Monday, June 29, 2009

Cycling Beyond 300km

What happens if you combine Fraser loop and Klawang-karak loop? You get a mega loop distance of 340km.

KL-Klawang-Karak-Bentong-Tranum-Fraser Gap-KKB-Ulu Yam-KL

At least 15 hours of cycling and lots of climbs too...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2009: Finally sub 4

Anxiously waiting to start...

Running along Jln Tun Razak...

Long from Klang and he did a sub 4 marathon first time. He later thanked me for the pace. I think both of us worked together to get it done.

Woke up at 3:45 am. After some breakfast, took my black bike and zoomed off towards Dataran Merdeka. I noticed the wind was blowing and the sky indeed looks like it's going to pour. And rain it did, when I was halfway on my destination on Loke Yew road. I was actually drenched when I reached.

But there was no time to waste. Went to deposit the bag and sat down to squeeze as much water from the socks. Met with John and wife, Chris, Sam, and also Abu just before the start. While we were waiting, a slight rain poured for a few minutes. I was just hoping things wouldn't get worse.

5 am sharp, and the horn went. As usual, the first 1k is jam packed. Everyone is just starting their engines for the long way ahead.

The route went towards brickfields, and u-turn towards loke yew. Then it's all the way to cheras badminton court and back to Jln Tun Razak. For the first 10km, I was hoping to maintain a 5min per km. It was slightly off a few minutes by then. At 12km, I clocked 1:05 just as I entered the mosque for dawn prayers. There were already a few going in. Time for prayer was 3 minutes as I exited and proceeded to run along Jln Tun Razak.

As I went through, I realize my right foot was manifesting a blister due to the wet socks. Pain slowly grew out from every step. I choose to ignore it. There were some Klang road runners with orange-t I was chasing. Well not really chasing, but pacing with. I soon overshot them. I think Jason Thiang was on a mountain bike all along and encouraging us to go faster.

After the Pahang Roundabout near Hospital KL, the turn went into KL area, name kampung baru, KLCC. And the funny part is, I hardly remember where I ran. I was just focusing on getting 5min/km at every marker. I didn't pause to take photos or savour the KL urbanscape. It was just pure focus on getting the pace right.

I did remember a spanish runner (was obvious from the spain flag from the back) who I thought was pretty fast. He was breathing hard, and pushing it was every step. I choose to open up my stride. The blister was a pain, so this was a way to minimize the pounding. He would soon went off in front.

As the morning light slowly crept back, I found myself running towards Petaling Street for km 30. Then a young man (Long) came running side by side. Obviously we were pacing each other. I overshoot him, but he'll keep on sticking. We had a few chats, and I said we'll do sub 4 hour if we keep to this pace.

As we went overhead up the road along Jln Istana, the Malaysian ugly mentality was there for all runners to see. The police had blocked the entire road so that we could pass to run on the near right side. There were horns and shouts of dissapproval. Malaysia, I thought at that point, is still a 3rd world country. I don't remember any Malaysians shouting words of encouragement or cheered for us. The only person I remember was an Indian chap clapping for us before 39km. The rest of supporters are foreigners.

Not to be discourage from all this, we keep on running, side stepping the shorter distance runners. Heck, most of them was jogging leisurely, and we were the ones out pacing them. We know what is at stake.

As we went up towards the hill at the government complex, I told my friend this is the last hill. Then it was off towards the city blocks for 39, 40 and 41km. Funnily enough I though 41km marker is a bit short. Then Long had a faster pace and left me. It's ok because I was beginning to slow down from all the hard running and also the blister.

When reaching Dataran merdeka, amazingly all the pain, fatigue and tiredness went away. It was time to celebrate the moment. I estimated that sub 4 is possible because I had a margin of 1km to make it.
Finally made the whole marathon in 3:55.

Congrats to all marathon runners, either slow or fast because 42 is not a piece of cake. You know you've overcome all hardship to earn this. There were some bad comments on the slow packs, and agreeable they should have thought about it better. I think many Malaysians non runners have no inkling on the hardship of marathon runners. If they did, they would have cheered at least.

Here's an idea, politicians can jump start this. Instead of doing the Dancercise (obviously Dance Exercise), our PM wife could have opted to run at least 10km. Besides a free slimming course, I bet it will gain nationwide publicity and also a better respect for runners.


Net Start:04:58:11Category:Full Marathon 42km
Net Time:03:55:02Position:153 (087)
Finish Timing:03:55:02.69

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Xterra Malaysia 2009

A beautiful morning at Teluk Chempedak...

Queuing up for obligatory body marking..

Transition for both bike and swim...

The individuals go first...

There's some current to the left, so I set my sight a bit to the right of the buoy.

Got to run...!

Here's the pros....noticed he had some cuts on his back...

Home run...Sanggup Richard is just behind me.

Actually I was hesitating to join the race, but since Zain had been thinking of doing the bike section, and i need to balik kampung anyway, so we team up for the relay section. Besides, this is organised by our close tri friends.

The event was held at Kuantan's favourite beach, Telok Chempedak. Frankly, I have never swam in any beaches in Kuantan at all, though i live so near to them. Partly because of the effluent I have seen going into the sea...But, the beach is a lovely place because of it's location, eateries (yeap...MacD), and also Hyatt resort nearby.

Although it could be 3 man relay, I opted to do the swim and the run, and Zain doing the mountain biking section. The scene is almost the same as a normal tri event, except the transition area is filled with mountain bikes!

8am - Tengku Mahkota arrived to officiate the starting. The relay teams had to wait 5 minutes after the individuals had their start. I was hoping to dip below 30 minutes. I could see the rest of the swimmers are pretty strong. When the horn blew, all of us just flew into the sea, and fought to gain lead. After awhile...I settled for a fast but not optimum pace. Then, I suddenly knock into something, which turned out to be a jet ski with a floater at the back. It had came to rescue a girl swimmer, who had some problems.

We have to swim 2 triangle loops. And to my surprise, I managed to clock 13:12 minutes for the first, which requires us to run back on the beach for the second loop. Feeling great, I managed to complete the whole swim leg in 28 minutes.

At the transition, Zain was waiting. I quickly passed him the chip, and off he went for the bike part. Zain is from mountain biking background, and pretty strong and fast cyclist. I budget 1.5 hours for the bike section.


While waiting, the results of the swim were out. And yeap, the other swimmers did much better. In fact one team went 19 minutes for 1.5k! Average would be 25 minutes.

While waiting in the waiting box, we could see how the pros went blazingly fast. One of them had scratches on the back, apparent from a fell. Then it's our national pros who were coming in, lead by Shahrom. Razani, Dino and a few others came back almost the same time. At 9:58am, the first relay biker came. I was anxiously hoping Zain could come back sooner, but since this is a first, I don't want to put so much hope.

At 9:20, he arrived, and I quickly unlaced the chip, and went for the run. Frankly I didn't have any idea how the run is going to be. The starting path have us going uphill a bit on gravel, then tar, then headed up the hill in trails, and then downhill. Afterwards it's going through a small park called Taman Gelora.

And then things became tougher as we ran up stairs, then trails up a fairly steep hill. I was pushing it from the start, but when the climbing started, I opted to powerwalk instead. The climax was getting a ribbon at the peak, then descend back on to the beach for a second loop. Now running on road is ok, trails pretty exciting, beach...pretty sucky because all your leg power is muffled by sand.

And now for the part I don't understand. We have to go through a waist deep 'stream', then pass some huge rocks on the beaches, make a U turn and run on a set of planks (which I thought was for bikes). Surely, the organizers could find a better place to run. Fyi, the stream is a waste water drain out, so not so lovely yea...

On the second loop, guess what. I finally found myself at the back of Sanggup Richard. I thought it would not be a bad idea to draft him. Puzi was nearby as well. Then Sanggup slowed down, so I decided to push ahead. I managed to lead until the part descending towards the beach. But he had stopped for drinks just 500 meters to finish, so I guess I'll just try to outrun him to the finishing line. Anyway, we came back almost together. My running time was 47 minutes 39 secs, and I couldn't be happier.

We finished 9th for the team event. So I guess we did pretty ok.

All in all, there's some complaints, but it's pretty well done. But I won't be getting a mountain bike soon just to do this. Just looking at how dirty the bikers were is a real put off.

Anyway, my hats off to the Xterra team who had made this possible. My only grudge is not getting a finisher T for the team event..:)