Sunday, March 25, 2012

Malakoff Penang 2012 - The 4th Year

You know what I realized today? Other than the fact that I need to add speed sessions and tempo runs in my routine, is that I lack the mental toughness needed in short distance races.

It's true. Halfway into the run, when my tummy starts to twist, when my throat feels parched, when my breathing get heavier, my mind will automatically switch on to wimp mode.

Today, after running Malakoff Penang's 7K, it came to me that I have to do something about this.

This year is my fourth year joining Malakoff Penang. I say join and not run because I missed Malakoff Penang 2011 in which I registered but DNSed because last minute WW had some thing to attend to and I was malas to go through Penang traffic alone.
And since my first ever road race started with Penang Malakoff 6K back in 2009, this race has a special place in my heart. Tempat jatuh lagi dikenang, kan?

Cool shirt ! 

Cool bibs!

I think the last 3 races was held in Taman Perbandaran Penang but I have no idea why they decided to change the venue this year. Furthermore, they shortened the long run distance from 26K to 17K this time around.  And they started a bit late too, because the 17K people were flagged off at 7 am and I remember doing the 26K back in 2010, back then we were flagged off at 5.30 am kalau tak silap.

Suddenly they decided to turn on the lights - everyone oohed and aahed 

  Anyway, this year's venue is kinda a nice change. Looking at the race route map, we anticipated that the 7K run will go through exactly the same route as Larian Merdeka Penang which is held religiously every year in Padang Kota. With a nice coastal scene to begin with, runners will run through town in a loop and then come back to the starting point. No hills, only tiny tiny inclines ( satu je kot?) and mostly flat tarmac, if you don't count the potholes la.
Bunyik cam senang kan? Tapi bila hidung suda mula bau itu asap bandar, diselang-seli dengan the strong sea breeze, no scratch that, sea wind blowing against you causing major wind resistance, and then the fact that Penang runners are really fast to compete with, maka bermulalah mind games.

There were about 400 of us so called fun runners. Right after we were flagged off 10 minutes after the 17K runners, I told myself to try keep a 8:45 minute/mile pace. Ye la, sebelum ni main hentam pecut je bila start pastu bila nak habis, mula la nak lemau. Konon, we were gonna treat this race as a tempo run although I've never done any before.
Planning memang best. Execution hampeh.
First 2 miles macam baik punya boleh setel. Coming into the 3rd mile,when the crowd started thinning and the runners were stronger, my mind started contemplating.and whining.

" Alah, it's just a fun run. No placing, what"
" Wahh, sedapnya tengok mamat ni jalan"
" Nyesalnya lari hari ni. Tido lagi bagus"
" That girl in the black shorts is too fast, I'll never catch up."
" Stiff muscles, stomach cramp, stiff muscles, stomach cramp" 

And it went on and on right until my eyes met a colonial building in the distance. Now, the significance of this colonial building is that our starting point is  the town hall which is one of the many white colonial buildings in Penang. When I see a white majestic building with roman pillars, I automatically think that the end of the race is near.
Tapi alangkah psaikonya bila I got the wrong building. But at this time, knowing I'm just a kilometer away from finish, I tell myself to buck up and suck it up. But  either it was too late or the synapses of my nervous system was a bit lagged, I didn't get to finish the race with my planned pace. Berangan nak pasang turbo kat finishing line pun cam tak jadi.

Finished in 38'38" with 8:56 min/mile atau 5:33 min/K average pace .
Takpe, dah cuba. Next time Gadget, next time. 

I have no idea of my placing since it's an open category for men and women. Maybe a few days after this, kalau timbul results kat website Malakoff boleh la tengok kot.

 WW's 31'11". Mok aih 7:13 min/mile.

Yang best, WW who sped off early in the race sampai tak nampak bayang pun, finished 2nd for 7K fun run. Nombor satu dapat kat mamat expat orangputeh manantah.  Didn't get any prizes though since it's just a fun run and they only gave out prizes to the 17K runners and 7K school children category. But he did get a 1.5l bottle of mineral water as opposed to the rest of us yang dapat botol 500 ml je, if it's any consolation.
Heh heh.
He's saying things like all the other fast runners have joined the 17k category or other races in KL but to me getting 2nd out of 400 people, fun run ke apa ke still counts. No need to cut himself short because I'm still proud of him, nevertheless.

Anyway, overall, mental toughness lacking aside, it was a great race. Mencapai standard Malakoff Penang seperti biasa la. Traffic okay je tapi traffic kat Penang selalu well-manned if not mungkin these motorist dah biasa ngan race-race kat sini so you don't hear any impatient honking. At least , I didn't hear any.

Goodie bag ada banyak faedah. 

Siap bagi sabun ajaib lagi tau. 

There was either no post run breakfast sebab goodie bag was filled with all breakfasty things or we didn't wait long enough for the usual pakcik-makcik breakfast to come. Tapi okla, bukan penah makan pun post breakfast meal dia.

Cadang baik punya lepas race nak pekena nasik kandaq kat Kampung Melayu. Yes, nasik kandaq here is served as early as 7 am. Tapi pikir cam malas la sebab
a) mak dah masak nasi lemak kat kampung
b) calorie burnt post race takat 350 cal je, ada hati nak nyumbat over-over.

Tapi, balik makan nasik lemak tu cam sama je.
Hantam saja la.

Minggu ni on call week. Running will be temporarily replaced with stationary bike.
Oh bontotku.

Kami sampai dulu

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Don't Let Go.

My mom is still undecided about the idea of me racing.
She has no problem with me jogging. Running is okay, most of the time. ( Yes, there is a difference)
But to her, girls shouldn't race.

I don't blame her, really. She came from a family that emphasized if you're a girl, you should either be good in your studies or be a good housewife. Nothing in between.
She excelled in both. She was first in her family to get a degree and she's one mean cook.
She was brought up a girly girl and I guess expected her girls to be the same.

Don't get me wrong. She puffs up with pride every time I bring home a winning medal or trophy or one of them hampers. She dutifully asks my position every time after a race - as if it matters. When people come over, sometimes she and my dad proudly tell them of my hobby,  how far I run ( to my embarrassment) and this and that.

But at times, when I tell her of my next race, she'll say things, awkward things like,

" Oh, you're still at that again?" or

" Aren't you too old for that?" (sigh) or

" Seriously, women aren't supposed to race. It's okay for Wan because he's a man " (serious eye-roll moment) or

" You're married, you have 2 kids, why are you still racing?" or the most ridiculous - drum roll please:

" Jangan asyik lari je, nanti tua nanti, penat"

In which, I reply every time, with a loving peck on her cheek,
" Lari memang la dapat penat, mak. Takkan dapat kenyang kot."

The hardest thing to change, as I know some readers can relate, is the perspective of the people you love.
Don't get me going on the countless times I've advised people on the benefits of running and racing only to be shot back with disappointing remarks like,
" Why would I fork out thirty bucks to run 7 kilometers when I can do it for free?"  or
" You run and then you don't even win. What's the point?"

The point is, when you have pledged yourself to a race, consciously and sometimes subconsciously, you WILL want to prepare yourself. Most of the people I know, will never sign in for a race and then run it without at least some sort of training. They have two choices, either train ( walaupun sikit) or ultimately chicken out.

Even if it's just a few loops around your local park or a few minutes on the treadmill, it's still some form of exercise, which, when combined with a diet based on moderation, will eventually make you healthier and fitter.
And then, when finally you achieve that post race buzz, endorphine, euphoria or whatever they call it, you will want to get back on the same bus and do everything all over again with (hopefully) the aim to get better at it.
See, it's a healthy cycle.

But you guys get it. Most people around me, not so much. Especially relatives on my mother's side.

I remember once, during hari raya, an aunt came up to me and said bluntly, " No use taking care of yourself so much, dear. It's in our genes. We'll all grow fat eventually."
And it got me so sad that she would think like this. As if we couldn't do anything to change this. As if this was destined and  we were doomed and I should accept it as it was.
I wanted to tell her otherwise. I wanted to tell her, we can break the vicious cycle. I wanted to tell her that what she said didn't make sense.
Everyone is destined to die, right? But that doesn't mean we're all going to lie down in the middle of the road and wait for death to come.
I wanted to change their perspectives, I wanted them to fight back. I wanted them so much not to let themselves go.
But as soon as I open my mouth about fitness or anything healthy, there would be an awkward silence until somebody babbles on about the next durian season.

It's hard. Especially if you have to reach so far.
But I'm not giving up. Especially with my own family. I'm not the kind to nag, so I will tread softly.
Since starting my racing/running escapades, I've watched my brother purchase a bike. My elder sister has shown interest in asking about my races ( it's a start la) and I heard that my younger sister has secretly bought herself a pair of running shoes worth almost four hundred bucks ( rumour has it)
" Four hundred bucks?" my mom almost choked. Then she looked at me.
" Next time you go running, you better make sure your sister goes with you."

See what I mean about being undecided?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Things you do when you're not running

I am always inspired by fellow runners' attempts and accomplishments.
Confession? I'm a silent follower of a some people's dailymile although I myself don't update my own.

And last week, I was semi-inspired to do my birthday run as Enaikay did last year ( yang entry berkurun lepas tuuuu - jangan marah nanti cepat tua)
I say 'semi' because unlike him, who did 34k LSD sekaligus, my 32k was done as an accumulation of mileage over the week.
Tha ha ha.
Actually there's nothing much to get excited about. That's pretty much my weekly mileage these days. Kalau nak lebih pun ada la aku selit a 10k run sekali seminggu.

As I stated in my earlier entries, initially I wanted to run Brooks as my birthday race. But then, I got some info that the race will be jam packed with people and to tell you the truth, I prefer races on a small to medium magnitude. I've got this problem, you see, in which I can't stand being in crowded places.
No, bukan agoraphobia la. More to kalau tengok banyak orang merenyut, I'll get dizzy. I think it's more of an eyesight problem in which I can't focus well when it comes to large crowds.
This explains why you will hardly see me in a shopping mall on any given Sunday.

Eh, lama plak explanation.
So instead of running Brooks, we took a short holiday up north.  Now, WW and I are great fans of bihun sup. So this holiday was solely dedicated on going back to find our favourite bihun sup spots in the 3 states up north. Lama dah tak layan, so birthday punya pasal, calories tolak tepi. Lagipun nama pun short holiday kan..

This one comes from ol' state of Perak. My home town la of course.
Clear broth, minimal to the minimalist oil, lotsa chicken and a great sambal  kicap.
Lagipun ni favourite breakfast place kami sampai makcik kaunter pun dah cam muka sengih aku masa bayar.

 Going further north to Pekan Rabu. Fave spot every time we visit Kedah. Goes back to high school days. Sambal merah takleh lawan woo. Lepas makan ni pastu pekena baulu panas..pergh.

Then, we headed further north to Perlis. Yang ni orang panggil Bihun Sup Bomba. The helping is large. It's got a more cloudy broth comparatively. Sambal dia terangkat. Overall my own actual favorite. Bila pekena ngan cendol - wowsers. Worth the long trip.

Actually, there are still a few other great bihun sup spots that we know up north, but we chose these three due to time constraints. Bear in mind, this was done in one whole day. So pagi, tengah hari, malam asyik ngadap bihun sup je. Saje nak bagi insaf sket.

Insaf ke? 
Err...tengok la minggu depan. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not Edisi Sentap.

What would you do if you knew someone who lied about his race results. Worse yet, has the audacity to tell everyone else about it too.
It's kinda alarming, to me really, to find that people  like this actually exists.
Ingatkan ada dalam drama je.

Call me naive.

Hi, naive.

Actually what do you get for faking your own so called achievements?
Glamer ke? Ada orang mintak autograf ke?
Will it make you faster? Better?

You tell people " I run this such such distance in this such such time."
Regular runners would go, " woooowww"
Non-runners would be clueless and go, " Duhhhh.."

And then when people open up Penonton ( penonton lagi!) and see your name is nowhere in the list where your timing should be, what would you do?

Agaknya dia taktau kot kewujudan websites with race results kot.
 Adoi la.

It's not a big deal kan?
Anyone who knows me personally would be surprised I'm bringing this up.
But don't get me wrong. This is not edisi sentap. I'm not mad or anything.
It's more about me wondering why  anybody would do this. Serius konpius.
I don't get it.
Sila shed some light.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to lose 1.2 Kg in a day.

First, get involved in 4 different kenduris over the weekend.
Then consume :


Ini dan..

 Hampir ini..

Repeatedly secara tamaknya.
After that, setelah pulun sebegitu, sebagai balasan,  mendapat the worst episode of food poisoning ever with stomach cramps so violent it can buckle a cow over.

In addition, go to the toilet 15 times to either barf or do a number 2 or sometimes you can't even tell if it's a number 2 or a number 1.

Then after  repeated attempts of taking in solids but failing miserably (it feels like you're about to go into labor every time you try to eat or even think of food), you turn to your usual home remedy or rather McD remedy.

remedy or excuse?

In which you can only finish a quarter of it ( I only got to that part) and then take your 16th visit to the girl's room.

Finally after your tummy calms down because virtually, it's got no content whatsoever, you get up on that scale and weigh yourself and voila !
You are 1.2 kgs lighter.

Gah, I am kidding, you health freaks.

Eat healthily, live actively and lose that same amount of weight exercising in a month.
Believe me, it'll last longer.
I'll probably gain the weight back and then some by tomorrow.
The worst part of it apart from being delusional is : there goes my Sunday run.
Sigh...or yang lebih sesuwei : ouch! (stomach cramp)