Thursday, January 28, 2010

Menu sedap April

I am Ecstatic. Bidor Half Marathon and Malakoff Penang 26K are scheduled to be on April. I’ve been waiting for this.
Last year I gave Bidor Half Marathon a pass. Simply, because it was beyond me to run that far. This year, I’ll be in for sure. And so close to home too. ( ok, 2 hours away is nearer that 4 in KL)

And Malakoff Penang was our first road race. But a year back, I only did 6K. Tu pun I remember,when we got home a bit late, my dad was waiting for us,holding the pamphlet of the race and drilled
“How far did you run?”
“ Only 6”
“Phew, I thought you ran the 26 and fainted on the road.”

Now , when I tell him I’m off to do an LSD Of 22K, he just shrugs nonchalantly and say, ” Habisla macam tongkang pecah rumah ni” referring to my kids left behind who tend to trash the house with their toys.

Anyway, told me hub back then that I’ll be back to do the 26. And InsyaAllah, I’ll keep that promise.

Thing is, there’s this issue on this one race in Perak also scheduled this April. The SUUNTO Perak 12H Rogaining Navigation Quest ( there's a mouthful). Hub has been egging me to join him in this one. I don’t know squat about it. All I know, it’s like a road race with compass. I get the idea that it’s like a treasure hunt or something. And it goes on for like 12 hours. Yikes. And possibly involves going to the hutan, which possibly means a possible encounter with snakes and (OMG!) leeches. Double yikes. But it might be fun (?). I heard there's not too many lady participants in these kinds of races before, let alone tudung clad lady participants.

But we’ll see. Maybe after being in a marathon this March, I’ll stop being a wimp and change my mind. I’ll just suck it up and join him. Who knows?

As in now, let’s just count our chicks before they hatch. Or in my case, the chickens haven’t even laid their eggs yet.
But let’s just count anyway.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random babble

I took a one week break from all strenuous activities last week. No running, no cross training, no weights. After last Sunday’s 30 K run, my thighs ached, my calves ached and there was this nagging pain on the top of my left foot every time I walked longer than I should have. So I decided to give it a rest.

And it paid off. Yesterday's run ( late recovery run la konon) was done with no pain whatsoever. Couldn’t say the same for hub though, as two new blisters arose from running barefoot on Bangi’s uneven, pebbled and God-knows-what scattered tarmac. However, due to mostly pigging out last weekend which left us a bit sluggish and slow, the run initially scheduled to be 10 miles was greatly reduced to 10K. Oh, well.

We were in the city again last weekend. Hub had to attend a basic life support course in IJN. This gave me and the kids a full Saturday to jalan-jalan with my siblings. It’s not that we don’t meet often, but other than Hari Raya and the occasional family gathering, all four of us seldom have the chance to really get together like when we were kids. It’s was nice mucking about macam dulu-dulu and squabbling over who gets the bill. My brother lost a bit of weight due to his recent interest in running ( sayalah yang menjadi peracunnya) and cycling. I’m now in a mission to racun him to road race pulak. My younger sis hasn't showed the slightest bit of interest ( but there’s still hope!) and my elder sis still doesn't get the concept of running all that distance without winning anything ( but then, I don’t get her futsall-ing as well ~so we’re even). My ultimate dream is to get them all in the bandwagon, running and road racing. This counts for my brother in law too, once he gets back from UK this March ( he did a few races there already)
Yeahhhh, mari meracun.

Anyhow, training for my first marathon will commence as usual starting this week. No more slacking off. No more pigging out ( yo la tu –oink! Oink!). 2 nights vegetarian dinner a week. LSDs, tempo runs, speed work, cross trainings. I’m just doing what my marathon training book tells me to do. If it requires me to flap my arms every 5K and caw like a parrot, then so be it. And all the while, I’m trying to squeeze in normal life in between, or is it the other way round.

 I won't be participating in Putrajaya Night Marathon. Didn’t even register. The date is too close to my dad’s knee surgery and recovery.
But I will be there for Energizer Night Run. I went gaga reading the pamphlet and saw the line of sponsors. And I could use the Energizer head lamp in my practice.
Which got me wondering: If the marathon is supposed to start at 5pm, the Kenyas wouldn’t get to turn on their lamps at all as they finish 2 hours later.
Shucks. What a waste!

See, being slow ain’t so bad.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hills Schmills- A NB 30K story

First of all, let me get a few things clear. I don’t do hills. I never trained on hills. I have no experience running hills whatsoever.My highest incline set on the dreadmill is only at puny 3. If you think PBIM’s slope as hills, well, they’re merely road bumps compared to the NB Pacesetters 30K route. Hills schmills, I claimed earlier. Me and my big fat mouth. Those hills are really humbling.

My trip to KL started on Friday. My doctor a few days earlier insisted that I take MC for the whole week because of my foot infection but I HAD to work on Wednesday and Thursday due to appointments that couldn't be changed ( sebenarnya boleh je tapi kesian kat patients ).Anyway, My MD made me take Friday off which was fine because I was limping to work anyway plus Hub had to get to Kl early because he had an MDA Convention in Sunway.

I did not run the whole week. Even though, on Saturday the foot felt much better, I couldn't squeeze in a run because it was raining cats and dogs  and my tummy was filled with sate Kajang.

A day before the race- kids were a bit comot after a day at Sunway Pyramid.

On Sunday morning, woke up at 4.30, put on my attire, hauled the kids in the car and got going. Actually, the whole process took a longer time then I initially planned, especially the hauling bit so when we finally arrived at Padang Merbok, it was already 5.20. I practically ran downhill from where our car was parked, got my starting band on in time, fastened the Garmin on, and kissed the kids goodbye. It was all in a blur.

The first hill wasn't a surprise. We went through that hill the day before after finding out that Padang Merbok wasn't anywhere near the Taman Burung despite the name ( but that's another story). After a week of not running, I guess my joints were a bit berkarat. I wasn't even in the first km and already I ached everywhere. Kak Kash berjaya menyayur pada KM ke 2. I couldn't say hi at the time because I was busy trying not to die. Almost everybody whizzed past. And I felt I was left behind in a cloud of dust.

Some of the route we had to go through was poorly lit. No, that's not right. It was pitch dark. And for a rabun ayam person  like yours truly, it was a bit creepy finding out the man thought to be standing at the side of the road all that time was just a tree. And I got jumpy every time anyone jumped out from the bushes from peeing. Jeez.

They talked before the race about double hills. Truthfully, I thought that was all we had to go through. Two hills. Boy, was I a sucker. It was more like a gazillion hills. And when we weren't going uphill, we were going up steep slopes and climbing stairs ( to the masjid-hehe).

You know what's ridiculous? As if those hills weren't treacherous enough, there were road bumps on those hills. ROADBUMPS. On Hills.

Oh I did very well , thank you very much, on flat roads. I smoked downhills. But every time I scaled a slope, everyone I passed while going downhill or on flat grounds managed to catch up. That's how bad I was on hills. And I did what I never done in a road race before. I walked. Gasp! But only on Genting Highland type steep hills. And only because everybody else around was walking. Yep, we mediocre runners walked on hills because it was faster walking in wider strides than running uphill at a pace slower than walking itself.

See, still managed a smile.( tapi dalam hati agak terseksa)

But I'm not complaining. I'm just venting about my slow-poke-ness.  I was happy climbing up that route. I was chit chatting with random people along the way. I smiled mostly throughout the race. The only brief moment my smile faded was the time when I thought there was 1K to go and I quickened my pace to 9 mile/hour and ran and ran and ran for 3 more kilometers right until a big fat signboard told me there were 2 Ks to go and 1 more hill to climb. I was frustrated and had shin splints and was thirsty and only had a few minutes to cutoff time. But I ran into ( no pun intended) this nice girl who gave me some last minute semangat to tread on ( big wave to Natasha!). And when we came to the final run downhill to the finishing line, we mustered enough strength to run togeder-geder with my kids cheering at the side of the road. I finished with 3:55 ( unofficially- lepas tolak masa kat masjid jugak ni hehe). Slow, I know but who cares. At least I finished happy (with new made friends!)

I couldn't stay long after the race. After saying goodbye to Natasha and a nice lady who I met on the road with cute pigtails, I hurried to my family waiting in the car. Hub had to attend the remainder of his convention for the rest of the day.

 The 'can opener'

I belek-ed the medal at my sis' house. She laughed and said " You ran all 30 kilometers just to get this can opener?" . Okay, it wasn't that flashy but the finisher's shirt is niiiceee.

So I did it. I guess I conquered those hills. Although it was a painful first experience and I'm sure I could have done with better timing on a flat route ( you can only wish), all I can say is : tak serik pun.
Give me more hills. I'll be back.

With better training, of course.

And today, I awarded myself with chicken and risotto, pizza, spaghetti and Avatar! 3D Avatar!
Trudy rocks.

Monday, January 11, 2010

No panic button in this contraption.

It's a week from a big race and I have a foot infection. Grreeeaaattt.
I'm now on antibiotics, painkillers
I'm also on 2 days MC ~ shamefully first time I had to take MC in almost 6 years.
So now, no running, no cross training, nothing, nada, takdak apa, yelek.

I'm stuck home watching crap tv ( now I know late afternoon weekday programs are mostly sampah),on the sofa with my legs elevated and walking around everywhere on tippy toes ( hopefully strengthening my calves).
I'm not panicking. Not yet, anyway.
Initially my goal for this Sunday is Race Happy, Race Fast.
Now, I'm good with Race Happy, Race Still Be There When I'm Done.

So for those who are worried about not covering enough mileage, not enough LSD and what have yous.
Bear in mind
Somebody got it far worse, my friend.
And I'm not worried.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy feet?

So on Friday, I felt the chills. I was like shivering in my office, but it was sweltering hot outside and the air cond wasn't turned on. I repeatedly asked my staff ,
" Sejuk tak?"
" Apsal sejuk sangat aa?"
They shrugged. It was 32 degrees outside.
And I felt weak. For no reason. And at the end of the day appointment, I was struggling to get a patient's crown done.
 When I went home, took a couple of PCMs and plonked down on the sofa. I fell asleep immediately. Usually, I'm a light sleeper. But I didn't even stir when hub got back from picking up the kids from the nursery. Sedar-sedar , they were giving me kisses and asking " Are you alright, mama?".

Aiseh, demam lagiii...

The next day (ie today), an LSD is due. Sure, it's tapering week and I only had 12K to do but to think that I had to skip that is just a bummer.
I decided to suck it up. To read that Ann Trason could finish her race with a flu and still get 2nd place is definitely motivating.
So, before bed, I swallowed a couple more PCMs and hoped for the best.

And today I went running. It felt good. And finished with good timing ( by my standards la). The only downer was a HUGE snake carcass beside the road that we had to pass 4 times. Although it was dead, it had an evil glint in his half opened crushed eye. Yeeechhh.

But during running I wondered. How do you run effortlessly? In the book I'm currently reading ( and loving to bits) Born To Run, it tells of these young runners so called The Young Guns and the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico who can easily run long distances, with excellent timing and still smile at the end of the race. I can understand the smile bit but how do you embrace the pain? How do you face the fatigue, welcome it like a long lost buddy and in return, encourage you to run faster?

 Scott Jurek (hub's hero) and Arnulfo Quimare. zaaasss - ye, selaju itu.

 And how come whenever I read in running mags or forums from overseas, it seems like almost everybody can finish sub 5 marathons? And almost everybody there can finish with excellent timing like it's nothing. A fat truck driver, an actor, a teacher, a one legged handicap?
Is it the weather? Is it the genes? Is it attitude? Is it purely mind over matter?


And sure, I understand that I'm only a beginner. I've only started running seriously for like what? 6 months? And I know I can't start too fast, too early, too soon.
But it baffles me.
It baffles me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I tried. to like you

I'm a reader. My top spot in the shopping mall is the book store ( next to kedai makan and the cinema). My almari is jammed with clothes..and books. I must read at least 1 book/novel per month.
So when Runner's World stated that Once A Runner is " The best novel ever written about running " , I knew I couldn't miss out.

Hub felt it was a waste of time and resources to drive all the way to KL to hunt for the book, which he thought we would never find.So he decided to order in online instead, along with some other books he wanted. Hub was so constantly tracking the packages, it drove me nuts.
So when the box finally arrived, we were elated. Got more excited about Once A Runner after opening one of the books entitled " The Runner's Rule Book" which wrote under Rule 1.19 that " If you're a runner, you must love Once A Runner". Here are the excerpts from that 'rule' :

John L Parker's seminal novel Once A Runner, about a young miler named Quenton Cassidy is, uh..seminal.
 This means , basically, that if you are a runner, you must love Once A Runner. There's simply no other option.
 So even if you have never read it, or you tried to read it and frankly didn't care for it, you must speak of OAR in hushed, reverential tones. Here's a few choice phrases to use when discussing the books with fellow runners
" Classic"
" Best book about running ever written"
 You want to tell the truth about Once A Runner? That you made it to page 39, found it dull, and gave up, opting instead to watch some TV?
 Fine. Before you do, know that the federal witness protection program does not cover OAR disparagers. Just FYI.

( I find this hilarious)

Well peeps, I read. And read on. And toiled.
In truth, I tried to like it. Swear I did. But I didn't.
Boringnya, MasyaAllah.

And I got to page 39 and it was still boring so I thought," Maybe it's like this in the beginning and it'll get better" The worse thing is, instead of opting to watch some TV, I considered  finishing off Eclipse. ( which I was also toiling to finish - I find it lame tapi kena habiskan jugak sebab dah beli).

OAR sucked to me probably  because:

1. The paragraphs goes on and on and on describing God-knows-what that you finally forget what the author is trying to say in the first place

2. The storyline is set in the 70's so maybe I couldn't relate ( perasan muda)

3. All the main characters are overachievers who wins at practically every competition they enter.

4. Main characters only care for training, running, training, running. No other interest. Period. No wives, no kids, no other hobbies, no parents, no life. Oh, there's this brief description of some girlfriends, tu pun I guess added as a comic relief ( tapi boring nevertheless)

5. There's this prank the hero played on his nemesis but the author decided to describe the whole thing in one long chapter which is so unnecessary because I dozed off at the end jugak. ( Pranks are supposed to be fun).

6. Major characters all have goals to do sub 4 minutes per mile which made me feel..urm ..uh..a bit insignificant.

And I'm only halfway through.
( And skipped a few pages)

Hubs didn't believe me. He thought I didn't appreciate art. I tried to prove my point by swapping books with him. He was reading Born To Run ( for the 5th time).

A day later I asked his verdict.
" You're right " he said.
" I'm always right" I said.

So now I'm reading Born to Run which is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy better and recommendable.
And I'm only on the 10th page.

P/S Did 22 K for LSD this week.With a flu. Got through it all alive. See, still breathing..hins hins.