Thursday, January 26, 2006

Celebrating Chinese New Year

As forecasted, Year 2006 – the Year of Fire Dog – is going to be a great year for business because it combines with strong yang and bright elements, strong fire and strong earth element. Hmm… sound like these are the good elements for running too. Runners need the strong fire, passion and enthusiasm in taking on the challenges.

“The only job security you have today is your commitment to continuous personal improvement” a quote by Ken Blanchard. So, my extended version for the Lunar New Year would be: The only health security you have today is your commitment to running. Keep running, and don’t stop.

Other than the existing running events, we have two exciting new marathons this year: the Kuching marathon on 26 March and Putrajaya marathon on 10 September. In addition, the Awana Trailblazer is back on 3 September.

Let us usher in the Lunar Year of Fire Dog with a Bang. Since this weblog is soundless, please turn on the Chinese New Year music to initiate the celebration mood.

Once again, it is that time of the year where everyone is awaiting to ‘balik kampong” (country road, take me home, to the place I belong) to enjoy time with family and friends. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all runners and friends who are celebrating Chinese New Year “Gong Xi Fa Cai”. To the rest, do enjoy the holidays. See you all after the break.

There will be no posting for one week as I will be “balik kampung” to celebrate the Chinese New Year. My hometown is a small rural town 60km North-West of Ipoh, Perak.



Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Great Eastern-Pacesetters 30km Run

Written by Chee Wee
It is my third road race in the year 2006 - Great Eastern Pacesetters 30km which was held on 22nd January 2006. I believe that it is the first 30km race event organized in the region & proudly to say that our prestigious club, the Pacesetters, once again, has proven on its superb organizing skill in the running events. Certainly, life is great to have the opportunity to take part in this well-organized event.

Journey to the Starting Line

After a light sleep, I was jolted by the sound of my handphone alarm at 4:45am and got out of my warm bed. Quickly refreshing up & eating the usual routine of breakfast, got everything ready by 5:10am. Took my running shoes & bag in my car; then started the car's engine & switched on the radio - the light & easy channel; listened to the music to ease my tension.

Surrounding of my house area was still quiet & peaceful; but I could feel the excitement of the forthcoming Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration as my neighbours have put a wonderful decoration. Indeed, it was a beautiful Sunday morning! The sky was clear & the moon was generously brighten up.

Just before arriving at the car park at Lake Gardens, I saw KC & his friends walking towards the starting area. Then, before reaching the small roundabout at the playground, I saw Kelvin & Alden walking along the road. Right after parking my car & changing into my running attire, I met up with Khee Meng, Kenny Choo, Hoo Chin Cheong & others. My feeling was marvellously good & cheerful to meet up with so many friends. We were chit-chatting & walking together to the starting area, Tapak C (the heart of Lake Gardens).

The atmosphere at the Tapak C was fantastic & great. I could clearly hear the announcements made by Mr. Wan, the Immediate-past President of the Club, while depositing my bag at the baggage storage. Then, I quickly made my way to the reporting area. I submitted my reporting card before entering the cordoned off area. It was a simple checking-in system via an entrance from the Boathouse near Tapak C.

While I was intending to do a bit of stretching and walking a little around the area, suddenly, Khee Meng informed me that Eric met an accident when doing his cycling training on Saturday evening, was here to support the race. The tyre of his racing bicycle actually stuck in the drain cover while travelling with fast speed. With the downward momentum, he tumbled over resulting in scratches and injuries. You can imaging how serious the impact can be! Vivian told me that with the fall, his bike helmet was broken. My goodness! Luckily, he is okay & I wish him speedy recovery.

Without any hesitation, I went to look for him & asked him how it was happened. He told me that the incident was happening too fast & he regretted that he went for the training yesterday. Otherwise, he could take part in the race this morning. With the injury, he has to withdraw from the race. Nevertheless, we were happy to see him coming up this morning to cheer for us. I hope, he will be back to run, swim & cycle soonest.

The journey continues...

For this race, my target was simply to complete this race with no injury & if I could complete the race within 3 hours, it was surely a bonus to me! With that in mind, I started off with a strong mental strength & determination. When the gun went off, there were loud cheers right up in front and the whole group started to move quickly ahead. I was standing at the back portion of the crowd with KC & Joviet Sim.

There was a rush at the starting area especially running up the Deer Park. I had so many fast runners overtaking me right at a slight uphill slope; but it didn't bother me as I was running with KC & we met up with Tan Wah Sing & Tey Eng Tiong who were running with their steady pace. We greeted each other "Happy Chinese New Year" as the celebration is exactly a week away from today. I told myself to enjoy the run and simply focus on "running my own race".

The morning seemed particularly humid, and I starting sweating quite soon after. I felt I had started this race much slower than the normal training run pace and I hope this would really help me later on in the race as we were running through a few hilly slopes (i.e. popular double hills at Jalan Tunku & Sri Hartamas' roller-coaster etc). Nothing much eventful at this stretch until I guess not long after making the turn in to Jalan Parlimen, I heard cheers ahead of me and thank you to the cheerleaders. They were good cheering especially when running for a second loop to head onto Sri Hartamas! When I was running passing by them, I could feel a strong charged-up & it gave a boost to run faster.

Upon reaching the Bank Negara building, I saw & waved at Tony who was a committed volunteer to be the traffic Marshall in charge there. He was giving the direction to all runners, heading towards Jalan Dato Onn. Salute to all the volunteers who were so generous & kind to provide their services & perform the long-hour duties to make the event a success one.

Along this stretch, KC & I caught up with Jason Chin who I met in the recent Singapore full marathon race. We ran together for a few kilometres. We chit-chatted while running; suddenly we saw a runner accidentally kicked into one of the small domed road reflector, which was placed at the middle of road, and tumbled over. Luckily, he only got a scratch at his leg. Jason told us that he had the similar experience in one of the local races last year. According to him, it was really spoiling his mood to continue his run in that incident.

After the 1st water station, we separated & were fighting with our own battle at the famous double-hill route. I was running with a consistent pace & tried to keep it at 6min pace. Before turning to Jalan Sultan Salahuddin, Khee Meng caught up with me & I was happy to see him as I thought he was way ahead off me. Later on, he increased his pace & went ahead of me. I told myself - "don't panic" as I have a different strategy in this race.

Upon reaching the National Monument, kept looking out for familiar faces but did not noticed anyone until I was nearly coming out from the said monument that I noticed Tey, the ultarmarathoner who was running with his strong & steadily pace! We acknowledged each other when we almost reached the Jalan Parlimen's traffic light; that meant we began to run the 2nd loop back to Bukit Tunku, towards Sri Hartamas for completing the 30km route. It really gave me a boost while running side by side with Tey as I know he is a very consistent runner & sets a good pace. It would help me to perform my run better.

I followed his pace & continued to run comfortably with no panting, just felt really good. Very sad that I was not able to hold on & keep the pace with him. After a while, he disappeared. Well! I just had to continue with my own run.

Before making a u-turn back at the Sri Hartamas, I saw many faster runners were returning the other side, including those 20km runners. I noticed Ronnie who was running at the opposite side of the road. We acknowledged each other. Ronnie was sick in the past three days & was running with a bad cough for the whole run. I was told that he didn't meet his target in this race, but he was already a "hero" to all of us, to turn up for the race. He always showed a highly sportsmanship & positive attitude towards his performance in running. I am pretty sure this is also applying to the way of his thinking & behaviour.

As a matter of fact, I met up with him at the parking lot before changing my wet running attire to the dry short pant & t-shirt. He told me that he is nearly giving up in the race; so difficult to run with the bad cough! But this is a small matter; compared to our dear friend, Terence's heath condition now. I respected his statement. In our lives, they are so many challenges (so called PAINs) waiting for us to conquer...& also one thing for sure, we must also know how to love our bodies. Just like Azwar said in the blog. : "LOVE YOUR BODY!".

Surprisingly, I felt really good at this stage of the run, by now I was running at the returning side of the road. Met up a lot of friends, who were giving some good encouragements & I heard Alden shouted to me : "Good run." Thank you Alden for there, it gave me some extra energy to conquer the hilly slopes at the Hartamas Shopping mall. I was running in an easy momentum, I could only show up my hand to say hi to them while my body in its auto-gear mode. At one stage, it became quit tired to greet each other along the route. But, on the other hand, it gave me a positive energy to my body.

The sun had started to come out by the time I was making a return trip from the Sri Hartamas. I came cross that dehydration situation which definitely is a bad feeling & I always make sure that I drink before feeling thirsty. I had cultivated the practice to drink sips of water regularly throughout my runs. In this race, my appreciation went to the organizer that sponsored the Powerbar Endurance drink at each water stations. This provided me with sufficient hydration. There were total of seven water stations for the 30km; five for the 20km event.

Last 3KM - Finishing Line

At the last 3km, my quadriceps developed a slight discomfort which I couldn't figure up what it was. Anyway, it didn't bother me. I just carried on with my running but was very conscious of my strides. During the return route, I noticed more & more participants walking & stretching by the road side. Some of them really looked exhausted.

When I felt to take a walking break, I told myself that don't give up here & I must give it everything I had. I saw a lady runner who was running with a leg cramp but she didn't stop. It really gave me an assured encouragement to continue my journey. My breathing was really hard and body were burning, but yet I could not stop here, I must continue to push on it.

When I saw Tony who told me that there is another 1.5km ahead; keep going! It wasn't too far away from the finishing line. But, it was a totally different ball game when the body is in an exhausted condition. Hence, at this stage, it would become a mentally "mind over matter"; told myself to let the mind does the work for the last few KMs.

I was struggling with my running pace. It was so hard to keep up with the pace. Before reaching the Lake Club, I heard a familiar sound called my name from the back, KC was running towards me and had intended to run with me towards the finishing nice of him! But then I was already in a struggling stage and I got no choice to tell him to go-ahead, don't wait for me as he could finish the race with a better timing.

Coming back to the Lake Garden stretch, towards the finishing line, I could hear the music and sounds coming from the finishing line...LIFE IS GREAT. I felt the energy from the upbeat music flowing through me and for the first time in the race, I subconsciously picked up the pace a little towards the finishing line. I wondered if that could be the adrenaline that flowing through my body giving me a "runners' high" feeling. Besides that, I heard Eric shouted my name at the finishing line. Thank you, Eric for the support.


I clocked 2 hour 55 minutes unofficial finishing time in this race. I hope to participate more long distance races to improve my physical endurance. I was using the right strategy (i.e. pacing & fueling), perseverance & mental strength that had gotten me to the finishing line! I believe that a quality run will get one faster but to last the distance, it is still down to mileage.

Have a warm and healthy Chinese New Year celebration!

Chee Wee

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Life is Great: GE-PACM 30km Run

To view 129 photos of the Great Eastern-Pacesetters 30km run, please click here.

The base station: Located at the heart of Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur.

Evanna (left) and friends. They come from Penang to run in this race. So are many runners from Singapore too.
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Under shades: Perfect place for runners to mingle with one another after the run.
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Live Life.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Evening Jog Turned Fatal

I was deeply shocked and profoundly grieved to read that a lady executive, Choo Gaik Yap, was raped and killed while jogging at around 6pm in Sungai Petani as reported in the Star newspaper on 16 January 2006. She was believed to have been tailed by her assailant, kidnapped, raped and killed before her body was dumped near the housing estate. How could people commit this inhuman act?

I hope the murderer will be brought to justice swiftly and severely punished. Let us join in expressing our deepest sympathy and condolences to the members of her family on their sad loss.

One day earlier on Sunday 15 January (the day for Siemens Charity Run), I arrived at the Bukit Aman car park at 4.45am for a 20km training run with Weng. At 5am, I saw two lady runners alighted from their new Honda City. I approached them and initiated the conversation.

I asked them whether they were doing 20km run. The two ladies, Wendy and her sister, said they were running only 10km by taking the Double-hill route. I told them it was unusual to run 10km starting at 5am. However, they said they were busy on Sunday morning and need to complete their runs early.

Weng and I accompanied them until the Selangor Property area, 5km marker. We then went straight to Sri Hartamas while they turned left into the Double-hill area. I actually feared for their safety seeing them turning into the secluded Double-hill area at dawn. I hope that nothing would have happened to them.

Run in Group

Arising from the tragedy, it reminded us again that it is always safer for lady runner to run with a running friend, preferably in group and with the presence of guy runners, all the better! The presence of guy runners would be a deterrent to the bad guys before bad intention would be crystallized.

For lady runners who would like to run on Sunday morning, the starting time of Pacesetters runners for 20km training run is usually 6am; 6.30am for 10km run.

What if a new lady runner wants to run from Bukit Aman car park but could not identify any running friend? In this case, pre-arrangement and confirmation are vital. The new lady runner must confirm at least a running friend (can be lady too) even before set foot at Bukit Aman car park.

Alternatively, identify a guy runner who is committed to accompany her to ensure her safety. So, for the guy runners, other than sweating it out during training runs, we have extra social responsibility to perform. The challenges would be how to overcome the differences in running speed for the entire course. Looks like we need to learn some kung fu skills amidst training for runs.

To identify the Pacesetters runners, a new runner could sign on to the Pacesetters Club online website and contact those names whose email addresses or contact numbers are published as an attempt for initial contact. Alternatively, send an email to the macho Penguin Runners or Yours Truly (aka Penguin-1). The email address is located at the left sidebar of this weblog. Currently, Tony (aka Penguin-3) is accompanying a few lady runners either doing the 20km or 10km training runs.

How to locate Pacesetters Club website with ease: In the GOOGLE or MSN (Microsoft) Internet search engine, type “Pacesetters” as search key. Similarly, you can access “KC and the Sunshine Runners” website by typing “Sunshine Runners” as search key.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Run, Therefore I am NUTS

I was lucky. I went to the Subang Jaya library wanted to borrow computer related books. I then spotted this book laying on the shelf. After a closer look, it says, “I Run, therefore I Am -- NUTS, by Bob Schwartz.” Hmmm, sounds interesting. Without hesitation, I borrowed the book.

The whole book is about funny experiences encountered by the author when running the various marathons. I would like to share with all runners some of the funny ideas extracted from this book. This book brings out the humor in situations that every type of runner can relate to:

On African Quotes
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than even the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or gazelle -- when the sun comes up, you would better be RUNNING.

When the author’s wife first read this quote upon arising, she simply stated, “I live in the Midwest. Last I looked, there isn’t no lions or gazelles here. I am going downstairs preparing breakfast while you go ahead and figure out which African animal you are.”

Does Effort Bring Results?
We runners are often bombarded by motivational words seeking to make the meek [mild and patient] into the mighty. Or at least the snail into the gazelle. From Just Do It, to When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Goes Running. We are sold on the premise that effort breeds results.

Preparing for a Marathon
I was about to run a marathon in the heat of summer and I proceeded to drink water, water, water. My activities the day before the race were then confined to either standing in the bathroom or at the kitchen sink re-stocking my water bottles.

Runners’ Spouses
The spouses of runners also realize that sometimes the timing and destinations of vacations are planned solely around an accompanying race. Any form of sightseeing together is on hold until after the race. Saturday night’s meal won’t be at the famous five-star gourmet restaurant in the hotel, but at the all-you-can-eat pasta buffet dinner with free garlic bread at race headquarters.

Runners’ Shoes
Running spouses must also acknowledge that we runners are more concerned about rotating our excessive supply of running shoes than rotating the car tires; we own more waterproof running suits than business suits, and that half our wardrobe has reflective fabric for visibility in the dark.

E=MC Square
But we runners couldn’t care less about energy being equal to mass times the speed of light. We are more concerned with our lack of energy if our mass increases and produces the speed of fright.

Good and Bad News
The first mile marker arrived quickly and the split time provided me with good news and bad news. Good news was that I was 20 seconds ahead of my PR (personal record or personal best, PB) race. The bad news was that I was 20 seconds ahead of my PR best. Marathon anxiety had officially begun.

Traffic Junction
When you are cruising along with the euphoria of endorphins in full bloom, with no hint of fatigue and in no need or desire of a rest, the traffic signals will always be red at the intersection -- requiring you to stop your effortless pace.

Attack by Dog
When the large German shepherd down the street hops his fence and renews his desire to be my running partner by attempting to grasp onto my left thigh.

Hitting the Wall
I eventually appreciated the wall as something other than an album by Pink Floyd. [Note: Pink Floyd is a popular group of singers who produced a famous album called The Wall.]

Not So Scarlet Letters -- DNF
I always had a bite-the-bullet, grit-your-teeth and pound-your-chest approach to racing. I also recognized that there were going to be some race days when the powers that be would determine I had no power to be.

Note by KC: DNS – This is an acronym for Did Not Start. The situation is even worst than DNF (Did Not Finish). At least in DNF, a runner would have tried and is not able to achieve his objective of completing the race. DNS means the runner is never able to make it to the starting line. Of course, we use DNS for showing displeasure of circumstances which stands for “Dew Na Sing”... xx :-))

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Day of Intense Focusing

Special announcement: Sonny Ng, one of the Organizing Committee members for the forthcoming Great Eastern-Pacesetters 30km Run, informed me that that they have sufficient number of volunteers already. Earlier, I published one posting requesting for volunteers to assist in this event. Thank you for your enthusiasm and kindness in assisting to stage this event.

See you this Sunday morning, 22 January, at the Great Eastern-Pacesetters 30km run at Tapak A of Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur.

“I love it when the plan was well executed” this was the signature phrase proudly proclaimed by the Team Leader of a famous TV series “The A-Team” at the end of the show. I was having the same satisfaction on Sunday morning, 15 January, when the Siemens Charity Run was ended.

On that morning, I was able to do a much needed 20km training run with Weng starting from Bukit Aman car park at 5am. When return at 7.10am, Weng was able to continue with his participation in the Siemens Charity Run while I was in time to take photos at The Run.

With the precision timing, I even have sufficient time to take a bath at the Public Toilet of Bukit Aman car park and later changed into a cameraman outfit. Much like the Chinese comedy movie about an ancient scholar acted by Stephen Chow telling his friends that he had taken bath expecting for the next important event.

I realized that taking photos for the Siemens Charity run with the SLR camera was even more stressful than running 20km starting at 5am. By the time I went home at 11am (ran 2 hours; stood 4 hours taking photos), I could feel the tiredness in my legs. I even had a slight headache after repeatedly peeping through the camera viewfinder with only one eye.

It was challenging and quite a complicating process taking action shots as swiftness and quick reflexes were necessary. It was also partly dependant on the responsiveness of the camera. Another delicate situation was changing lens to suit the moment. Overall, the result was fairly satisfactory as the photos turned out clearer this time after I have corrected my previous mistake when taking photos.

At the beginning, I was quite nervous not sure whether I have missed out changing any settings. Imagine shooting a famous runner went past only to realize later that the wrong setting was chosen resulted in less than perfect shots.

Running and taking runners in actions are totally different. In running, we are very focus and we look straight. When photographing runners in action, I have to scan the runners that were approaching, do quick assessment of the situation and decide whom I should photograph as there were many runners.

There were friends whom I missed but there were many who put up their best smiling faces knowing that I took their photos. I was actually standing at the white line (in the middle of the road) taking photos. Luckily no runners knocked me accidentally.

Strategic Location

The crossroads turning into Lake Garden along Jalan Parliament was a strategic location for the Pacesetters runners. After their Sunday morning training runs, it was an excellence idea to set up an impromptu cheering team to cheer for other runners passing by. And that was a perfect backdrop for me when taking photos.

Top runners were really different from the ordinary runners. Before I could even get ready with the camera, the first few top runners, who were all Indian, already went past me. Running with slim bodies, it was amazing that that their strides were wide apart in order to have an edge over another competitor.

Fancy Dress

Kelvin Chow, a Pacesetter running friend, told me that I must take those photos of runners in fancy dress category as I know one of the runners. The first fancy dress contestant that I saw was a small boy in army suit holding a machine gun. Later, I saw a few other lady contestants. The three child contestants were very cute as two dressed in the olden days Chinese Feudal System.

One of the little girls in green thought that I was a reporter and asked me which newspaper she could view her photos. I gave her a slip containing my website address instead.

The cute little girls were seen accompanied by their mothers and maids bearing the bib numbers. I believe the Philippino maids could be the first time taking part in a run in Kuala Lumpur.

We had fun time with Madam Butterfly. When taking photos, she would spread her wings. It was when Kelvin told me that she was actually Amelia.

The fancy dress category really spiced up the occasion though only a segment of the runners have the opportunity to see them running the 2km course. For other runners, they may not be aware that there was the fancy dress category. Bravo to all the fancy dress contestants as they really put in a lot of effort to dress to the occasion.

At Dataran Merdeka

Walking slowly and finally arriving at Dataran Merdeka, I was surprised to see that the area was neatly lined with beautiful flowers in full blossom. The City Hall must have taken a lot of effort to decorate the place with these flowers.

While I was busy taking photos at those colourful flowers, I heard someone was saying: “Take only flowers shots?” I was most glad to see May Ching, who was holding the completion certificate, talking to me. She was very understanding to remind me to take a photo of myself. Looking at the camera counter, I realized that I have taken almost 300 shots of photos for other runners.

Setting up base stations at Dataran Merdaka was a better location to stage the event as the area was spacious and tastefully decorated with plants and flowers. As usual, the runners were treated with the much needed refreshments of Milo and other drinks. There was lots of fanfare with loud music and hype of a typical organized athletic event.

Miss Farah, the Malaysian Idol, was requested onstage to give a performance. It was most delighted to see a fancy dress contestant, Miss Hawaii, to perform a dance accompanied by a Malay senior runner bearing a bib number D50 (similar model number as my Nikon d-SLR). Obviously, the reporters and I were busy taking photos.

The much awaited moments were the announcement of top runners in their respective categories with the prize giving ceremony, and the announcement of winners for the fancy dress category. The champion went to the little girl in green dress. The event ended with lucky draws. Each number has to be redrawn as most of the runners had left the scene earlier.

Judging from the number of runners that ran past me, I think this charity race attracted quite a good turnout and was really successful in meeting the objective. Yes, do our part for charity and enjoy the sporting fun.



Sunday, January 15, 2006

Siemens Run 2006

All photos are ready. Please click here to view Part 2 of the album which consists of another 90 great shots by KC. See whether you can identify where is yours truly.

Please click here to view Part 1 (consists of 115 photos) of the album.


Dataran Merdeka: Those white tents at the background are the base stations for the Siemens Charity Run.

The pretty gals of Pacesetters Club.

A group of Pacesetters runners started their 30km training at 8am. According to Carmen, this is to simulate the actual condition of ending late when running KLIM.
x x

This cute little girl actually asked me which newspaper she can view her photos. So I gave her my weblog address instead... :-)

Yeah, the ideal location for cheering runners passing by.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Training for KLIM 2006

Once again, we gather around to train for the next marathon – Kuala Lumpur International Marathon (KLIM) on 5 March 2006. Running in this marathon has the home ground advantage: the domestic course and hill terrain; the familiar weather and cheering fans. We have slightly less than three months to train (as per original schedule), which is quite appropriate in order to have another smooth run on race day.

I realized that Singapore marathon in December was always affected by the raining seasons whereas KLIM in March is always interrupted by the festive seasons: Christmas, Year-end and Chinese New Year celebrations. Especially with Chinese New Year celebration, training could be affected with Yum Seng from first day till Day-15. I hope we can still run in straight line and our legs would not wobble too much when training during that time.

For those who have done Singapore full Marathon on 4 December 2005, this KLIM will be an extension of another extraordinary feat – aim to run faster with better timing which was not able to fulfil in Singapore due to hot and humid weather conditions. Nevertheless, if the timing is still worst than in Singapore, then one factor is fairly obvious: could be not enough training runs and not because of weather.

For Pacesetters runners, maybe it would be a better idea to submit your registration forms via the Club to facilitate distribution of sponsored running apparels, if any, for full marathon category. Since I started running full marathon in 2004, I have received Adidas sponsored vests and shorts for two consecutive years. In 2004, however, my joy was short-lived when I received the vest and shorts of odd sizes.

Suggested training runs:

January 2006
01 = 20km training run (or Der Pacemakers’ 20km race)
07 = Ambank Circuit Run #2 at Lake Gardens for 20km, or
08 = 20km training run
15 = Siemen Run 10km
22 = 30km Great Eastern Run
29 = Chinese New Year holidays and Yum Seng

05 = 20km training run
12 = 30km training run
18 = Amank Circuit Run #3 at Lake Gardens for 30km, or
19 = 20km training run
26 = 20km training run

05 = Kuala Lumpur International Marathon


1. Starting Time:

20km training run starts at 6am.
30km training run starts at 5.30am.

2. Starting Venue: Bukit Aman car park.

3. Week days: do own training four times a week ranging from 5km to 10km daily.


Monday, January 09, 2006

100 MILES RUN: A Day of Extremes

Note by KC:
For those who run 10km or half marathon, what is stopping you from running a full marathon? For those who run full marathon, do you think that running 42 km is very far? Wait till you hear other runners running in ultra-marathon. Just like the Chinese saying: there is always another mountain higher than the current one.
After crossing the finishing line of the 10km running races organized by FTAAA, Meng would say, “Come on! Let us challenge the 21km race next time.” But I said, “I am too tired at the finishing line and I think I would not have the ability to do another 10km.” The same suggestion and reply were repeated many times. That was in 2003. Prior to that, we have been running 10km races for almost five years!

At that time, running a full marathon was something an unachievable feat to me. The distance of a full marathon is 42 km or 26 miles (1 mile is 1.6 kilometers). Today, this is history. I have run five full marathons since 2004 whereas Meng has done five in 2004; five in 2005 plus one Ultra-marathon and one 24-hour Walk at Genting. According to Meng, this is a natural progression of advancement and we should not just stop at the same level of achievement.

Compare to ultra-marathon, running a single marathon is kiddy stuff. A 100-mile ultra-marathon is equivalent to running four marathons back-to-back, amidst very tough terrain. You think running a full marathon is tough? Then read on ….

Extracted from the book Ultra-marathon Man
By Dean Karnazes

Unbelievable. It didn't seem humanly possible to run 100 miles nonstop, let alone 100 miles through the moun­tains. That's nearly four marathons without rest. To qualify for the Western States, you must complete a fifty-mile race in less than nine hours. Like the Boston Marathon, the Western States only accepts the elite.

The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run didn't start as a run at all; its inception can be traced to a long ­distance horse race, the Tevis Cup, 100 miles through the mountains on horseback. But in 1974, a man named Gordy Ainsleigh changed everything. Gordy had trained relentlessly with his horse for a year, and, as legend has it, just prior to the event his horse came up lame.

Crushed, but undeterred, Gordy announced that he would still be competing in the 100-mile race, only with­out his horse.

This did more than raise a few eyebrows. It was com­plete lunacy. But on August 3, 1974, a bare-chested Gordy Ainsleigh took his place at the starting line of the Tevis Cup alongside a row of horses. Apparently right before the race began, one of his friends was overheard asking him whether he wanted a ham sandwich or a feed bag. Another bystander purportedly asked a race official if the event was reserved exclusively for animals. To which the official replied, "He is an animal."

Amazingly, 23 hours and 42 minutes later, out from the trailhead popped Gordy. He was some­what incoherent and despondent, but still shuffling forward. With a will of iron, he'd covered the entire 100 miles on foot. He even managed to beat a few of the horses.

It was this astonishing accomplishment that ushered in the modern era of ultra-endurance trail running.

Endurance is a relative term. Some might think a marathon, at 26.2 miles, with its two to five hours of continuous pounding to the body, is the ultimate test of human endurance. Hills make the undertaking all the more demanding; the Boston Marathon, for example, includes the infamous “Heartbreak Hill" a climb of 280 vertical feet. That's nearly the length of a football field straight up into the air. It's the vertical equivalent of climbing one quarter of the way to the top of the Empire State Building. Heartbreak Hill can be a demoralizing obstacle that forces many runners into submission, and they walk.

For an ultra-elite group of athletes, however, a single-marathon is child's play. The challenges these individu­als seek are beyond comprehension, bordering on psy­chotic. They participate in endeavors so physically demanding that some have perished in the act.

Near the top of the intensity scale is the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. It involves a total ele­vation change of 38,000 feet, climbing the equivalent of over fifty football fields straight up into the air. That would be like climbing the entire distance to the top of the Empire State Building and back down again—fifteen times! It means climbing and descending Heartbreak Hill not once, not twice, but fifty-six times. For a com­parison of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run and the Boston Marathon, check out the chart below.
The Western States is run on rugged single-track mountain trails with harrowing drop-offs and unpre­dictable terrain. It crosses snow and ice fields, de­scends into murderously hot valleys, fords numerous bridgeless rivers, and offers little in the way of food, water, or medical support along the way. Of those who successfully complete the event—and sometimes fewer than half of the invited athletes do—it typi­cally means twenty-five to thirty hours of continuous running.

Outside magazine once called the Western States the "toughest endurance event in the world." To complete it, your mental resolve must be indomitable. You've got to bundle up self-doubt and fear and stuff them in your shoe, cutting loose your rational mind as your body is pushed to inconceivable levels of endurance. To com­plete the Western States, you must transform yourself into a human machine.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Year's Eve Fireworks Display

To view fireworks photos taken by KC, please click here.
The Y2K
This New Year countdown has a special meaning to me. In my previous New Year countdown, I was involved in the Y2K computer programs bug-fixing project in year 2000. It was a mere coincidence and convenience that the office at Menera TR, Jalan Ampang, was about 500 meters away from KLCC.

At the stroke of midnight, our hearts beat faster controlling the strike of program bugs. For the revellers, their hearts would similarly beat faster as the entire KLCC area was lighted up with a brilliant burst of fireworks to usher in the New Year – the celebrations which brought them there.

The Urge

After buying the Nikon D50 SLR camera on 17 December 2005, I thought that it would be timely to try it out on fireworks photography. With the compact camera, I knew it was difficult to capture the spectacular effect of the fireworks.

On Friday 30 December afternoon, my colleagues and I had our lunch at Alamanda Shopping Complex in Putrajaya. I asked the Information Center whether there would be any New Year’ eve celebration and fireworks display. According to the brochure, the festivities would start at 8.30pm with concert featuring such artistes as GerhanaSkaCinta, Jay Jay, Mirwana, SitiSarah, but did not mention about the countdown followed by a fireworks display. I was most glad to confirm that the fireworks display would be included.

The Preparation

Passing by Almanda, I could see that the stage for concert was already been set up. Further up another piece of vacant land, I could see some barrels that looked similar to the launching pad for fireworks. I was excited. On the way back to office after lunch, I planned out the route so that I could have fast exit after the countdown.

Immediately after work on Saturday 31 December, I rushed to buy an extra camera battery that cost me RM 200. Running out of batter charge in the midst of action would be anti-climax. One of the main activities in the afternoon was to get familiar with various functions of the camera by checking with the camera manual. Of course, I have also asked Jason Lee, who is good in photography, as to what shutter-speed and aperture setting were ideal for fireworks photography shots.

The Scene

I went to Putrajaya with another friend at 10pm. There was a roadblock conducted by police that caused a one kilometer traffic jam. I parked my car by the side of a 3-lane road in the direction to exit Putrajaya.

When we reached there, the concert was already well underway. There were hundreds of thousands people at the open space enjoying the outdoor concert performed by the local artistes. The revellers here were disciplined people but the mood was upbeat. Most of them came to the occasion with their family members and friends to enjoy a peaceful evening watching the performance and to wait for the grand moment.

We walked to the waterfront of Alamanda enjoying the view of water fountain and I was busy taking photographs.

At 11.30pm, we walked to a location next to a road where there was more open space. Seeing there was a concrete man-hole cover, I set up my tripod in order to have a firmed ground. At that moment, the traffic condition was very bad though there was not much honking around. I was waiting for the moment to come.

The Fireworks

At the stroke of midnight, I could hear the countdown from the concert microphone. There were no wild actions such as letting their hair down, dancing and shouting as they ushered in the New Year. I could not hear clearly about the people joining in the countdown as I was getting ready with the camera. “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and the fireworks went off.

Immediately, I was tensed. Since the fireworks were shot in the sky with different heights and different locations, I had a hard time adjusting the vertical and horizontal swing of the tripod while controlling the camera. The bursts of fireworks at the start were smaller. Towards the end, the bursts and the fire trails were louder and intense.

The grand finale showed a few loud bursts with flames interwoven with one another and I felt I was submerged myself in the world of wonderland. After an exciting and spectacular array of fireworks display, good times only lasted for about five minutes. The crowd gave a roar sensing the end of the fireworks display. It was really a spectacular sight worth all the effort to be there.

Immediately, we left the scene amidst a massive traffic jam. We walked to the car which was about 500 meters away and then drove away within minutes.

The Results

I could not contain my excitement and at 1.30am, I uploaded the photos into my PC and started to admire them. I was quite satisfied with the results considering that it was my first time taking fireworks photography. However, there were still rooms for improvement and I need to consult the photography friends to improve on my skills.

A few of the well taken photos showed the bursts of fireworks with nucleus brightly lighted up radiating streaks of red, yellow, blue or green flames against the cool dark night sky. There were many different patterns: birds, spiky sphere, ghostly figures, etc. Of course, there were many unsuccessful shots which I could not catch them.

Reading the Star newspaper on 1 January 2006, I could see that the fireworks display at the KLCC in Kuala Lumpur was much more magnificent. Well, I shall gather a few photography friends to be at KLCC next year to usher in the New Year for 2007.