Saturday, November 29, 2008

Climb Climb Climb

The rest of the folks are out doing 200km from KL to Simpang Pulai, so I decided to do some cycling on my own. The route is exactly the same route I ran. From cheras to klawang and back 147km.

But this is probably the ride with the most climbs I've done. First, ampang hill. Then Bukit Hantu. Met with Isma and another young rider tagging behind him while climbing here. Isma is a pretty strong rider, and they were doing double bukit hantu. Bukit Hantu is notorious for its 3km climb with no respite in elevation. It's all the way up. In fact this is the harder than Peres and back from Titi to Peres.

Then, it's going up Genting Peres, and down all the way to Klawang. Even after Genting Peres, there's still 3 major climbs. It's not all downhill from there.

Reached Klawang just before noon, and had lunch.

After that it's back to Peres again. The last time I hit this path was a few weeks back. Back then I bonked. My guess was because I didn't had breakfast, and had not been cycling for a long long time. This time it was pretty manageable.

The last climb is again back Ampang hill, which it did rained a bit.

Total time spent riding is 6:49. Meter says 149km. But I was thinking, could I ran a marathon after that? Ironman is getting nearer...

Monday, November 24, 2008

HOA - Bentong Ride

Darren, Kenny and (sorry..forgot)

At first glance, I thought Darren's bike was polygon, but it's actually a Look carbon frame.

Kow Po Ice Kacang...a heaven for hot cyclist

I've always wanted to do this ride. The road from Hospital Orang Asli to Bentong old road is a favourite among cyclits for its hill climbs and long stretch road of nature. I've driven there a few times, enjoying the tight turns while speeding downhill. Aka Initial D.

I was stuck in the traffic for the UIA grads convo. So I started a bit late. Paddled like crazy to reach the gang who had stopped because John's bike had a puncture. I was pretty happy to made it to Genting Sempah in 50 minutes. Usually it would take more than an hour. Met with crazyDarren and then Ariff. Then it was a speed fest all the way to Bentong.

With the occassional burst of speed, I was left hanging chasing Darren and Arif. Kenny was also in the fast pack. Managed to cling on to Kenny for sometime as he was doing 36km average. Sometimes I lead, then Kenny. I was pushing it. And the good thing was, I was able to reach 40km/h. When we finally caught up with the pair, I was stoked. These 2 guys are very experienced riders, so their riding style was kind interesting to observe.

Finally in Bentong, we had a ice kacang special at this famous shop 'Kow Po'. With RM 3 bucks per serving, it was pretty not bad.

On the way back to HOA, I tried to cling on to Ariff and Bernard, but they were too fast. So, for some few kms, I was riding alone. But I still pushed, and it was getting hotter. Soon I found Ariff, but Bernard was gone. He had trouble catching up with bernard doing 37km/h, and that's a bit uphill gradient!

I had wanted to stick with him, but then thought of chasing Bernard. The tough part going back would be the bridge just before the steep climb up Genting Sempah. And here, it was suffering. Cramps was on the verge of coming, but I kept on going. Had a break just at Sempah munching a few raisins, before the last major climb. And guess what, just when I started back again, there was Ariff. He had chased me down since I left him.

However back to HOA, I had a puncture, but kept on riding till we reached back. Reflecting on the ride, it was hot, fast, and lots of climbs. But I knew I need to do more long distances, and ante up the speed for Ironman. Thanks to tomatoman for organising the ride. Now...we should hit the holy loop (HOA-Bentong-Raub-Fraser-Ulu Yam-HOA).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shoe Review: Nike Lunar Trainer

With countless training shoes in the market, the Nike Lunar Trainer is an attempt to give a different look and feel for runners and athletes out there.

It surely didn't fail in design department. I've had people commenting they looked 'nice.' With such a radical sole design, I thought "What was Nike thinking?" It had a few jagged lines horizontally sidelining the base of the shoe. While it does give the impression of space walking, it certainly kept me wondering on the functionality of it.

I tried out a few runs with it. While the large base sole was a bit needing getting used to it, I soon found that it is quite comfortable when running. Personally, I am not a fan of too much cushioning and support in running shoes. Too many running shoes focused too much on giving the 'running on pillow' feeling, that they lost focus on making the shoes light and responsive enough for natural running gait.

The Nike Lunar Trainer, build with very light materials, managed to keep the pair light. And not to mention was that I was wearing size 8 UK (my usual size is 7.5 UK). So it ought to be heavier but not.

After the run, my legs was still feeling great, and not worn out. Nike claims this is due to the spread of pressure points which spreads out across the shoe, on each step. This would help greatly in cutting down the micro damage when running.

To understand how this works, you've got to dissect the shoe to see what is inside. I would love to do the Shell cut half sort of thingy, where they cut the rally car into half :) But luckily for their brochure, I don't have to. Inside that fluorescent sole is actually the Lunar Lite foam core (white color). And this is the stuff that actually distributes the stress when running over a larger area. It's 30% lighter than it's outer Phylon (fluorescent) core, which makes it ultra light.

Bottom line, it's pretty good. The light weight feeling when running was great, although it did feel like running in sandals because of the large sole. And it's a trainer shoe, so you could use it for other workouts in the gym as well. Should you get it? If you wanted some attention grabbing pair of trainers, then it's not a bad idea to get them.

Retail Price : RM 389.00

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Train you must

Since most folks went to Penang, John, Dr Ray and I were the only ones cycling from Bukit Jalil to Putrajaya-Salak. I was hoping we could cover 100km, but after using the mapmyrun tool, it was only 80 plus. It's pretty much a straight road, but quite heavy traffic considering most busses and lorries use this route to KLIA and back. From Bukit Jalil to Salak is only 30+km. So this put me into thinking mode of where to get the 100 plus km. Some routes in Putrajaya would cover for that.

Sunday. I had planned 2x bukit aman as part of the 200km. On the first loop, met with most runners coming back. Rashid was with me the first few km, but then I had to put up a faster pace. My goal was to run in the preservation mode. That means trying to run as efficiently as possible, and not pushing it. By the time I was back from the first loop, it already took 1:57.

I walked back to the car, got a slice of bread, some water, then got the sunglasses to keep the shades in, and went for the 2nd loop. The shades really helped to cool things down, at least from the visual perspective.

I kept thinking of whether I could do 10 loops. And frankly, I don't have the answer, nor do I really try to grasp it. As long as the legs can run, I'll just move on. I think most runners who had ran marathons knew the feeling at 10k, 20k and 30k are really different. You might feel good at 20k, but at further distance, you are just hoping the cramps don't come in. Or the fatigue doesn't sets in.

So how do you push further then? The answer is that you believe that at some point, you get out of the low point, and can continue from there. It's not all progressively going worst. You can actually push further, and then recover at some point.

By the time I finished the second loop, the time was 11:50 plus. It was humidly hot. The wheather had been sunny, and I seriously think ironman wannabes should run this route at noon to get used to the heat.

Now, lets go on to the next week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Running in Loops

Since getting hit by a bike a few months back, I've been running in loops in my own housing community. It's not that paranoia of getting hit the second time, but I think the air is easier to breath in. Running the usual 11.7km uphill and downhill is along mainstream traffic, and you can easily guess how much exhaust fumes that goes into the lungs. Not good.

Another thing I soon found out. Running hills and flats is very different. The fact is you are using different muscle groups to tackle different terrain. The 1.5km loop I've been running in has a bit of elevation, but 80% is flat, which gives good workout on running flats.

At times it becomes boring, but if you treat it as though you need to complete a job, it'll work out fine. I did the impossible (sort of), by running 14 loops of 1.5km, totaling 21km. Want a marathon? just run 28 loops. I think it's easier running hartamas 20km that this. At least the scenery changes.

My game plan now would be trying to run at least 6 times of 21km, and 2 times of 40km in order to prepare for the 200km run. It won't be easy, but I'll need high mileage to get the body used to it. With no races at all, I could now really focus on getting this goal wrapped up, before doing more cycling for ironman. Actually I have to do more cycling in parallel. But one thing at a time.


On another note, I sometimes find that we could shock non runners by saying how much we ran. Just say "I ran 10km this morning..." and they'll look awed. Then I have to explain that 10km is pretty short for most runners. Try putting in marathon distance and I think they could faint.

Well, if you don't do anything for your body, you'll end up with clogged arteries.

Study: Obese Children, Teens Have the Arteries of 45-Year-Olds

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Getting Dirty: Genting Trailblazer 2008

Quite a number of folks who entered this race. There's Tony and San, then Siok Leng and Joanne, Heng and Kelvin Lee, and also new friends as well.

And as usual, Tey the photographer was there to caption all the fun and muddy participants slogging it out at the obstacles.

For the race itself, Shih Ming and I partnered for the mixed team competitive. But with Shih Ming's left arm dislocated injury not 100% healed yet, I was actually more worried about her than the race.

The race is a 14km from Awana resort, around 1.5km tarmac through the golf course, and then into the trails.

We were flagged off at 8:30 sharp, and the front runners all made a mad dash, us included. Before the golf course tarmac ended, we managed to pass Steph Chok and her causassian partner. Feeling good, I was able to crank up the speed to set the pace for Shih Ming. When the trail finally started, there's where more fun starts.

At the start, there was a bit of downhill, and flats with the occasional muddy parts. Then we came into an opening, did a few run up small hills and slide down on the butt kinda action. And after that it was the long long 40-60 degress climb uphill, which was kinda tough. If you were wearing normal running shoes, pretty much you will find yourself losing grip. I had opted for 'adidas kampung' while shih ming was in her Inov trail shoes. It had rained the previous night, which made it all the worse.

The organisers did a good job of preparing ropes for us to support during those ascent and descent. Yet, I still find myself slipping a few times.

We went through 2 streams, and I had some gulps of water there. Then the next half of the race, Shih Ming went lead. Somehow I had a cramp on the left calve. I guessed that swimming too much causes irregular breathing because you tend to breath at longer intervals. So I tried to rid it off by actively breathing faster.

The final part, when we just came out from the jungle, we met with another team in the same category. It was a malay guy and an indian lady. We did managed to pass them, but they were able to push harder. And after the last uphill, I was left all alone chasing shih ming at the lead, who was waiting at the obstacles.

The first obstacle was a chest deep 1.5 meters water hole. Shih ming went in first, and I took the plunge second. Immediately I had cramps from the cold shock. It took awhile to register that I had still had to pull shih ming out of the hole with one hand. Then another 2 water holes...and a long pond which we need to duck under. After that a few runs up some mounds. I thought we were still chasing the third team, but they were nowhere to be seen.

Yet we still went through the rest of the obstacles like maniacs. I was more worried about shih ming, than winning this thing. There were those 3 vertical 1 meter wooden barriers that you have to flung yourself over. With 2 hands, it's pretty easy. But try to do that with one's impossible. Yet she can still haul herself up with one hand, while her left is still in pain.

The last obstacle was the muddiest pond. I had cramps just jumping into it. My feet were stuck in the mud to the knees. I was beginning to think this is a warzone in Vietnam. On the verge of cramping and still moving on, I had to move slowly. And the finally holding hands to the finishing line.

My partner has given more than 100% just to finish, and that's what I called sheer determinism. was a lost battle but we still got 4th in 1hr 22min. Pretty happy with that nevertheless.
Tony and San managed to get 9th placing, Siok Leng's team 6th in the adventure category.

Note: It's not really a flat course. There's major uphills with muddy terrain. And you'll need to get trail shoes with grips. Normal runnin shoes won't cut it because there's no grip.

Coming back after slogging through the obstacles.

The third winning team for mixed..

The 2nd winning team for mixed. Note that we were at the back of the picture...I didn't know we were so close to 2nd.

More pictures at Tey's blog: