Thursday, March 29, 2007

Selected Photos of PACM Dinner

What is your reaction when you see this photo? There is a guard equipped with a walky-talky (though the high-tech communication equipment is out of sync with the theme -- Wild Wild West) securing the door with signs that says:

No Weapons Past This Point!

Beware! Rattle Snakes!

My initial thought was that the organizer really made it look very real to have a guard to bring home the point.
With the "WANTED Dead or Alive" posters all over the wall, the guard could be keeping watch on the most wanted persons.
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When I met Rose, she told me that someone was inside. With the camera in hand, it was like a passport to gain access through the guard. To my surprise, Tony (aka Penguin-3) was in there.


Without doubt, the star or the most attention-grabbing guy was Tony who dressed up as the Red Indian. He was the most suitable candidate due to his height and macho looking demeanour. Before I could finish taking photo for the current table, members from other tables already started to book for his appearance.

Base: Peck Yah, Corrine, Connie
Mid-level: Rose, Carol
Pyramid: Tony


The most appropriately dressed gentleman was Uncle Hooi; lady, Joanne. Photo was taken with the Club President, Mr. Munning.
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By KC

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Slippery Climb

I followed Wendy and Group for a short trip trekking up Klang Gate Ridge on Sunday 25 March at 7:00 a.m. I was undecided at first because I would be attending the Pacesetters AGM and Annual Dinner the evening before. Nevertheless, I accepted the invitation and took the challenge. Though I did not have much sleep, the thought of going back to nature with abundance of fresh air rejuvenated all the tiredness.
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Looking down at the dam from the peak of Klang Gate Ridge.
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Wendy set a fast pace at the start of the climb. Much like running, I am a slow starter that requires warming up to achieve optimum performance later. Fifteen minutes after the fast climb, I was panting and sweating profusely.

The ground was a little slippery after the previous day’s rain. Coupled with the unsteady pace, I actually encountered three slips that I hold on dearly to the roots. Otherwise, I would have sustained bruises, or worst, injury.

To my surprise, our pro, Chef Chan, also slipped. Since he was wearing running shorts, he sustained bruises at his thigh.
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At the peak, we have the usual tea session by courtesy of Wendy. I took the opportunity to ask Dr. Wong, a surgeon who is a friend of Wendy, about my heel pain. So he was giving a free consultation and advice up at the peak.

On the way down, I heard two guys were having conversation along the trail. They were actually Chef Chan and his friend. To my big surprise, Chef Chan slipped again. This time, he got bruises at both his hands. What a day for Chef Chan. He must be off form on that day.

Trekking up Klang Gate Ridge is akin to running from Bukit Aman car park to Sri Hartamas. Both are good training grounds for supporting their kind of sports. However, the elements of risk and danger are present in both venues: a trekker has to be fit and climb with focused attention; a runner has to be fit and alert to avoid tripping on the road or being knocked by moving vehicles.

It is indeed an excellent idea to take up trekking for the recovery of my heel pain. Every time after a climb, I feel much relief at the heel; possibly, it is due to all the stretching when overcoming different contours of the ground.

Next challenge: Sunday 8 April trekking up Gunung Nuang. They actually refuted my claim that “a person who can climb Klang Gate Ridge would be able to climb all hills”. I heard from the pro that Gunung Nuang is tougher than Klang Gate Ridge. A round trip journey would take 10 hours. For that coming trip, we have Tey Eng Tiong, Chef Chan and his friend as the mountain guides. If you are interested to come, do let me know.

By KC



Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Best Action Shot for KLIM 2007

After going through a total of almost a thousand photos from Jason Lee's, WENG's and my photo albums, the nomination goes to the photo below with Chee Wee (penguin-11) and HooCC crossing the finishing line in style.
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The photo shows Chee Wee was proudly giving the thumbs-up while holding hand with Hoo much like the "bruther-in-arms" (comrades-in-arms) who have endure the gruelling distance of a full marathon. Each looked towards his direction addressing the crowd. Chee Wee's expression was like: Yeah, I finally made it to the finishing line; I really felt good about the achievement! And that expression, was captured by the photographer.

This photo was the best in term of content, expression, camera angle, timing, colour tone and sharpness. It shows the main subject being complimented by the background information as two supporters – not blocked and clearly visible – smiling with approval.

Bravo to the photographer: Jason Lee.

By KC

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pacesetters Club AGM

Please click here to view 170 photos taken by KC (AGM and Annual Dinner)

Arriving at the Banquet Hall of Lake Club at around 2 p.m., I was indeed one of the early birds. I saw Munning, Francis Toh, Sook Ying (Club Exco) and quite a number of the members were already busy at work setting up the venue for the AGM and Annual Dinner.


I saw Tammy Lim and her group of runners’ friends were busy setting up the props on the podium and at the entrance. True to the theme, Wild Wild West, the podium was decorated much like the cowboy era – sponsored by her too. They even drag two huge oil drums up the podium.

All members were encouraged to dress up to match the theme. There were prizes for the most appropriately dressed gentleman and lady, prizes were donated by Tammy too.

The “WANTED Dead or Alive” posters with a reward of RM 1,000,000 were pasted all over the venue. I was trying to find my photo hoping to cash the amount.

Together with the hotel staff, all were busy with the duty assigned to them to set up the venue. At that moment, the air-conditioning and the light in the hall were not even switched on yet.

Computer Equipment

I was given the task to attach the PC Notebook and LCD projector and “make them work”. The purpose was to project photos of running events (taken by Chan Wing Kai, Jason Lee and yours truly) for members to view and to bring back fond memories when dinner was served.

What really worried me was that the photos of running events come in four CD-ROMs that I passed to the Club two weeks ago were not copied into the PC Notebook yet. I actually encountered read/write error when the CD-ROMs were constructed at my home PC.

Luckily that there were no errors with the four CD-ROMs and all the photos that were painstakingly identified, selected, rearranged by me earlier were successfully copied into the PC Notebook.

Next hurdle: to set up the LCD projector. I was having hard time connecting the PC Notebook and the NEC LCD projector. After much trying, I was given another newer LCD projector to try on. Bingo! I could see the images were been clearly projected on to the white screen.

Proceedings

While I was busy working on the computer stuff sitting at one corner next to the podium, more members were seen arriving for the AGM at around 3:30 p.m. The AGM was held near the entrance and located at the opposite end of the podium.

I heard from Mr. Munning, the out-going Club President, announced that the turn-up was very good with 140 members attending the AGM as compared to last year, only 20. BTW, every member who attended the AGM would receive a good quality red Brooke T-shirt jointly sponsored by Brooks and the Club.

I could see members from the floor were enthusiastically asking questions while Mr. Munning was able to answer them satisfactorily. The questions asked by the members were varied. Generally, all showed concern for the betterment of the Club. However, one question asked by a senior veteran runner was most amusing: he was correcting the usage of English that an inappropriate “of” was present in the statement.

Swift Decision

I then took my camera and assume the role of cameraman for the Club to record the proceedings of the AGM. While taking photos, I heard my name “KC Leong” was mentioned after the in-coming EXCO was elected. Before I could confirm, I was nominated and seconded. Much like running, Pacesetter members work in a swift manner. I raised my hand to decline but the Parliamentarian said it was already closed.

At that moment, I was thinking very hard much like the new PC Intel Core 2 Quad processor in processing data: do I have the time and effort to assume the committee role and serve the Club. The existing PACM Webmaster role is taking quite a lot of my time – most evening!


Before the committee members were put to vote, I stood firm to decline another time. With my back out, the four nominated committee members automatically became the committee members without having to undergo voting.

New EXCO

Below is the line-up of the new EXCO 2007/2008 for Pacesetters Club:

President - Munning Jamaluddin
Vice-Presidents - Francis Toh Chuan Guan and Rustam Affandi b. Zaihan
Secretary - Tan Swee Huah
Asst Secretary - Jagathasan Naidu
Treasurer - Foo Sook Ying
Asst Treasurer - Tan Pek Moi

Committee Members:

1. Sonny Ng Keng Hoong
2. Aplaidoo s/o Rama Nayadoo
3. Alan Ho Shao Yan
4. John Lee Yeat Lai

We wish that the new EXCO – under the leadership of Mr. Munning – is able to take Pacesetters Club to achieve greater height for another challenging year ahead.

By KC
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Photos from Annual Dinner:
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Crash! Boom! Bang!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Xiamen International Marathon 2007

I am pleased to announce that the following Pacesetters members will be running in the Xiamen International Marathon on Saturday 31 March 2007.


Most of the runners will arrive on Tuesday 27 March for a few days of sight-seeing in Xiamen.
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According to the official web site, the whole course runs largely through scenic sections of the city; flat and large landscaped area. Touted by its organizer that this marathon is among the most beautiful marathon courses in the world.

Hoo Ching Tai is the coordinator for the contingent. He is most kind to be the photographer for this event. The photos will be posted in the Pacesetters Club website.
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We wish you a pleasant journey, wonderful holiday and enjoyable run.

Full Marathon
Hoo Ching Tai
Ong Boon Hin
Sonny Ng
Lim Hoon Joo
Ng Chooi Lin
Amelia Ang
Patrick Lee
Chin Wee Lian
Lee Tat
Hoo Ching Cheong
Kenny Choo
Thong Thiam Wong

Half Marathon
Moira Toh
Ho Yik Tuck
Sharon Yap
Liew Chye Teck

And a few other runners that run 10km.

Note: photos are extracted from Xiamen marathon web site.
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Stay tune... Pacesetters Club AGM and Dinner on Saturday 24 March


By KC

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My KL International Marathon 2007 Experience

Please click here to view 218 photos taken in Weng's new camera. This is the last photo album for KLIM 2007.

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Written by Steven (Penguin-5)

Running the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon (KLIM) 2007 was my most relaxing and easy marathon ever. I believe this is partly due to lack of pressure in achieving good timing. Since I have not trained much for this marathon, my goal was to complete the race – Yes, within qualifying time!


I set my priority target in finishing this race with lesser knees pain and minimal leg muscles cramp. Running a few marathons before, I know the equation well: no training, more pain; consistent training, lesser pain.

In this run, I paced with Weng. In fact, we have violated the Race Rules # 13 – Pacing is prohibited! We both agreed that we would brace the distance and finish it together. When either one of us stopped, the other would walk.

Weng was also under-trained for this marathon. The longest yard that he trained was 20km about two weeks ago. This time, Weng was running without his Nikon compact camera; instead, the usual left arm was strapped with a MP4 player to add entertainment while running, partly also that it looks trendy.

My longest distance in training was 14km on recent CNY eve morning. As such, I was qualified to receive the pre-awards “Under-trained for Marathon” also.
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I did prepare to avoid knees pain and legs muscles cramp a few days before the D-day. These are the two simple procedures that I prepared to avoid the pains and cramps: (1) Drink a lot of water to keep the body fully hydrated three days before the race. Drink water even I don’t feel thirsty. Go to the toilet as many times possible – it is crucial because it will drain out the lactic acid that was accumulated in the body. (2) One day before the race, rest more – especially the legs.

Amazingly, I finished this marathon with no knees pain and legs muscles cramp – at all! Seems like my preparation a few days before the marathon was actually working.

It was a totally different story for Weng. During the race, he claimed that this marathon was the toughest ever. Weng has to brace through the distance with legs and toes cramp. He hit the wall as early as at 20km mark. Since then, he has to gear himself up through this cycle: run-stop-cramp-walk, and run-stop-cramp-walk, and run-stop-…

At 30km mark, the exhausted Weng claimed that luckily he did not bring the camera along; if not, the weight of the camera would surely burden him more.

We crossed the finishing line with a timing of 5 hours 45 minutes. It was an achievement. We felt good having to complete the marathon. We were put to test the elements of life: We encouraged each other. We braced through the heat. We shared the pain. We conquered the distance. And we came back to the finishing line – together, as brothers.

By Steven

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

KLIM 2007 - The Journey Continues

Please click here to view Part 3 (final part) of 126 photos taken by Jason Lee.

Tomorrow - stay tune for photos from WENG's new camera.

Phuket International Marathon on 17 June 2007. Please click here to visit Pacesetters Club Website for more details. USD 10 discounts to Pacesetters members.

The photos below were specially selected from Jason Lee's KL International Marathon (KLIM) 2007 three photos albums.


The Most (comrade-) "bruther-in-arm" Runners - CC Hoo and Chee Wee (penguin-11).
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The Most "Hair-raising" Runner

The Most Determined Runner - Narumol is a seasoned marathon runner from Bangkok. She missed the flight and arrived at Dataran Merdeka just in time to run the full marathon. The ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality of a true runner. Bravo!

Please click here to visit her weblog on running.

The Golden Girl Runner - Christine

Monday, March 19, 2007

KLIM 2007 - The "Most" Awards

Please click here to view 176 great photos (Part 1) taken by Jason Lee using Nikon dSLR D80, Nikkor lens 70-200mm f/2.8.
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Please click here for Part 2 (138 photos) taken by Jason Lee.


Jason Lee in action. Special thanks to him for volunteering his time, effort and expansive photographic equipment.
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Stay tune for Part 3.

Stay tune for photo album taken by WENG.

Note: Photos below are specially selected from KC's Kuala Lumpur International Marathon, KLIM 2007 photo album.
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The Most Vibrant Runner - Moira.

The Most Well Toned Runner

The Most Well-built Runner - Men Veteran Category

The Most Revealing Runner

The Most Graceful Runner - Chantelle

The Most Well-built Runner - Ben (Men Open Category)

The Most Attention Grabbing Runner



The Most Intense Runner - Miss Wong

The Most Jubilant Runner - Jason Chin a.k.a Penguin-12


The Most Happy Runner - Rose

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pine Tree Trail in Fraser's Hill

Please click here to view 36 photos taken by KC.

“Hey! Are you having a Trekker’s High?” Mary was asking Wendy – who was leading the pack – after hearing her talking to insects. At about 30 feet apart, we could not hear what was exactly said. Ah... Ha! a Trekker's High! Being a runner, I hear of “Runner’s High” all the while and even experiencing it myself.
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On Sunday 11 March 2007 while trekking up Pine Tree Trail of Fraser’s Hill, a trekker’s high was something new to me. The similarity was that both types of “high” enable an affect person to talk a lot. Located at 1,500 meters above sea level, Fraser’s Hill is indeed, quite high.
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Stand: Ann, Ooi, Mary, Iris
Front: KC, Wong, Wendy.

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We started our journey from Kuala Lumpur at 6:00 a.m. There were two MPVs each driven by Wendy and Ooi; four trekkers in each vehicle. The team members were: Wendy, Wong, William, Ooi, Mary, Ann, Iris and I. At Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB) new village, we stopped for simple breakfast at a residence-cum-coffee shop located just 10 feet from the road en route to Fraser’s Hill.

While passing through winding and mountainous slopes, we were enthralled by the morning mist and cool fresh air. We arrived at the start of the Pine Tree Trail at 9:00 a.m. When we alighted from the vehicle at a small vacant land in front of Admiralty Bungalow, it was quite cold and with raindrops keep falling on our heads. A close inspection at the surrounding, we realized that the raindrops were actually dews gathered on the leaves above us swaying and dancing to the tune of cool breeze.

After taking a few group photos, we began our trekking trip. I must be naïve to think that the start of the trail is a well-cleared path. To my surprised, the start of the trail was just next to a signboard, and it was cleverly and partially hidden by the scrubs.

The Trail

The trail leads through beautiful cloud forests filled with wild flowers amid refreshing cool breezes and drifting mists. The 6-km one-way trail here was mostly earth-based type of terrain covered with dried leaves and often, blocked by fallen tree trunks and branches. Depending on the obstruction, trekkers either squeeze underneath, or climb across. Most of the time, it was like strolling in the park, if a trekker is not in a hurry.

This path is not a continuous uphill trail from base to the peak. Instead, trekkers have to overcome a few hills that gave the opportunity to go uphill and then go downhill to reach the peak.

After two downhill, we passed by a dense scrubs area. The trail was almost overgrown with scrubs and the trail was not clearly visible. I presume if nothing were done to it, the trail would be vanished by the encroachment of scrubs and plants. Other than this area, the trail was clearly visible and side trails were thoughtfully blocked by other trekkers by placing dried branches across.

Wendy related to us a funny story that one of her friends in another earlier trip, upon seeing the dried branches, commented: “who is so inconsiderate blocking the path with dried branches”; removed them, walked into the blocked path, and only to realized the meaning later after encountering vanishing trail.

According to the brochures, there was a waterfall along the trail but we did not know the way. Anyway, that was not part of the objective.

I was trekking behind Ann, a Scottish lady. While we tackled those difficult uphill climb, she told us that her friend recommended her to come as “Pine Tree Trail is just like Gasing Hill in Kuala Lumpur, with one or two extra steep slopes”. We have a good laugh. We all know that Gasing Hill only have a few gradual uphill and the Pine Tree Trail is much tougher to trek.

While I was trekking behind her, there was one elastic branch with thorns blocking her way. So she has to flex and push it away but the rebound hit me at the right distance behind. So I fine-tuned the distance so as to ride on the same wave in case there was another spring back from thorny branches.

While I was up there being riveted by the abundance of cool fresh air, I did think of my runners’ friends who were running in tunnel competing for air in the SMART Tunnel Run (Kuala Lumpur) on the same morning.

After about half hours’ walk, I began to feel warm and started sweating even though the air was cool.

Wild Plants and Insects

There were many wild plants along the way. The one that caught our attention was a unique plant that shaped like a lollypop. When it was young, it is light green; but a full-grown plant was very hairy and grows as high as 10 feet tall.

There was one very short plant with only a bright red flower hiding among other wild plants. Another interesting plant that bears fruits that looks like pineapple.
We saw a huge millipede and a colourful centipede along the trail waiting there motionless.

Leech – surprisingly, only two were detected by other members. Wearing thick long pants, I actually could not know whether I was attacked by leeches.

The Peak

Many of the slopes are quite gradual and comfortable in climbing. However, the final ascent was steep and slippery with ground covered over with moss where one has to cling to roots and considerately provided ropes.

We reached the peak at 11:45 a.m., after a 2.5-hour’s walk. The peak of Pine Tree Hill is a small clearing surrounded by shrubbery with slight tapering at the tip, much like a bald-headed man with hairs at the side of the head. This spot can also be used for camping. It was fairly clean compare to peak of other hills with only a few discard plastics bottles and a little rubbish were dumped nearby.

It was quite a view to behold admiring the mountainous ranges. Without waiting further, we took out all our food for an early lunch. As usual, Wendy would assemble the burner and started boiling water. It was so kind of her to make drinks for all. Wendy’s lunch was most delicious as she packed the “kon lou mee” (noodle with black source) from the coffee shop that morning. And she cheerfully showed us the delicious noodle trying to entice our appetite. We spent about 45 minutes at the peak enjoying the sight, serenity and the good company.

The Smokehouse

The returning journey took longer time as one of the group members encountered knee pain. We accompanied him to give him the necessary support, and we have more time enjoying ourselves with the lively and humorous conversation. We returned safely to base at around 4 p.m.

After we washed and changed our clothes, we proceed to have our afternoon tea at The Ye Olde Smokehouse, about a kilometre downhill. Sitting at the garden with ambience that resembles the English countryside, it was indeed a nice and pleasant experience sipping tea, eating the famous scone with butter, cream and jam while relaxing and admiring the scenic surrounding amid laughter.
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L-R: William, Wendy, Wong, Ann, Iris, Ooi, Mary.
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Conclusion

This is a fun and challenging trail for those who enjoy trekking. It is not too difficult and it is good even for beginners who are fit.

I truly enjoyed myself in this trekking trip. This trip was truly memorable. I guessed it must be the mist, mountain coolness, abundance of laughter, good company and “trekker’s high” feeling.

I hope to return for another trekking trip there before we depart for the great Nepal 17-day trekking trip starting 23 May. Incidentally, the previous time when I went up Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia was the champion in Thomas Cup final – that was 15 years ago. And this time, Malaysia clinched the men’s double champion title in the All-England badminton. Yeah, I should go up Fraser’s Hill often.

By KC

Please click here to read "Invitation to a Great Trekking Trip in Nepal". Scroll down the postings to 10 January 2007.
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Footnote on Trekker’s High: Wendy accidentally stepped onto a wounded butterfly and she asked for forgiveness, almost apologetically.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Rousing Send-off

Dr. Tan and Ngae - full dress rehearsal at Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday 11 March 2007.

After months of hard training, Ngae KH and Dr. Tan are ready for the Sahara Desert Ultramarathon challenge.

They will be at KL Sentral Station, MAS check-in counter at 6.30pm, Saturday 17 March 2007. So see you guys there for the support.

They will be flying off on 17 March 2007 night -- the night before KL International Marathon. The runners’ friends have suggested to give them a rousing send-off at KL Sentral at 6:30 p.m. They will board the train at 7.30pm to KLIA.

There should have plenty of time for runners and friends to go back and sleep early to get up for KL International Marathon next morning.

Besides family and friends, Hospis Malaysia's representatives will be there; maybe reporters too. There will be a 15-foot long banner with Hospis Logo and runners’ photos. Caption: "First Ever Malaysians to run Sahara Desert Ultramarathon in aid of Hospis Malaysia".

For the photo session, all Pacesetters runners are suggested to wear the yellow Pacesetters T-shirts for uniformity.
A participant carries his own water and food.

One for the album - Ngae with friends and Pacesetters members.

Photos are by courtesy of Chan Wing Kai and Jason Lee.