Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's been a LOW-mileage week...

Gosh I feel a little embarrass to as I type this post right now.

Why?
Well....I've not been running.....much....the whole entire week.

How much 'not-running', you ask?
Well.....there was that 8km run after work on MONDAY...and then a measly 5km run today, ie SATURDAY morning.

So what happened in between MONDAY and SATURDAY?

Did I my make-belief dog ate up my whole collection of running shoes?
Nope.

Was I plagued by dreaded injuries, thus physically prevented me from running?
Nope.

Did I fall out of love with running?
Nope.

Was I too lazy to roll out of bed before work to run?
Erm....yeah    *hangs head in shame*

Well....in defense of myself, I was on-call TUESDAY and I figured I needed a little more sleep before punching in at 8am so I skipped the run that morning.
WEDNESDAY morning was obviously a no-go as I was still technically "at-work". 
I did plan to run that evening but it poured right after I slipped my right foot into my running shoes.  As you would have guessed, I was already prepped up to run. 
Yes, talk about bad weather and bad timing.

And what about THURSDAY and FRIDAY?
Erm.....would you believe that I traded running for reading?
Yup.....a friend loaned his copy of Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' and I was reading it late into the night and therefore could barely open my eyes when in the morning, let alone wake up earlier to run.
But let me add, 'The Lost Symbol' was FANTASTIC!!!!!
Every thriller-literature buff should get their hands on it....when it comes out in paperback!!! 
(I found it a little impractical to get the hardcover version.....but if you lack the virtue of patience, then by all means get the hardcover NOW!)

So I figured I'd try and get a long run on SATURDAY with Pearlie and therefore can justify (somewhat) the lack of mileage for the past few days. Everything was planned. We'd do 21km.
At 5.30am, I woke up to the pitter-patter of raindrops outside my room window which imminently progressed to a respectable downpour.
My long run hope was thinning.
I thought, nevermind.....sleep in till 7am and then review the prospect.
Still raining....heavily, might I add.
Fine.....sleep on until 8.30am.
What the hell....is it still raining??!!!

At 9am, it has diminished to a light drizzle.
I can handle a drizzle.
I thrive in drizzles.
Unfortunately, I kinda promised mom we'd do brunch at 10am and I need a mandatory minimum of 15 minutes in the showers post-run....(it's my thing, don't ask!), then another 15 minutes to sort though my wardrobe, because as a member of the double-X chromosome, I perpetually have NOTHING to wear despite much evidence to the contrary!

So I only had time for a 5km run.
It dawned on me that the 4 days of no-run ultimately left me a little out of breath and unable to go as fast as I thought I could.

Sigh.
I swear, I'd sleep early the whole of next week and build back a respectable weekly mileage.
And I'm doing the RealRun 15km in Singapore next weekend.
Yes......I realized that I just got back FROM Singapore last week......

Alright.....I'd probably get another 5km run tomorrow morning for the Terry Fox charity run!
Better get some shut eye now!


Later!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nike Human Race 2009

Me...Pearlie....Wendy....along with Jason as our official support team who doubles as official race photographer.....travelled down South to sterile Singapore for the 2nd Nike Human Race 2009 on 24th October 2009.
If I remember correctly, last year's race was on 31st August 2008 (Happy Birthday, Malaysia!!!) and my race convoy was mom and dad.
So by far, the entourage this year was so much cooler! (but I still love you, mom and dad!)

We stayed at The Hive Backpacker's Hostel at the corner of Lavender Street and Serangoon Road, nearest MRT being Boon Keng station (being a stone throw away...literally), and the accommodation was surprisingly very pleasant!


* The Hive Backpackers Hostel...go google it!


* The interior....


* Free internet!!

* Our room was rather...cute!

And I even received a package from Mr Marathon-maniac upon arrival to the hostel.....the CDs containing race pictures from Borneo International Marathon and oil-based equivalent to BodyGlide (since I complained non-stop regarding the chaffings from the marathon) to try!
Thanks Mohan!!!


* Package from Mr. Marathon-maniac


* The oil-based body lube that I've yet to try (apparently almost guaranteed no chaffing).....next long run!!!

Our rooms were cozy enough. We took up 2 double sharing rooms and ours were located right in front of the bathroom......very convenient!

We didn't manage to collect our race kit in advance. Emails were sent to the appropriate address to confirm us collecting out race kits on race day....considering how economically inappropriate to want to travel down JUST to get the freakin T-shirts....
As competent as Singaporeans were, no reply was given for the email sent and Pearlie had to call them up to enquire about the whole issue.
They just said to show up early race day and the shirts will be there waiting.
Right.....but was it THAT difficult to reply the email with several sentences stating so?!
I don't know...maybe emailling is not IN with the Singaporeans anymore.....we Malaysians are still slightly technologically behind the "advancement" our neighbours are experiencing.

So on race day, got up freakin early.....(I'm pretty used to that sort of timing, but Pearlie, just back from the States where races start at a more decent hour, had slight adjustment problem)


* When we just got there....it was US and the crew

Took a cab from our hostel to race site (which was the F1 pitt)....pretty near, about 10 minutes cabby ride.
When we arrived, we were the ONLY handful of runners there. Everyone else was dressed in black T-shirts signaling that they were support crew. We got our shirts, changed into them and loiter around waiting for time to pass.
The crowd builds up slowly but surely and suddenly there was a massive sea of red-shirted people everywhere you turn!!!


* Getting our race kits...we weren't the only last minute people that came to collect on race day!


* Are you up yet? I don't feel like I'm up.....

The race was scheduled to start at 7am.
The sun would be up and shining at partial full glory and the heat would have started to permeate through the pores of my skin.
We were gathered at the starting line and the live band came and played several songs (Sorry, I'm not too IN with the local music scene) and suddenly it was announced that the flag-off time would be 7.20am.
Good timing, Nike.
Let 'em runners run in good ol' Singaporean heat!


* All suited up in our compulsory red shirt. I think last year's shirt was of better quality. Perhaps the economy has also affected Nike.

All that delaying did was increased my anxiety.
I was already feeling anxious from the lack of speed training and the overall reduction of running post-marathon....so yeah, feel free to pile on the anxieties and stress!!!

I was already sweating before we even started running.....I know, that's pretty normal considering our region's climate and humidity.....but I need to complain!

Finally it came the time to start running.
I was standing next to Wendy and Pearlie while still stationary.
When the crowd started to move forward, I jogged along until the front crowd thinned out slightly....then I could see Wendy and was running behind her for a while.....
Initially, I felt alright....pace felt kinda slow....I felt that I could go faster.
So I did.
I ran past Wendy....past a lot of red-shirted people in front of me.
I don't think I got very far while on that pace.
I quickly felt my breathing getting very laboured and my legs were feeling heavy.
By the time I got to the first water station which according to the race booklet, was at 2.9km (if I remember that correctly....aging has taken its toll on the memory), I felt I could no longer keep at that pace. 
I felt myself starting to slow.....but deep down I know that I have to keep pushing myself to run.

10km races are difficult that way.
Have to keep pushing the whole way through.....you don't have a lot of time to catch up later if you start fading off in the beginning.
I knew it was too early to even want to fade off.
I tried to keep my pace.
My whole entire lower limb starting to feel heavier and it felt like it needed more effort to lift my freakin feet of the ground.
Each footstrike sent more tiring S.O.S. messages through the legs, up the cerebral cortex telling me to either slow down or quit running.

After the 5km mark, all I wanted to do was walk.
I think around there, I bumped into Wendy again.
I tagged her and ran behind her......was keeping pace until the following 2 water stations and then she was no where in sight.
I think I started walking a bit after that.

I kept glancing at the watch (self-timing myself) and with each increasing minute, I got more anxious about not being able to get past the finishing line within an hour.
I swear.....that was what pushed me to keep running!
After the 7-8th km, I could feel a hotspot forming at the Achille's tendon area of my left foot.

Legs: Please....let's just walk!!!
Brain: No....ignore the pain!!!
Puisan: We can still make it.....we can still cross the finish line in an hour or less.
Legs: Who are you kidding? There's no way we're gonna get across it in less than an hour!!!! It's the 8th kilometer and you're 50 minutes in!!! You know you can't do a 5 minute/kilometer pace!! Not in your current situation.
Brain: Yes....I've done the calculations.....and I think that hotspot in the left foot has officially become a full blown blister.
Puisan: Way to go, legs!!
Legs: Please...let's just walk for a while. 
Puisan: ...but....but....it's gonna be SO embarrassing to complete a 10km race in such bad timing!
Brain: We can always opt for denial......y'know, denial worked pretty well for us in the past!
Puisan: We've walked enough in the previous water stations.....it's the 9th km and we're almost there. I don't want to do denial....not when it comes to running!!!!
Legs: Fine!!!! Don't walk...keep running.....we'll suffer together!!!!
Brain:.......how about we just be in denial about the blister and the pain?

At around the 9th km.....could already envision the finishing line.


* The scene at the finish line. Everywhere I turn, it's RED!!!

At around 450m to go.....the finishing line was in clear view! 
Lots of red-shirted runners started sprinting.
I picked up pace.
I will sprint (more or less) to the finish.......I glanced down and the watch says it was 1:02:45.
I'm already over the 1 hour aim.....so what the hell...just give it all I've got.
I am feeling the pain of the blister.
Trying my darnest to ignore the pain but it's not really working.


* The blister......can you spot it?

I'm almost there.
About 100m in front of me to go. I'm tiring out but I'm ALMOST there!!!
The crowd grows louder.....I hear the beeping of the timing chip against the electronic mat in front of me.
A little bit more.......ignore the pain.......it's 1:03:00
Just a bit more to go.......and, I came in at 1:03:09!!!


* "I went to Singapore to run a 10km...and all I got was this lousy wristband"

I have never felt so relieved EVER!!!
I may have felt this relieved after the marathon 2 weeks ago but I was then in so much pain that my memory may be a little altered......
But gosh....was I relieved or what!!!

* More RED!!!!

So yea...1:03:09 wasn't that good.
Yeah I could have done better.....then again I could also have done a whole lot worse!!!
I'm taking every step necessary to let this whole timing thing slide.......
Just need to keep reminding myself that I may not have fully recovered from the full marathon yet.
And to thank God that I finished with my lower limbs still very much intact!

After the whole event was over and done with.....headed off to Chinatown for breakfast.
(I'm sorry that I kinda took you guys on that wild goose chase.....)
And then back to the hostel to shower...(pain, pain, pain....I realized that I had chaffed while showering) and then off to deep slumber for an hour or two.
Gosh it felt so good to be in bed after all that.


* Post-race fuel at Chinatown

I woke up at around 4 pm and headed out alone (everyone else had their own plans) to somewhere that didn't have any crowd.....and in Singapore, that would actually be an almost impossible task!
I headed to the Asian Cultural Museum......the only place I could think of without a crowd!
(and I was right!!)

After that headed to Newton Food Court to meet up with other runners who ran the NorthFace100......

* Meeting Mohan, Leslie, Hazel and Lai Chee at Newton Food Court. Congrats to Lai Chee for her performance in NF100....sorry you guys didn't win! So next year, Leslie and Lai Chee will win the title for the 25-25!!


* At Novena Shopping Center......and it was nice to meet you, Sharon!

I think overall....I enjoyed the food plus the company that I had more than the race itself.
But then again, running has always been a social thing for me....and a reason to justify all that eating!

I'm actually heading back down Singapore on 7th November for the Real Run, on the 8th November 2009.
Honestly....the Singaporean economy should thank all the Malaysian runners who travel all the way down for their races and pump moolah back into their local money-pool!!!
(dear Singapore, you're very welcome!)

Alright....I better get going.....I'm on-call and I should log off before my mood turns foul.



Later!!!!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Run.....because the truck overturned!!!

Yes....

Overturned truck.
That was the reason WHY I ran today.
No joke.....oh c'mon, just because I work in a mental asylum....I'm pretty sure my sense of humour is still very intact therefore, I'm NOT joking!!!

I didn't plan on running today.
I got up at 5.30am (out of routine, I tell'ya) and was profoundly overjoyed that it was raining pretty heavily outside!
(Praise God!!!!)

And although I brought my running gear to work...(again, out of routine!), I wasn't intending on actually putting them on and going for a run.
Call it the "I-hate-Mondays-so-get-off-my-freakin-face" syndrome......or call it whatever you want to, but I just didn't feel like it.

And the weather looked like it might cause another mini flood in some low lying areas in Ipoh, so again I was kinda excited at the idea of heading home straight after work and spending some quality bonding time with the Mac surfing God-knows-what on the world wide web!

Except that we were informed at around 4.40pm by the operators (first to know everything that is happening around us) that there was an overturned truck wedged between the single-laned railway track exit and the bend of a road leading to the hospital ground....
(I don't know who the wise-man who planned the exit way for this hospital....but I'm guessing he wasn't as smart as he made others believed he was)

So the exit HOME is blocked.
They (someone) managed to take apart the truck...(I don't know...this was what I heard) and they managed to have an opening that cars could squeeze through....SLOWLY.
Now imagine several hundreds of vehicles belonging to doctors, paramedic staffs, visitors, clinic patients...and other nonsense of people, trying to inch their way through that small passage.....ALL at 5pm sharp!!!

Yes there was a massive pile up of cars.......
There was no way I was gonna spend a good 45 minutes of my precious time (although I do admit I was kinda free) sitting in my car listening to another repeat of Mariah Carey's latest hit while waiting to clear the jam.

So I ran.
I know...what a pathetic excuse to run.
But I'm eligible to use it!!!

Decided I didn't want to see anyone while running so ran through the graveyard gravel path.
That's trail run as long as I am concern.
The path leads right past the hospital cemetery and it's about 1km to the top of the hill from the start....then another 1km down.
In my opinion, it is the most gorgeous view of the hospital right there where our previous patients were laid to rest!

So did 8km out there.
Didn't do that great a timing.....decided to walk up where the path turned a wee bit too gravel-ly for my liking....and also at steep hill.....coz, y'know....I just absolutely "ADORE" hills!

In retrospect, I had fun.
I felt so much better after the run. I wasn't in such a pissy mood post-run that I'd want to strangle the next person that crossed my path.
Yeah...that IS a good thing.

Anyway, I'm on call again tomorrow.
Am hoping to wake up early (sans rain) to go for a run before work.
Yes yes...I know I'm suppose to do the write up for Nike Human Race 2009.....but I'll get there....eventually!

Have patience.



Later!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gosh I'm slow!!!

I'm currently in Singapore and typing this from The Hive Backpackers Hostel at the corner of Lavender Street and Serangoon Road....(go Google it!)

I just finish running the Nike Human Race 2009 here in extremely sunny Singapore (the race was started late...the nerve!!!) and come across the finish line in 1 hour 3 minutes and 9 seconds....(I'm obsessive about numbers...so sue me!)

Ok...here's the deal.
I know I've not been training for speed.
I know that I've not been running as much as I used to before the Borneo International Marathon.
I know I just completed my FIRST 42km 2 weeks prior.
I know that I'm probably still recovering.
So if I KNOW all these...why am I SO freakin disappointed that I came in over an hour for a 10k race?!

Yes.....someone out there who has better insight than me, please feel free to enlighten me!!! Somewhere in my brain, these informational bits are not processing!!!

Anyway I think last year's race was more fun although this year they had a better water bottle thrown into the goodie bag....(goodie bag in general was pretty much the same content-wise!)
And obviously the shirt was SO much better last year.
(alright alright....I'm no huge fan of Nike thus the probably unfair criticism, although I still sport their running apparels! And IMHO, Pegasus was their BEST shoe to date!)

Promise will do a proper write up regarding the race later when I get back to the other side of the border.

Oh...and Frank Chong, it was nice to meet you!

Excuse me while I divert my frustrations of being a slow runner into something less destructive. I'm going to take a nap!



Later!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pebble in my shoe


This week is back to work after a whole entire week of hanging my feet up and bumming around doing absolutely nothing!
Yes, it feels good to have all the time in the world in your hands and yet feel like the day just went past and you have yet to accomplish anything of any significance.
What....you NEVER feel like that?! You liar!!!

Anyway I'm post-call and I'm happy to report that I spent the night at the hospital uneventfully.
In other words, I got enough shut eye.

In terms of my running, manage to run 6.5km MONDAY morning and then another 5km in the evening.....(the evening run was a sorta insurance to my just-in-case-I-can't-wake-up-early to run Tuesday morning).
I'm glad I ran twice that day. Coz I couldn't wake up in time on TUESDAY morning to run before the start of my 30 hour of working. And it poured like the heavens flooded over WEDNESDAY evening so no run for me today either.
THURSDAY (ie tomorrow).....I have to, HAVE TO wake up early to run. Last run before the race.
I'm heading back KL tomorrow post-work and am flying off to Singapore on FRIDAY morning for the Nike Human Race on SATURDAY and then flying back KL on SUNDAY and subsequently driving back to Ipoh later on the same day.
Gosh I feel so exhausted just reading what I've just typed.

I'm feeling a bit ambivalent regarding this upcoming race.
I've not trained for speed...(sorta recovering from the 42km.....or a rather lofty excuse for being plain lazy)
I don't feel like running hard and fast....yet
My "selective-pseudo-perfectionist" personality makes me think that if I can't make it within an hour for this 10km race, then I'm not much of a runner......(I KNOW it's a delusion but it being a delusion makes it false and hard to shake off!!)
Mind you I ran the race last year (when I was, I think, a much faster runner) in 1hr 10min (one of my slowest 10-k EVER)....I blame it on the crowd and the narrow route!

These days I focus a lot more on distance and I lax a lot on the speed part and lie to myself into accepting my slower finishing timing outcomes.

I'm afraid I'm turning into one of those runners that no longer care about Personal Best!
(in retrospect, ain't such a bad thing at all....less pressure, more fun!)

Anyway in a very much unrelated topic to speed and timing, I was told (again) today that it was humanly impossible to run 21km, let alone a 42km...I did show my "wall-of-numbers" (I collected my race bibs and stick them on the wall) at my work cubicle to prove that not only it is possible, it is also possible to have done so many, MANY times! Why can't they grasp in their miniature mind of theirs that all things are possible once you put your heart into it?! Why is it that just because you can achieve a distance further than they can, they magically have a right to assume that you're somehow abnormal?!

I was told (again) that it was no fun running anything more than 30 minutes......which I chose not to agree because I had the most fun during the BIM 42km!! Besides.....getting into a meditative state while running is the best feeling ever.....your legs go into automatic motion and you feel like you're gliding on air! It is at times even better than yoga...(which by the way, indirectly lead me to my discovery of running and ultimately to a profound gratitude towards LIFE itself....melodramatic, well....get use to it!!!)

I was told (again) that I am very VERY active, on-the-go-can't-sit-still and manic in behaviour (what?! Is there something wrong with it?!).......and honestly, at 27 years of age, if you act any slower and any older....then it would be such a waste of your youth and energy and the Great Lord has gifted to you! I say be proud and embrace the abundance of energy and vitality that you have and live your life right at the edge, in this very moment....it's the only way to feel truly alive! 
Heck....by all means, you have the right to CHOOSE to sit sedentarily 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and not do a single thing.....which in that case, how can you consider that LIVING?!

I was told (first time!) that my Brooks shoes suck (you bloody anal orifice...how dare you!).....to every brand-style conscious so-called runners out there who believe appearance and "style-status" outweigh functionality and performance....UP YOURS!

OK....I'm glad I got that out!
I'm now ready to hit the sack for tomorrow's last run before the 10-k race.
Wish me luck and sanity for my Nike Human Race! 
And GOOD LUCK to the NorthFace100 runners......I so wanted to run with you guys!!


Later!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Randomness of the week!

Just some random facts for the week.

This week has definitely been....erm.....interesting!
I finally understand why Runner's World magazine advised for many days of rest or extremely low mileage running post-marathon.
Well, if you are interested...that's because YOU ARE SO FREAKIN SORE THAT YOU CANNOT RUN....thus the involuntary rest/low mileage.

And since I did not blow past the leading runners of the marathon with my God-given scare-the-hell-outta-ya speed (who says I'm guilty of sarcasm?), I only "suffered" 3 days of relative immobility.....(perhaps the word "suffer" was a little overkill.....I'll used the word "enlightened")
But running (on 4th day post-race), although minus the muscle and joint pain....I'm currently suffering from right foot arch pain.
Nope....got no explaination for it thus far but it only occurs when running.....regardless of which runners I run in...(and you can bet I have quite a few!!)


* My new Brooks Ravenna...got them the day before I flew off to KK. I LOVE the smell of new shoes!!!! Got all light headed when first open the shoe box.....I know...infatuation!!


Ooohhhh....and my new Brooks Ravenna!!!!
I've been lusting for one of these babies since Frayed Laces blogged about them being a gift from Brooks (I'm SO jealous!!) and she's been running in them quite often and stuff....
So I placed an order with running-uncle PK from KRI (coz we members get 30% discount...) since I can't quite find them in stores.
And now I'm flirting with my new pair of Ravenna!!!
I'm still rather attached to my extremely worn-in Defyance.....but y'know, life goes on....
I've so far had 2 runs in the new shoes.
It's very light......that's the first thing I noticed about 'em. It's rather flexible as well once worn.
Slightly snug around the forefoot......something I'm not quite used to.
My previous Brooks models (Defyance, Adrenaline GTS, Axiom) were rather roomy in the forefoot region.
But for sure, these shoes feel FAST!!!
It's like a more cushioned version of Axiom 2....(still don't get why RW's review says they don't provide sufficient cushioning for longer distances but I guess we'll find out eventually, won't we!)


* Me first time test-running the Ravenna!!


Anyway, while I was scouring the aisles during grocery shopping....(for the record, Mom was doing groceries....I was, tagging along..), I found a coolest thing ever.......
Ok....I've not been doing groceries much and I don't usually idle around either.....I pop in, grab what I need and I'm out of there pronto!



* Woohoo....it's  SIPahh!!!!


But here is it:
Guys....have you ever tried SIPahh!!!!??
It's a flavoured straw so that when you sip your regular plain ol' milk through this straw-device (it is a straw, by the way), the milk that gets into your oral cavity is indeed whatever flavour that was in the straw! (FYI, I chose Chocolate)



* The miniscule chocolate beads within the straw compartment...that's where the chocolate flavour comes from!


It's 13 calories per straw (in addition to whatever caloric content of your milk/beverage) and apparently 100% vegetarian (not that it would matter to me now)....I'm thinking it's also 100% artificial flavouring in that case!
Anyway a pack has 5 straws and it cost around 3 bucks (ringgit, people) per pack.
Have to get it!!!!



* Just pop it into any plain ol' beverage....I chose low-fat milk!


So inside are 5 individually wrapped straws and each straw contains these miniscule chocolate flavoured beads....which you suck the milk through it thus delivering the flavour....(most likely)

Taste wise.......better stick to regular chocolate milk!!!!
But of course, for fun-factor sake......you should so totally try it!!



* I know....I was not impress...in fact, a little disappointed......


Oh...and I now have the oddest cravings EVER...
I persistently crave for SUBWAY sandwiches since returning from Kota Kinabalu!
I don't know.....I'm as clueless are YOU are.
But at least I'm over my red meat cravings....
But y'know.....being female and regularly hormonal, I now accept these cravings as another one of those weird stuff that the body and brain does to a female human being!
(but with the increase unethical use of hormones in our livestocks.....I'm so SO certain a lot of males out there have the same hormonal up-downs as me! Talk about equality of the sexes)



* Can't seem to get myself enough of Subway!!!! 



* Yummilicious! I'm having that for lunch AGAIN tomorrow!!!


Anyone have anymore of those buy-1-free-1 coupons for SUBWAY??!!!!

Next weekend will be heading down South to sterile Singapore for the Nike Human Race 2009 scheduled on 24th October 2009. We (Wendy, Pearlie, yours truly) have yet to collect the race kit and I'm hoping they will allow us to collect on race day itself after reading my email of plea that I've sent!! Fingers crossed.
Part of me wishes that I was running the NorthFace100 instead.....sigh.




Later!!!!



Friday, October 16, 2009

I am back on!

I ran yesterday....(woohoo!)

And I ran today....(and I swam in the morning but that's another issue altogether!)

For me....that is quite an achievement considering that I was pretty maimed post-marathon and was still sore at various body sites when I returned on Wednesday.

But I RAN!!!! And that is all that is important.

I'm so proud of my body.
It bounced back to near normalcy (gosh, I sound like I just popped out a 4kg baby!) post 42km in 3 days!!! 
I'm ALMOST pain and ache-free! 
2 days ago I can't even imagine what it was like WITHOUT the constant nagging pain everywhere upon any movements required out of the body!
And the body even permitted me to run 2 days in a row. Yeah, so it was only a 5km.....but I ran and the legs did not protest! Hallelujah!!!!

In fact, I'm feeling very pumped up to jump back into training for Singapore Marathon in December. I'm all ready to train for speed!!!
I'm so keen to try and finish the next one in 5:30!! (it's negotiable depending on how hormonal and emotionally distress I get nearing that time....what?! I'm FEMALE...it's allowed!)

Today's run of 5km which I completed in 33 minutes and 43 seconds (decent although could have gone faster) made me realize that my body no longer feels tired!

Remember I was going on and on, melodramatically (I'm such a pro at being dramatic) about how tired and lethargic I felt weeks prior to the marathon and at one point I thought I could be suffering from some auto-immune disease that is attacking the body from within OR that I may be depress and in desperate need for Prozac.....

Well, I don't feel like that anymore!
I feel that my desire to run has increase ten-folds....
My love affair with running has turned its page unto a new chapter!
Gosh I LOVE this feeling......
Running no longer felt stale and boring....like a monogamous relationship 15 years down the line that went terribly haywire!!! (but don't get me wrong...I'm ALL for monogamy!!!)

I fell in LOVE with running all over again.....(should I cue Barry Manilow at this point?!)

Anyway, I shall be doing a write up on my new shoes....Brooks Ravenna!!!!
Let me run in it a few more times before I make a judgmental opinion on it......and how it fares against my steadfastly beloved Brooks Defyance, which is reaching its expiry date soon...*sob*
I had a look at the thread of the soles of my Defyance before today's run and I was a little surprised at how worn-in it had become.....(I must be that heavy!)
I just hoped I could still do one more marathon in it......
Have I ever mention that Brooks have the longest, lasting shoes EVER!? Totally economical!
Again...I do not get paid to announce such bias opinions (although that would not seem like such a bad idea). I just state the truth!!!
Erm....I'm swaying off topic...again.

So before I end, big pat on the back for the body for recovering faster than I thought it would.
Let's start serious training again!!!
Oh I'm so excited and I can't wait......tomorrow will do hills!


Later!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Borneo International Marathon 11th Oct 2009

So I flew into Kota Kinabalu (first time foot touching East Malaysian soil, y'all!!!) on Friday evening and got picked up by Deej who's running her FIRST (don't we all love our FIRSTs?!) half marathon....and stayed over at her place for the night after a quick driving tour of KK town....(it was QUICK...because there wasn't much to see in the dark and honestly, it was a small town!)

First night.....slept on floor in sleeping bag.
That did NOTHING to aid the lower back ache. In fact that "eventful" night's sleep converted the lower back ache into a "Godzilla-stomping-around-Tokyo" sorta horrendous, exaggerated discomfort!!!
And I didn't bring enough oral pain killers with me.....smart thinking huh!?

Anyway luckily for me, my friend Padma was working in the Anaesthesiology department in Likas Hospital and she managed to get SOME analgesics for me on Saturday morning, whom I met up for breakfast in McD's....(I was in PAIN...I want my fast food!!)



* at the race kit collection center. I love the EcoBags! Unfortunately, the vest given was Men's size.....


So did the whole driving-around-the-tourist thing with Padma and Deej......collected our race kit from Likas Sports Center (and darn it, I got stuck with a technical vest for MEN!!! Why don't they ever make enough women's running vest?! WE will one day outnumber men in these running events.......ONE DAY!!!!! Erm, mind the feministic mindset) and then went for lunch!

I specifically told the "locals" (both of them originally from Peninsular) that I wanna eat FAMOUS foods! I don't care if it taste decent enough to not spit out....as long as it is POPULAR, I want it! (I always think that if it's of any good, that particular culinary place should be popular enough.......)
So far the "famous" places that I was taken too.....they didn't disappoint! I'm one HAPPY runner in the making!


* we (Deej and I) actually bought the ticket for the pasta party. But we decided to skip that and we went to Luna Rossa (near Jesselton Point) for good Italian Food! Pricey...but yummilicious!


Padma was involved in the First Aid and medical team support for the race (bless her soul!) and since she would be up early (even earlier than US), we decided to bunk in at her place.
Frankly, I didn't wanna sleep on the floor again (I can only tolerate so much pain killers) and Padma's apartment has the SOFTEST, COMFIEST and PLUSHEST sofas in her living room, EVER!!!!!
Make a guess where I slept!



* what I would be wearing on race day! Oh my reliable and beloved Brooks Defyance.....our first marathon together!!!


Race scheduled to start at 4am. Sun rises an hour earlier than in Peninsular....(which I kept forgetting!)
Prep the stuff I'd be wearing and taking along with me for the race the night before.
Decided not to wear the club vest....(too bright...argh, my eyes!!!!)



* this is me before taking off to Kota Kinabalu, still deciding what to wear.....this is the club vest. A bit too yellow? Ain't exactly my favourite colour.



* I was actually thinking of wearing this.....but......y'know...I'm fickle!!!


I felt that if I were to start a race with full potential of finishing it last or perhaps crawling across the finishing line (oh you know me..always optimistic), I'd be damn if my finishing photoshot was not of me in my favourite running tee! (or at least my SECOND favourite, as I accidentally left my number 1 go-to shirt in Ipoh...my bad)
But of course I'm not gonna go tell the running uncles this theory of mine, of why I chose not to wear the prestigiously visible, neon-coloured, club-logo-imprinted Brooks running vest.
I don't think they'd understand......

Also....I decided to run in a skirt......I figured that would be MY racing tradition.
If cat-woman runs almost every single race in her cat-suit (she's quite a fixture at a lot of our races), I'd run mine in my skirt.
And to be fair, I think the last time I ran in something OTHER than a skirt was in Klang Half Marathon earlier this year....and that (in my terms) was a very VERY long time ago!



* BodyGlide and GU (my favourite flavour!!)......apparently I didn't BodyGlide enough to prevent the chaffings!!! Perhaps next time, BodyGlide AND Vaseline!!!


At the start of the full marathon (at the running oval of Likas Stadium), there were only a handful of runners gunning for the full. Apparently the majority of people running were in the half and 10-k categories. I'm in awe at how many superb-ly buff and hyper-skinny (not exactly out of the cover of Sports Illustrated but perhaps off the cover of Runner's World...yeah, definitely out of RW!) were there. Felt so out of place......in the appearance sorta way!

Honestly between you guys and I, I have been feeling a little erm, "fleshier" recently especially since the reduction in running (due to left knee and lower back pain) and the onset of my return to the omnivore (sometimes purely carnivore) diet less than 2 weeks ago. It's amazing how the human body remembers how to resume it's physical "inactive and unhealthy" state....quickly!
Note to self....have to lose some dead-weight fast!!! 
Especially since I'd be racing a 10-k 2 weeks from now!!!



* this is running-uncle Gary.....Subang Lake runner!!! Oh, I've already changed out of my racing clothes!


I'm fortunate to have bumped into Mohan (aka Mr Marathon-Maniac) and Hazel......and also Terrence whom I've met in Bidor Half Marathon.
I'm thankful that I have these people to run with through the initial half of the race!

And....I'm also thankful that Mohan (as always) brought his camera along during the race and that I'm guaranteed (more or less) to have pictures of myself out there on the race course!!! 
Brilliant isn't it?!



* Mr. Marathon-Maniac himself! 
"Mohan...where are my photos?!"


And because I wasn't running at some break neck speed (perhaps one day, but not any time soon since I kinda hate training for speed) , I had a lot of time to talk to other people who were also shuffling along to my slow-ish pace.
And honestly, chatting away with other runners, especially those who were also embarking on their very FIRST marathon ever (like ME) took off a lot of expectations that I have on myself.
I just run at whatever pace that is comfortable.
I just run at a conversation-maintainable effort.
We joked about running this marathon and talk about our lives, no matter how superficial the topic we're touching (I do understand it will be somewhat difficult telling someone your entire life's history and stuff while running a 42km....)



* A first timer as well! I ran with him initially....I think he said his name was Gee! Congrats Gee!! Now go back and gloat to all your friends and all your doubters back home!


The first half of the race was, in my opinion, so much more enjoyable. We ran from Likas Stadium towards OneBorneo Shopping Center and beyond (I honestly do not know what that area is actually called).
First, it was run in the dark...the sun has yet to rise...
Second, I was still fresh....my legs and feet have yet to protest.
Third, we were running in a somewhat tighter group...had more fun joking and laughing.
Fourth, the isotonic drinks were STILL cold!!!!

10-k into the race, we had to take a turn back.
After the turn, there was a stretch of road that was uneven and during that stretch, my left knee acted up.
It was aching and begging for me to stop running.
I walked for a while hoping that the pain would go away.
To start walking now, I felt, would be very demoralizing.
I still had a lot of energy. I know I was gonna do the run-walk thing but somehow I felt that if I start to walk now, I'd never run anymore and I was only a quarter way in!!

Thankfully, the pain did vanish and I then returned to running the slow pace.

Oh.....and I tripped and fell right in front of OneBorneo Shopping Center.
Landed flat on my face, with my hands breaking the fall.
Scrapped both hands with my left palm bleeding slightly.
But one good thing of being in the back pack of the race......not many people got to witness my embarassing fall! (not exactly headline worthy!)

Running through town towards Sutera Harbour area was a bit more tiring. I was more or less running on my own here. To give myself a mental one-up, I started cheering for the marathoners and half-marathoners running back on the other side. Really gave me an adrenaline kick in the brain when being someone else's cheerleader and seeing them all smiley and happy that someone (anyone) was cheering for them!
That......got me to about 28km.
I then bumped into this running uncle, Gary (not from Ipoh!) from Subang (yay, for Subang Lake running uncles!) and started a conversation with him.
That conversation got me through 30km.
In fact, running uncle Gary got me through my last 12km back to the finish line!



* Some of the people that I met along the way! 


Unfortunately, my tummy began to ache on off after 30th kilometer.
And each time a colicky, churning discomfort arises, I had to walk no matter what!

And did I mention that by 9am, it was scorching hot in Kota Kinabalu?!
Shit....I didn't wear sunscreen and ended up with a mild case of sunburn......with several thousands of epidermal cells already mutated due to the unrelenting sun!!!

The last few kilometers were such a blur.
I remembered telling myself that I was almost there....that I just need to keep moving.
I remembered trying to tail running-uncle Gary.....I remembered the cars on the opposite side of the road came to an almost-halt to accommodate the late runners coming back....(ie ME)
I remembered the tummy pain coming whenever I start to try running again.
I can't quite remember feeling my legs but I think they hurt.....a lot!
I sorta remembered turning into the road leading to Likas Stadium where the finishing line was.
I remembered a girl running behind me telling me to just run, that I'm almost there.
So I started running.....sort of. I remembered feeling so ecstatic when the Stadium entrance was in view...
Honestly, never felt so happy in my entire freakin life as when I entered the oval and the finish was in view. Almost there.....yeah.....almost!

And I crossed the finish line.
Yeah! Double high fives for ME!!!
Someone (don't quite remember) came and put a medal around my neck and then there were photos being snapped.
Oh...I remembered the Ipoh running peeps, most still in the club vest came over to congratulate me....and then asked me why I didn't wear the vest! Erm, can't quite remember my answer to that question.
For me at that very moment, the only thing important was to get my bag and head to the ladies' room!
For some reason, I NEEDED to get out of my clothes and change into something else.
And...erm....I really REALLY needed to GO!
That tummy ache that was annoying me the entire last stretch turned out to be a start of a dehydrating diarrhea. Sigh.
On the plus side, at least that didn't happen while I was still running half way!

Anyway, after I did what I had to do in the ladies' room (which until now I feel rather in awe that I managed, since my legs were experiencing a combination of severe pain and extreme numbness and chaffings were pretty debilitating), went out to take more pictures with people!!!!

I still can't believe I completed the whole 42km!!!!



* I'm so SO proud of Deej on her first half marathon completion! Oh, and there's Tey snapping pics on the far left!


I think the most painful part of the race was when I tried to shower.......
A very painful nudge for me to lubricate more next marathon!
Oh....and the diarrhea and abdominal colic that accompanied it.
I had to force myself to drink water...tons of it coz I was losing it the other way.
I think I sorta passed out on Padma's couch after that for an hour.
I did feel a lot better after the quick nap.

Anyway I'm glad I didn't have to fly back home straight away. I could barely walk!!!!

Next time...(December for StandChart Singapore), I will come more prepared....hopefully.
I will lube well.....and eat less crap few days prior to the race to prevent another bout of diarrhea!!! Oh and bring with me lots of painkillers!!!!



* Great food at Brass Monkey for dinner post-race!


Ok.....now let me talk about the good bits and bad bits of this race.

GOOD:

1. lots and LOTS of hydration station!!!
2. lots of cheerful volunteers!!!
3. flat course
4. fun people
5. good view of the sea at most parts of the course


BAD:

1. gets really hot really fast
2. not enough vest for female sizes
3. not enough food and water at the finish for late finishers
4. ......and did I mention it was HOT?!



* can you see that little wound on the palm of my hand? Yup, sustained that from my fall. It's amazing how fast it has healed. The wonders of popping vit-C chewable like sweets!


Before I end, I'd love to thank all the people who I ran with and whom encouraged me throughout the entire "journey"!!!
You guys were GREAT!!!!
I didn't come in last BECAUSE of YOU!!!!! (c'mon..big pat on the back for you guys!!!)



Later!!!

 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Marathon: done and over!

First full marathon before 2010: task completed!

I'm still IN Kota Kinabalu.....it's MONDAY and it's exactly 24 hours since completing my FIRST ever full 42km yesterday at the Borneo International Marathon.

Completed it in 6 hours 1 minute 4 seconds.
(Nothing to shout about but at least I completed it!!!!)

Anyway will do the write up later.

My entire lower half of body aches...my tummy aches (I suffered from diarrhea post-race)....my arms ache (I tripped and fell and scrapped my hands....erm, embarassing story later).....my lower back pain sorta subsided (thank goodness!!!) but instead now I have multiple chafings everywhere (OUCH!)

Excuse me while I go pop another pain killer.

Ok...now I'm heading back to bed...I'm still on HOLIDAY and I planned to spend today in bed, recovering!!!

Later!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

If you can't beat 'em.....

3 days to go.....

I'm still WITH the lower back pain.
Nope...it has not left me yet, as much as I hoped and prayed for....
But it has lessened its grip on my personal well-being as days drag on.
I've made peace with the (very real!) possibility of running this Sunday with the dull annoyance staying put in my lower back.
Really....I have!!!
I've also made peace with regular popping of analgesics.
(Not that I'm recommending that to anyone else who's wondering, because I DO NOT promote long term abuse....I mean dependence.....erm, requirement of pain killers!!)

I've also made peace with not being able to get a final run-in before this Sunday......

Ok....I lied....I'm not quite there yet about being alright without anymore running but I'm getting there....soon.....HOPEFULLY!

But......I did get to run on TUESDAY evening....
Did  a gentle (ie SLOW) 5km run while the lower back continued its subdued (by analgesics) nagging.
I figured if I could run through that minor irritation, I could definitely make it through in one piece on race day.

Anyway, the running uncles have been pretty persuasive about wearing the running club's bright-yellow-most-likely-glow-in-dark vest....which to be honest and no offense, I am not very keen!!!
But oh, y'know.....it's about "club spirit" and whatever.....a "sense of belonging" and whatever....a "running-togetherness" and whatever.....y'know....whatever!!!
I must have NOT mentioned to the running uncles that I was ALWAYS the odd one out and actually ENJOY being the odd one out.....(oddity breeds originality.....or something along those lines)

You think they'd be too disappointed if I told them I planned to NOT advertise the running club while running the marathon?!

Anyway, since I have a whole lot more time on my hands without all this nonsense "the others"( the non-running people) call, running......I've been catching up with my 2 other favourite activities: EATING & SLEEPING!

In fact, since I gave up my anti-flesh diet last week (don't ask!) I've been doing a whole lot more eating!!! I really have to seriously consider going on that darned 4-letter-word thing (D.I.E.T. eeekkkk!!!) post-marathon.
And considering that I've not been expending much energy or beating my body down with all that running, I'm extraordinarily tired from....doing absolutely NOTHING!!

Am I the ONLY person experiencing such contradicting phenomenon?
I've actually been sleeping 8 hours almost every single night (not counting tonight...it's 3am, I'm the only doctor within vicinity and am blogging due to inability to fall asleep in the hospital!), and I still feel like I NEED more sleep!!!
Bizarre isn't it!? (perhaps I really am depress)

Y'know, in hindsight, I probably needed this time of "rest" while "tapering" (because the back pain twisted my arm into agreeing for no running this week) coz I wouldn't have done so on my own free will.
And I actually do ENJOY sleeping the extra hour and a half that I usually do without so that I can run before heading to work.

Oh well...if you can't beat the situation that you unfortunately find yourself in, I suggest to just float along with it.....the Universe has bigger plans for you!!! (gosh I hope so!)

Will try to catch more shut eye before the sun rises!!!


Later!!!!

p/s: I still have no idea what I'm gonna wear on race day!!! I know these sorta stuff are usually pretty petty and minute that it doesn't require much formal attention paid to it.....but it matters to ME!!!! Oh c'mon, don't give me that patronizing look...I'm FEMALE after all!!!! 

Monday, October 5, 2009

I HATE Mondays.......because:

No reason whatsoever...

Mondays just plain SUCK!

It's just the way God made the universe and all it's nitty-gritty shiteous everyday stuff.
He made sure after you praise His glory in His church on Sunday, you better work your arse off on Monday....so that you'll be more thankful for all the Sundays!

Ok fine....there is a reason why today sucked more than every other Mondays that came before it....(although most Mondays are usually sucky by nature)

My lower back pain is lingering still.
AND.......I didn't run today.

I'm getting a little (ok...a LOT) edgy.
Things irritate me more than usual.
I feel bloody hormonal, come to think of it!!! 
(I don't want to even begin to imagine how I'd be like when menopausal....!)

And did I mention I feel tired.....like ALL THE TIME!?

I don't know......maybe I'd feel better if I ran today.
So what if my back hurts when I bend down to tie the laces of my running shoes?!
As long as I don't feel this hormonal!!!!

Anyway....as hypochondriac as I naturally am....
I did some x-rays of my knees/pelvis/lumbosacral spine.
Y'know.....just to be on the safe side.....and to kill some of my ovaries-stored eggs from the radiation.



Obviously the pelvis looked fine. But I figured if I'm gonna expose myself to radiation, why not to get a x-ray of it anyway....at least I'd have a "baseline".....for future references and stuff.
(well...not really....but I DID mention I was hypochondriac...and a tad neurotic!!)




The AP (antero-posterior) view of my lumbo-sacral spine looked pretty normal as well. All vertebrae seemed to be in alignment......




The lateral view of my lumbo-sacral spine looked a bit worrying though.
There were a bit of spondylotic changes at most vertebrae, most prominent at L1 region. A colleague of mine mentioned that there is loss of the lordotic curve....(so yea, I have BAD posture)
Lumbo-sacral Spondylosis.......and I'm ONLY 27!!!
Perhaps this is the cause of the persistingly annoying lower back ache??!!!!

Gosh I really need to start strengthening my midsection!!! And practice better posture!!!!
(Stop slouching!!!!)




On a lighter note, my KNEES looked fantastic!!!!
Or at least they didn't look any worse than the previous x-ray of the knees that I did earlier this year after suffering from another bout of knee pains.....(remember...hypochondriac!!)
Osteoarthritic changes are still not visible.....and I'm hoping I'd NEVER see it in MY x-ray films ever!!!

So....I have early lumbo-sacral spondylotic changes.......still EARLY.
Nothing much I can do about it.....(at least that's what the general orthopaedic view point is at the moment)

I should really start popping my calcium pills......(I can be SO lazy when it comes to pill popping)

I HAVE to really work on my core muscles.....and alright...I should lose some weight for whatever that it's worth!!!! (Gosh I really hate to diet)

Anyway.....6 days until the 42km.

I'm looking forward to FINISHING it....
And I'm also looking forward to having the whole week off!!! (I'm dipping into my Mental Health Hazard days off!.....what for? FOR MY FREAKIN MENTAL HEALTH!!!)


OK OK...tomorrow morning I WILL RUN!!!!
I'll dope myself up with painkillers for the back pain AND I WILL RUN!!!!!


Later!!!!

p/s: I'm sorry y'guys....I think these days, I'm blogging more about my neurosis as compared to ACTUAL running!!! Bear with me though these "turbulent" times!!!