Thursday, July 28, 2005

All Set for the Johor Duathlon

Penguin-1, -2 and -3 work in the same organization. The management is organizing a Jogathon run this Sunday morning, 31 July 05, clashing with the Johor Duathlon. With the publishing of Penguin Runners in the Star Metro, Utusan Malaysia, METRO and Sin Chew Jit Poh newspapers early this year, many of the office colleagues recognize us, the Penguin Runners.

The Jogathon notice was prominently pasted in the lift. So whenever I was in the lift with the office colleagues, they would say to me in admiration: “Wah, you sure win lah;” or “Sup Sup Sui for you runners lah;” or “Give chance man.” As for Penguin-2’s experience, his colleagues said that it will be “Sure win” for him.

I told them that I would not be able to participate in this run as we will be going down to Johor for the Johor Duathlon. Since there was sufficient time while waiting for the lift to travel to ground floor, I elaborated that in the Duathlon, we run 10 km, cycle 60 km follow by another 8 km run. Immediately, they would reply in rather similar manner, though in different occasions, “Wah, terror lah, how could you do it.” To many of the colleagues, running 10 km is considered “really very far already”.

Back to biking: Since yesterday, I have been going through the check-list getting things ready. In running, a runner only needs to bring the following items: running shoes, vest and shorts. In biking, however, a participant would involve almost 10 times more items to bring.

So, Penguin-2 and I are all set for the Johor Duathlon – no turning back. Wish us good luck, will ya?

For your information, I have created an email address link on the left-hand sidebar of the weblog, just in case you need to communicate with us.

Coming up: Penguin-1, -2 and -3 are representing their organization to participate in the coming Rat Race 2005 event again.

Meantime, please click here to read Rat Race 2004 written by Penguin-1 and Penguin-3

By Penguin-1

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Le Tour de Johor

By Penguin-2

Yeah, Penguin-1 and I had just purchased brand new biking jerseys for the Le Tour de Johor Duathlon race this Sunday, 31 July. So, as far as apparels are concerned, we are on par with the world-class cyclists similar to that Le Tour de France race, which was just ended last Sunday.
Comparing to Lance Armstrong’s racing bike, his endurance and skill,ahemm... we still have vast rooms for improvement. Lance Armstrong won his seventh straight Tour de France cycling race.
Let me share with you how we got these biking apparels: After the training at Putrajaya on 3 July 05, Penguin-1, LimFW (a biking enthusiast) and I were chatting with three Malay cyclists who were from Kuala Trengganu. We were spellbound by the beautiful and vibrant colour of their jerseys. It so happened that LimFW would be going to Kuala Trengganu for a business trip, and he was really kind to help us with the purchase.
According to LimFW, at Kuala Trengganu, he had to locate the Istana as landmark in order to establish the location of the bicycle shop. Without him knowing, there were two Istana there. He ended up choosing the wrong Istana to search for the shop. After much effort, he finally found the bicycle shop. It was a small shop. This little shop is quite interesting with all the bicycle frames and accessories hanging everywhere in it. A few national cyclists were seen frequent this shop also. The best thing was that the prices were very much cheaper compared to those selling in Kuala Lumpur.
Penguin-1 and I have been intensifying our bike training by going to the gym after work almost every other alternate days. So, we should be ready for the Johor challenge as psychologically, wearing a new jersey will also definitely boost up a person's level of self-confidence. For me, this will be my maiden Duathlon race.

By Penguin-2

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My First Time

Nervously, I mounted on her. I have to raise my bum high up, bent my body low, straighten my arms and gave a firm grip on her. Immediately, I knew that it was tough as I have to hold her very tight. After half an hour of non-stop action, I felt pain at my ass; both my arms were tired.

I wondered how people could continue for hours. This is really too much to handle for me. Welcome to the reality of biking on racing bike.

While standing at the sideline at Bukit Aman on 27 March 2005 cheering the cyclists went pass me, it lighted up my fire and enthusiasm to participate in the next Malakoff Duathlon race. On Saturday 9 April 2005, I finally bought a brand new racing bike. The purpose is to participate in the Malakoff Duathlon race at Lumut on 15 May 2005.

Penguin-3, -6 and I actually went to Lumut and participated in the Lumut Duathlon race on 15 May. It was love at first sight -- I love biking. On that Sunday morning, after two hours of drizzle, the weather was nice and cool. The next best thing was the whole morning was cloudy. The icing on the cake was that the terrain was flat – ideal for a beginner like me to test out the biking race.

After years of running, I realized that it is more fun and excitement to include biking as part of the alternative choice. Someone once said: running alone is just like eating Kai Fan (chicken rice); it is good to include biking as in eating Chap Fan (mixed-vegetable rice) to increase the variety. I agree with the statement.

After two consecutive weeks of running Half Marathons (Seremban Half on 10 July and Malacca Half on 17 July), it is time for me to resume training on biking. This time, only two Penguin Runners -- Penguin-2 and I -- are going down to Johor for the Malakoff Duathlon challenge on 31 July.

How do I usually train? Due to my work schedule, I am not able to ride my racing bike and hit the highways after work. Besides, it would be dangerous to ride at night. Remember Ajeep, a Pacesetter runner? He met an accident while training at the LDP Highway at night. They call the training operation: Night Attack. Unfortunately, in the dim street lights, he ram into a pothole and was flunk out of his bike, hit the railing on the left and was later admitted to Sunway Medical Centre for treatment of a broken left collar bone.

So, immediately after work, I would go to the gym at my office. I would spend most of the time on the stationary bike. At first, the colleagues were curious how would a person who goes the gym just to sweat it out by cycling. Though it is not entirely the same condition as actually riding the racing bike, considering the limited time and safety, I think that is the next best alternative.

In anything that we do, there is always the first time: nervous and scared. But after the Lumut Duathlon, I gained a little extra experience on this new ball game of mine.

Unknown to runners, one problem with biking is the NCE (numb cock effect). The numbness is caused by the saddle hitting the buttocks and the genitals areas. After hours of non-stop hammering, undoubtedly, that area would be numb. Not to mention whether it would become blue-black bruise, since inspecting that area by bending our legs and back would require certain amount of effort. Obviously, we do not want to complicate matter for fear of causing unnecessary cramp.

Click here to read a lighted-hearted KL Dataran Duathlon report by Penguin-1:


Click here to read a featured-length Lumut Duathlon report by Penguin-1:
By Penguin-1 :-))

Monday, July 18, 2005

Malacca Historical City International Marathon 2005

We prepared, we enjoyed and we, the Penguin Runners, ran the race at the Malacca Marathon on Sunday, 17 July 05. Other than the runs, I like coming to Malacca for the nyonya food. Of course, not forgetting the camaraderie with other runners.

We reached the Malacca Municipal hall about noon time for the collection of bibs and T-shirts. I was surprised to meet Tang Chee Loon, my childhood team leader friend who now lives in Johor. He is collecting bibs on behalf of his team members.

Three of us went for lunch at the Makko nyonya restaurant, recommended by Penguin-2’ sister. It was pack with customers inside. We later looked for our hotel accommodation. To my surprise,

Thien Hao Kong hotel, which I thought earlier that sounded like a temple, was actually a temple.

From the temple to the Tun Fatimah Stadium was 2.2 km passing by the Bukit China cemetery. We later went to the Straits Meridian Apartment Hotel, which Penguin-11 made a double registration earlier. It was handy. We decided to stay in Straits Meridian. While we checked-in, we met Pai Choo, a KL Pacesetter runner.

We later went for a walk at the Jonker Streets, passing by the famous red building. I stopped to

take a few photos there. We met a Japanese lady and took a photo for her. Penguin-11 and -2 later went for hair-cut. Hmmm… must be more aero-dynamic and reduce air resistance when running the full marathon.

You would be amaze at the amount of food we ate. In the name of carbo-loading, each of us ate two bowls of rice. At the Jonker streets, we tried the famous ice-chendul, then tried the toasted bread and coffee. We later had our dinner at the famous chicken rice-ball. We later went to Makhota Parade for window shopping.

At the starting line for the Half marathon, I saw a few familiar Pacesetters: Ang CK, Francis, Ronnie See, Ryan Teoh. The race started at 6.42am, 3 minutes ahead of scheduled. Overall, the terrain was flat. The route took us through the Makhota Parade, Jonker Streets, a few highways, the blue Municipals building (where we collected our bibs the day before), and eventually lead us back to the Tun Fatimah stadium. Overall, the routes are busy with traffic. My timing was 1 hour 51 minutes to complete the half marathon, a 3-minute improvement over the Seremban half last Sunday.

I adjourned to the drink stations. It was a bit unusual hiding in one corner outside the fencing of the stadium. While standing behind the crowd, I was thinking how to get a cup of much needed isotonic drink. A lady emerged from the crowd; to my surprised, she was Pai Choo again. She was very kind to offer me the cup of drink, which she queued for quite a while.

Penguin-2, who ran the full marathon, came in a little passed 4 hours. When I met Tey ET and Ronnie See, they told me that Penguin-11 had “pom chat” (punctuate… meaning having difficulty to complete the full marathon). I was worried. But a few minutes later, I saw Penguin-11 running in -- what a relief. Otherwise, we would not know how long we have to wait.

As usual, we walked around, chatting with other

runner friends. I met Barefoot Sing who told me that he had missed the 10km race. According to the schedule, it was 7.15am but when he reached the starting area at 7.05am, the 10km race was flagged off at 7am.

On our way back, we met a few runners from Singapore who stayed at the same hotel. We struck up conversion with them.

After checked-out from the hotel, we went for another sumptuous nyonya lunch again. This time, each ate two bowls of rice also.

Click here to view 50 pre-race photos ...

Click here to view 42 post-race photos ...

By Penguin-1 :-))

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Going-in Position for the Malacca Marathon

Yeah, we are ready. This Saturday morning, Penguin-1, -2 and -11 will be going down to Malacca to participate in the Malacca Marathon. We have in fact drawn up a great plan what to do there. The main agenda, other than running, is to enjoy ourselves with the famous nyonya food there. So at Malacca, we are going to eat, eat, eat, sleep, run a great race, eat again and then go home.

Penguin-2 and Penguin-11 are going for full marathon whereas Penguin-1 only goes for Half, a bit lazy compared to the other two penguin runners. Last Sunday’s Seremban Half marathon would be a good warm-up race for the three runners.

The Malacca Marathon is organized by Malacca City Council Historic City of Malaysia. The starting point is at the Stadium Tun Fatimah, Bukit Serindit. The race dateis set for Sunday, 17th July 2005, time 4:30am "gun off".

We are lucky this time as Penguin-11's cousin sister lives in Malacca and she actually helped us with the registration, booking of hotel, etc.

We will be staying at the Tien Hao Kong hotel (but sounded like a temple). I was told that it is merely 10 minutes’ drive from the heart of historical city center of Malacca & quite near to the race venue.

I was told that few of Pacesetters members will be staying at the Hotel Tan Kim Hock which is just opposite this hotel. It is going to be fun as we will be meeting other Pacesetters members around the area.

Last year’s Happenings
Due to low participation of the full marathon category, Penguin-2 told us that he was running alone at the outer perimeter near a Chinese cemetery. In the darkness, he saw one lady with long hair was standing at the bus-stand waiting for… and at that moment, there was a gush of strong wind blowing. That really scared the hell out of him: with that, his energy level was shot up and he was surging forward like an unleashed stallion.

Through numerous marathon experiences, Penguin-6 brought along a few Ringgit notes. It was real handy. When the water-stations had run out of drinks or already “closed shop”, he just detoured to the sundry shop next to the road and purchased the soft drinks. I was told that he even helped another high-and-dry runner with a can of much-needed, ice-cold 100 Plus drink. Well, let see what it is like this year.

By Penguin-1 :-))

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Diving at Pulau Tenggol, Trengganu

Some of us run and some cycle at the flat lands within the country, while some hike up the various hills and mountains. There is one person that I know very well who likes a different type of outdoor activity -- he is my brother and he likes DIVING.

At times when I met him, he would relate to me how beautiful is the underwater world. I could not imagine what he meant until he purchased some expansive underwater photographic equipment and brought back some photos during his recent stint at Pulau Tenggol at Trengganu. He went to Pulau Tenggol the same time the Penguin Runners went up Gunung Irau on 18 June 2005.

Wow, I really could not believe what I see: I was spellbound by the captivating underwater scenes. Looking at these photos, you would totally agree with me that our country is blessed with beautiful water at the East Coast.

He likes diving because he finds peace and tranquility in the water. And also admiring the beautiful creation of nature. It is much tedious to dive. Other than the diving equipment, one needs to clock in certain amount of time under water. He needs to go through a series of training in order to dive -- entire different ball game.

Please click at the URL link below to take you to the KL Penguin photo albums maintain at Yahoo server.

How to go to Pulau Tenggol, Trengganu:
Two hours' drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan. From Kuantan, another 140km to reached Dunggun Jetty. From the jetty, another two hours' boat journey to Pulau Tenggol.

So far, he has done many diving trips. Among them are:
a. Pulau Tioman
b. Pulau Dayang and Pulau Aur (both near Mersing, Johore)

By Penguin-1 :-))