Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ultra Run 63km: Cheras-Hulu Langat

It was meant to be 171km, but stomach cramps, and lack of will power cut it short. Nevertheless, it was a run that saw high humidity and heat. These two killer factors would have stop anyone on their track.

Route is through cheras-ampang hill-hulu langat bt 14-semenyih lake-bt18 and back.

I was nearing the route that starts the 42km to klawang. But looking at my mental preparedness, and lack of willpower, I decided to take a short detour back. And back then I had been battling high humidity and heat. It's so bad at times I had to stop running to catch my breath. To start the route up the hills will mean a lot of sacrifice. The question is, am I willing to go through the suffering. Not quite yet. Running this route means:

1) 100 plus km more on the road
2) Running through the night
3) Running through more heat
4) Not much food stalls

So, I decided that I'll just do a shorter 63km. But the next part prove a little bit harder as I was hitting the roads around noon. Somehow at that moment, I like running in the heat. I don't know why but I just welcomed it.

As I continue running, my mind drifted to friends doing langkawi ironman, whom I believe are suffering the same heat while cycling and running. Now why in the world, we like suffering, I still don't know. Maybe we just want to be different. We want to accomplish something different than others. However, the motivation is intrinsic. You do it because you want to. Nobody is pushing you over the ledge in case you don't do it. And that's the most powerful motivation to keep you moving.

When reaching home, I logged on to the net, and Faris al-sultan has already crossed the finish line as the champion. But it was great to see the others battling out, and eventually most of them will achieve what they had worked so hard for.

At the top of Ampang hill...

Suddenly the air is full with mist...

Humidity is high....

Glorious semenyih lake, it's possible to start an olympic distance triathlon here..

Election fever going high on the road back to hulu langat bt 18

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Welcome New Ironmans from Langkawi

As Ironman Langkawi comes to an end, these are the few who had battled the world's toughest race for their premier ironman.

Khan, Mohd Shazly 205/367/382
01:21:45 07:31:39 06:41:12 15:51:07

Kok Keong, Raymond Hee 127/269/246
01:13:17 06:51:23 05:25:03 13:48:19

Ong, Siok Bee 458/349/265 36 01:54:47 06:46:39 05:01:54 14:02:31

Lim, Ee-Van 350/337/333 31 01:35:27 06:58:22 05:49:40 15:00:29

Abu Soffian
464/351/356 30 01:59:27

Saiful Azri 304/206/225 25 01:29:22

Finishing an ironman is an accomplishment of a lifetime. It takes an average joe to one year to train all 3 disciplines. And even that, when race day comes, you still have doubts as to how to battle 3.6km swim, 180km bike and a full marathon in the end.

We all know who the champions will be, and their news is splattered all over. But it's the normal guys and people who we think are handicapped, who kept on training, that inspires deeply.

Congrats now deserve to be called "ironman".

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Conquering Gunung Nuang

I was thinking of something to do this weekend. So, I rallied up my brother to go "hiking" Gunung Nuang. This is the tallest mountain you can find in Selangor (1493m). To go there, we drove up to Pangsun, and parked in front of Puncak Niaga's gate.

I brought along a pack bag as well, filled with 1.5 liter of water, 2 100 plus cans and some bread. Actually, I only have some vague idea of what to encounter. I estimated the time up 3-4 hours, from some of the blogs I read. I wore a pair of Power shoes...which will prove to be a challenge going up and down. My younger brother wore Nike racing shoes, and those had thinner soles.

As we started our journey, we met with some chinese guys from KL on bikes. They were going up the peak as well, but they had a good head start as they rode up the hill. So after paying 2 bucks, we started our trekking. Now, I didn't really want to start running, but the thought of reaching the peak in time, made us ran the path. It was quite a climb, with ups and downs. The road was filled with loose gravel, and with my inadequate shoes, made the run pretty hard.
My brother ran as well, and he would always be ahead of me.

Soon, we reached the end of the open road. This time, it would be criss crossing jungle terrain to Camp Pacat. We moved along quickly as well, with some minor runs up. It was pretty exciting as this is my actual first run in the jungle or hashing. You've got to always keep your eyes on the next step. There's rocks, roots, dirt all the way, but it was fun.

Before we reached Camp Pacat, we met with Tony and his gang. They had started earlier. Choy, who is from the group wanted to ascend the peak while the rest will only reach Camp Pacat, so now we got 3 guys. As we move our way up, my brother is way ahead, while Choy and myself struggled with the difficult terrain. Some parts of the path, is 80 degrees climb up. So, you've gotta haul yourself up. And then keep on moving.
Not much of a run here, because the elevation has went up tremendously. The air was also colder, and mistier. But thank God for the excellent wheather. If it was raining, our journey would be much harder.

We reached Puncak Pengasih after a hard climb. My brother was nowhere to be seen. I guess he had moved so fast up. Occasionally there were climbers going down. I asked if they had seen him. The answer was always yes, which kind of relieved the feeling he's ok.

After puncak pengasih, it's downhill, and after that some uphill. I finally realize I was at the peak, when my brother yelled, that we were already there. And yes, we had truly conquered the peak. According to my watch, it took myself 2hr 50 minutes. I reckoned my brother took less than 2 and half.

The view at the top was kind of disappointing. The view is covered with shrubs, and bushes, so can't get a good view of the surroundings. But from there, we could see the dam. Choy decided to make off earlier because Tony was waiting. We rested for another 15 minutes before descending.

Now here is where the fun begins. We were practically running down the slopes. And my brother will always be in front. It was kind of hard to get used to. I finally figured out, that to move fast, you got to make sure your feet is well placed on either a rock, or roots, and not in between the spaces. Put one feet nudged between roots, and you'll tumble down into the abyss. My problem was compounded by the Power shoes, which has a thick sole, and not much grip. And yeah, my knees keep on getting pounded so much, but gladly not much pain so far.

Finally we managed to beat Choy by 10 minutes back to the ticketing counter, but this is one of the heck of an old man. Tony and the gang was already waiting there.

Overall, it had been one heck of an adventure. I'll surely run here more often for the feeling is different than running on road. You get to smell and experience the lush tropical rain forest at its' best. I've got some intention to do Sabah Climbathon this year, so this will be a good training ground.

Total time up and down: 5:36 (inclusive of 30 minutes on the peak).

Funny...based on this info, it's slightly higher than 1500 meters

Taken from

The starting path...

My bro and me...the path is still runnable

Bamboos hang slightly along the way...

The end of the road for bikes.

The who would have build a dam so far up?

Look at the value of this tree in timber....or..look at how tall the tree is.

Resting to take a drink...

Not a great idea to be hit by those accidently..

Tony's gang...before camp pacat

Now...where's the pacat (leech)?

This picture is taken while ascending up the almost vertical slope...

At the peak...nothing to see folks... are the 1493 meters..

This is the best view from the top...You can see lake pangsun from here.

Some footage on the way up..

At the summit

Monday, February 11, 2008

La Mer Kijal

For this chinese new year, my brothers and I head north to Terengganu's Kijal. It has quite a long sandy coastline around 10km. This makes it a pleasant place to hangout and also hit the beach.

Now, why would we drove almost 80km from Kuantan to here? It's because Kuantan beaches are really not that nice compared to here. Not to mention Telok Chempedak is really an eyesore with stuck sewage just before the beach. Frankly, I have not swam in any of Kuantan's beaches.

When we reached the place, the wind was a tad strong. Waves were crashing violently. I hadn't seen waves these big. I did try a few laps in the open sea. However, I found out it's best to stay near to shore.

I'll let the pictures & video tell the story :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Adidas Seeding Shoes Report

Allright, to be honest, I have just ran once in the shoes. But here's my observance so far.

To summarize, it's too heavy because of all the extra cushioning build in.

Now, when running on flats, I felt it's a bit too comfy. Heavy, but comfy. With each strike, the shoe seems to absorb all the pressure of 1.5 times the body weight. I felt like running on a piece of mattress, which indeed what the inner cushioning is supposed to do, providing that comfy feeling against the unforgiving hard tarmac. And there was indeed a spring movement when the feet start to lift up.

But...because of the weight, and also all the extra cushioning which added more distance between the feet and actual surface, running in them feels very unnatural. Moving...yes, but you feel like your feet is encased or trapped in a thick heavy wrapping.

Now, let me revert back to my basic adidas shoes. I like them for 2 reasons. Light and comfortable enough. I could run with my eyes closed, and not realize I am wearing shoes. I could run uphills without feeling like an anchor had been tied to the back of my shoes. That's the best feeling. You enjoy your run, rather than thinking where to place your feet ahead. And I could sprint in them because they are light. It's not even racing shoes, but it's good enough.

I remembered reading an article, whom the author did a study on running shoes. *
The revealing issue mentioned was runners have more injuries running in more expensive shoes. What the author said was, those expensive running shoes affected our natural running gait. And because we trust those cushioning so much, we were in fact not aware that we were pounding harder on the road, compared with those running barefoot. Besides, he also mentioned, try running barefoot once in awhile.

Now, in my own opinion, shoe manufacturers should build shoes starting from the bottom of our feet, and not mind how much cushioning they are piling. Our feet are build for running. More piling of cushioning creates more distance between the feet and actual surface. The more distance there is, the more unnatural the running will be.

Please read the article below. It might save your own feet.