Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PJ Half marathon 2011: Tough Fight

There was an absence of strong runners in this race. Later I found out the reason was there was quite a huge number of kenyans in the field.

I haven't been running long distance races. And it had been a long time since I raced for 21km, so the question is if I could mantain a sub 4 pace for that long. I did do a fast time in bkt aman run, with a time of 1:22, so perhaps I could last for that long.

The race started, and the kenyans went off in a group. I tried chasing them, vainly, for the first 1km. Then Peter and Shaharuddin came passing by. Peter the french guy, commented I was too fast out from the start.

Anyway, we ran into the adjoining Federay Highway, and I soon lose the duo. As we ran the u-turn, and back down, I was shocked the see a japanese runner in orange, ran past me with ease. He was kicking in at a higher cadence. I was dumbfounded how easily he could past me.

Then an indian runner came by. We ran side by side for almost the entire way up to the u-turn near the subang airport, but I soon lose him. He said he was just training for PBIM.

I could see an kenyan lady runner ahead. So that became my carrot. Without knowing if I could really pass her, I just kept on chasing. At one point, she slowed down, and that was when I passed her. At least I could say I passed a kenyan.

The run back was a lonely one. I didn't feel I pushed too hard on the cardio, but just trying to get the pace correct.

Came back in 12th position in 1:22:20. Was pretty happy with the sub 4 pace. At least I know I could maintain it for that long. The top 9 position was taken by kenyans. Shaharuddin was in 10th place, clocking 1:16. That was an awesome 3.5m/km pace.

But I had sharp shoulder pain. It was bad enough to the point I couldn't lift things up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Running with Kilian Journet

Kilian Journet is now considered the best trail & sky runner, with impressive wins in the Western States 100m, UTMB, and with his final win in Mount Kinabalu Climbathon this year (last circuit of the sky running series).

World of Sports was gracious to host Kilian and Gregory. Both of them gave talks & shown videos on the design, and manufacturing process of their products. Makes you want to splurge on their stuff.

Then, the highlight of the day, was having a short trail run in Kiara, which was something I was waiting for.

We started cruising slowly. After awhile I ended up running behind him. I was trying to observe his running gait. I noticed lots of forefoot landing, and he's always like leaning forward during the run. He wasn't running fast, but I bet that he's just taking it easy.

We came out of the trails section to take a breather. Then it was back in for the last 2k or so. Suddenly I found myself chasing the Malaysian elites, who were chasing Gregory. We were going like 3.5min/km pace up and down the slopes. The final section has us jumping 7 feet downhill. I woudn't have done that if I were alone.

He was wearing the Salomon S-Lab Fellcross, one of the shoe that is in my list, but not out yet here.

Kilian was wearing the Salomon prototype, which he wore for UTMB as well. Between the two, I would have got Kilian's.
It's so much lower profile, and lighter.

Met with Jimmy Tee, who I mistaken was a Singaporean. Apparently, I wasn't far off. He studied most of his life there, hence his accent. He was going to do the TMBT (The Most Beautiful Thing) 50 as well. Judging from his 50k time in TNF SG, he's a pretty fast runner.

We ended the session with more photo sessions. It had been a great experience running with the God of trails. If only I could run as fast as him up mountains.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Perhentian Island Challenge 2011: I survived

 At the start of the elite
 Perhentian Island Kecil (small)
 Arriving at the big island camp site
At the finishing.

Perhentian Island Challenge is one of those race that has intrigued me for eons. It seems like you not only do running, but swimming, kayaking and some obstacles. But then that was years back. Since it was taken by a new management, the format has been slightly less complicated, but tough nevertheless.

Another reason to do this is because I haven't step foot on that place before. So, it's more or less like a holiday.

I joined the elite category, which comprised of running 9k on the big island, then swimming across 1.2k to the small island, and finally running 14km to the finishing. Novice were only required to run 14km on the small island.

The problem with this race is you've got to put on or carry the life jacket plus your gears during the swim. How you do that is up to you. Prior to the race, I was trying to figure out the best way to minimize drag. I tried swimming in a life jacket and it was really slow. Andrew Loh gave an idea of getting a trash bag, then putting in everything including the life jacket, then tie it to your waist during the swim. He got that idea from a participant who did the same last year.

Race day. The elites have to be ferried to the small island for the opening ceremony. Then back to the big island for the start. Kind of unnecessary I think. When the race started, the strong guys rushed to the front. I was just trying to get into a good pace. I didn't know the route well, and don't want to push too hard. We started at 10:15am, and it was already hot. We ran some sandy beaches section before heading into the woods.

Then things got harder. The elevation went up and down steeply, but it was something I could handle. After the worst of Tioman Eco Challenge, I could stomach this. But still I was too cautious on the footing on downhill slopes. I didn't want to risk it. One mistake and you could easily get injured.

I caught up with Razani, who was wearing the S-Lab4. We ran some sections together before getting out onto the final stretches back to the start, where we had to embark on the swim. It took me 1:06 to finish the loop.

I had put the trash bag in my back pack. I took it out, then proceeded to dump everything into it including the life jacket. Then made a knot with a string. Unfortunately I forgot to dump in the race vest and my cap. While doing all this, Cheah Mei Mei was beside observing. I didn't realized until she offered to keep my cap.

So it's off to swim! A few strokes and it wasn't easy to adjust to the awkwardness. Found it kind of hard to kick because i could tangle my legs with the string. In the end I resorted to hand pedalling more than kicking. Also I realized that the current was pushing me northwards, so I adjusted my bearings.

The swim took 40 minutes, and boy I was glad to land. I tore open the bag, then wore back the shoes & hydration bag. Cheah Mei Mei was there to returned my cap. I was really thankful for that cause I wouldn't survive without it on the next run.

The smaller island route was pretty easy on certain sections. But the open hot sandy beaches were torturous. Reminded me NOT to do desert runs like MDS. I met 2 guys without enough water, so I gave them mine.

Certain parts really had me down. I think it was due to the heat & humidity. When in the jungle, it can get pretty stuffy & humid. I was reduced to walking certain stretches.

The last stretch at the staircase gave us a beautiful view. We have to go to the bottom to get to the checkpoint, then up again to descend to the finishing. Sweetest thing about this part is I managed to pass 3 navy guys on the way up.

Then ran down as fast as possible to finish in 8th with the time of 4:22. But I was truly knocked out from the heat, trails and swim. Sitting there at the finishing, and looking back at the other island really made me wonder that I survived this.

Great thing about this race is you get to camp with the participants. Be ready to stay in tents for 2 nights. But it was fun meeting so many new friends, and not to mention swimming among the reefs nearby. I would come back again for this.