Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Melaka Half Marathon

All photos are by courtesy of Jason Lee.

Please click here to veiw Album 1 - 145 photos

Please click here to view Album 2 - 96 photos

Note: press F11 key to expand viewing area; press F11 key again to return.

Work is in progress to process WENG's photo album; ready on Wednesday evening.

Famous landmark - Christ Church (or Red Buildings) at Melaka

Pacesetters runners

The Kenyan and local runners keenly compete for top positions?

Yeah! I am feeling good, how about you?

Many Kenyan runners are attracted to this race which is bad news for the local runners

In razor-sharp focus

Lee Yee Hua

Steven, Weng and Rustam

Jason Lee in action

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Just Do It - SIM 2007


My fingers trembled and my heart beat very fast. I missed a few beats when I finally pressed the final “Enter” button to register for Singapore International Marathon 2007. My fingers were trembling not because of steep payment but the thought of my maiden attempt in running a full marathon. To calm myself down, I went for a run in the evening.

It is a commitment which I hope I will succeed in achieving after many, many months of thinking and rethinking and reading all the possible books I can read (without actually training for the full marathon).

So far, I have a done a few half marathons. It may sound far fetched to upgrade to a full marathon so soon. But too much analysis will lead to paralysis. Nike’s advertising slogan “Just Do It” has helped to galvanise my action.

I have downloaded the training plan from Runner's World. They have a very comprehensive plan that can be customised to a runner’s needs - just go the run trainer of something like that and key in one’s recent time (I keyed in my timing for last year’s SIM half marathon) and also the intensity (light/moderate/intense) and how much is current mileage.

The plan requires me to run three times a week (some cross-training in between if required) with long run on Saturday, tempo/quick runs for a weekday and also recovery run. I have always only been able to train three days a wee, and I did my best time three years ago (around 2:09 for half marathon) with the exact same regime (scaled down for half). I intend to train for a 4th day short run if possible and whenever I can.

I have decided to run the full marathon for a cause or a charity (I have yet to decide on the cause or charity) and will ask a few good friends if they will sponsor RM1 or more for each kilometer that I run!

First Long Run – The programme only said about 13 km at a slightly slower pace. My shoe pod was quite good in estimating my pace so I actually have to slow down on some occasions as I was running a little too fast. That must be the excitement of taking the first steps towards the marathon training. I finished the run with a smile and feeling happy. I think I can make it. But this is just the beginning, many more weeks to come along and lots more mileage to build up. I just hope that there will be no injuries or set back in my training programme.

By MMR (a Maiden Marathon Runner)

Note by KC: I am quite excited also after reading your email that you have signed up for full marathon in SIM this year. Congratulation! If we don't act now, when are we going to do one? Nothing is impossible, if only one has the focused mind, the commitment and the perseverance in arriving at the goal. BRAVO to you!! I believe in you and you will cross the marathon finishing line at SIM on 2 December 2007.

You need to run a marathon in order to understand what it is like to subject your body and mind for hours of gruesome condition. Listerning and experiencing a marathon is different – it is like describing colour to a blind person.

After you have completed your full marathon, you will command respect from your friends or colleagues. When the phone in your office rings, with a triumphant and firm voice, you can then say: "This is MARATHONER so-and-so speaking; how can I help you?" The word "can" is used and not "may" to emphasize the “keng chow” (noble) feeling.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An Unhurried Lady Runner

Photos are by courtesy of Weng, Tey Eng Tiong and his friend.

What an exceptional feat for a somewhat late bloomer: Ran four races in four different locations in four consecutive Sundays! Though the number does not sound auspicious in Cantonese, but this runner was more than contented to conquer the distances in decent time and form – in each of these races!

These races comprised of a full marathon, two half marathons and a 10km run. I am pleased to introduce this lady runner – Geraldine.

Geraldine (left) at Seremban Half Marathon

Here are the four races that she ran recently:

(1) Penang Bridge Marathon on June 24 - 20th position; her maiden full marathon with an extra gold medal.

(2) Ipoh Half on July 1 – 15th position. She won a little cash prize which helped in paying off the hotel and car expenses.

(3) Siemens 10km Run in Kuala Lumpur on July 8 – she ran in 12th position.

(4) Seremban Half – she secured 3rd position, her best result so far.

As you can see, those were the remarkable results: 20th, 15th, 12th and 3rd. I guess if there is the fifth consecutive race, she may come in either second or first. Her position is improving in every race.

Penang Bridge Marathon on June 24, 2007 – promoted to Orange Bib (full category)

Okay, I have asked the following questions and I am sure you are interested to know too:

What was your feeling when you receive the prizes?
[Geraldine] Not delirious though the heart was singing with joy. I was calm, collected and wondering how much the lottery prize was! Hee! Hee!

How is your training in order to run that fast?
Foremost, it is important that I continue and love to run. There is no specific training. I just run when I feel good and strong. I was supposed to be more of a recreational runner, then again, a treat or two among the many races is not a bad idea. Now that I run with the Saturday LSD group, we catch up with each other during the long distance which turns out to be fun and worthwhile to wake up in the wee hours of the morning.

Geraldine in SMART Tunnel Run on 11 March 2007
What is your plan to improve in your timing?
Only way to improve is to do speed runs. This is physically and mentally tough. Though I did not put myself through this strenuous regiment, I do hope to be galvanized into this rigorous routine once I get the hang of it. Then again, it is hope to.

Any special diet (this could be a trade secret and you may not want to reveal)?
No special diet since I’m not a professional athlete. With age and vigorous activities, I do religiously consume the gamat gel (sea cucumber) to build up collagen and lubricate the joints in the body. More for preventive and maintenance measures.

30km LSD

P.S. She said that once I have posted the report, she will have to go incognito.

[I have checked the dictionary. It means “someone who is using a false name or wearing a disguise, in order not to be recognized or identified].

BRAVO Geraldine! Here wishing you more podium appearances in your future races.



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My First Trekking Trip

By Josie Yap

Finally! After viewing so many photos of trekking trips posted by KC in his website, I embarked on my first trekking trip on Sunday 22 July. Of course, I never thought that my first trekking trip would be to clean up Lolo Campsite which is a 2-hour journey from the Gunung Nuang entrance.x
Chai Mey, Chee Sum, Mandy and Josie
The mission: to survive my maiden trekking trip without being attacked by those blood thirst leeches lurking and waiting for its victims. Yes, I am one of those who are terrified of bloodsucking leeches. Eiiikkk!!!

The atmosphere was great and full of excitement with everybody eagerly waiting for the event to start. One would think it is like going for a major shopping spree armed with good quality plastic bags distributed by the organizer. After waiting for more than an hour, we finally started off into the trekking path at about 8.50am.x
Yeah! A journey of a thousand steps begins with this first step... Rose, Josie, Chee Sum
I have no difficulty at all keeping up with Rose, an avid trekker and also a runner. We chatted non-stop even when we were breathing slightly hard going up the slopes. My friends on this trip, Chee Sum and Mandy were with me most of the time trekking up to Lolo Campsite. We laughed every time I mentioned the word ‘leech’. Apart from some muddy spots and slippery paths, it was relatively easy. Thank you to those kind-hearted gentlemen who helped us to cross the muddy paths and streams by laying bamboo and stones on wet grounds.x

We reached the Lolo Campsite at around 11.00am and continued to trek further up till we found a spot where we started to look for ‘treasures’ to put into our plastic bags. Satisfied with our best effort to clean up the spot, we began our descent with the extra weight.x
Proudly showing the "treasure"
Going down the hill was challenging having to carry the “treasure” for about two hours’ walk. KC joked that if we find the rubbish too heavy, we can treat it like 70% discount good buy from the Mega Sales. The thought of having a fantastic bargain would ease the load… ha ha. Yeah, that’s an encouragement plus the growling sound coming from our stomach spur us back to the entrance in a fast and furious pace.x
It is a long, long walk to base carrying the extra load

What a welcoming sight to see the entrance again! Passing by the Vico van which distributed free drinks, I immediately gulped down three cups of cold drink to quench my thirst. We sat down later to enjoy the vegetarian chicken rice for lunch distributed free by the organizer. There were lots of rambutans and langsat for dessert, but no durian.

Mission accomplished without any bruises or scratches apart from the muddy shoes. Most important of all, I survived my first trekking trip without donating any blood to leeches. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. If not for the rain that pours down almost immediately after we left, we would have stopped by the road side and eat durians!x

The Morning After: Arrgh! Muscle aches....feels like I have just ran Half Marathon the day before. But it is a good feeling. Definitely this will not be my first and the last trekking trip. Thanks to KC for informing us about this mountain clean up project.

By Josie Yap

Note by KC: I was not so lucky. I was bitten by three leeches: one on my left leg and another one, which is unusual, on my lower chest. After having been bitten a few times in other trekking trips, I am used to seeing blood stain – the artwork left by the leech.

When I took bath at home, I saw my underwear (that I changed after returning to my car) was stained with blood. Gosh! That worried me! It was too close for comfort – I hope the leech did not wander to unauthorized zone. That was the first time that leeches have climbed to my upper body.

I reckoned that it must be when I took photos, there were times that I squatted down to get better angle. The leeches must have crossed over when my body was in contact with grasses or leaves.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Camp Lolo Mountain Clean Up

Please click here to view 105 photos taken by KC.
Remember to click F11 key to expand viewing area and to externalise the caption. To return, press F11 again.
Evie Chen (left) and her group of trekkers

Yours truly with the "treasure"

Good turn-up
According to the organizer, there are 700 participants registered for this initiative

Christine, Tammy, Rose - Going shopping?

Free wholemeal bread for breakfast
We care for the environment

Start of the trail

ChanWK is 3rd from right

Yes, this way to Camp LoLo

Treacherous path

Yes! Yes! Yes! We found a piece of rubbish

Evie was guiding the environmentalists in crossing the stream. The gentleman on the left was most helpful in laying bamboo and stones on wet ground.

Hooi Ling - picking up litter

Sharon Cheah and Tammy - good team work (so is red and yellow)

Mandy, Choy May, Josie Yap - job well done!

The guys are also proudly showing their 'find'

The stream at Camp LoLo - all busy looking for rubbish

Lunch is served - Vegetarian nasi lemak and chicken rice with lots of rambutan and langsat for dessert.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Prelude to Mountain Clean Up at Camp Lo Lo

Josie, a Pacesetters runner who works in one of the leading banks, called me in highlighting her concern. When she telephoned the organizer to register for the Mountain Clean Up project at Camp Lo Lo of Gunung Nuang this Sunday morning, 22 July, she was told that the response was very good – more than 300 participants have signed up for this special initiative.

Her concern is that there will be more people than rubbish there. So I jokingly told her that instead of competing for the medals and trophies (as in running), we will be keenly competing for rubbish.
Special T-shirt for the occasion
Another runner said there should be a competition to weigh the amount of rubbish collected to determine the Champion Team. Wow! Even collecting of rubbish can be quite fun and exciting.

Just in case that there is not much rubbish to “scavenge”; we will just have a picnic at the stream next to Camp Lo Lo. Bring along towel and swimming gears. Well, remember not to leave any rubbish behind.

Another runner asked me why we have to pay RM 10 to collect rubbish? We should be paid instead. That was a good question. Anyway, just treat it as a good reason to go for an outdoor activity. We should "thank" the inconsiderate campers or holiday makers for creating the mess up in the hill who think that it is their right to live and dirty the Earth. But then we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children (this phrase is borrowed).

In my opinion, RM 10 is justifiable as the organizer provides a nice T-shirt, breakfast and lunch to ensure participants are well taken care of in case much energy is required to bring down the rubbish. I am not sure whether the King of Fruits – durian – is part of the menu as I heard that it will be vegetarian dishes.
Camping at Camp Lo Lo

Weng was most kind to help me registered and collected the T-shirt at the Centre in SS2 area. Seeing him registered for 10 participants, the person manning the centre was curios to ask him how he came to know of this event. Weng replied: It is a long story. In reality, Ms Evie informed Chong YF who then informed me; and I informed Weng.

Latest news: Chan Wing Kai, Pacesetters Club photographer, will be going too. He will be taking photos. We may even have photos for the most beautiful or handsome participants in action.
How to Go There:

For those who need direction to arrive at Camp Lo Lo of Gunung Nuang, here is the plan: ChongYF and I will be waiting at the Petronas station on the left side of Cheras-Kajang Highway. It is located 500 meters after Plaza Phoenix in Cheras (traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Suntex or Ulu Langat direction).
We will then go in a convoy latest by 6:45 a.m. SHARP. A 5-minute briefing will be conducted starting at 6:30 a.m. to brief you the route. Note: a 7-11 convenient store is located just next to the Petronas station.

Let us keep the environment clean. See you on Sunday morning.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Seremban Half Marathon

By Chee Wee (P11)
Photos are by courtesy of Tey Eng Tiong.

The Seremban Half marathon race was a superb one. Other than my deteriorated finishing time, the overall organizing capability by the organizer was demonstrated as a good race event. Besides, the weather in the morning was most pleasant for staging a great run.

Last year, our Tony P3 gave it a nickname, the Camel Race for lack of water stations; but it was totally a different scenario on Sunday 15 July. The water and sponges stations were located at every 5km distance. Last year, there was only one water station located at 10km mark. What an improvement!

Few of us realized that it was not necessary to carry our own water bottles in running that race. If we would have known the well-organized water refreshments set-up, we would prefer to run without the water bottles. Then, we would experience the freedom of running.

Jason Chin (p12)
Let us share the joy that Jason Chin’s (P12) girlfriend, SB Lai, won the cash prize and medal, as well as Mr. Chin. Now, they are in the "cari makam" group. Congratulations and Bravo!

Being able to go up the podium is a very strong motivating factor to train harder and improve in the timing. Let us hope that there will be more opportunities for them in other races.

SB Lai
About 200 meters to the finishing line, I was running with an exhausted body. I was pleased to see our dear friend, Tey Eng Tiong who was most kind in taking my photo. It was like magic and I was charged up instantly to put on my best smile. I would like to thank him for being there to give me a strong support and an encouragement to continue with my final push to cross the finishing line.

Chin YH - unique hairstyle

In spite of my running with cough & running nose, I was glad to complete the run together with Penguin-2, Penguin-12 and other friends. We indeed missed the other Penguin runners who could not take part in that run.

Chee Wee (p11)
My upper shoulder is still in pain the following day besides the sore legs muscles – this is due to insufficient training. One thing is certain in running: we can't fool ourselves as the results or outcome depends on the amount of effort that we have put in. The runners that run faster than us simply because they train harder than us.

By Chee Wee (Penguin-11)