Thursday, June 28, 2007

Getting Whacked While Swimming

Swimming is best for cross training. In fact swimming is much more easier than running. Your whole body weight is supported by the water, while you can swim leisurely lap after lap.

But one "hazardous" problem of swimming is collission with other swimmers. I have had a few head on collission with other swimmers, literally. And sometimes you got hit by armstroke or legstroke. Nothing much you can do about it, but once in awhile look in front. God didn't made humans with eyes on top of our heads.

The past few days, I was still in high mode. Too much endorphin I guess, or what they call the runners high. I am already plotting to run 100km. From my current 63km, I could easily extend to 100km by adding 40km on the path to Kuala Klawang. That path is very hilly and would be challenging, which I experience twice in the 84km run. In fact, it's as hard as running up Genting Highlands.

The problem with last 84km run was not eating enough. I recently browse some ultra runners site, where these guys do insane 100 miles over trails, valleys, and mountains. I am not into that level yet. 100 miles equals 161km. And the time taken can be from 20 hours to 30 hours. However, reading through their blogs opens lots of knowledge on how to run ultras. What to wear, what to eat, what to drink, what to do when pain...

Oh ya, if you think your feet hurts in a run, take a look at Olga's feet. I cannot fathom the agony of such condition:

She runs 100 miles ultra races in United States. And she's a mother with kids...

When I was running at 80km, I was thinking to myself, these guys who run 100 miles are crazy. How could they do it? But one day,..hopefully...I want to run 100 miles too.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Run 84km: Back to Back Kuala Klawang

Let me write this down before the hangover fades away. I am feeling kinda OK now, but looking back at yesterday run of 84km back to back Kuala Klawang, is really really really tough. Tougher than any course I have ran.

At the start of the foothills

The time I started to run.

Going uphill.

First I underestimated lots of things. But it was because it was my first running along that path. I didn't know
that after Genting Peres, the slopes would go up and down so many times, that I have lost track. No wonder, most
cyclist would stop at Genting Peres.

Still going uphill...

Nice mountain view...

Reaching Genting Peres...

After Genting's uphill & downhill

Fountain of water (life)....Here's where I refilled my bottle.

At the mark of 21km (getting outta the jungle)

Secondly, I just had two bananas with me. And water. After 21km, where I finally got out of the woods and onto flat
road, I was starving. Running the previous 21km was like 30km with all the hills. I could run, but with an empty stomach, which does not feel so well.

Flat road after the 21km mark don't want to get here..I wonder if those doing EPO will get dumped here too?

If only I could refill like these fellows....

I finally reach Kampung Sg
Muntoh (left 12km to kuala klawang), where there's this store that sells 100 plus and cut fruits.
I downed 2 slices of watermalon and a 100 plus. It felt like the most delicious food, and drink at that moment.

Refilling at Sg Muntoh...see those cans of cold 100 plus?

In addition, the wheather was getting hot. There's so many times I would just want to run back. But I had just got
to get to Kuala Klawang. I finally got there. Had mee rebus at a restaurant nearby the bus station. After that, I headed
back from where I came from.

Finally reaching Kuala Klawang after 42km. Rejoicing at half way point.

Running back after 42km, is more like an affair of walk then run, then walk. With the sun beating down, I felt like
quiting. But there's no other way back. I finally reach Sg Muntoh again, had the same drink and fruits, before hitting
the road again. I've got 30km to cover left.

Running back...still a long way to go.

Those apartments on the left is for those working in Pusat Pemulihan Dadah

Still running's getting dark soon..

My target at this point was to get to 21km before 7:30pm. I did get to that point, but I've got 21km left!!

And it was getting dark. The next 12km would be up and down hills run. There's not a single lamp post around this road.
My water bottle was almost empty. But there's an upstream (with water running) a few kms up. So I have to run up, even though my legs don't feel like it.
I have no choice, as I wanted to reach it before the sky totally went dark. I finally reached it around 8pm. Luckily,
I could still see the surrounding area. So I washed a bit, and filled up my bottle.

My target after this would be Genting Peres. It was already night. I could barely see the road, but I kept on running.
Every once in awhile, a vehicle passes by, I tried to remember the path ahead, to see if there's any rocks, or branches that might be hazardous.

One chinese dude on a motorbike passed me by, then made a u-turn. He asked where I was heading, and I said Hulu Langat,
He wanted to offer me a ride. But I declined, and he said "Lu ada baik ka?", which means "are you in your right mind?".
Frankly, I don't think I am in the right mind, and no right minded person would be running this kind of route at this kind
of hour.

But there's no choice, except to reach Genting Peres. It's only like 7km left to Genting Peres. It's tough, probably
the part that's most demoralising. I lost track of uphills, and downhills. My legs were tired, I had no food, and
extremely fatigue. Plus, not knowing where you are really challenges you mentally. I felt like I was doing ironman(I know,
it's swim/bike/run), but I have been on the road for like 12 hours from morning to night.

The jungle along the path was eerie, and you could hear the insects, and whatever animals that live there. Finally,
I reached Genting Peres. I was so happy, and have only 9km to go. I sat down awhile to rest for a few minutes. Luckily,
the moon was 3/4 full. So it wasn't totally dark. 9km downhill should be easy, but at this point, it's tough.

Genting Peres at 9:30pm

Genting Peres...there's still light from the moon...but too faint for my HP camera.

I ran and ran, sometimes walking. The only motivation left to run is to get out of this as soon as possible. But for the
last 3km, I walked. I passed by some orang asli houses, and there were canines, a bunch of them barking and barking.
There were not chained, so if they wanted to bite me, I would be dead anyway. But the trick is to show them who's boss.
Just stand your ground, and let them bark.

Finally I reached the finishing point after 14 hours 52 minutes. The time was 11:22pm. Looking back, I wouldn't advise
anyone to run this route, at this hour. It's just crazy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Running And Sleeping

I woke up around 7:30am, and I did my usual 11.71km run. For half the run, I was practically "sleeping" in the sense that my body is still in dreamland. I had lots of dreams last nite. And I couldn't shake it off. Why is it that I am running but I feel that I am not quite there?

It's the kind of feeling when you do something, everything goes slow motion. It took a minor knee pain to wake me up. The funny thing is, I began to like it that I felt pain. At least, I felt something...rather than numb.

This weekend would be the Penang Bridge Marathon. Running Mom is going...wish her best of luck. It's her maiden marathon. I understand how...a nerve it could be. For my first marathon, I couldn't even sleep a wink, just rolling on bed.

I was thinking of running the 84km back to back Kuala Klawang this weekend for some action. My training log is full of...white spaces....which means I have been slacking too much...

Let's see how it goes..

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Between Rain and Swim

These days, it's been raining in the evenings. I used to go swimming at a nearby pool (permaisuri). But these days, with unpredictable wheather, I have to cut a few goings.

And today, it also rained. Luckily, it wasn't heavy at my area. So I decided to go swimming again.
Having swim so often at the pool, I could see a few regulars. These are the guys, who is always swimming. I can bet you 99% they'll be there weekdays.

There are those who are the elites, who can really put 40, 60 laps consistently. And they could swim gracefully, yet fast. And yes, these guys have good upper body build.

Then there are those who are still struggling with the right style. And some swim freestroke, not in the correct stroke. But there's this particular guy, who swim in the most awkward way. He's well build too. However, every time he does freestyle, he tend to overscrew his hand under the water when lapping forward. Because of this, the whole body tends to struggle underwater. And his speed is...not surprisingly slower.

And there are guys who just swim in the same stroke again and again. They could really do with some improvements, which could have made them faster.

But I suspect some swimmers seldom run. You could really see from their legs. Which makes triathletes another special breed, who does all three disciplines of swim, bike and run. Yes, really a wholesome workout for the body.

As for myself, I am still freely experimenting on different techniques from time to time. You see, water is really a dense medium. Sometimes, if you tend to move forward with excessive force, you could move some distance per stroke, but you will tend to tire down easily. So, swimming is more like dancing really. You just have to get the movements correct. Or else, you can't swim gracefully. You have to cut through the water so smoothly, that there's less friction between your body and the oncoming flow of water. And this takes practise, practise and more practise.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Training Updates

Haven't been running for the past 3 days. So tomorrow, I will have to run. This sunday, probably will run up Genting Highlands again with Raymond Hee and Stupe. Just some afterthoughts after running 63km.

So far, my legs were ok...not so much pain at the knees. But considerable pain on the feet, only during running. I could sense my legs are getting used to the pounding of longer distances. As for fatigue, I believe I could push it further...but I noticed I get a bit hungry after each 10km. Which is the reason why I brought along 2 bananas in my pouch bag.

Although 63km is the furthest I have pushed, I intend to run further than that. I am dreaming to run 260km from KL to Kuantan in one stretch, which is my hometown, in the near future. But that'll take enormous amount of training and hardship. Not to mention pain. Really I have no idea if it's possible yet. But with more longer distances of running, I really hope I could do it one day.

Now, it's a bit crazy to run that distances. But there's even crazier people out there who runs further. Dean Karnazes is one of the guy...who probably inspired me to run further than marathon distances. You could read about him on his latest run of 580km stretch from the summit of Mt Kosciusko to Sydney. He's known as the ultramarathon man. He has ran 300 miles in one run continuously. That's miles...not kilometres.

As for swimming, I just set a PR for 2km swim today of 00:45:50. I intend to push it to 40 minutes at least.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Run 63km cheras - hulu langat bt 14 - tekali - bt 18

I ran this route again for the second time. The whole distance of the journey is 63km. And it's not really an easy route. The route goes from cheras to ampang, then over the Ampang hills. After that you reach batu 14, kampung sg tekali, over the tekali hills. Then move northwards towards Gabai, batu 18, batu 14, over the ampang hills again, and back to cheras.

I am more well equiped now. I've got a running cap, a New Balance running shirt (rm 65), a pouch (i brought along 2 bananas).

With the cap and shirt, I was able to manage the heat better. The shirt sort of provide a cooling effect within, while the cap could shield sun rays that might hit you face on.

I didn't run too a very low heart rate, but steady pace. I was trying to spread myself longer and further. Only when at the hills, my heart rate goes up.

On the top of tekali hills, I met 2 guys (mazuan and rafis), who had just cycled up there from Desa Pandan, cheras. Not bad for middle age men. Not many men at their age are sweating it up. We chatted a little.

As I ran by semenyih, I came across lots of cyclist. It's a perfect road to cycle...but still quite dangerous. Since there's sparse vehicles on the road, cars and bikes tend to speed very fast.

The hardest and hottest part of the route is after batu 18 (it's reaching noon), and all the way back. I tried running offroad on the grass to keep my feet colder. It somehow worked. I ran a few kms, and then walked. It's really really hot. And running makes your body temperature goes higher. The reason of walking is to cool back down.

I ran the last few kms back to cheras...and have to do some internal mental talking just to keep on running. I tried to bargain with my body parts:
"Legs...your job is to keep on running...Eyes, your job is to see the direction...and Lungs & Heart, your job is to provide oxygen. And I just want to sit back and relax." worked.

To conclude...the run went ok...more running and less walking. But's tough.

Time: 10 hr 11 min

Going up Ampang Hill...

Reaching the top of Ampang Hill.

Tower at the top of Ampang Hills.

The sun rising'll definitely going to be a hot day. I can't spot much clouds in the sky.

Going down...

Going down...

Nice morning the route descends to batu 14.

Hulu Langat Bt 14 is marked by a big mosque.

Kampung Sg the foot of the hills.

Second hill's harder than Ampang as the slopes are steeper all the way up.

At the top of Tekali Hill...

Met with Mazuan and Rafis...these guys cycled from Desa pandan.

As you descend...the view is just breataking. With majestic hills as the background, it's like a place no other.

Direction...which way to Gabai?

Picturesque Semenyih of the reasons I run here.

Reaching the intersection to Gabai. If you head will lead to kuala klawang.

One of the food stalls before bt 18...the food is not bad.

Batu 18 hulu langat - not much here. Had a iced coconut drink..before running again. At this point, I have covered around 42km.

It's only way to cool down is to drink and drink

Can you say...3rd hill attack?

Going uphill on Ampang..again

self pic...after 63km.

Friday, June 1, 2007

One Rest Day

I have not been running a few days...there's a feeling of muscle tiredness all over. But today, I did no training, and felt much calmer, and more energy. But I am planning to run the same 63km route (cheras-ampang-batu14 hulu langat-tekala-gabai-batu 18 hulu-cheras).

The last time I ran/walk this route, it took me 11 hours plus...but that is lousy time. I will try to aim a faster time. Perhaps at most 7 hours. And at that nite before the run, I only slept 5 hours, which is inadequate. To really run better, it's best to have a full nite's sleep.