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.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Would You Do?

En route sending my son to Quran class this afternoon, a boy (presumably in high school), on a motorbike ( presumably his parent's and without a license) rode out of his driveway and being as careless as they come, did not look left and right and rammed onto my car.
He should be thankful I hit the brakes on reflex or he'd have his whole face planted on my windshield
Now, wouldn't that be a hassle to scrape off?

So in result, the front bumper thingy of my car terkopak on one side.
The boy, who saw this, panicked and decided to flee the scene. Then, stupidly realizing that I stopped almost right in front of his house to inspect the damages, came back 3 minutes later in fear that I'd make a whole fuss and serang his mom or something.

I made my meanest face possible ( if that's possible la).

" Sorry la, kak"

Oh my God, I'm so not in the mood for drama right now, I replied

" Sorry la , kak. Memang salah  saya"

Habis, dah terkopak ni macamana?

" Sorry la kak"

" Ko nasib baik sebab kita ni jiran je akak malas nak bising-bising. "

" Sorry la kak" . Macam parrot. Itu je skrip ko.

" Sekarang akak nak pegi bengkel, kalau kena banyak, siap la ko malam ni aku cari mak ko"

Wah, macam hantu pocong gitu nak cari orang malam-malam.

So because I was in a hurry to send my kid and then send the car  to the workshop and then go back to the hospital for my oral surgery course, I left the boy without taking his number or name.

I know, most of you guys are probably slapping your foreheads by now.

I know for sure, if this were to happen to WW or any other person for that matter, you would have probably made the biggest racket until that boy peed in his pants. You would have made the boy pay on the spot and if he couldn't, you'd go to his house and tell on him to his mommy.

But it's different with me. I consider the fact that he's a neighbor ( he lives 2 lanes away). I cannot predict his parents' reaction to this but in a small town, a dispute with a neighbor is kinda embarrassing. It gets kinda awkward during kenduris and get togethers. I've seen it happen and it gets ugly.

So  I decided to let it go. ( more forehead slapping).
I let go because I guess saya terlalu baik hati for my own good. I hate confrontations.
WW would say I'm a pushover.
Some would say I'm a sucker.

 But Ah Ba, my favourite mechanic is wonderful. With a slight wave of his hand, he made his workers work wonders on my front bumper thingy and in 10 minutes, it was as if nothing happened. And he only charged me 15 bucks for it.
See, good things happen to good people..in a way.

Malam ni tak payahla jadi hantu dan cari orang. Not worth my time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Joke's On Me

"Train for it. Go all out. Who knows, you might win"
Said my dad.

Yeah, ok. Rightttt (sarcastically, eyes rolled)

" I'm serious. These things could happen. Who knows," He said again, ironically while handing me a plastic of chocolates he bought from  some airport from a recent trip.

Sure. ( more eye rolling)

Wanna know the biggest joke of the year?
Well, somehow I got selected to run for KKM Perak.
I'm in for two events.
1500m and 3000m.
And the big national level event in Sabah is only a month and a half away.

Nak sangat middle distance kan?
All I can say is : Hah. hamik ko.

I have no idea how to go on with this track running business.
Do I need spikes? Can I use my normal shoes?
Pace management? On track training?

" Physiologically, these middle distance events demand that athletes have good aerobic and anaerobic energy producing systems, and also that they have strong speed endurance."
 ^ Middle Distance Running. Australian Institute of Sport. Retrieved on 5 April 2010.

Strong speed endurance?
What the hell, man?

Sure, the free airfare and a 5 day cuti tanpa rekod holiday in Sabah sounds wonderful ( I really need a break from work) but I hate the pressure of expectations that comes with it.

Boss aku siap bagi pantun tak sengaja:
Hang menang, balik naik kapaterbang,
Hang kalah, balik berenang.

I don't really have high hopes of getting a medal. But I do hope I don't get last.
So in short, I will train not to be last.
Sounds like a plan.

Adoi, kena activate balik Dailymile la nampaknya.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lesson learned

The problem with short distance running is, that in order to be in the top 20 in your category, you gotta be really fast.
And I guess that's what I don't have right now. The ability to hold on to a fast pace.

And in all logic, I shouldn't be upset about this. Being able to maintain a fast pace needs training. Needs hard work. Needs hard ass commitment.
I on the other hand, just run at  my own sweet time with no speed work and no hill training. Intervals? What are those? The last time I did strides, my knees felt funny and I stopped.
I run on my treadmill with the incline just raised up a bit to imitate the resistance of road running. Does it work? I'm not sure.
So I shouldn't be upset if I can't be  as good as those girls who run outside religiously and does proper training, right?
Point is, I don't train that well. I don't have the genetics to run fast. No biggie right?

I got a bit frustrated in my last race. Last Sunday I ran  the Larian Perpaduan in Penang.  They advertised it to be 6.5 K race. I didn't aim for something as big as a podium finish or anything. God knows those Penang girls are really fast. But I just hoped I could hold at least a 8:50/mile pace for that distance.
Or as my spouse would say, perasan-ed I could hold on to that pace.

Race started a bit later than scheduled. And that's normal when you invite a VIP to gun off a race. When will they ever learn.
They let off the guys first. As WW wasn't feeling well, we decided that he'll just run at his easy pace - my pace to be exact. Huhu.
He waited for me at the first corner and off we went, the kampungs - the weird tudung runner with her kaki ayam partner..
I was doing okay as usual in the first 2 miles. We ran along Gurney drive, which despite being hot and sunny, was clearly breathtaking as we ran along the coast.

When I run alongside or overtake people, they tend to turn their heads towards me. Why? Because when I add effort in my run, I breathe like an ox. No seriously, I do.
Bunyi macam nak mati. Gile kuat. Macam orang kena semput.
People look at me in fear I'll collapse. But it's just a thing I do to make sure my lungs get enough air and I don't get side stitches.  I don't recommend it, but it works for me.

Anyway, I can't describe where we ran after Gurney Drive because in Penang, all roads look the same.to me. It's like every time we run in Penang, it's almost the same route. You go to this run and you'll think , hey I've ran here before and you go to another run and you think, I've been here. But then you realize although it's familiar, you have no idea where you are. When I write you, I actually mean me.

So there I was running on a familiar route near God knows where and I'm trying to still keep that intended pace. WW is running alongside to encourage me to push and he went "Push, push, push." and I don't remember him saying this to me while I was in labour a few years ago. Sometimes he ran in front of me to encourage me to run faster. Sometimes I take the bait, some other time, the bait dangled and I stared at him blank faced.

As the end was near, I notice 2 other women whom I took over before passing me. They were running strong and I by this time was struggling a bit. Another school girl running at the same pace as I was, even engaged in a conversation with a male friend while running. Wah, tertekannnya saya.

When the finishing lanes were in view, silly me got into the wrong lane and saw me finishing 12th instead of 11th. I stupidly didn't notice the lane I entered was the Men's Open lane, so I had to run back to the correct lane to finish. Kahkah ( gelak tensen)

In the end, Garmin told me it was actually almost 7.1 K distance in which I finished in 39:37 which  made me fail in my 8:50/mile mission.
That's like the third time.

I won't wallow about it. I don't ponder on the what ifs. It's really simple.
This race made me realize the inevitable.
I need a training plan.
The last time I had a proper training plan was to achieve my sub 5 marathon.
Heck, that was almost 2 years ago. Sangat basi. Hampir tamat tarikh luput.

Stop this 'race to train' fiasco and start to 'train to race'.
Stop making excuses to avoid speed training and intervals.
Stop procrastinating and be more proactive.
Wah, bunyi cam sangat kiasu. Herher.

And as with all diets and other plans to self improve,  changes will commence :


Right now, let's enjoy our 3 days rest and that stuffed crust pizza.
When I write our, I actually mean my.