Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mistaken Identity - Revisiting Ipoh KRI

Do you still remember this photo when I first posted it in this weblog last Monday? Chee Wee was transmitting the Ipoh KRI photos to me using email via Internet broadband connection on Monday, 21 November. Due to errors in transmission, I only managed to receive nine photos in the earlier batches.

When I first saw the photo where Chantelle was standing next to a mat salleh (foreigner), I was very excited because I thought that she managed to take a group photo with Ron Hill, the legendary runner from Britain who was there to grace the occasion. Happily, I posted it in the weblog together with another photo showing medals and trophies.

When I received all the photos later, I saw one photo where a much older gentleman was holding a pen signing autograph on the chest of a runner – that must be Ron Hill. Then only I realized that the gentleman standing next to Chantelle was a different person.

Later, Chantelle told me that the gentleman standing next to her was actually her friend, Dan, who came to Ipoh to support the run. He is an expatriate working in Malaysia.

We hope that Dan would get used to our Malaysian’s way of life and hospitality. Dan is most welcome to join us in training runs at Bukit Aman.

This is definitely Ron Hill. Viewing the photo where he signed autograph on the chest of one runner, that reminded me of a comedy movie which I saw while I was a teenager. A guy was attracted to a beautiful and voluptuous journalist in tight-fitting T-shirt. On her chest was a badge that says: The Press. So this guy fixed his gaze at the badge with index finger in pointing position and walked towards her. He was pulled back nervously by his friends just in the nick of time before irreversible consequence could happen.

By KC ... :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

All Set For Singapore Marathon (SIM)

All systems go! Here is line-up for the Singapore full marathon:

Pacesetters friends (whom I come to know running this marathon):
PK Chan
Lawrence Leong
Miss Tan
Yoke Peng
Peck Yah
Lim Fang Woei
Jamie Pang
Jason Lim
Chooi Lin
Siok Bee
Ang Chee Kiang
Tan AB

Penguin and Sunshine Runners:

KC – yours truly
Chee Wee
Eric Teo
Marvin Lau

In two days’ time, I will be going down to Singapore for the Singapore International Marathon (SIM) race with other runners. I am a little excited yet nervous because the last marathon that I ran was on 6 March 2005 in Kuala Lumpur International Marathon – almost nine months ago. This will be my fifth marathon challenge: three last year and two this year.

My personal best timing – surprisingly or strangely – was achieved in last year’s SIM. With a timing of 3 hours 51 minutes, it put me in the sub-4 hours of moderate elite runners group. Many of the runners friends were not able to achieve their personal best there due to the heat and humidity coupled with the hotness of those beautiful pom-poms cheering girls, presumably too hot to handle.

Both the above factors are not found in Malaysian marathons. My runner friends asked me what motivated me to achieve my personal best timing. After some serious soul searching, I answered: it must be the screams from the cheering girls that propelled me to surge faster and harder.

Training Distance

What I have done so far was just barely meeting requirement; the training programme specified it and I followed it dutifully, much less mileages and intensity.

One of my most active moments was in September 2005. I did three races in three consecutive weeks: starting with Putrajaya Half Marathon on 11 September 05; continued with PJ Half Marathon the following week; followed by Powerman (run 10km, cycle 60km, run another 10km) another week later.

I have been running 20km training runs every Sunday morning since then until last Sunday, 27 November 2005. Amidst the 20km training runs, there were two 30km runs also. With a total of 12 weeks, I have clocked in 260km.

Training runs during weekdays are a must. Assuming 20km per week, that would be another 240km. Which means I have done a total of 500km in training runs. Training becomes life: the moment I reached home after work, I would put on running shoes and hit the road for running. With the final draw of a full marathon, effectively, I would have run 542km for this event – quite an amazing feat for my standard.

The Race

Running a marathon is a serious matter that requires extraordinary conviction – don’t play play. Though my training distance is commendable but the longest single training distance is still 12km fall short of a full marathon. Again, what could happen beyond the 30km markers on race day is another realisation of unfamiliar ground. I am still nervous.

It is true that the first 30km of the marathon is run with the body and the remaining distance is run with the mind. Beyond 30km marker, the body and legs get tired. Deeper into the race, the muscle in the body or legs would scream in agony, and pain would be the dominant sensation. The human body has limitations; the human spirit is boundless. It is the minds that motivate us to continue surging forward and never give up in time of adversity.

And finally, when we approach the finishing line where fans lining the course, clapping, cheering and jeering, the victory would be the proudest and euphoric moment of our lives.

Wish us best of luck, will ya?


Monday, November 28, 2005

Quarter Marathon ?!

Well, we are all set to challenge the Singapore International Marathon this Sunday, 4 December. Just in case that you are new in this sport and are not aware of the distance in running a marathon – it is 42 km. To be exact, it is 42.195 km! It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to run that far in a single race.

I need to clarify the situation just in case a few of the readers may think that a marathon is 10km in distance. I have a rude awakening experience when I conversed with a few of my office colleagues recently; they thought that the distance for a marathon is only 5km!
With that bad experience, nowadays, when I talk to non-runners, I always say, "Yeah, I am running marathon, and the distance is 42km ... you know?" To add impact to the conversation and to bring home the point, I would always highlight the equivalent of distance in relation to a location where the friends are familiar with. In admiration, they would say, "Wah! You Superman, how come you can run that far?" That would really make my day.

In 2003, we participated in a 10km run in Klang, Selangor. I was shock to see the banner hanging high up at the starting line that read: KLANG QUARTER MARATHON 2003. That was really "spoiling the market". Imagine some runners would drop the word "quarter" conveniently, and said they have run a marathon in Klang.

I was trying to analyze why the organizer would promote the run by quoting that attention-grabbing phrase – Quarter Marathon. On the positive note, I think the organizer was using the prestigious word "marathon" to entice or attract more runners to participate. After all, Quarter Marathon – the equivalent distance of about 10km – sounded better than a mere 10km race.

On the other hand, it was possible that the organizing committee was working through lunch in the midst of a serious brainstorming session on the logistical nightmare of staging the event. Each member would have been dished out a quarter chickens because with full stomach, it affected clarity in thinking. Obviously, they wanted more chickens and it sparked a brilliant idea that Quarter Marathon would soon lead to Full Marathon.

Let us hope that in future, the word “marathon” is only used to refer to Half or Full marathon – according to standard procedure and usage. Nevertheless, it is always welcome to refer to something tougher like ULTRA-MARATHON, which is in fashion nowadays. We hope that our organizers, with the creative minds, do not proudly call the 7km race the Bolehland One-Sixth Marathon.

By KC..... :-)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Final 20km Fling

To view things happening at Bukit Aman car park, please click here.
This Sunday morning training run will be the final fling before we go to Singapore for Singapore International Marathon on 4 December.

At 6am, we gathered a few runners to the Hartamas way for the 20km training run. It was just like taxis when they round up the all the passengers for the same destination. The runners were: Weng, Steven, Meng, PK Chan, TanAB, Lim FW and I. All are moderately fast runners.

While running, Meng said, “Since there is no girl runner in the pack, we are running at quite a fast pace.” PK then said, “At least we do not have to do loop-back.” I had a good laugh at it. When a slow runner is running in the same pack, the faster runner would have to surge forward and run backward in order to accompany the slower runner. And we all knew very well that was the technique when we used when accompanying Princes Leia to Hartamas long, long time ago.

While having pit stop at the Petronas station at Hartamas, the huge signage caught my attention:

Petrol Original Price= RM 2.797
Government Subsidize= RM 1.177
Retail Price= RM 1.620

One runner commented that the information was useful for people to understand the current situation before we complain about soar in petrol price.

There was not much talking this time as everyone was fairly serious in the training run. After the pit stop at Hartamas, there was none at all. We were very focus and ran with real competition mood.
Meantime, back at Bukit Aman car park: I had a brief conversation with Carmen, the triathlete, that she would not be running the Singapore marathon due to leg injury sustained recently. I wished her speedy recovery.
There was hype of activities at the Bukit Aman car park this morning.
I was surprised that the Mizuno Wave Run bibs and T-shirts were ready for collection. I was worried as my friends are asking me to register for them. Do they still accept application for the Mizuno Wave Run?

When I approached Lisa who was in-charged of the registration, she showed me a stack of forms which have not been processed. Good response.

I was most impressed to see a mat salleh lady runner completing the Mizuno form on the ground. Why wouldn’t she just rest on the car around her? I finally got the answer myself: would you want your car to be used as the platform for completing forms?

I think the most sought after person was Francis. Before he could open his booth for business, the runners were gathering around him. That reminded me of those popular stall in Pasar Malam where we actually waited for the stall to open.
Hafidz Fikri requirs a photo to go with his article in the next edition of Footloose magazine. So I asked him to run slowly while I took his photos. He has to NG (no good; term uses by movie directors) once in order to get the good shots.
To view things happening at Bukit Aman car park, please click here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ipoh ING-KRI 10km Run 2005

To view photos by courtesy of Eric Teo, please click here.

To view photos by courtesy of Chee Chee, please click here.

Written by Chee Wee

The highly anticipated annual 10km road race organized by the Ipoh KRI (Road Runners' Club) was held on Sunday, 20 November 2005. Most of the runners were looking forward to participating in this well-known event. This year's race was sponsored by a few sponsors that attracted higher turn ups. Hundreds of strong & fast runners indulged in the friendly & scenic route, making it the highly competitive 10km road race I had ever attended. This is my first participation in this so called "5-star" road race in the North of Malaysia.

From the records, a total of 854 participants were taking part in this competitive race. Out of 854 participants, there was a merely 17% of female runners. I wondered why there are so few female runners. We should encourage more female runners to take up this sport.

Journey to Ipoh's Polo Ground

Khee Meng arrived at Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur at 3.05am on 20 November Sunday morning as planned. We were supposed to have the delicious dim sum breakfast at one of the restaurants there. In the restaurant, we encountered many youngsters having morning breakfast too. I wondered whether they were having their breakfast or supper after Saturday night’s outing.

After having the delicious dim sum for our light breakfast, we were heading North to Rawang to fetch Terence. Right after we exited at the Bukit Berungtung's toll, we were stopped by the stationed Polices who demanded to inspect the driver's license. While Khee Meng was winding down the car's window, I saw another policeman who was standing at the back of police car. We told the policeman that we are going to Ipoh for the 10km race; he responded that "very bagus" (good). Well! He might think that these two crazy fellows who woke up in such an early morning for the participation in a 10km race, furthermore it is outstation? Anyway, it didn't take out a lot of our time to clear the road-block.

With Terence's presence in the car, we chatted a lot & talked about the late happenings (on Khee Meng's recent success & adventure in the most toughest marathon run in Phuket, Thailand in this year, etc), in a way to keep the driver fully awaked at all times under the misty weather condition. The thick mist really affected visibility and made driving difficult. We had to drive very slowly at certain stretches. Hence, we took turn to drive.

After struggling for nearly three hours of driving, we reached Ipoh's toll at 7:05am. Immediately we called Tony to give us the direction to the Polo Ground; but couldn't get hold of Tony. A bit of panic situation as we weren't sure which way to go at a traffic junction. All the sudden, I thought of Madam Chia who helps us on our registrations. I called her to seek her immediate assistance on the direction. She was so helpful to give a specific & quick way for us to reach the venue within 10 minutes. After the race, I thanked her personally on all the helps.

At the Starting Point
So hard to find a parking lot nearby; we got no choice to park Khee Meng's car at the far end of the road. We got out from the car & quickly changed into our running attires at that spot. After that, we eagerly looked for Eric for the bibs numbers at the starting area. Without much troubles, we spotted Eric who was carrying three goodie begs and ran towards us. We thanked him for the great helps. So now, we were having the items which we needed to detour back to the car for safe keeping. We walked back & pinned the bibs numbers on our running vests at the car park.

Having walking back & forth, I was feeling a bit of stomach ache & I must head to the public toilet. Khee Meng told me it is located at the other end of the park. Damn! it is really far from the starting point. I was feeling a bit of regret that I didn't do "the big business" at the highway's rest area. I decided to go to the public toilet for the quick release & it was very nice of Khee Meng who accompanied & waited for me there, just in case that I might get lost. We had only less than 8 minutes to jog back to the starting point.

Jogging along the road leading back to the starting point, we met many Pacesetters, Pacemakers & other friends. I told them that we came here with our own style. Someone asked: "What style?" We responded, "Commando Style". Hahaha! It was certainly an experience for me as I was having a bit of “runner’s high” even before the run.

Upon reaching the starting area, I met my colleagues who were there to support the race. We greeted each other & they asked me to win the race. I was puzzling with that remark as I am truly a 100% social runner. My weekly training is so minimal; furthermore, I don't do any speed work training. Personally, I always find that a short distance run is tenser & pressure especially if I am aiming for a personal best timing.

Nevertheless, I have two unspoken objectives to accomplish in this drizzling Sunday morning. One was to run the race as a Sunday morning training run for the upcoming Singapore full marathon which is just around the corner – 14 days to countdown. The next one was to compete the 10km race with my own capability & to see how I performed under the drizzling weather condition.

Race officiated by VVIP

We didn't manage to hear the loud music played nearby the playground because it is situated too far from the starting point. Anyway, it didn't bother me as they were so many familiars faces taking part in this race, resulting in a cheerful atmosphere. Furthermore, I was coming here to enjoy the run & cheerful atmosphere. Ipoh Township is well known as a place with a lot of shades & cooling weather due to its geological layout. I heard that this year's race route is different from the pervious year. We were running on a delightful through some nice scenic of Ipoh & we also passed by some cemeteries...but didn't to be scared off as it is bright morning & with a big group people.

At 7:30am, the race was officially started. It was officiated by Y.A.B. Dato' Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali, Mentri Besar of Perak. It was a bit late to kick off the race at such time as the morning Sun already rose up in the sky & started to rain; we could feel the warm sunshine was shining on us.

Khee Meng & I were running together for the first 3km; we encountered many regular strong & fast runners; we met many Pacesetters members & friends. We didn't do much of warm-up exercise because we were so busy meeting friends. Anyway, in my mind, I was trying to comfort myself that I had done the slow running from the public toilet to the starting area. It is about a 1km distance & considered a warm-up already. Anyway, we intended to start the race with a slow pace. But, guess what? In spite of the thought, we were actually running with an increase pace from one km to next km. Feeling was great when we were showing with the fine drizzling. Water was gently splashing on my hair, face & shoulder. Cool, man!

From the first 3km, we were passing by the Hotel Heritage & Taman Budaya along Jalan Tambun. I was still running with Khee Meng & everybody was looking quit seriously to achieve their personal best timing. We were eventually spreading out ourselves.

Traffic was well controlled at this point. The volunteers strived to control the traffic in the well manner. I got to praise the Organizers for their well thoughtfulness by setting up so many volunteers to control the traffics along the route but not the last 1km.

U-turn (check-point)
We were required to make a u-turn after 5km distance. Along Jalan Thompson, the road was leading to the u-turn or check point, I was constantly looking at the opposite side to count those fast runners in my category. Feeling a bit excited that so many runners have passed me; but it didn't affect my run as I have different objectives to be here.

I didn't shout to those runners whom I recognized at the opposite side as I didn't want to disturb them. Usually, I would call up their names & cheer for them. But, this time, I gave them a high thumb up. Nevertheless, it was fun as we could see who were running ahead of us before making the u-turn & those at the back right after our u-turn.

After the 6km distance run, going out to the main road, Jalan Gopeng, stride by stride, I started seriously overtaking some runners before reaching the water station. Of course, it gave me a sense of achievement. Hahaha! In fact, I was trying to keep up with my consistent pace & secure the current position, but failed to do so. So, ended I have to fight for my own battle. I just wanted to complete the race within 50 minutes.

For the whole race, I was really enjoying the run & meeting some friends along the way. The route was quit flat & mostly run at the outskirts of the town which was good for runners to see the residential areas of Ipoh. In certain stretches, I was running side-by-side with a car & breathing in the carbon monoxide. But, I could feel some cooling fresh air especially in the cool morning weather. We were getting wet but luckily it wasn't such a heavy rain as my shoes didn't wet. Fearing that if the shoes got wet, it might cause some blisters at my toes.

At the finishing line, I was queuing up to receive the finisher medal, it was a long queue. Ronnie was walking by the finishing area & I called him immediately to ask him about the finishing time; then I met Eric who was there to cheer for the runners.

Right that getting the medal, I rushed to meet Khee Meng for changing my attires & getting my camera from his car. Certain part of field was full of water & it was difficult to walk around the field. My shoes were full of mud. Muddy shoes!

At the starting/ending area, I walked around greeting and talking to Pacemakers & other Pacesetters members. At the same time, I was busy taking photos of "scenery" & friends. Overall, the race was quit well-organized; everyone went home with the unique finisher medals & treated with a wonderful breakfast & refreshment.

Ron Hill's Autograph
At 10:30am, we were lucky to meet Ron Hill, the winner of Boston Marathon in 1970 and the first Briton to run a marathon under 2 hours & 10 minutes, nearby the podium. We took some photos with him. He is a friendly person but I didn't have chance to talk to him. I felt a bit sad that didn't attend his talk on Saturday afternoon. Too bad, otherwise, I could learn some running tips from him. Nevertheless, his signed his autograph on my KLIM 05's finisher t-shirt. While he was signing on my chest (I meant the t-shirt), I told him that I took part in this year's KLIM. He responded that was it under the hot & weather condition. I answered "yes, it was, but we started the race early". Ha! I forgot to invite him to join us in next year's KLIM.

Conclusion Will I be coming back for the race next year? Why the events organized by KRI are always maintained with high standards and professionalism.

Chee Wee (Penguin-11)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Effect of Running Marathon

Note by KC: It is true that running in marathons has profound effects on every runner. Running a marathon is not about standing at the starting line and competes in that 42 km race. It is about commitment and constant training in order to cross the finishing line unscratched – without any injuries.

According to the training schedule which I am adhering to, I would have run 500km before I step foot at the marathon race if I were to follow the 3-month plan dutifully. The distance of 500km is equivalent to traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Kedah near the Thailand border!

The long hours of endurance training run actually generate tremendous chemical reaction in our bodies due to constant secretion of feel-good endorphin and super-charge adrenaline – good hormones for a lingering euphoria. Obviously, we are stronger in all aspects – physically and mentally. We would have lesser illness too due to stronger resistance in warding off virus attack.

One running friend told me that the duration for sex is also longer, much like endurance running. This could be bad new for the pharmaceutical company that produce Viagra pills. Another running friend has the most unusual discovery that the “brother” is also bigger due to the stimulation of hormones to certain organs of the body. Well, in order to testify both claims, we need more factual findings on those observations.

Below are excerpts from the book How to Run a Marathon
By Tony Benyon and Kevin Macey’s

Your Sex Life

Without a doubt running can alter your sex life drastically. The early days of training reduce you to a mound of aching jelly barely able to crawl unassisted upstairs let alone indulge in any nocturnal naughties. Quite naturally, this can cause distress in the marriage partner, speeding up an impending divorce.

Partners may jump to the conclusion you are tired because you have another lover or they may think you may have lost interest in them because running has turned you gay. After training for some while, many people find all they think about is sex, and running starts to make them hot for action, resulting in them speeding up the homeward half of their training route. Alas, the mind may be sexually rampant but the body isn't and they soon find they are falling asleep during love-making which is a step forward from falling asleep before it.

Don't be concerned; as time passes you will soon begin to feel the benefit from running. Your stamina will increase and so will the sensation of physical well-being. At last you will have the hots but be in top physical condition and so be able to do something about it. Alas, this is also the time when you realise you have no partner; they have long since lost interest and gone off with someone else.

Running Together

The couple who run together stay together as long as they both keep to the same schedule so their fantasies and capabilities coincide. If your partner misses a week's training, then so should you, otherwise you find your stamina is unequal to their fantasies.

Training together does have its problems. For example, running on a hot day in clothes that leave little to the imagination may give you an urge to lose yourselves in the long grass. Try to resist such temptations for the sake of your pulse rate and the laws of the land.

You will find that the experience of training together brings you closer to each other than ever before, not only sexually but mentally. You will be spending more time in each other's company and many more evenings at home. This is because you are both as boring as hell and no one wants to hang out with guys who just prattle on about running every waking moment. So make an effort to get out and about.

Go to parties and meet people but try to avoid the swapping parties, the nude cocktail parties and the 'Hey, let's all throw our car keys into the centre of the room' parties. Otherwise neither of you will have the strength left for training.

Your Social Life

The main effect running has on your social life is to make it vanish altogether. Without realising it, you can become a bore if all you want to do is talk about your P.B. (personal best), jogger's nipple and stabilizers. Even old friends will start to avoid you like the plague.

They will cross you off guest lists because you are always tired in the evening with the result that you are no longer invited out to dinner. No one wants a guest who falls asleep face down in the first course, or lies with his head on the table snoring during the coffee. It somewhat diminishes your reputation as a live wire and raconteur.

Running also leads to deterioration in your appearance, as you no longer get asked out you cease to buy new clothes. Instead, you shamble about wearing a track suit, muttering about health food and sneering at people who smoke.

More serious is the damage that can be done to your career. If you run to work or in the lunch hour no one wants to share an office with someone dripping with sweat and whose steaming feet burn holes into the carpet. Promotion will also elude you because the higher you climb in the business, the more often you are obliged to have long, large lunches and nights out with dignitaries. Falling asleep on them or scowling when they light their cigars are not attributes that will make you popular.

Becoming Thin

Marathon running is much talked about as being the ultimate challenge. For some people this may be true but for many others they only run to be thin, because fat is unhip. Looking thin is looking good, preferably with a suntan. Surplus mounds of white lard begin to vanish soon after taking up running, not only because exercise burns off unwanted calories but also through the worry caused by your marriage breaking up and your work prospects being wrecked.

Thinness also comes about because of a change in your eating habits. Now that you live on your own you tend to eat less because it really isn't much fun cooking for yourself. Restaurants are out too, as eating in them on your own isn't much fun and no one will eat in them with you.

Initially, you may find that running makes you hungry and so you eat more. But after a while you start to fit in eating around your training. The truth is you don't like returning to an empty home. So you stay out training for longer, which in turn means you have less time for eating. Even those rare couples still living together change their eating habits. They no longer have the huge meals they used to because they are too busy endlessly bonking.

* * * * * *

Monday, November 21, 2005

Coaches Arrangement to SIM

Countdown to Singapore International Marathon: 12 Days.
Yeah, the coach arrangement to Singapore Marathon is published. It is produced by PK Chan, an EXCO of Pacesetters Club who is in-charged for the SIM coach and hotel arrangement.

According to the schedule, there will be three buses leaving for Singapore at 7.30am on Saturday 3 December. It is important that runners board the correct bus for a stress free journey. For ease in identification, they even name the buses with inspiring names such as follows:

All-stars Coach leaves from Taman Permaisuri
Boleh Coach leaves from Bukit Aman car park
Champion Coach leaves from Bukit Aman car park

This photo, extracted from PACM website, was taken at Bukit Aman car park before leaving for SIM 2004.

The buses will only arrive in Singapore at 3:00 P.M. for runners to collect the race entry packs. And later check into Peninsular-Excelsior Hotel.

On Sunday 4 December after the race, the buses would depart from hotel at 3:00 P.M. sharp.

One of the important reminders is that don’t forget to bring along your valid passport; SIM confirmation slip and photostat ID.

My initial plan was to go by Sri Maju bus on Thurday night and plan to reach Singapore on Friday morning. That would allow us to have Friday and Saturday morning for sight-seeing. Saturday afternoon would be at the hotel to welcome and mingle with other runners.

Going by PACM buses was my last resorts as that does not give much time for sight-seeing. It is quite similar to an extended version of the commando style except that it involves putting up a night at the hotel.

For those who are going on Saturday morning and return on Sunday afternoon, I would suggest that you spend the evening at Orchard Road to enjoy the pre-Christmas mood. Last year, the entire street was beautifully decorated with colorful lightings welcoming visitors and the event.

I was going through the passenger names lists and out of 120 Pacesetters runners, I only know the following runners – about 10% of them. I could have seen other runners before with the frequent meets at Bukit Aman car park after training runs.

All-stars Coach (Coach Leader is Phoon Yoke Heng, 012-202 2152):
Jacky Loh Theam Fah
Carmen Leong
Ang Chee Kiang
Phoon Yoke Heng

Boleh Coach (Coach Leader is PK Chan, 012-200 8566):
PK Chan
Ng Chooi Ling
Krishnan Karuppan of Adidas

Champion Coach (Coach Leader is Lisar Oon, 012-313 3881):
Lesley Tan
Lisar Oon
Shahrom Abdullah (I took a photo with him during recent Powerman Duathlon race)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Quiet 20km Training Run - 20 November

Have you seen the moon surround by a ring of clouds in the sky? I woke up at 4am this morning. As usual, I would go to the front yard for light stretching exercise. At the same time, to find out how was the weather this morning as it had been raining the evening before.

I was delighted that it was fine weather with the absence of clouds. An unusual sight was that the almost full moon was surrounded by a perfect ring outlined by the faintly tinted white clouds. I was mesmerized by the sight as it must have been a long, long time that I last saw the similar view.

Most Unusual Muscle Cramp

Reaching Bukit Aman car park at 5.45am, I parked my car at the bay next to Weng. This morning, most of the Penguin and Sunshine Runners were not around as they went to Ipoh for the KRI 10km race.

When I bent down to put on my shoes, suddenly, I felt muscle cramped at the lower back. I was in pain and stuck at that posture for a few seconds. I later squatted down to straighten my lower back in order to avoid the pain. Oh my gosh, not when the Singapore marathon is only about two weeks from now. Nervously, I did a little light stretching exercise hopping the pain would be reduced.

Before I came, I planned to run at faster pace this morning for the 20km training run to test out my body condition before the real race. The pain would definitely spoil my plan.

There were less than 10 runners and a few reasons for the lesser turn-up. First there was the Ipoh KRI 10km race, then there was the Terry Fox Charity Run at the Lake Garden. I heard that there was a race at Klang too. Besides, it was after the Pacesetters Club organized 30km training run last Sunday where some runners might relax this week-end.

We started our run at 6am. There were only four in the pack: PhoonYH, AB Tan, Weng and I. I was struggling for the first 200 meters as there was slight pain when I ran; nevertheless, I just continued ignoring the pain.

AB Tan

I was chatting with Mr. AB Tan while running and his running experience was quite interesting to share with you. He was going to do a 30km run today despite that he had completed 40km last Sunday. So far, he has done only one marathon, i.e. the Kuala Lumpur Marathon in March 2005.

Before that, he was running only 5km on his own. The Shah Alam run in September last year was his first 10km race.

For the Kuala Lumpur Marathon, he suffered pain when reaching the 30km marker. Both his thigh muscles were cramped.

From running 5km distance, AB Tan was able to run a full marathon within very short time span. So, this time, he has put in extra effort for more long runs to let the body accustomed to longer distance.

Terry Fox Charity Run

I signaled to Weng to return via the same route we came from since there were not many runners around. Usually, we would turn into Laman Tunku and returned via Double-Hill route. At the downhill area after passing by the Belvedere Condominium, I was surprised to see Miss MC running with another friend toward Hartamas direction. She is the girl where we first met with Chantelle (Nike Woman) at the Ipoh KRI race last year. We exchanged conversation briefly. She commented, “You did not go to Ipoh for KRI run today?”

At around 8.00am, Weng and I returned at the entrance to Lake Garden. At that moment, I saw there were many participants for the Terry Fox Charity Run. For a mere 100 meters, I could see the most number of mat sallehs (foreigners). Most of them were women and children and they were walking and enjoying the Sunday morning stroll.

Returning to Bukit Aman car park, there were only pockets of Pacesetters runners visible to me. Compared to last Sunday’s event, it was a real contrast.

I met PK Chan who was distributing the Coach and Hotel Arrangement schedule for the Singapore marathon to every runner that returned to the car park.

“I thought you are supposed to go to Ipoh for the KRI run?” PK asked.
“No lah,” I answered. “I did not go.”
“I read in Sunshine Runners weblog that there is this Bak Kut Teh stall opens at 3:00 A.M.,” PK continued, “That was interesting.”

I managed to complete the 20km training run with back muscle pain. Let see how things would turn up. Would I be able to avoid this muscle cramp if I were to follow the other runners for the Ipoh KRI race? Or it could be worst.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Singapore Marathon 2005 - Take the Challenge

In about two weeks’ time, Chantelle (Nike Woman) and Marvin would be challenging their bodies’ limitations in the test of human endurance. They will be running their maiden full marathons in Singapore International Marathon (SIM) on 4 December 2005. It is indeed a brave move that their first marathons are run in a foreign land.

Since they have embarked on the marathon journey, the Sunshine Runners are giving them the full support. We are certain to see them crossing the finishing line at SIM. We would celebrate the triumph and achievement with them at that proudest moment of their lives.

Note: For those who are new to marathon, the distance is 42 kilometers or 26 miles.

SEA OF MARATHONERS: Photo showing the start of New York marathon from Verrazano Bridge. Shall we plan to stand there at the starting line within five years?

The Commitment

I can see that both of them really put in a lot of effort in their training. As for Chantelle, she even forego the Raya holidays and focused on her training runs. On the first day of Raya, Thursday 3 November, despite the early morning rain, she and a few lady running friends still pressed on and did their 20km practice run starting at Bukit Aman. That really put me to shame as I was supposed to run with them – I continued my sleep instead.
Both are training for about four times a week ranging from 5km to 10km daily on weekdays. A long run of 20km or more is usually done on Sunday morning starting at Bukit Aman.

When a runner embarks on the marathon journey, he would be conscious of things around him: the environment, the people, the intake of food (fried and oily food is a No, No!), and above all, awareness of his physical fitness. We are supposed to live our lives this way; however, only to be motivated by the marathon challenge.

Running a maiden full marathon in a foreign land increases the risk. However, it is important to be aware of the various parameters, take the necessary precaution to overcome any obstacle. Clocking in sufficient mileage in training runs would be necessary.

Last year, we learned that one runner who attempted his maiden full marathon in Singapore was fainted before completing the race. His running buddy was looking frantically for his return only to realize later that his friend was sent to hospital by ambulance. We were shock to learn that the medical bill came to a whopping SGD 6,000 !!

It is 4 x 10 km

I once read a book that no matter how fast we run in those 10km races, the ultimate achievement is still running a full marathon. And it is in every runner’s dream to be able to run a full marathon one day. As for me, when I was running in those 10km races, I thought that I would never be able to run a full marathon in this life!

After having done four marathons since 2004, I always use this divide-and-rule method when running a full marathon: divide the course into four imaginary 10km races running back-to-back. At the completion of first 10km, tell the brain that there are still another three times the distance. Repeat the process after 20km and 30km. In this case, the mind can focus better and manage the run better.


Other than the physical strength, running a full marathon is very much involving the mental power. The first 32km is run with the body and the last 10km is run with the mind. Human legs are not designed to run continuously for more than 30km, let alone running for 42km. Most runners would agree that the power of mind to sustain the run is critical during the most adverse conditions.

Whether you are going to make it or not, it is the mental endurance power that makes the difference. Just remember that the human body has limitations; the human spirit is boundless. You can because you think you can.

Let me take this opportunity to wish Chantelle and Marvin all the best in their coming marathons. Just like the Guinness Stout advertisement “BELIEVE in yourself” – If someone is going to do it, why not you?
I hope other runners are inspired too by their determination. Soon, you would embark on the marathon journey in pursuit of your dream. If you have not been into running, start putting on the running shoes.

Just run, and don’t stop.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Prelude to Ipoh ING-KRI 10km Road Race 2005

This Sunday 20 November will be the Ipoh ING-KRI 10km race. The Penguin runners are giving this race a tremendous support. Eric (Penguin-10) and friends would be putting up a night at the nearby 5-star hotel on Saturday. The other Penguin runners would do it the commando style and only start to travel on Sunday morning.

In the commando style, the Penguin runners would drive all the way to Ipoh in wee hours of the morning; run the race; enjoy the camaraderie; savour the famous Ipoh Hor Fan; then drive home after mission is accomplished.

Other than running The Race, there are two other missions: first is to have autographs and photo sessions with a legendary runner, Ron Hill; second is to take photos with Miss Wendy, the girl who introduced us to Ipoh KRI 10km race last year.

Below is the schedule drawn up by Chee Wee (Penguin-11). As you can see, it was planned with military precision in order to reach the starting line on time. To complicate matters, these commandos have not got the running bibs yet. That would involve another round of logistic planning with Eric – who reached Ipoh on Saturday – to hand over the bibs to them on Sunday morning.

Let us take a look at the schedule:

3:00am : Khee Meng (Penguin-2) arrives at Jalan Ipoh to have the famous "Dim Sum" breakfast with Chee Wee; a special treat from Chee Wee as Khee Meng is coming all the way from Jalan OUG.

3:30am : Going to Bukit Aman car park to fetch Tony (Penguin-3) & Chantelle (Nike Woman)

3:45am : Tony & Chantelle are on board and going to Rawang to fetch Terence (Penguin-6)

4:45am : Estimated time reaching Terence's place

6:35am : Reaching Ipoh, straight to the Start/Finish venue - Taman Rekreasi Sultan Abdul Aziz (Polo Ground)

6:45am : Establish connection with Eric for handing over bib numbers

7:00am : Reporting to the officials

7:30am : Race starts...good luck everybody! Enjoy the run and have fun

8:30am : Enjoy the light breakfast & refreshments

9:00am : "Free & Easy " – enjoy the camaraderie and not forgetting to meet Ipoh “leng lui" (pretty gals)

11:30am : Will stay on for the Prize Presentation if one of us outrun Ron Hill, the winner of Boston Marathon in 1970

12:00pm : "Makan" time, shall look for the good lunch by this time

1:00pm : Bon voyage! Time to go home

4:00pm : Home Sweet Home - reaching Kuala Lumpur.

As you can see, it is fascinating that the Dim Sum store still opens at 3am. Another point needs mentioning is that I asked Chee Wee why reaching Ipoh at 6.35am and not 6.30am? Well, he is a meticulous guy.

Another Penguin runner commented that we should go for a Saturday mid-night movie, say, The Exorcism of Emily Rose – the haunting and creepy movie. That would be all night long excitement without having to sleep and then run The Race next morning.

To grace the event, Ron Hill, winner of Boston Marathon in 1970 and the first Briton to run a Marathon under 2 hours 10 minutes, will be participating in this Race. This legendary runner has participated in 2,200 races, competed in 89 different foreign countries and have recorded over 146,500 miles – an amazing feat.

This will be his first time travels to Malaysia specifically for this occasion. He is also here to promote his books and of course, personally autographs copies of his books and have photos taken with other runners.

And as for Wendy, according to her, she is really very busy these days. She has to update the KRI website promptly; maintain the database and information system.
The Ipoh KRI website is well maintained with a host of information. The main focus is The Race with clear information on the various race categories, name lists and corresponding bib numbers; race route in photos; T-shirts, medal and trophies.

For more information of the event, please click here.

Coming up next:
1. Singapore Marathon -- Take the Challenge
2. Effect of Marathon Running on Your Sex Life and Social Life
3. Passion (or leng lui?) Fuels Energy
4. 100 Miles Western States Endurance Run

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pacesetters 30km Training Run

To view 111 great photos taken by KC during the event, please click here.

The macho guys at the second water station. Seen having a lot of good times there.

All runners were rewarded with a hearthy breakfast after the strenuous 30km training run. Eveyone was seen eating, drinking, talking, moving around, purchasing Mizuno shoes, purchasing PowerBar products. Yeah... lots of good times together.

Christine is seen wearing a unique running outfit -- different from the usual vest and shorts. Seeing Lisa (also wearing the same type of outfit when running) running back from the Hartamas end, PK Chan commented that he also wanted to buy one as one runner said the specially designed outfit and fabric can make a runner runs faster. Jamie then said each suit costs RM 500 ... that was really WOW!

Next, Pacesettes Club will be organizing a 10km Mizuno Wave Run. Make sure you have registered for it.

To view 111 great photos taken by KC during the event, please click here.

Nikon camera is by courtesy of Weng.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mizuno Wave Run 2005

Returning to Bukit Aman car park after a 20km training run with runner friends on Sunday morning 6 November, something attracted my attention. One runner was seen holding up a good looking, light-blue T-shirt made of special fabric. Out of curiosity, I approached the booth manned by one Pacesetters Club EXCO.

I repeated the same act: holding up the T-shirt, turned it around while admiring it. At the back of the T-shirt was printed the words – Mizuno Wave Run 2005 with a simple yet attractive logo.

The timing of this event is superb. It will be two weeks after Singapore International Marathon on 4 Dec. Besides, it is good to sweat it out before the Christmas or year-end gastronomic feast and celebrations.

Finisher’s medals are awarded to all finishers within the qualifying times specified. Yeah, to those runners who would want to enlarge their medal collection, this is one race where you quite safely would get a medal barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Here are the details:
Date: 18 December 2005, Sunday
Time: 7.30am
Venue: Padang Merbuk, Kuala Lumpur

Entry Fees: RM 20 for Pacesetters members and RM 30 for the public.

Closing Date: 1 December 2005 or 1,500 entries whichever comes first.

Organizer: Yeah …
by Pacesetters Athletic Club, Malaysia (PACM)

Prizes and Medals:
Prizes in the form of Mizuno product vouchers will be given to the top 5 finishers of each category:

1st: RM 1,000
2nd: RM 800
3rd: RM 600
4th: RM 400
5th: RM 200

Certificates will be issued and be sent by mail within two months of the event.


A light breakfast will be served to all participants from 8am to 10.30am.

Sound good, right?

For more details, please click at the Pacesetters Club link at the left sidebar of this weblog.... By KC

Monday, November 07, 2005

How to Train in Marathon

Yeah… to heighten the mood for Singapore International Marathon on 4 December, I have further extracted a few passages from the following book. This time, it is about “how to train” a marathon -- humorously.
One thing for sure that the road from Bukit Aman en route to Sri Hartamas via the rich neighborhood of Bukit Tengku (Kenny Hills) is without any bars for drinking. It would be good, however, if any of the runner’s extra-marital lover's home is nearby so that we can just detour for some pit stops either to request for drinking water or to answer nature’s call – basic facility which is lacking along the running route.
Though there are much more techniques that the book described, the following passages were written with lots of humour. Read on …

Extracted from the book How to Run a Marathon
By Tony Benyon and Kevin Macey’s

Practising Techniques

During a marathon you will need two main skills. Firstly you must know how to pick up a plastic beaker full of water and drink from it while running. And secondly you must always concentrate on running and not on what is going on around you. The former can be rehearsed with a friend who is prepared to be half drowned. The same good friend can also help you by pretending to be a television interviewer asking you banal questions while you are running. The best way to deal with such a nuisance is to maintain an icy stare ahead while driving a clenched fist into the interviewer's midriff.

The next problem will be coping with demonstrators who may try to block the path of the race for some political reason. Never sympathise with them or stop to sign a petition; just drive your knees forwards into their tenderest parts while stiffly elbowing them out of your way. Once again, you will need a friend to help you as it is almost impossible to rehearse this movement on your own.

Finally, you may experience insulting shouts of abuse from members of the crowd on race day. It is essential never to waste energy by losing your temper. Practise keeping your cool by having your friends shout insults at you. No doubt they will be eager to comply after the way you have just been treating them.

Training Routes

First-time runners should measure their initial training routes in time and not distance and preferably minutes not seconds. It is then possible to increase the time gradually until confidence builds to a point where the routes can be measured in miles. Several routes should be plotted to provide a mixture of short and long ones.

When plotting your routes remember you may be using them regularly. It is wise to avoid roads that take a considerable time to cross and, if you are an amply built young lady, it is advisable to avoid running past an open prison unless you don't blush.

The ideal route should avoid stopping and starting and such places as your favourite bar, restaurant or extra-marital lover's home. You should also by-pass people and shops to whom you owe money or think you may owe money to in the future; similarly the homes of ex-marriage partners, lovers and victims of crimes you have committed.

Try to run on open ground away from human habitation. If you are running through a nice suburban area or even a part of town where street crimes regularly take place, the police will immediately assume you are escaping from the scene of some illegal act and, after dragging you to the ground, they will take you to the police station in curls for questioning.''


Cars are almost as great a danger to runners as dogs. You may be harmlessly running along a pavement when suddenly the door of a parked car flies open causing you to crash into it. While you are lying on the ground counting stars, the owner of the vehicle will be frothing at the mouth demanding to know the name of your insurance company because the bone sticking out of your shoulder has scratched the paintwork.

Drunken drivers are the worst. They have the habit of pursuing you down country lanes and up grass embankments, all the while laughing like maniacs behind the wheel. They are also accurate shots with beer cans which they aim at your head. One of the sights they seem to enjoy most is of runners hurling themselves through plate glass windows in an attempt to escape.

Some running experts will tell you it is advisable to wear white or light clothing at night to make yourself easily seen by oncoming drivers. Beware! Light colours only make you a more identifiable target.

In addition to running you into the ground, drivers have another method for eliminating runners; it's called carbon monoxide. The deadly gas is pumped directly out of the car's exhaust straight into your lungs. A mask does offer some protection, but running along the street wearing a mask will cause you to be coshed to the ground by the police. Even worse, you may be chased by a police dog handler.

On Seeing God

Many people claim that on certain runs they have achieved a state of perfect bliss or ecstasy, and that on rare occasions they have been warmed by what can best be described as a spiritual or religious experience. Such statements have resulted in other people usually more at home with a joint taking up running. Their main hope is to reach a level of mind-blowing euphoria.

Such is the reason why many weirdos and loonies are attracted to running. It has been suggested by more serious runners that licenses should be provided for runners only after a psychiatric report gives them a clean bill of health. Others believe the damage is done after they have taken up running, because of the constant jogging and shaking the brain experiences.

However, there is little doubt a 'high' can be achieved by certain runners in the right circumstances. For example, when the mind and a physically perfect body reach a glorious balance, a sensation of being able to run and run forever hand in hand with God fills the runner's consciousness. Or when a very average runner happens to be running past a glue factory when it is on maximum production and the wind is in the right direction.

Next, the effect of marathon running on your SEX life and SOCIAL life.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

20km Training Run - 6 November

The Rain

Looking up the sky at dawn in front of my house before going out for a 10km running race, I would think that the sky had not been raining for more than six months on Sunday mornings. That was in 2004. This time, it is of different scenario. It has been raining so frequent on Sunday mornings that I had lost count of it.

On the first day of Hari Raya, Thursday morning (3 November), we planned to do a 20km training run starting at 6am from Bukit Aman. When the alarm clock was set off at 4am, it was raining again. That was really anti-climax. Since we still have off days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings to run, it was only logical that I called off the run. Imagine sending SMSs messages frantically to the other runner friends at that hour!

Not all the runners would agree with me to abort the training run and continue with the sweet dream – if only one could sleep again and not thinking about the run. Chee Wee and Eric responded positively since it was also raining at their areas. Weng and Steven, however, did not quite agree with canceling the run. They told me later that despite the rain, they were the first car at the Bukit Aman at 5.30am. It was raining heavily at that time. They sat in the car and waited until 6am for the rain to stop. They ran 20km.

On the other hand, Miss Chantelle and a few other girls started their 20km run at 6.30am. After learning that, I really felt guilty and really put me to shame. Even the girls are hardworking than me. Chantelle is committed to cross the finishing line at Singapore full marathon on 4 December.

The Training

Waking up at 4am again this Sunday morning (6 November), the first thing I did is to look out the window of my double-storey house. The air was still and mild – symptom of calm weather. Well, after many rounds of experiences, I picked up the skill of understanding weather whether it will rain or not – with only 50% accuracy.

This morning, Marvin Lau, Meng, Weng and I were running. Chee Wee and Eric could not come; joining us in the pack were Tey ET and PK Chan. After surveying the surrounding for familiar runners, the pack went off at 6am sharp. Runners are concern with timing. It is amazing that we can be so punctual despite having to wake up on a Sunday morning at 4am which is excellence for extended sleeping.

With Tey ET around, he was setting the pace and ran in front of the pack. Since he is from the Pacemakers group (a sub-group of Pacesetters Club or PACM); obviously, he was most glad to live up to his name. With a pacer, the pack was running slightly faster than usual as it was evident that when we spoke, the messages were unclear but the heavy breathing was clearly audible.

After passing by Bank Negara LRT area, I heard rapid pounding footsteps from behind. When I turned to my left, I saw Ms Agnes speeding by. She was running alone. Within minutes, she disappeared from our views.

“Wah, she is very brave running alone.” Meng said.

“Yeah, she is training hard and representing Pacesetters Club in the relay event in the coming Singapore International Marathon.” PK Chan explained.

“I think it should be okay since everyone (including the bad guys) is in festive mood.” I added on.

Coin-Operated Water Station

I ran with a PACM pouch bag, and in it, an empty 500 cc plastic bottle. The idea is to run with an empty bottle and buy water when reaching the Petronas petrol station at Hartamas. This method is lighter as compared to running with a full bottle.

When reaching there, I inserted a 20 cents coin into the machine. Pressed a green button and the RO (so called reversed osmosis) water started flowing. Pressing the red button would temporary stop the flow. A 20-cent coin can purchase one litre of drinking water. If one were to buy the bottled water from the Petronas station, a 500 cc would cost RM 1-20. You may want to give it a try the next time when running there.

On the way back from Hartamas, we first met Mr. Boey (SH’s husband; SH is the co-editor of the PACM Footloose magazine) and later SH running with her friends.

”Boey (sounded like ‘boy’) is in front,” shouted Meng across the road when seeing SH.

Without looking, I was puzzling why Meng said boy was in front. It should be girl in front – lady first concept.

My stomach was not very comfortable while running. It must be last night’s gastronomic feast at one of the Chinese restaurants. Knowing that I would be running 20km this morning to burn away the extras, I ate like no tomorrow. Imagine with the PACM pouch bag carrying a half-filled bottle of water, I could not stand the pulling effect by the strap around my stomach. I actually ran with my hand holding the pouch bag and the water.

At the downward hill slope 1km from Petronas station, we met Marvin Lau who was running alone quite slowly. He is training very hard preparing for the Singapore full marathon too.

The weather this morning was fine but with overcast sky. With more clouds forming, it would lead to raining again.

Bukit Aman Car Park

Runners are happy lots. I quite like to be there on Sunday morning meeting other runners after a long run. The mood was always jovial. Probably, everyone must be in “runner’s high” after running for either 10km to 20km.

I heard Francis Toh, who is in-charged of sales of PACM merchandises, said that there was not much business this morning. That sounded similar. At one Chinese coffee shop a few days ago, one shopkeeper was commenting the same thing. Possibly caused by most people went outstations during the Raya holidays.

Responding to Francis’s remarks, one runner commented that try selling “Buy One Free One” method. And that remarks had everyone in stitches.

I saw Adam Loh was sitting comfortably on a different chair next to Francis Toh. Gerald Pareira, Area Team Leader for Gasing Hill, was seen giving him a good massage.

“Wah, we have massage service here also,” I commented.
“Yeah, it would be good if PACM would engage a masseur.” said Adam Loh.

It struck me at that instant that maybe it is good to have nutritionist to teach us what food to eat or avoid for peak performance in running.

Marvin Lau eventually arrived back at the car park. He commented that his physical was not at top form. Nevertheless, he pressed on. Yes, he too was committed for the Singapore full marathon race.

30km Long Run

Don’t forget to participate at the much awaited 30km long run organized by PACM. The date is this Sunday, 13 November. Registration starts at 5am; the run would be flagged off at 5.30am. I heard that it is restricted to 200 runners only.

Last year, for a nominal fee, each runner was instantly given a Power Bar upon registration. Beyond the 20km marker, another Power Gel was dished out.

This run is necessary for those who are taking up the Singapore full marathon challenge. For normal runners, this would be the last 30km long run before the actual race on 4 December.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Class of Their Own

Few marathons are in a class of their own. Months ago, a runner friend forwarded to me an interesting short description of the Le Marathon des Chateaux du Medoc. That marathon was held on September 11, 2004 in France. And after reading the passage, we were really excited and one of the friends said, “Shall we plan to run the marathon there within three years?”

Routed through 59 vineyards in the fabled villages of the Medoc region, this event appeals to the true connoisseur of fine runs. Where else do they ask you at the aid stations, "red or white wine, Madame?"
Thankfully, there is plain water if you so choose.

The course reads more like a wine list than a race course: Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Lynch-Bages, Pichon Lonqueville, Beychevelles among others. Accommodations are always a problem since the 8,000 runners overwhelm the small villages directly north of Bordeaux. We limit the number of guests on this trip to insure the quality of our services.
A six night package includes accommodations for six nights in Bordeaux. Invitations are included to the pre-race "Milles Pate Party", and the next day recovery walk which is more a 9km wine tasting tour by foot. Our Exclusive Gala Banquet will be hosted by Chateau Giscours (a third growth classification) commencing with a wine tasting followed by a gastronomic celebration featuring typical Bordelais fare in an exceptional setting at the property.
This trip appeals to those as interested in stimulating their palate as well as their hamstrings. Chateaux visits with wine tasting are scheduled in Pauillac, St. Julien, Margaux, St. Emilion and Cognac.
This celebration of wine and running is a blend of comedic exercise unique to the French. Where else could you be passed by a bunch of grapes, a cork and Cirano de Bergerac in a staggering sprint to the finish?

I am thinking: training is important in any endeavor. Embarking on the marathon journey, we run, run and run. To participate in this France marathon nested in the vineyards, does it mean that we should start training on drinking wine? Otherwise, our legs would be wobbling after a few glasses of wine down our throat at the third water station.

I am also thinking: Pacesetters Club will be organizing a 30km long run on Sunday 13 November. Do you think the committee members on duty at the water station, after reading this posting, would offer: “red or white wine, Sir?”

Well, what do you think? … KC :-))

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Training run on Sunday 30 Oct 2005

By Chee Wee

Warm weather & Sunshine Runners such as KC, Khee Meng, Weng, Vivian, Eric and I were having a fabulous time on that Sunday morning at Bukit Aman. It was an easy 20km training run yet satisfying. We ended the run with a well-treated fruits feast – juicy watermelon & sweet banana, provided by our dear Pacesetters Club.

The Singapore 05's Marathon race has definitely descended upon all of us, as felt by the Sunday morning's acknowledgements & greetings in the air (for example, are you running 30 or 35km long distance runs when we were seeing each other on the roads?), and the evidence of colorful running vests and sexy shorts all around the Bukit Aman & Sri Hartmas.

Two of the marathoners (Khee Meng & Eric) of our group have just returned from the tough Phuket Marathon. Salute them on their speedy recovery & making the efforts to join us for the Sunday runs. It definitely made the runs more enjoyable & fun & created a fine group energy.
We made a u-turn when we saw Eric driving in at the junction of the road leading to the Bukit Aman car park. We were jokingly telling each other "haha, look as if we have just come back from Sri Hartamas!" We waited for Eric & Vivian to start our runs together...together we will enjoy the sunshine!

I sincerely hope that Khee Meng & Eric were having a great fun time & enjoying their journey at Phuket as I could only gather one outstanding point from their interesting story & experience while we were running along the Kenny hills – the terrain there was a series of steep..steep..steep hills. Certainly, it was an outrageous test on their legs strength & endurance for this so called as the Beach & Mountain Marathon, the toughest marathon run. Listened to their encounters, it could really make my legs shivery & have a fear feeling (will I survive in this type of route?).

The rains kept me away last few days, but it was a welcome sight to see some of us come out on Sunday. I missed the opportunity to run in the past few days; it would be great to see myself keeping up with the marathon training schedule (as set-up by KC) which could certainly help me to conquer & complete the Singapore full marathon race in my own style. Or will I have to came back next year to set a new PR? I said to KC: don't play play with the Singapore full marathon even though it is well-known as friendly & flat course!

We started with some warm-up stretching exercises & ran with our own set of peaceful mind. At 6:30am, I would see the sky was gradually brightened up. I remembered this phase from my leisure reading: The Sun & the Moon divide the sky. We, the opposites, are not truly antagonistic elements. As it said all opposites are part of the same entity. Like a two-headed snake, opposites are two parts of the same whole. We defined one another, as guy defines gal.

On Sunday, 16th Oct, I was reminded of a beauty of nature on a barefooted & simple walk journey back to Bukit Aman car park after 27 km running. Everything along the roads was a feast for the eyes and nose - bushes, plants and even tall trees. I was grateful for the feeling of peace. Finding a harmony in my running...hahaha!

Every Sunday morning runs at Bukit Aman, I have encountered & gained the following elements to keep me going & continue with the runs...

The pleasure - of meeting friends
The joy - of building trust and teamwork by running together
The stimulation - of gaining higher level of fitness
The kick - of racing over the hills
The thrill - of having breathless condition
The bliss - of breathing in cool & fresh air, feeling nothing but boundless freedom, and
The ecstasy - of completing the long distance run challenge.

I got all the above from running with my running partners. You may not understand how it feels like until you come to join us & do it for yourself. Once you have discovered running is just another form of fun, you will establish your running speed, time, distance and regularity according to what is right for you.

The core of my training program is my Sunday morning long runs, and I wonder if it would be enough to get me compete & challenge the Singapore full marathon. I know it is not good enough if I did run during the weekdays. But, due to works & family commitments, I have no choice to remain the current situation.

To my relief, it will be alright. Through my experience, I completed my last Malacca full marathon within my expected hours after practicing a few long distance runs.

I always remember that the final 10 km of the full marathon required balancing on our legs muscles, body strength and mental endurance while completing the tough & torturing final stretch. That means either you are going to "hit a wall" or "find an open window" after the 30 km running.

Of curse, the endurance & fighting spirit are also playing important factors too. I am really appreciating the weekly Sunday long distance runs for the strength and confidence to complete the full marathon.

Watermelon & Banana

At 8:35am, we were back at the Bukit Aman car park. We saw Mr. Chan Wing Kai, our club's photographer, was holding a big & round watermelon in a ready position to throw it on the floor for a quick break...oh! no! just kidding. He didn't do the stunt; instead, he was placing the watermelon on the retaining wall (named it as Runners' Wall, used for the stretching exercises before runs) & trying to cut it with a small Swiss knife.

Finally, he managed to cut it with the multiple-usage knife; slowly, runners crowed around him...too bad, I didn't get a piece!

KC was jokingly asking Mr. Sonny Ng, one of the team leaders in the Club, whether he has any "pek yau tow" (knife for fighting in Hong Kong mafia movies) in his car. The said knife would be appropriate for cutting watermelon by throwing the watermelon high in the air & swinging the knife in a cross method (i.e. North, South, East, West, Pacesetters is a best!); hahaha...the watermelon would be in few small pieces in a second (an amazing move).

Despite not having the juicy watermelon, I was damn happy to have the banana; guess what? I have never eaten so much of banana in one time yet satisfying...during the run, after 18km, I kept telling my running partners that I was feeling damn hurry. No energy to push anymore & I was having a mental block...

After few round of banana, all a sudden, I saw a monkey came over to try his luck to grasp some banana. Immediately, the Club's President removed the box of banana to a secure place.

SH Tan commented & shared a view with me that it is nice to be a member of Pacesetters Club, to enjoy the watermelon & banana after a long run...hahaha!

We heard from other runners that the watermelon & banana were wrongly delivered by the fruits supplier. It was supposed to be delivered two weeks later (13 Nov), in the Pacesetters' 30km practice run.

Interesting conversations

KC & I were talking to TeyET, the Ultra-marathoner, about his slim & fit body. KC commented that Tey's well built & muscular legs, but need to put up more muscles on his upper body. Tey responded:"ya, man!"

I heard KC conserving with Jason Thiang, Team Manager for Subang Jaya, that he saw him for the first time without wearing the cap & KC commented that he looks much more “gaya” (got style) with the cap on.

After that, I walked over to my car to change into a dry T-shirt on & drank some water. Then, I met up with Tony & Marvin Lau. We were chit-chatting about how to build up the upper body & lower part of body strength.

Right away, Marvin showed us some strong push-up skill at the car park. No kidding, he could perform a long-lasting push-up exercise on the hard surface of road-tar. After that, we also learned some interesting poses to strengthen our legs, spine (cobra pose) & to press on our legs in a sitting position (butterfly pose) for the benefit of lower center part of body as demonstrated by Tony, the coach.

Even though I went home with an exhausted body, I felt satisfied & happy as it was a fruitful morning.

Sunshine on my shoulders DOES make me happy …

Chee Wee