on foot too.

Now, I learned another thing too, the bus service here sucks. One guy mentioned the bus only comes at 8am, which didn't turned up. Furious, but still thinking, I decided to walk to hulu langat bt 18. It was a struggle, because my right shin is still in pain. I finally got a bus at 10am plus, which finally brought me back to cheras.

Would I do this again. No,...not in the near future. Total distance covered is estimated at 124km.
I'm FUBARed.

Google map of locations covered.