Friday, December 7, 2012


Serius malas lari hari ni

Bila aku balik rumah aku teringat janji nak lari hari ni. Last time lari hari Isnin. Selasa sampai Khamis busy sebab outstation berkursus.
Kat hotel tempat berkursus, tiap-tiap hari lalu tepi gym dia. Nampak treadmill dia menggoda je. So aku buat janji, balik hari Jumaat,  first thing after work I'll get up on the mill to run.

Tapi bila balik je, banyak betul idea setan nak divert attention aku.
Penatla ( walhal tak penat pun)
Senak perut la ( takde la sangat)
Garmin tak jumpa la ( semenjak dua menjak ni memang tak guna pun)
Lapar la ( memang selalu pun)
Nak kalut apa, hang tu bukannya nak race pun ( ha, bab ni memang betul)

Tapi aku tengok treadmill tu dok tenung semacam je kat aku.
Aku buat derk pun dia dok usha jugak.
Aku naik atas , Runner's World pulak dok jegil. Bila aku flipped the cover down, muka belakang pulak ada gambar kasut  lari.

Bila bukak komputer jangan cakap la. Secara otomatis je benda-benda running berceragah depan mata.
Sabar je la.

So the treadmill won.
And after 32 minutes, I guess I feel better.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

To Shed Some Light

This is an excerpt of Runner's World 2010 interview with top women marathoners Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher during their 5th month of pregnancy. Some parts of the interview has been omitted because it tends to drag on.
Let's make it more merepek with me imaginary butting in, in that same interview with my answers that hit home ( and let's face it, makes more sense)

RUNNERS WORLD: How are your pregnancies going?

KARA GOUCHER (KG): Because this is my first pregnancy, I didn't know what to expect. During my first trimester, I felt tired and nauseous, but usually 10 minutes into a run, I'd feel better. By the fifth month, I felt great—I was able to train twice a day and lift weights three days a week. But priorities definitely have shifted. Training isn't about staying fit as much as staying sane.

PAULA RADCLIFFE (PR):You don't understand what tiredness is until you are pregnant. No matter how tired you might feel at the end of a marathon or a hard training week, it's nothing to how tired you are in that first trimester.
 Like Kara said, running now is about staying sane, but it's also keeping yourself fit because that's what we do, and also because all of the research says that it's good for the baby, too. It's hard when people say, "Are you sure you're doing the right thing? What if you're shaking that baby to death?" That worried me the first time. I'm more relaxed this time.

JJ: Train twice a day? I'd be lucky if I can get 4 decent 30 minute workouts in a week ! But I'm lucky because nobody comes to me and ask "  "Are you sure you're doing the right thing?" because I don't really sell it to people close to me that I'm still running and doing some strength training.They'll throw a hissy fit definitely.

Any food cravings?

PR: I crave food in general. I have to have something before I run, and I have to eat as soon as I come back. I've always got energy bars or nuts or fruit or something in my bag.

KG: I've been craving dairy. Cheese and yogurt—I don't know why. My husband told my strength coach that I've been keeping Ben & Jerry's in business.

JJ : Did I mention before that I'm hungry all the time. Whenever I go to shopping malls or restaurants, I'd be like " Ooh, that looks good," or " I gotta have some of that" and most of the time I have no idea what they are. On that note, are you going to finish those fries? If not..

Has your training changed?

KG: The intensity is so much less. Track sessions now are fun. Instead of doing 8 x 1600, we're doing 200s, or if I am doing mile repeats, they're on an AlterG [antigravity treadmill, which reduces the body weight of the runner]. We're working out twice a day, but it's not like we're going to the well every time. In the morning I'm running an easy 45 minutes to an hour, and in the afternoon I'm just on the elliptical for 30 minutes. I also have access to an underwater treadmill. I think I'm going to be shifting more and more to using that for my second daily workout. That might sound like a lot. But for us, that's scaled back quite a bit.

PR: I've scaled back mileage-wise about 50 percent. I'm not even adding it up. In terms of intensity, it's hugely scaled back. I'm doing maybe one rep session on the AlterG once a week and then something on the track, but really short, like 150, 200, or 300 meters. I'm not trying to hit times; I'm trying to just run and feel good.

JJ: (Rolls eyes) Pengsan! I'd be lucky if I was doing what they're doing when I wasn't pregnant. Gile.
I like to say what I do now is running, but it's more of an awkward shuffling motion. But I guess at least I'm moving. And kebende tu AlterG? Aku kenal Kenny G je. Tu pun taim kecik-kecik. Ade -ade je la korang ni.

How has your pace changed?

KG: It's hard to tell what our pace is. The last time I did a hard session on the AlterG, I put the weight at 128 pounds (which is still more than I would normally weigh), but I was still able to do a six-mile tempo at 4:55 pace, and it felt so great. The next day when I ran outside, I was running only 7:30s, and that felt really hard. But there are days when I can run under 7:00. It's not this steady decline—I still have great days, but then I also have these amazingly awful days. There's no control over it.

PR: To be honest, it just doesn't matter. I've got no idea about pace.

JJ: Kan? Aku sekeh jugak minah Kara ni kang.
I don't run with my garmin. My treadmill hasn't been calibrated in years. So I have no idea of my pace. I run by feel. If my tummy feels heavy or there's a strain, I walk.

How have people reacted toward you—and your bumps?

KG: I was at the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego, and I did a little talk and then met with people afterward. And there was a lot of belly-touching. I was like, Wow, we're that close? I love meeting people and they're so friendly; it's just something I'm not used to yet. It threw me for a loop. And then one of my neighbors pulled up the other day and she's like, "Make sure you don't lift anything—a friend of mine went into labor early because she lifted a box." I know she meant well, but she would drop dead if she could see me in the weight room, because I'm still squatting, and throwing medicine balls, and doing everything I did before. Some people are shocked. But our bodies are used to working hard, and I'm not doing as much as I normally did. It's just all relative.

PR: You feel like saying, I'm not sick. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm just pregnant. Even people I know really well will come up and say, "Are you still able to run a bit?" And then they'll see me on the track and say, "Should you be doing that?" And I'm like, yeah, 'cause if you look at how slow the times are compared to what they've been before, it's not really comparable at all. But at the same time, it is keeping me fit, it is good for the baby, and it makes me feel better.

JJ: I get that totally. I hate unwanted belly touching. I hate it when I tell people I'm pregnant and immediately their hands go to my belly. I have to refrain this urge to swat them off like flies.So to avoid this,mostly I don't tell people I haven't seen in a while of my condition so I'll leave them wondering whether I've gained weight or I actually have a baby in my tummy.

we like to touch our own bellies, thank you very much

How do you think being active influences pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery?

PR: Being fit definitely helps. Even if you have a complicated pregnancy, the fact that you're fit is still going to help your body handle that situation. And I think that being fit through labor helps. The mental techniques you know from getting through races help to keep the concentration and stay focused. You come back stronger because you're happier, because you have a child that you love and cherish, and it's something you really wanted in your life. You probably become a little bit more focused as well, because your priorities are sharpened. And the time away from intense training means that you come back more refreshed. There is a flip side, though, because you are so used to being in tune with your body, and having this body that responds so well to what you ask it to do. You can't do that during pregnancy. You feel frumpy and fat. You kind of have this anxiety because you know you have to put on a certain amount of weight and hit the target so the baby is healthy, but it's hard to get fat and to go through that.

JJ: Yeah, what she said.

How did the pain of labor compare to racing?

PR: The pain of labor is more intense. But I found that it was just not comparable. When you run a marathon, your body is working with you and you've trained and prepared for it. With labor, for me, my body seemed to be working against me.

KG: My husband was tossing around the idea of a natural, at-home birth, so he rented this video, The Business of Being Born, and it had the exact opposite effect that he was hoping for. I'm open-minded. I definitely want to deliver in the hospital, and I want the option of the epidural. But I'm in denial about the whole birthing process still.

JJ: Some smart-alec said to me, " It's your 3rd. The pain won't be as intense as it was with your first". I say that's full of bull s**t. I met a mother of 7 who actually told me, it never gets easier so I'm bracing myself. Honestly, with  marathons I guess it's the same. Even though you've done it 4-5 times, it never gets easier. But if we're talking about pain, of course a marathon is nothing compared to labor.

Have you experienced any uncomfortable moments on runs? Bladder issues?

PR: I think we had one nightmare run, didn't we?

KG: I've had a few.

JJ: ALL the time. But I guess that's normal. I do hope I don't cough or sneeze during a run. That'll be ugly.

How has running helped you with the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy?

PR: You still have that normal mother-to-be-anxiety, like, Will I be a good mom? Will I do the right thing? But running does help. Sticking to a routine is good. You also find yourself bonding with the baby and talking to the baby on the run.

KG: I have my most intimate thoughts when I'm running. That's when I'm most honest with myself, and I think about what I want out of life. I've definitely had thoughts, especially in the last month like, Wow, my baby knows me better than anyone. He's the only person that's ever been behind that curtain. I mean, obviously, he's not really hearing my thoughts, but there's just that feeling that there's some connection that I could never have with another person.

JJ :  I think once you've been running a long time till it becomes somewhat of a habit, it's really weird to fully stop for the whole 9 months. How much fitness you'll lose will always loom in mind. I guess it all about moderation and slowly easing up accordingly and not just fully stop. Exercise is good for moms physically and mentally at these times. At least you won't feel fat and frumpy most of the time.


All merepeks aside, I do hope this interview ( or rather my part of mock interview) can shed some light into running for mommies and mommies-to-be.

I hope I can still go on running/ shuffling/ waddling till full term. This is the furthest I've been. In my last pregnancy, I had to stop halfway when my doctor diagnosed me with type II placenta previa. Hope that doesn't happen again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's the hormones

I was lying in bed, with two layers of blanket, shivering with hacking  coughs and waiting miserably for the fever to pass.

In the middle of the dark, suddenly I felt my son's little fingers touching my arm.

" Mom? Mom?"
 " Yes?" I replied groggily.

" Can I pray for you?"
" Do whatever you want, darling"

" Dear God, please make my mom better so that she can be happy again."

And my heart crumbled just a little.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Letting Go

PBIM is close to my heart.
I did my first half marathon on Penang Bridge.
I did my last sub5 marathon on Penang Bridge ( cerita lama bosan ala lemau).
I love running at night on the bridge. It's breezy and sometimes, if you're lucky it rains.
Some say it's monotonous and boring but I love running towards Penang island's skyline.
And imagine running uphill towards the booming drums and the magnificent lights on the middle part of the bridge.

This year will be the last PBIM on Penang Bridge.
They say, next year, runners will be running ( and trying out) the spanking  new , longer second bridge.
I don't know if they'll keep the name. I don't know whether it'll be just as good.
We'll just have to wait and see.
Sedihla pulak.

Last year I gave PBIM a pass due to last minute stomach issues.
This year, I won't be running  the half marathon again for the obvious reasons.
And due to my fondness of this race, I've decided to give out my racing kit for free.
It's such a waste to let it peram in my almari just like that. Kalau boleh jadi jeruk kat Chowrasta tu takpe jugak. Lebih baik berbakti kepada others who failed to or somehow forgot to sign up for the race.

Anyway, I'm giving it all away. The vest, the bib, anything inside the bag. Even the pil che ke teck aun (betul ke eja ni?)
Except the Salonpas which I'll keep for my neck aches.

So anyone of my readers who are interested, tell me why you'd like to run the last PBIM in the comment box. If you're too shy, you can email me at octopusgoreng at
Kalau ramai sangat takers, I will somehow choose one.
Kalau takde yang nak, by next week I'll mention it on one of the running groups in FB.
Please do take note, it's strictly for those who are interested in running the half marathon Women Open category. And no selling it to anybody else, okay?

Hope to hear from you guys soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Larian 1Malaysia Padang Rengas - Sebagai Penonton

Saya tak pernah jadi penonton.
Rasanya tak pernah la. Tapi nanti kena tengok balik past entries to make sure.

Usually if there's a race and there's nobody available to take care of the kids, he would always volunteer to take the back seat.
I pretend to ask if it's okay once or twice and then I'd be off running.

Kesian dia.

So I decided ( or I guess it was decided by fate) to just be a penonton for this race.
And see how it feels like to be on the other side.

I actually signed up for this race despite me saying Taiping International Marathon's 10K was the last for this season.
Talk about being fickle minded.
But blame it on the pakcik yang jaga the race registration.
" Sayang oo kalau tak masuk, dik. Orang pompuan tak ramai lagi yang sign up"
Saje je pakcik ni kan.

Registration pun murah. Aku pun bayar je la. Niat kalau tak lari aku sedekahkan je la.

Pastu bila seminggu pegi kursus, mula la contemplate nak lari ke dak.
Even though it was advertised as only an 8K race, I hardly ever done more than a 5K distance ever since I hit the 2nd trimester.
Pastu nama pun race, for sure I'd overexert myself even though niat pasang taknak buat sedemikian.
I don't trust myself to behave.

Tambah race would start at 8 am. Dianjurkan parti politik.
CONFIRM start lebih lewat.
Overheating will become an issue.

Kejap-kejap aku tepon WW. Nak race ke? Tak nak race ke?
Dia pun dah mula malas layan.
But like I said, fate decided for me.
After I got back from my kursus, I asked mom whether she was free to take care of the kids.
" Boleh, tapi....mak dah miss kelas agama 2 kali dah minggu ni"
Tu dia, punya subtle rejection.

So it was decided. Penonton je la.

Berapa banyak punya mukadimah da

Cantik kan? Bukit apentah.

So 7:30 am sampai kat Sekolah Tun Perak untuk Larian 1 Malaysia kat Padang Rengas..
Aku tengok muka-muka biasa geng-geng Taiping Road Runners buat warm up.
Lepas WW salam-salam sape-sape yang patut, dia pun buat warm up jugak.

warm up melawan arus

Dalam pukul 8.00 am, MC suruh pelari berkumpul kat court tennis.
Ramai jugak la for a race not widely advertised.
And then sessi MC buang masa membebel sebab kononnya organizers masih lagi recce route race untuk clearkan route.
Bebel pokpek bebel pokpek, matahari pun dah naik. Terik.
Aku ngan anak-anak dah mula lapar tapi sebab takut termiss the start of the race, kami tahan jugak.


Ramai runners keluar  'kandang tahanan' by this time sebab:
1. Dah panas
2. Nak warm up balik
3. Nak pi jamban.

Tup-tup pukul 8.55 am baru nak start.
Masa tu matahari naik betul la.
Aku nervous jugak, kot-kot la organizers nak bagi politician berucap sebelum start.
Depa ni bukan boleh. Suka benor dengar diri sendiri bercakap.
Sep baik takde.

So they were let off. And we cheered and cheered. We watched them until they were nowhere in sight.

Silly camera phone can never snap on time. Argh

And then my children looked up to me.
Now what?

Now we wait.

So kami pi kantin dan makan.
Talk about killing two birds.

Ikut resam nasi lemak kantin.
Sedap dan murah. 

goreng pon sodap 

After 26 minutes, we heard the MC announcing the arrival of the first placing runner.
Aik? Lajunya.
Kalut-kalut rush balik kat race site.

Aku tengok sorang-sorang cross the finishing line
1,2,3,4,5..(alamak, podium nak habis)
Just as I was about to look elsewhere, Chiam spotted his old man.
We were cheering, and jumping and clapping. All three of us. Aku nampak paling buruk kot.
And trying to take pictures at the same time.
Which of course came out crappy.

Camera phone aku ada reputation taknak snap at the right timing.
( yang depan tu category budak sekolah 3K) 

Tengok tu! Dia snap tinggal bayang je. 
Harun hashim sungguh. 

But he did it.
No 10. in 32 minutes.
We were pumped.
The kids were really happy ( mostly sebab papa bagged a prize)
"30 hengget je?" kata Chiam.
Jadi la tu. Janji pulang modal.


Ate, takdele besinye koman benor yeop.

The prize giving went smoothly. We didn't have to wait long. The prize money was given promptly and only first 3 finishers had to wait for the prize giving ceremony ( which I heard was held late).
Not bad for a small race. Good quality medal and despite all the lateness, it went smoothly afterwards.

And finally I've officially became a penonton!
I've embraced the other side!
Which is not so bad provided there's nasi lemak.
But then again, nothing can go wrong when there's nasi lemak.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

something okay and not okay

It is okay to strike a pose biting your well earned medal at the end of the race.
It is not okay to take several dozen pictures posing the same way and posting them online every 5 seconds.
Your friends just might wish the next picture will be of your chipped tooth wedged on the medal.

It is okay to say " I've finished the race in the 25th position!"
The feat itself is respectable and not everyone is podium material.
It is not okay to say, " I got number 3 at the first 500 metres until those damn Kenyans caught up with me and I finished 25th". Everytime.

It's totally okay to congratulate your female friends for getting a good placing.
It is not okay to say that women are comparatively slower runners and if your friend was a man, she'll get dead last.

It's okay to encourage a newbie friend to race.
It's not okay to comment that getting 40 minutes for a 5K is kinda slow .
He's called a newbie for the obvious reasons okay.

It is okay to like talking about running with your running buddies.
It is not okay to blabber on about the fundamentals of runnning and bring out all the jargons of the sport to anyone not remotely interested.

It's okay to be proud of what you've done so far.
It's not okay to constantly gloat.
Macam goat.

It's okay to be competitive. It fuels  the run.
It's not okay to dengki-mendengki.

It's okay if you like to sign up for races every other weekend.
It's not okay to abandon your family plans for these races.
The key is moderation. orang lain pun tak meluat dengan hobi kita.

It's okay to join races every other weekend.
It's not okay to constantly whine about your various injury because of this. Hey, you asked for it.
Be real, relaxlah. You are not a robot. Humans need time to heal. Okay, what about people who are constantly racing and not getting injured? Well, I guess they're superhumans and most of us aren't built like that

It's okay to wite your blog post.
It's not okay to write it while the course speaker is blabbering on with things you have no idea  of.

I'm not taking a jab at anybody. Mostly I'm making fun of myself and other silly things I've done or encountered  in the past 4 years of racing.
It' s all for a good laugh and a slap on the forehead so chill.

Mostly I'm bored because I'm stuck here in a 4 day kursus aim to bore the hell out of me.
The only highlight of my day is running on the gym's treadmill. I'm not even looking forward to the buffet.Sebab tak sedap. Huhu.

Sorry of the typos. I'm tapping this on my hp. Maybe wW will be kind enough to edit later.

Have fun guys :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Oath (?/!)

Let's face it, since my last race, I've been kinda neglecting my runs.
Kinda? Who am I kidding?

I've only ran about 3 times since. Sure, I had that oncall thingy ( again!) last week which was a pretty valid excuse not to run. But I  have no excuse for overeating.

Yep, I've kinda been doing that a lot these past few weeks.
Kinda? Who am I kidding?

It doesn't help that I'm hungry all of the time.
Seriously, no kidding. ALL of the time.
I used to have breakfast and be quite  full till lunch time but now it's like ;
breakfast at 7 am, then by 9:30 tummy starts grumbling again as if completely forgetting I had an egg sandwich 2 hours before, then after a snack at 11 am, I get the hunger pangs again and it'll go on and on for every 2-3 hours.
Worser yet, if I ignore the hunger, my mouth will get all payau, and it'll  be a retching fest.
And I'll be retching like crazy behind my mask at work and my assistant will be like, " Why are you making eyes at me like that?" or " You look funny."
( they still haven't got a clue in the office)

My parents are thrilled at the prospect of overfeeding me during these times.
They'll ask me repeatedly if I'm craving this and this and that and that.
Which I don't. I don't really crave anything in particular. I only want food in general.
Like the last time I was pregnant, I innocently asked my dad the difference between nasi kandar and the normal nasi berlauk at the mamak.
" Why? are you craving?" he asked, eyes gleaming.
The next thing I knew, he brought home a big bungkus of nasi kandar.
I'm not kidding. Bungkusan sebesar kepala budak.
Semua dia taruk. Ayam, telur, lembu, kambing. Silap takde burung unta je, kalau tak , tu pun dia sumbat.

My mom pulak is a traditional believer of eating for two. Although I've told her repeatedly that, technically, it's actually eating for one and a quarter. You only need to add 300 calories per day. She hates it when I go all scientific on her.
When I eat my meals back at the kampung, she'll eye my plate and say, " You're only eating that?"
SETIAP kali.

Don't get me wrong. They're great help. They care so much.
But in terms of gaining weight healthily, it's not helping.
Especially bila napsu nipis when I'm hungy ALL the time.

So I made a deal with myself yesterday when I officially hit the 2nd trimester mark.
That I'll eat frequently in small amounts.
 No more  piles and piles of nasi lemak sambal lebih  to keep my tummy full till noon . ( not to mention bloated)
A healthy breakfast of sandwiches or kuihs or noodles with a granola bar, fruits or some jajan nuts in between. ( note to self: it's either/or not and/with)
No cereals since suddenly I'm allergic to milk ( go figure) .

And run regularly.
And not to fuss about the pace and mileage since it's now  more about how much time I spend on the mill.
And to  ignore that blog of a running pregnant mama who claims she runs at a 9:30 min/mile easy pace ( ah, phooey!)
And ignore that urge to sign up for small short races.

Eat regularly, run regularly.
I know I'm making a fool of myself for making the oath here.
But it's the only way I can keep it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Taiping International Marathon 2012- 10K *PR

I had many qualms going into this race.
The first issue was training. I hadn't trained much since Ramadhan due to fatigue. Sure, I managed to squeeze in running 3-4 times weekly but my mileage was comparatively, poor.

The 2nd issue was my condition. And relative to that, my fitness.

I had to take 5 of these babies on a daily basis

So  I did a few research on the net. What I summed up from the articles, forums and a few blogs were :
  1. Avoid over-heating and dehydration
     2.  Get an 'okay' from a doctor first.

Okay, number 1 was easy. Number 2, not so much.
It's really hard to convince any one of my doctors about running in my condition ( most of them are old school, I guess) so I resorted to the only Dr I know who would give me an easy yes.

" So you've been running regularly?" he asked.
"Of, course"
" And you haven't experienced any pain or discomfort while running?" he drilled again.
" Nope. Only, sometimes I feel that I need extra effort to run at my previous easy pace. Other than that, I feel fine"
 " I guess it's okay to go ahead racing. Be sure not to overexert yourself," my husband nodded his approval.

Ye, saya main kotor.

So on Friday, I went to Padang Esplanade to pick up our race bibs. They advertised in the website that racing kits can be collected from 1pm to 7pm. So after picking up my kid at school and lunch, I parked near Dewan MPT just to find a long queue of school kids also waiting to get their bibs.
The organizers haven't even set up the booth yet. And these kids have been waiting there since 12:30pm.

So I was too lazy to wait and decided to come back later to pick it up.
I came back at 3 pm to see that a booth had been set up in the middle of the field. Surprisingly, although there wasn't much of a line, it took me 20 minutes to pick up the bibs because they had some sort of confusion with online registration and stuff.
I had a feeling this race would be in chaos right then and there.

So on Sunday morning we left our kids at my parents' place with a promise to Mom that we'd be back at 8 am. My parents had to go pick up my sister's graduation robe in Penang so they had to leave as early as possible to avoid the holiday traffic ( as if).

When we reached Kamunting, we saw some runners already into their first 30 minutes of racing (I assumed immediately that they were half marathoners). They were racing most of the time in pitch black so I wondered how on earth were they going to see the route markers ( what route markers? I found out later)

WW asked me a few dozen times regarding the starting time of our 10K. I repeatedly told him, according to the website that it was supposed to be 6:30 am. Plenty of time for us to either do our prayers, go potty and do some warm ups.

As there was no make-shift surau ( no surprise), we decided to just pray by the road side. Not  long into our 1st rakaat, suddenly I heard the loud familiar whack of the gun off and the pattering feet of people running.
 I was praying and panicking at the same time. Were those runners in our category? Did they push ahead the gun off time to 6.00? There goes WW's PB, I thought.

Immediately after our salam, I approached an uncle walking by, with my telekung and all ( must have freaked him out) to ask.
" Excuse me, what category did they let off just now? Was it the 10K?"

" No lah, it's the half marathoners" said Uncle, not even fazed by my attire.

" What? I thought they were to be gunned off at 5:30?"

" No lah, the organizers delayed it to 6. "

Oh, macam itu pun boleh ka?

With a sigh of relief, we went to the port-a-potty to do our respective businesses as there was no line ( no line!)

At about 6:30am, all of us 10K runners, with cable -tied hands (!) aligned ourselves at the starting line.
WW went to stand at the front of the pack to secure a PB. I reminded him, no podiums please as we had to get back early. I who wanted to run the race at an easy pace just stood with the masses in the middle and grinned from ear to ear. I couldn't see anyone familiar but I sengih-ed anyway.

lightning shoes 

So we were gunned off. Most of the runners went flying past. I got sucked into the excitement and forgot my promise not to overexert myself. For a split second, I even contemplated on targeting a sub 60 with my condition.

Then we got to Bukit Doremon, a steep incline and I thought, okay, screw that.

So from there I got back to my conquest to run happy at an easy pace. I say conquest because for me, seeing all those other runners running fast, it's really an effort to tell myself to calm down and take a breather.
Ye, saya agak kiasu. ( JJ slaps herself around a bit with a large trout)

1 mile into the race, I did a self check.
Breathing : Ok
Overexertion: No
Dehydration : No. I carried a water bottle
Overheating : possible.

It was kinda hot. But I was glad to see black clouds rolling into the horizon. Yay, rain!

I ran halfway with a guy who paced me till the 5th km. We had a nice conversation about the weather and other stuff. I even offered him some water from my bottle when we saw the first water station was out of water. I lost him sometime after that chasing this lady with a cute purple shirt. I planned to thank him post race but I couldn't remember how he looked like.

The 1st water station lady told us that there would be water and sponges in the next station. But when I got to the next station, they just ran out of sponges and I was really hot. It rained a few drops and we had to battle running against strong winds but at times, it was still hot.

When you're running leisurely, you tend to notice things you hardly ever notice before in previous races.
I started to appreciate the scenery, the early morning coffee shop aroma and newspaper vendors, the flat as pancake roadkill in the middle of the road and I started to notice that runners, when sweaty, they tend to smell like coconut husks. And that people hardly talk to you unless you talked to them first.

When I got into town,. I knew that I was almost done with the race. I still had a smile on my face and although I know I am never photogenic when it comes to race pictures, I smiled at every camera I saw whether they were pointing at me or not.

 WW came from around the corner, already minutes after finishing his race to cheer on other runners.
I gestured for him to come and run with me.

Macam jalan-jalan je?
( Thanks Sean Wong for the pic) 

We ran side by side with me grinning macam kerang busuk and him encouraging me to hasten my pace as I was so close to the finishing line.
I ignored him and ran like my bapak's race.
Realizing that, he encouraged other runners to pass me instead. I joined him, telling a school girl behind me, " Come on,faster. You can surely beat me" and slowed down for her to have her glory.

So I ran to the finish line, seeing a couple of my staff at the sidelines cheering me on.
It was never a prouder moment.
I felt so happy I could pull this off.

I did not glance even once at my Garmin during the race and ran by feel. I expected my  Garmin to display a 70-ish minute finish but it gave me an extra surprise to see this:
 A bit over-distanced, but that's okay.

And I was even more elated  to calculate that if it wasn't over distanced,  I would finish in 63 minutes .

So that's it folks. My *PR.
Although that's almost 10 minutes off my 10K PB, but no biggie.

His and hers 

WW achieved his PB of 46:54. Unfortunately ( or fortunately) he missed podium and only secured a 12th placing. So immediately after the race, after collecting our medals and goodie bags ( wasn't much swag), we kept our promise to Mom and got home. Major bummer that we didn't get to meet other familiar faces there but a promise is a promise and we also had a long day ahead what's with shopping and eating and visiting my best uni mate in Kedah and all.

I heard some major complaints about the race today. It was all expected to me. I gave a few heads up in my previous posts but I guess everybody signed in , expecting  the organizers to improve.

I went into the race expecting the worst, so I braced myself for bad things to happen along the way.
They ran out of water, they ran out of wet sponges, they had no route markers and hardly any road marshals but I guess I was prepared for that.

At least the medal was nice. 

Nevertheless,  I had a good time. I never smiled more in any other races than I did yesterday.
This will be my last race for the season as I'm entering my 2nd trimester.

I will still be running regularly, hopefully throughout my pregnancy so I'll still have something to yak about here.
And I will still be at a few small races, to cheer WW on. So maybe I see some of you guys there, okay?
*PR = Pregnancy Record ( atau Poyo jeR) 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fast Food

Di suatu hari, ada la sorang tu tanya aku pasal WW's healing after an accident 8 years ago in which he sustained a collarbone fracture.
Dia tanya sebab baru-baru ni, suami dia pun teraccident and had the same injuries.
Aku bagitau, alhamdulillah, healing was good and he's doing well.
Pastu dia tanya,
" Dr bagi dia makan apa?"
Aku terkesima kejap.
" Err..makan nasik la"
Pap, dia tampaq lengan aku.
" La, maksud saya, bagi makan apa untuk cepat baik patah tulang dia tu."

Ha, ni la masyarakat kita. Balik-balik tanya makan apa untuk pulih itu dan ini.
" Makan apa nak cepat sembuh luka?"
" Makan apa nak elak kencing manis?"
" Makan apa nak kasi kuat badan?"
" Makan apa nak kasi pandai?"
" Makan apa nak kasik cantik?"
Dan yang paling best,
" Makan apa nak kasi kurus?"

Takdela unsur-unsur nak berusaha sikit.
Semua nak segera.
Agaknya kalau kita cakap nak bagi tak sakit gigi kena telan dawai kokot, maunya sekotak dihantamnya sekali gus.

Usahala sikit, kawan.
Kalau nak kuat, excercise.
Kalau nak pandai, belajar.
Kalau nak elak semua penyakit, live healthily, exercise and eat healthily ( eh, makan jugak?)
Kalau nak kasi luka pulih cepat, makan la ubat yang diprescribe dan bukan makjun-makjun lain yang ntahapekebenda isinya, jaga permakanan and kalau perlu change the dressings accordingly mengikut arahan.
Just ikutla arahan doktor.
Kalau dia suruh rest, restla.
Kalau dia bagi appointment follow up, pegi la.
Kalau dia bagi ubat, makan la.

Ni suka benor benda-benda alternative.
Minum la ntah pape drinks untuk jadi kurus.
Biarlah kalau kencing lepas tu jadi kaler hijau. Asal kurus.
Biarlah kos dia beribu raban, bergolak gadai, asal kurus. Asal sihat, katanya.
Pastu bila dah sedar benda tu mahal, sebab kena maintain ambik benda tu ( untuk terus kurus/sihat, katanya), barulah mengeluh.
Pastu lepas stop, gemuk balik.

It's a vicious cycle.
Yang boleh di stop dengan usaha sendiri.

I think semua orang tau pasal benda ni.
Paper dah canang. TV dan canang. Kat sekolah pun dah belajar.
Tapi ntah, masyarakat kita still suka cari penyelesaian segera, pastu menyesal kemudian.

Malas nak berleter dah boleh?

On another note, see you guys this Sunday for Taiping International Marathon.
Say Hi if you see me.
And if you see me wretching while running, don't worry.
That's normal.

Friday, September 7, 2012

TGIF - Kempen 10,000 Langkah

And I really mean it.
I'm not the kind of person to post a TGIF status religiously every Friday but this week is an exception.

Seriously, my on call last week was horrendous.
I got called 4-6 times a day on average and some of the calls lasted more than 4 hours. Might as well be on active on call.
My kids whined that they hardly see me. Mana taknya, I'm out the door at 4 am and back at 9:30 am, then called back for some assault case at 12.00pm and tak balik sampai 4 pm. Tu tak kira lagi the calls at night.
I had everything, from 2 cases of near fatal massive bleeding to chair-side counseling to a mother crying over some domestical problems while I'm stitching up her son. 
The last 3 day weekend went very slowly for me.
Crawling, actually.

This weekend is all about quality time with the family.
Dan rehat di rumah.
Dan beriadah sama-sama.
Dan makan on time ( hari tu we ended up eating lunch at 4pm)
Dan just enjoying the weekend.

Sapa-sapa free this Sunday, can join us KKM-ers for our Kempen 10,000 langkah in Taman Tasik Taiping.
There will be a 6.5 km walk around the lake gardens and I guess a bit through the town.
It's open for the public and it's free.
It's kinda a compulsory thing for my staff and they kept asking me whether I'll come.
So untuk menunjukkan contoh yang baik dan ciri-ciri ketua berhemah ( hins hins), what the heck, I'll join.

Asyik lari je, kita try plak jalan beramai-ramai.
Orang Tepeng mesti heran , " Ni piket apa la pulak ni?".

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Run Write

I'm in a dilemma
I'm supposed to run on alternate days, and I ran yesterday but tomorrow my oncall starts and running during that period can be so unpredictable.
Once you get that groove going, and your feet starts to pound rhythmically, then conveniently the hospital calls.

So I thought of running this evening. Then I gawked at my emails too long and got caught on watching twin babies dancing on youtube trends, last-last sedor-sedor it was time to cook dinner.
And then the tummy started to ache from  what I suspect too much watermelon and kuih from an office party.

So I'll take a gamble on it tomorrow. If they happen to call while I'm working out, I'll stop, go do what I have to do at the hospital, come back home and try to continue.
In the mean time, come, doa-doakanlah everyone is fine and safe at home during these 3 days holiday.
Or at the very least, try to be okay from 6-9 am tomorrow ( for my run) because I'll be doing my ward rounds at 9:30 am.
Yes, I'm still a dentist. And yes, the scope of my job is confusing.

A colleague of mine ( who I found out reads my blog and I'm pretty embarrassed about it) commented that I write too much on running.
I guess someone's missing a point.

Anyway, I would just like to state that I like to write. And I'd like to write about things that revolve around me
But most of those things, I can't write too much of.
For instance, I love my family. But you're not supposed to expose too much about your family on the Internet. Especially things related to your kids.
I'd like to bitch about my job. Oh I love my job but sometimes, once in a while somebody or something gets on my nerves and I'd like to bitch about it.
But I can't too much because it''ll seem so unprofessional.
I'd like to write about food. But I seldom remember to snap pictures of my food before inhaling them just as soon as they arrive on the table. Plus , there are too many food-blogger wannabes on the internet anyway. (KOG still rocks)

So, I'll just stick to writing on what I'm comfortable with.
Sometimes, I'll throw in that random book review and gambar-gambar makanan yang menarik.
Sometimes, I will tell you anecdotes of my husband and kids, and the weird and wonderful things my parents and siblings do.
Rarely ( hopefully), when all else fails, I will bitch about my job.

Till then, you're just stuck with running, baby.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lost Mojo

I need to find my mojo.
I've lost it unfortunately in these last 3 weeks.
Betul cakap.
My Ramadhan running plans went down the drain.
First week went well, 2nd week I faced extreme fatigue and cut down on my mileage, 3rd week my runs deteriorated to 3 times a week, and 4th week?
Only once dengan alasan cuti awal nak balik beraya.

A week after raya and I'm still starting slow.  Yesterday's 3 miles run pun macam bercinta.
And to think my next race is 2-3 weeks away.
If this goes on, I'll just run at my easy pace taim Taiping Run nanti.
Huh, macam lama la pulak nak habis.

And I wonder where the 10K route will take me.
(Yes, all that drama for a 10K race) .
Taiping has changed a bit this month. Some roads are closed down and new detours are forming due to some recent construction. My 3 minute journey to the mall has extended to more than 10 minutes, 15 to 20 if you count getting lost.
Last year's 21K route was ok but they could improve more on road marshals and water stations. Tapi last year, only a handful of us were in the race. The girls pun tak sampai 20 orang in the half marathon category  and the women category in the full marathon had to be canceled because only 1 girl signed up for it.
This year I expect more runners participating due to the absence of Bidor Half Marathon and Taiping Heritage Run.
Katanya almost all major hotels here are fully booked on the 15-16th of September.
So I really hope the organizers improve on what needs to be improved.
If you're taking part in the FM or HM, try to bring your own water, you know, just in case.

But that is, like I said 2-3 weeks away. And like I said before, in the mean time :
Mari mencari semangat yang hilang ( suara sengau Mael XPDC in the background)

Mungkin perut berat sangat kot?
Mungkin cuti lama sangat kot?
Mungkin I've been refraining myself from the Internet for too long kot?
(Kurang motivasi dari dailymile orang lain kot?) mojoooooo.
Hang pi mana?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nothing In Particular

Last week was a total whirlwind of emotions.  A close friend of mine of 7 years had some setback in life and trough Allah's grace got that transfer letter back to her home town to be with her family. She has been waiting for that transfer for 2 years and it so happen, it came when she was really in a bad state
She's a confidant, a mentor and I couldn't have asked for more.
It makes me sad when I hugged her goodbye, because deep in my heart somehow I felt we wouldn't see each other much anymore because she'll live so far away and the chances of her coming back here is close to nil.
I thanked her, wished her well and prayed that she'll lead a happier life ahead.

That aside, how's your Ramadhan so far?
I remember 2 years back in Ramadhan, when I was actively training for my marathon that I weighed my lowest of 46Kgs!
I must have looked so anorexic then. Mana taknya, bersahur pun dengan cereals resembling bird feed. I seldom ate rice for berbuka and was obsessed with the scale.

2 years on, I guess I'm more balanced now, with a healthier BMI and a higher energy level. I'm just hoping I can keep my exercise regime this month and don't let what life throws ( or blesses) me be a set back.

On another nore, did you guys catch the 10000 meter men finals? I loved the race and I loved that Mo Farah hugged his training partner and silver medalist Galen Rupp at the end. And Galen Rupp looked  as happy as he was for his win. That's true camaraderie. You can't get it any better than that.

But the race can't beat this video of Chris Solinsky who broke the American record in 10,000 meters in 2010 in his debut 10,000 m race. In this race, all eyes were on Galen Rupp and nobody expected anything from him. Solinsky was the true underdog.
So sayang that Solinsky couldn't get himself to the Olympics due to injury. He's some major talent.

This is so inspirational.( and you gotta love the enthusiastic commentator)

 And no, I'm not turning into some track geek. It's the Olympic season so give me a break :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ramadhan Running

Ah, Ramadhan . The holy month of fasting.
 The month of tarawikh, tadarus, tazkirah dan pahala yang bertimpa-timpa.
The month of testing one's strength: body and soul.

Unfortunately for  some people, it is the month when all physical activities comes to a halt. It becomes something of an excuse to be sedentary.

Suddenly, all kinds of ridiculousness comes to surface.
" Tak boleh angkat kotak sebab tak cukup tenaga"
" Cannot go to that course because it's puasa month"
"I can't give that talk because nanti haus"
" Saya tak boleh hantar ubat kat orang sebelah sebab nanti saya lapar" ( okay, that was my son)

Let's face it, physically, fasting is basically just not eating lunch. Sahur is our super early breakfast and iftar is our dinner. Just how many calories are we depriving ourselves, really ?
Not that much.
And there's the looming question of dehydration.
Ever heard of 8 glasses a day ?
Tak boleh minum ke waktu iftar and sahur?
( ok, maybe you' ll have to visit the toilet numerous times during the day but that's a normal process)

So it shouldn't be such a big deal. To carry on with your normal exercise routine is very doable.
Some people would say Ramadhan is a very busy month. What's with iftar and tarawikh and tadarus and work taking up the day time. I truly think God gives us 24 hours because He knows it's just enough time. Kita je selalu cakap tak cukup masa bagai.
Just make time. And find the balance.

Tapi aku dok prong prang prong prang ni, who am I kidding ?
Tadi aku pun terbabas.
I was parched since morning. Yesterday I had a bad case of sniffles so for sahur, along with some other food I took an antihistamine to control the symptoms. As an adverse effect, my mouth got super dry throughout the day and I grew very tired.
When I got home, I was in a daze, mencapai bantal and woke up in the late evening.
And since I prefer running before berbuka, I only finished 3 Ks.
I thought of continuing after tarawikh, but yeah right, because here I am writing this.

But pushing my pathetic story aside, my advice for fasting runners would be : Find the time that suits you best.
With a lot of races scheduled after Raya, it'll be a shame to start over after all that work.
Some people like to train after iftar and tarawikh.  Some people like to train in the mornings, a few hours after sahur.
And some parents like me like to run before iftar so we can get the most of the rest of the night for our ibadah, children's homework and studies, a bit of 3rd Rock reruns and 7 hours of sleep.

Choose any time that's convenient to you, your work, your family and your fitness level.

But taking consideration of the depleted energy levels during fasting, I think sometimes there should be a compromise. For example, I cut my speed training to half and my pace is really easy for my daily runs so I don't feel too fatigued for my run the day after. My LSD, the furthest this month will not go beyond 12K (also because my next race will just be a 10K..ngehngeh).

It's all doable, brothers and sisters.
The only thing that's holding you back during this holy month is yourself.
Fast, pray, recite, work, run and everything in between.
Find that balance.

Dengan keberkatan Ramadhan, InsyaAllah cukupppp.. ( angkat kening dan sengih-sengih  ala Ustad Don)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Of Squats And Pak Maon

Last weekend, ada Hari Keluarga Taman.
Tak semena-mena tetibe MC announce aku jadik conductor Senamrobik.
Apa hal?
Dia cakap aku minah sukan (?) so senamrobik ni child's play lah.

Ooo cenggitu teorinya ye.

Aku taknak.
Dia insist.
Aku geleng.
Dia angguk.
Semuorang pandang aku. Aku taknak jadik stick-in-the-mud. So aku terpaksarela.

Aku cuba ingat balik cd-cd  Bootcamp Bodyblast aku dulu. Adala teringat sikit -sikit. Sah-sah dah 2 tahun tak pasang.
Apa susah ye dak. Ikut rentak je la.
MC mintak aku request lagu. Aku kata lagu apa ye?
Dia kata lagu yang biasa aku buat senamrobik.
Aku kata mana penah aku conduct senamrobik.
This is going nowhere.

Last-last dia main lagu Pokerface.
Po po po po po po poker face.
Aku pun mula.
Tarik nafasssss...
Last-last jadi macamana tau?
Macam haremmmmm

Kopak sangat idea, aku pass mic kat partner ku.
Hah..apa lagi. Nak sangat dia jadik conductor kan?
Dia bantainya suruh semuorang buat squats ngan lunges.
Turun pelan -pelan, tahannnnn, tahannnnn, tahannnnn (  kiraan 10 saat x 8)
Terketor lutut member-member.
Pastu selaras ngan imej solja, dia ajar nye pulak anak-anak jiran buat poco-poco.

 Poco poco gaya bebas

Selang beberapa minit, aku plak take over balik.
Tetiba teringat balik steps shadow boxing.
Ajar le depa ni jab and punch.
Ala-ala Rocky Balboa gitu.
Jab jab jab punch. Jab jab jab hook.
Hook hook hook hook.
Tetiba taim hook, nampak cam tarian Pak Maon da.
Tarian Pak Maon berjemaah.

Party starts at 1:10!

That's the last time aku jadi impromptu conductor.
Macam ribut je jadinya.
Walaupun semua nampak enjoy je
Tapi aku tau mesti ada yang sakit paha penangan squats sembamrobik itu.
 Ini namanya separuh plank.
Kalau rasa kaki ngan abs kuat ..ha cubalah..cubalah.

Acara Kain Pelekat Tak Lut.

Acara Mari Berfikir Macamana Budak Baju Biru Terapung.

Kalau depa paksa lagi next time, aku paksa semua lari keliling taman 10 kali.
Miahaha ha ha ha.

Monday, July 9, 2012

From Road To Track : The 27th KKM Games in Sabah

"You must run at least one race in your lifetime that finishes on a track.
  Seriously. It's really something"
                                                              Mark Remy

It really is.
And let me tell you, running a race on track is a different ball game altogether.
Being a road racer, initially I thought I could easily convert myself to a long distance track runner easy.
What's so hard running a distance of 1500 m compared to what? 15 K? Half marathon? Marathon?
Boy was I wrong.

When I was selected to join Perak's Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM)'s track and field team, I didn't really have a clue what I was getting myself into.
They needed another long distance woman runner to add up points for the team. It was made clear from the start of my role since they already had a star long distance runner who can conjure crazy speeds in her runs.
I didn't mind that. Sounds good to me.

So as in my last entry we had a 4 day centralized training which exposed me more on track running. I mainly wanted to know how many laps  to run in a 1500m and 3000 m race, where exactly to start and end, when to maintain and when to surge. And knowing I was a new addition in their team, I received a lot of solicited and unsolicited running tips, in which most boleh pakai and some, not so much.

Anyway, the KKM Games this year was held in Sabah for a good 4 days. I've never been to Sabah so it was pretty exciting to me and I brought the whole clan along.  You can say I imported my own personal supporters. Ha.

Thing was, the events were said to start the next day, but none of us received any event schedule. It was harder for me as I was staying outside the Athlete's Village so I had to rely on the sms-ed info from my fellow teammates. I stayed up till 11 pm that night for any kind of  news ( yes, that's really late for me) but none came. I found out later that the organizers and managers were in a meeting that lasted until 1 am to discuss about the events. Bukan patut dah bincang dah ke?

Anyway, early the next morning, I got news that runners were to be at the UMS stadium by 8 am. Herannya, when I got there with WW and the kids, it wasn't bustling with people as I thought it should be.
Rupa-rupanya, my coaches told me the events were to start at 2 pm and will continue till 10 pm.
My event the 3000m would be held at 7:15 pm that day and my other event the 1500m was scheduled at 5:30 pm the next day.
What baffled us runners was why the running events weren't held in the morning slots considering daylight in Sabah starts as early as 6 am. Ntahla Labu. Tempat orang, ikut je la.

So we came back at 2 pm to support my other team mates in their respective events. The schedule was kinda cruel. Nampak sangat it wasn't prepared by a runner or anyone involved in sports for that matter.
How can you ask anyone to run 1500m at 2:40 pm? In the hot blazing Sabahan sun, on a heated track that directly reflects the heat back to the runners.
Ye la, memangla ramai doctors, paramedics and nurses there ( nama pun KKM Games), but this was ridiculous.

But in the spirit of the games ( konon), we kept our mouths shut and only grumbled only amongst each other. Lari je lah. And run our best race in the condition given.

I wasn't really jittery as I knew there wasn't any chance of me bagging a medal. Don't be fooled by the KKM title. These athletes are fast, some of them used to be state runners and I wonder why we don't see these speedsters in road races. I know for a fact a guy on KKM Kedah's team who can run a 31 minute 10K and a girl from Terengganu who can run a 5:54/mile average. That's real talent that only us, the normal joes can wish for.

Anyway, like I said, I wasn't at all jittery. I was only concerned of my food intake. Taknak makan berat sangat lah, taknak makan sejuk sebab takut kena semput attack lah. Taknak kena food poisoning lah.
Mengada kan?

Like I said before, my aim was not to be last. Please save me the humiliation of being last.

Unfortunately, my 3000m race was postponed that day due to heavy rain, Being a road runner, I didn't mind the rain much. In fact, I prefer running in the pouring rain rather than brave the heat. But apparently, track events can't be held in the rain- katanya.

So long. The end. Come back tomorrow.

The 3000m 

The next day, I was hoping, they'd bump up the 3000m race to the evening so stupidly I ate lunch at 1 pm. But they decided to continue with where they left off the previous day.
My manager told me to my horror that my 3000m race was to start at 2:40 pm.
Adoi mak, makanan pun tak sempat cerna lagi. And it was blazing hot.
But we were all eager to get it over with. So hantam saje lah.

At the starting line,I can't describe how good it felt when they announce your name before gun off. Your name booms from the loudspeakers, you give a little wave to the spectators and you feel like a million dollars.

Baju besaq gedabak .

So we were gunned off with the sun directly on our heads. The fastest girl, a friendly gal from Terengganu surged to the front with her rocket pace. Followed by a veteran runner from Penang and my team mate Anu, in third place. The rest of us was just surviving. Holding that pace for 7 and a half rounds of the 400m track.
Sure, 3K in a road race sounds so easy . You don't even break a sweat, some say. And nobody cares if you get last. But in a track race, you have to keep a fast pace and maintain  it. Or else you'll be left behind and you got one whole stadium as a witness to  that.
Keyword is sustaining. And sustaining is the hardest part. Especially if you have to go lap after lap after lap. Your stomach cramps up, your breathing labored, your legs go jelly on you and gosh, it's painful.
It really is.

Trying to take over someone in a 400m track is tricky. You feel that finally you have reeled in the runner in front of you to a 40m gap, then when you reach a bend, you chances are fried and the moment is lost.

But what kept me going were the cheers. From my team mates from the bleachers. From my coaches at the sidelines. From my husband and kids near each 400m mark. The cheers were awesome. It was like fuel.
And I did what I could to my capability.

To me, the real fight is in the last lap. When you hear the clanging of the bell, it's like a signal for you to either make it or break it.It's like a final call to give it all you got. And you crank whatever juice you got left and muster that final kick so that person behind you doesn't have the chance to overtake you in the last seconds.

So I crossed the line, almost buckling over the heat at 15 minutes 30 secs with an average pace 8:22/mile. I was 7th out of 12 runners.
Despite not getting  a medal, I was ecstatic that I managed to run that in the heat.
And I wasn't last!

The 1500 m

In the last minute centralized training, due to running on an uneven field, I suffered a groin pull on my right thigh. Took care of it, iced it,  rested it, salonpas -ed it and prayed that it would get better in Sabah.
While running the 3000m. I did felt a twinge of pain coming back. Once I crossed the finish line, I was almost limping.
Great. And I had another 1500m race later that evening at 9:15pm.

So I iced it again and walked around compressing ice near my inner thigh. People looked at me weird and I wondered why until my daughter commented, " You look like you're icing your private parts , mom."

While resting later that evening ( and still icing it), I contemplated to just run my next race at an easy pace. Even risked it by having an early dinner of ayam goreng spicy  and coke at McD.

Senyum lagi sambil menempah bala ayam goreng spicy

But when we reached the stadium, brightly illuminated by the stadium lights with the screaming crowd, blaring horns and drums, tetiba rasa, I've come so far and it's just not worth to race at an easy pace.

As we aligned ourselves at the starting line, I began to crack jokes. I guess it's a form of self defense mechanism. Everybody else looked so intimidating, with their spikes and long legs that stretched for miles and miles. But everybody had nervous smiles on their faces and wished each other luck.

With the loud bang of the gun, we ran. And being a distance runner, a 1500m race was harder than a 3000m race. It's faster and your strides have to be longer. No wonder some of the 3000m runners refused to run the 1500m.

So there I was, running again lap after lap. Perut dah panas dah, the coke in my tummy sloshing noisily. My thigh was burning  but I ran through the pain.

Aku pujuk diri. Sabarr.... Maintain...Told myself, this is your last event.
Lepas ni boleh berpoya-poya.
Lepas ni boleh makan ais krim.
Lepas ni boleh shopping kat pasar Filipin.
Lepas ni boleh tengok The Amazing Spiderman (which by the way is in no comparison to the Tobey McGuire version)
Lepas ni boleh pegi ke pantai yang airnya multicoloured.
Sabarrr....Just one more lap.

So I mustered all I got left. And crossed the line at 7 min 12 secs at an average pace 7:37/mile. I finished 8th out of 14 in the list.
Yay not last again.
The first placing girl finished more than 1 minute in front of me. And in running, that's a lot.
But I was still happy to at least get a point for my team.

In the end, our track and filed team placed 5th in all states with I think 10 medals.

It was fun. But it was also an eye opener.
I will jot down my observations in my next post kot. Kalau ada masa.
Will I do this again in 2 years time ? ( in the next KKM Games)
Most definitely, with better training and exposure.
If I'm still in the service la.

Nak jugak tambah yang belakang tu ye.

Okla peeps. Berpinor bijik mata korang baca.
My cuti-cuti is also over.
Back to the office. Back to real life.
And I expect stuff piling on my desk tomorrow.
Higher than Mount Kinabalu.

I got my multicoloured sea.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Something different

I am lying here quietly waiting for sleep to come in my so called dorm room in a hospital in Ulu Kinta.

No, I'm not admitted or anything, I'm just here for my training for the Sukan KKM thingy that I mentioned before.

I'm in day 2 of training and I'm loving the idea of myself being called an athlete (konon) day by day.

I love it that right now I'm being paid to run. Even though, let's face it, I'm not that good compared to the others.

My teammate to me is superfast. She can do a 40 minute-ish 10K. Her easy run is my moderate pace. But somehow she still believes in me. All the while I'm making fun of myself, she tells me I have a chance. You can't get a better teammate.

Despite my doubts, I still train dilligently. what - lack in the speed dept. I make up with my fierceness to train. Train je, tak rugi pon.

I love it when we train at Stadium Perak. We're in the same field with Sukma runners. I warmed up today doing laps while a bunch of football players cheered me on. Found out later, they were the state team.

I remember myself 20 years ago sitting at the sidelines wondering when my turn will come.

I am grateful just to be given this opportunity.
That's the word. Grateful.

Whether I win or not, whether I PBed or not, I will still be forever grateful.

I am sleepy. My fingers are tired typing this with my phone.I will rest now.

Hope you guys had a great day too.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Build Up And Let Down

Someone told me about a  race said to be held near the Lake Gardens on Saturday.
Totally unadvertised. Totally by word of mouth.
And I'm such a sucker for small races.

WW was out of town. And my parents offered to look after the kids so I thought, what have I got to lose, eh?

I haven't been to the Lake Garden in a while. It's literally a stone's throw from my office.  I could actually almost see it from the window of my surgery. It's a wonder how something so close can be so far.

Anyway, I arrived at about 7 am. No signs of any banner. Or any racers. Or Any organizers.
Just the usual Saturday morning crowd.
I decided to be optimistic. Maybe it was too early. So I decided to recce the place with a good 1 round warm up around the whole park.
As I made my way into the park, I could see some of the hardcore runners finishing or almost finishing their runs. That's how hardcore they are. Finishing up at 7 when the rest of the normal people ( read: me) are just starting up.

So I ran that 2-ish mile loop. Still no sign of any race. No matter. I decided, alang-alang dah datang kan? Might as well go on another loop.

Now I've been running indoors for weeks. That's not counting the usual 1K I do with my kids on Sundays in another park.
 So after sometime of running stationary, running on a road feels liberating.
Now I'm an advocate of treadmill running just because in the current situation I'm in, I have no choice.
But if you ask me, really , truthfully, seriously : I'd rather be running out.

There's just so much to see and so many runners to beat. Did I just write that? Beat? I meant meet.

So did I care  when a  RELA volunteer manning the road told me that there WAS to be a road race that day but it was ONLY for school kids ? Nope. I was just having too much fun running and soaking up the cool weather.

So by the time I knew it, I've done with my 3rd round. I wanted to do more but I promised my mom I'd come back early. And anyway, the sun was getting fierce.

I was elated to see I've done 7.45 miles. A bit surprised. But Happy.
But then I checked my pace.
8.34 min/mile?
That can't be right.
There's no way I could have pulled that off. That's almost 12 freaking kilometers, man.

Then I checked my laps.
lap 1 : 10.44 min/mile
lap 2:   8.05 min/mile
lap 3:  8.53 min/mile
lap 4:  7.03 min/mile
lap 5:  9:41 min/mile
lap 6:  9:34 min/mile
lap 7:  8:04 min/mile

What the hell? Some of the lap readings were ridiculous. Totally off.
There is no, absolutely no way I could have pulled of 7:03 min in a mile.
I would have collapsed of an asthma attack.
Even when I did my speed sessions on the treadmill set to 7:42 pun macam nak pitam.
And 8:04 min/mile? 8:05? Equally beyond me in a 7 miler.
Not to be modest folks but for me to pull off these numbers would be magic.
Or a myth. Or a fairy tale.

So I was bummed the whole day wondering what went wrong with my foot pod or my Garmin. I tried to Google about false pace reading vs foot pod reading vs Garmin vs road running vs treadmill running and all I could register was tra la la la la yada yada yada german france urdu bla bla bla ( too heavy reading on a Saturday).

In the end,WW theorized that maybe my foot pod was  loose ( hence the false reading)  and I need to calibrate both my road running shoes and my treadmill shoes.

Secretly I wanted to sooo much to believe that my Garmin was telling the truth and I really did manage to run 7:03 min/mile without even realizing it.
Sigh. A girl can only dream.

So to test the whole loose foot pod theory and calibrating whatsit, I ran on the treadmill today for my strides, foot pod fastened tight, at 8:10 min/mile and I got a slight minor asthma attack on the first lap.
Theory confirmed.


It's like being given this and told, " Go on, eat it. It's only 50 calories. Promise."

And then after it's been gobbled off , you're told, " Oh did we say 50? We meant 5000 calories."

Ok then. Back to reality.
And training.

Oh by the way, I did polish off that ice cream cookie.
And it was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Run Like A Kid

Every once in a while, usually during school semester break, I like to take a little breather from my hectic schedule, and go for a short retreat. No, it is not a holiday. Nor is it a vacation. Just a retreat.
Meaning that I take a break from doing the normal things I do such as work, doing house chores, ferrying the kids around, cooking and running.
What I'd do is, haul the kids to WW's apartment in KL and stay there for a few days, doing absolutely nothing but watch TV, ogle the Internet endlessly and watch movies till my eyes water.

I don't think about work, shut my office number off ( my boss knows my other number in case of emergencies), don't even cook, and I forget about running(temporarily). I do some laundry occasionally though - and a little bit of sweeping here and there because I can't fully commit to being a sloth.

It all good for the first 2-3 days : eating out 3 times a day, waving off calories, lazing around, catching up on some TV and old movies, shopping senselessly, and milling in malls without any actual purpose.
But sadly it gets old.
I get tired of pecel ayam, burgers and fast food joints. I have the attention span of a fish when it comes to watching telenovelas and drama swasta and I run out of things to read.
Sadly, I tire myself of doing nothing. And I want so much to run.

I remember one day I insisted  WW to go out for his run while I spend time doing a one miler with the kids near a lake garden. It was  a Sunday and SCKLM season which meant more runners were doing their LSDs and finishing up on their weekly mileage. And although I was a tad jealous of them being so absorbed in their training, I was still happy to be just running .

And running with the kids is another different story. Two of my kids are totally different runners. Chiam runs 1K or more daily so he is used to the constant pounding. But he's a fierce competitor and refuses to let other runners/walkers pass him. So he'll be blocking the path if he hears anyone coming from behind and I'm constantly muttering my apologies and gently pushing him aside to make way.
Adik is more of a sprinter. She runs fast briefly, gets tired, nags the rest of us to slow down, then once we're all fast walking, she'd go on sprinting again.

So it was like this
Run- sprint-block-apologize-jog- complain- halt- slow jog-block-complain- sprint-halt- jog-walk-sprint-complain- jog- and abrupt stop ( because we finally reached the playground)

And although it was only a one miler and full of drama- I totally enjoyed the run.
Free of any designated pace, free of any serious purpose, free of any intended timing.
Just run like a kid.
Highly recommended.

Post-run : Latihan membaca dan membetulkan tudung  

And with that only, I got my running fix for my so called retreat.

And today I end my 5 days break with a 5K.
You can't imagine how good that feels.
Oh , wait a minute.
You can.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Unsolicited Running Advice

This month marks my 10th year running and 4th year racing. I still regard myself as a newbie. But these are just a few things I've picked up along the way.  It's not a guideline, just some ramblings and observations of a crazy woman who's trying to squeeze everything in her limited time..

Here goes:

If your best timing for a 10K is 62 minutes, you will most probably not achieve a half marathon timing with your best 10k timing times two and then some. Never guesstimate using this formula. You'll blow out half way.

Train for your race and don't race your trains. Which means, you should neither :
1. Do your training runs at race pace EVERY TIME.
2. Race a train or a komuter or an LRT

It doesn't matter what you wear. Seriously it doesn't. All that matters is your training. An RM400 compression pants won't make you run faster or longer without proper training. A pair of 500 ringgit shoes won't make you fly to the finish line. It's all you.
(okay, they'll help you 5-10% of the way, but the rest is still all you)

Experiment on training days and not on D-day. If you wanna try replenishing with different flavoured gels, bars, chocolate, choki-choki, bananas, energy drinks, asam boi, asam jawa, asam keping, whatever, you gotta do that during your LSDs. Never start anything new, during race day.
Unless you want to end up puking your guts out all the way home. Or in some unfortunate cases, all the way to the finish line.

If you're running towards the finish line, and the person in front of you suddenly decided to stop abruptly, try not to curse him. He may be dying. His sudden cease of movement will cost you a few seconds but let's face it, you're not winning anyway.

If you've just done a 30 K run or a half marathon distance, I guess it's okay to say that you deserve this:

If you've just done a 10K,  you're just eligible for this, buddy.

 A tiny ice cream bon bon

And I mean just one.
A 5K? Halve it.
Lesser than that? Lick the wrapper.

Don't be forced or pressured into running a marathon. This is not high school anymore. Go on when you're ready. And again, train for it.
And it's perfectly okay to admit that you don't like it. Everyone has their own preferences. Run a distance that makes you happy.

There's a school of thought saying that to be a real runner you have to run for more than 20K. And only newbies run 10K or less. That is not true. You are a runner regardless the distance.
You run, therefore you are a runner

Some people are injury prone. Look back at how you run. Maybe you're doing too much too soon. Maybe you're going too fast. Reevaluate. Rest. Heal. Restart. ( Mark Parent would add 'repeat' at the end).

All of us are familiar with the runner's reflex. A runner can be a dead beat, slow moving zombie mid-race but will immediately perk up within the sight of a camera ( even though it's not even focused on him) with the brightest smile and that cheesy peace sign. Hence, the runner's reflex.
Once the camera is outta sight, that look of impending doom is back and they will continue on dragging their poor feet to the finish line.
Unless another photog comes along.

Running a race is no excuse to forget about your prayers. When you're about to agonize your body, it's smart to ask for some help from God.

Don't look down on treadmill running. Running on a treadmill is still running. You accumulate mileage. You sweat. There's constant motion of movement. Same thing. So don't make fun.

You wake up in the middle of the night to find your partner's/friend's finger on your neck. Fret not, he is not trying to strangle you in your sleep, he's just checking your resting heart rate.

It is better not to talk too much about running in the office. Let's face it, the layperson only cares whether you bag a prize or not.  They have no idea what a sub 50 min 10K means. They'll think doing a 30K run for fun is weird.
You can try to convince them to run but if you're not getting any positive feedback then just back off.
And only give advice when asked.
Nobody likes unsolicited advices.

Not including the ones above, okay.
You came here. So I guess I'm off the hook.