Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday confessionals


This week sucked big time in terms of workouts.

Minus the 20 minute of riding Tobias on the trainer on Monday and the mini-3km-run on Wednesday.....it was a VERY low-mileage sorta week.
The sorta week that I LOATHE!!!!

Oh inactivity...how I loathe thee....

But honestly, there's no one to blame but myself....(I am NOT trying to attain sympathy...although empathy would be great right about now)

And besides under-working out....I'm also over-working my digestive system by over-eating!
(Yes yes...I remember what the incredulously handsome uncle Terence said about losing 7kg.....I'll start, erm....next month!)

Anyway....remember that my gool 'ol dependable Brooks Ghost that aid in the successful completion of many full marathons and two ultras retired to running shoe heaven and my Brooks Launch had just partially recovered from the altitude sickness of climbing Mount KK, I'm out of shoes to run in....and I have 2 marathons coming up.
I need NEW shoes pronto!!!!
(no it's not an excuse to go splurge, ok.....I'm in a dire state of shoe-lessness and getting desperate!)

Finally (Praise God!!!) went running shoe shopping after holding back for months now....
Y'see......I'm trying to see if thrift is the new me.....unfortunately it's one of those "acquired" taste that is a little difficult for me "become". I did however manage to hold back on buying another "much-needed" running skirt and tone down my online shopping a wee bit. I'm taking small victories such as these and considering them as huge successes in the new "thrifty ME".
(Laugh all you want, but I'm giving myself a huge pat on the back!)

Anyway, back on topic.....finally went running shoe shopping with Wendy yesterday.
We're in Ipoh....so everyone-runner who is ANYONE-runner goes to FocusAce for shoes.
Honestly, it's the only place in Ipoh aside from the occasional Al-ikhsan outlets that carries a decent range of running shoes ranging from the very NOW season to the very THEN season.

* My running-partner-in-crime, Wendy and I shoe shopping. We have HUGE feet...size 9!!!!
She and her Adrenaline GTS 10!!!

* I'm in the state of infatuation!!!! *gasp*
Look how handsome these babies are!!!! *salivating*

* The smell of brand new shoes fresh out of the box is absolutely intoxicating...that or it's the inhalant overdose from the glue used in the shoe making process...(I may have addiction issues)

* I'm happy AND in love!!!! (go on..laugh at my expense!!!! But I know you runners out there feel the same way I do about new shoes!!!)


And you know how fond I am of Brooks running shoes..... *glee*
And you know how highly I regard my previous Brooks Ghost..... *reminiscing*
So it was predictable of me to choose the new progeny of the Ghost line....the Brooks Ghost 3!!!
(for you cynics....it was voted as Runner's World Editor's Choice....in the issue with the dogs on it....but of course they said the same thing about the Glycerin 8 and you all know how much I "LOVE" that shoe....by the way, I'm giving it away to Elaine!)

Oh hang on...the best bit....I got 40% off for being a KRI member.....not bad for a phantom-member that doesn't show up for most club-related functions, huh?!

Anyway, I was suppose to wake up early to go test-drive the new shoes this morning.
Unfortunately with the combination of being post-call and the late ending of Lydia's mini-birthday bash.....not surprising that I overslept.
(what?! It is after all Friday confessionals....!)

* Lydia's super-mini-birthday-bash at Strawberry Moments...



* I'll start my "diet" next week...

* The strawberry juice was DELICIOUS!!!!

*....so was the crepe!


* Birthday girl with the homemade tiramisu

* Wendy just had to have the kiddie meal....I just had to have the figurine!!!


* The tiramisu was a bit too sweet but Lydia's mom made it....so I LOVE it!!!!


Will keep the test-drive my NEW shoes this Saturday during long run.

Oh...and this Sunday will be doing Trailblazer with Alexis in Awana Genting.
Erm....let's just say I'm not as excited as I should be....(sorry Alexis)
I dunno....perhaps I'm just a bit tired of running around (aside from actual act of running) and not being able to stay put during weekends.
But of course...once registered and paid...MUST RUN!

A blogging friend of mine (tadaa...it's YOU, Ron!!!) sent me these shirts as displayed below.
Please click HERE for his roll-on-the-floor-laughing-till-your-tummy-hurts-funny blog.

Also...please click HERE for his PunkRockRacing page.
Ron (a runner and tri dude) designed his own line of running gears and apparels after decided that he's sick and tired of the typical, run-of-the-mill, stupid-one-liners on the shirts worn by runners in the US of A.
Of course we Malaysians being the spoilt lot that we are, get free running vest with each event participated and are overwhelmed by the amount of running shirts we have stashed in our closets.....
Anyway....I love this dude because he comments on my blog.....(are you not getting the hint yet?!)

* I know it's like...a month overdue in the public display of gratefulness....but THANK YOU RON!!! (good luck for next Ironman!)




* I LOVE this shirt....but mom says the colour comes off in the washing machine.
You can't blame me if my mom loves me so much that she even loves doing my laundry for me despite persistent protest from yours truly that I'm old enough to do my own laundry.
Don't be a jealous lot!

* I LOVE this shirt too!!!!


On an unrelated note.....a delayed big THANK YOU to KD for sending me your compression socks coz you know I LOVE compression!!!!




Just in case you're wondering why the heck I'm so free to blog during working hours....well, we try to keep sane by keeping workload low on Fridays...REALLY!!!!
Just ask my colleagues!!!!

* Ok ok.....perhaps it is just ME.


Alright.
I feel better and lighter after confessing.

And NO...I'm still not telling you who my crush is!!!!!


Later!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

TGIT!!!!!

*yawn*

I hate being on-call.
Anyway in the midst of completing another 36 hour work day(s)....[31 hours down...5 more to go!]

But thankfully I managed to fit in a VERY short run yesterday evening....first run EVER post-climbathon....
And first run EVER with the Garmin (which I've fondly named Dylan).
Unfortunately I did not have the luxury of a longer run as I've several patients awaiting for review and I stole half an hour for personal use.

I'm still rather clueless about most of the functions on Dylan.

And as I was running, I was making mental notes about needing to get new running shoes (Brooks Ghost R.I.P. and Brooks Launch is recovering from altitude sickness. My Brooks Ravenna has yet to complete puberty....ie it has rather awkward fit), my calves are still tight (still sleeping with my compression socks) and my stamina sucks!!!!

Oh....and the on-call specialist made a passing comment that I'm getting ridiculously fat.
*ahem*

Did someone mention the benefits of blissful ignorance?!

Anyway...photo-log:

* Look how Dylan is searching for satellite signals!!!! (ignore me if reading this is getting painful)

* Ran 3.31km according to Dylan....in a dismal timing of 22:55. And to think I ran the last 4km of the climbathon in 18 minutes....sigh

* Ok...I'm back in action....sorta. Will try and go scout out my new pair of running shoes later. If I'm still awake.....


Genting Trailblazer....this weekend.

Later!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mount KK Climbathon - 23/10/2010

"Going up is difficult....going down is dangerous".
As quoted by some random running uncle walking past me as I struggle to head down the mountain without slipping on some bloody rock.


Before I start, let me explain a little regarding this race.
On Saturday, the participants are from the women's open category....and the men's veteran.
Cut-off time to reach the top is 3:30. No matter where you are, at 3 hours and 30 minutes, you have to turn around and head back down....even if you are 10 meters away from the peak!
You have to return to the finish line within 3 hours of reaching the top.

* Terence pointing to where we need to get to....

*...which is Laban Rata at km6!

On Sunday, it is the men's open category.
Cut-off time is 2:30...need I say more.

So, 7 veterans (ie running uncles!) and 3 ladies (me included) head off from LCCT, Kuala Lumpur on Thursday morning to Kota Kinabalu.
Straight away, we drove out rented car up to Kundasang.
Checked into our hotel.....and did our little tour of the region.

* Our hotel at Kundasang..

* At the registration on Friday morning...



Friday, we collected our race kit.
Despite having already registered online and just having to pay registration fee at the race site (don't ask me why payment could not be done online), we were forced to re-register by filling up forms and lining up to pay.
It was a slow and torturous experience. Total chaos.

* Morning of the race....all prep and sorta ready.


* The three ladies in the group...



* Timpohon gate.....(picture taken on Thursday evening). 800m from the start of the race.

Saturday morning, we headed off to race site.
The race, heading up to the top and back to the finish line totals 21km in distance.
"Ridiculously handsome and dashing" uncle Terence warned that it would be difficult to reach the top, which was 8.7km, (as we ladies weren't used to climbing these kinda mountains and it was my FIRST time stepping on Mount Kota Kinabalu!) but to set our sights on something realistic, like reaching Laban Rata (6.0km) within stipulated time.


* And we're OFF!!!!

* Trying to trail behind Winnie but fell back eventually...

The night before our race, it rained.
Dreaded rain!
Rain would normally be welcome....but not when you're trying to get yourself up to the top in as little time as possible and not wanting to slip on slippery rocks and uneven surfaces!!!
Nor would you want to dirty your expensive trail shoes by stepping into mud and what-nots due to rain....(although I didn't have that problem as I raced in my regular running shoes....I know, I'm "smart" as always!)

The weather that morning was lovely.
It was cool but not too cold.
The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement!
That or its the caffeine in my system speaking.

I personally was both excited and shit-scared.
I don't know what is in front of me or what to expect.
I've never been up this mountain before.
Dannie has been scaring the hell outta me for the past few weeks prior after he found out I agreed to go for the climbathon....and even more so after my TNF experience.
And I know I suck at hills.
But of course with youth *ahem*, comes stupidity and throwing all cares into the wind...(described my attitude to racing to a T)

Anyway, race starts at 7am....about 800m from the Timpohon Gate to the start of the trails.
I was trying to follow Maybel and Winnie.
Please focus on the word TRYING.....coz after about 10 minutes, I could no longer keep up.
At the start of the route, it was all stairs (the uneven, and of differing heights sort) and all going upwards (exponentially off the charts sort!).

I could feel my heart rate zooming up really high. My legs could take the uphills but my heart felt like it was gonna beat right through my thorax!

I slowed down my pace. And within minutes, Winnie and Maybel were out of sight.
Luckily found Terence and he paced me the entire way.
He became my personal coach, nutritionist (with the hydration and gels) and cheerleader!!

I also found myself stopping rather often to catch my breath and let my heart rate calm down a bit to comfortably tachycardic.

The stairs were never ending.
I had to consciously tell myself to stop whining!!!

When the stairs ceased, the real "almost-vertical" climb began.
It was rocks, rocks and more rocks.....
I could not find my footing.
I soon found myself on all fours trying to get myself up the mountain!!!
At least I'd be giving my arms a workout instead of just my legs.

Soon I found a pace that I could climb at without giving my heart a possibility of a ventricle fibrillation.
My breathing was more "in control" (although still laboured).
However, with the higher altitude, I soon found myself with a pounding headache and lightheadedness.

At some points, I felt like I was gonna faint.
Not good. Not good at all.
Of course being a natural whiner like myself, I complaint to Terence about my head-case...(pun intended)
We were already at 4.0km into the race.
Already covered almost half of the distance to the top.
Terence said keep going and have a short breather at every 20 steps.
I think I took breather at every 10 steps or so....not too long. Just a quick one to reassure myself that I was not gonna faint or fall off the mountain to an unceremonious death.

4.5km.....I'm "happy happy happy". Another water station without any bottled water.
(Thankfully despite the pain that I was in, my sarcasm was still intact)

At least they have a tank with collected "mountain water" (although honestly at that point, I would have killed for some Mountain Dew!), where I could fill up my water bottle.
Of course I tried really hard to ignore the floating black bits in it.
I'm not in any position to argue about the drinkability of the water then.

5.0km.....Terence says we're on schedule to reach Laban Rata before the cut-off time. I'm just glad I survived another 0.5km....which felt like eternity trying to get there.

5.5km.....Terence is ecstatic! We're almost there!!!!
Unfortunately I didn't share the sentiment.
Ahead of me was a 45 degree climb and my thighs were protesting.
Thank goodness that the weather was lovely and cool.
Thank goodness for the mist and clouds to cover the surroundings so that my acrophobia would not kick into high-gear....
Thank goodness we are almost there!!!!

5.9km.....Terence says he could see the hut in Laban Rata.
Told me to block the pain mentally and give it all I've got.
All I was thinking of was that I could really die for an extra-cheese pizza right now!
All I was thinking of was.....shit, how the hell was I going to get back down?!

6.0km.....Terence congratulates me for reaching Laban Rata.
I glanced down to my watch. 3:28. Alright....I could live with that.
I was thankful that the ground beneath my feet was flat.
Dreading the hike back down. But for now, to feed the stomach.


* Finally at Laban Rata!!!


* The MOST expensive Maggi Mee I've ever eaten



I had the most expensive instant noodle I've ever had in my whole entire life, at Laban Rata.
Cost me RM15 for a packet of instant noodles.
But I'm not gonna complain.
I was hungry.
I was tired.
And I hate to admit it...I was cold.

So we lingered around Laban Rata for food, photo snapping and toilet break....for almost an hour.
Found Uncle Gary and Winnie at Laban Rata and all of us returned down together....(of course Uncle Gary felt we were taking one picture too many and he stomped off on his own)

I thought going up was bad....going down was a NIGHTMARE!!!
Firstly...I can see how steep it was right in front of me. One wrong step and I'd probably be found partially decomposed about a week later by the search and rescue team.
Secondly....I have bad knees. Running is fine with the knees but going down stairs are a killer!!!
Each step down was a step closer to my eventual total knee replacement.
Thirdly....I have bad balance. I keep tripping and losing my footing. I even slipped and fell right flat on my perky behind.
Thank goodness it was my gluteus maximus was "well-equipped" with subcutaneous tissue.

And thank goodness Terence brought along his extendable walking stick.
I was leaning on to it for dear life. And thank goodness for the presence of Terence and Winnie...
Terence would lead and held my hand through the slippery and uneven surfaces (with many near misses of slipping and falling) and Winnie would pipe in motivational/hang-in-there words on regular basis.
Yes I know...my adventurous running life is absolutely blessed with wonderful people like these.
(yes mo-mo.....this includes you as well!)

Anyway....we were the near absolute LAST three participants.
We knew there was an injured uncle somewhere back there. But after that...it was just us.
Took over 4 hours to get back down to the Timpohon gate.
And from there, another 4 km run.
There were vans waiting at the Timpohon gate.
The driver told Terence to get into the van as we were holding up the rest at the waiting line.
Terence told them to stick it up where the sun don't shine...(ok not really....he said so in a rather polite way...but it would have been cool if he did though)
Told them that the three of us were gonna run to the finish line......like it or not!

So we ran......that was the fastest 4km run I've ever done.
4km in 18 minutes!!!

And finally in front of us...the finish line!!!
Everyone was delighted to see us...(once everyone has returned, then they close shop until tomorrow's race)

More photos:

* More pictures of us goofing around....

* Me trying my darnest not to slip and fall.





* Finally reached Timpohon....and now the 4km run starts.

* Finally we're done!!! Ok...will be back next year.

Anyway.....there were 3 more uncles behind us. They came back in the van.
Glad we ran back!!!

Wasn't in as much pain as TNF.
Overall.....more enjoyable THAN TNF.
Well...at least I did NOT cry like I did post-TNF!!!!!
(sorry....it'll always be in comparison to TNF)

I'm already planning to head back next year to avenge this year's failure to reach the top.
Terence purposed that I lose 7kg to achieve that aim.
My competitive edge says that its a GREAT idea.
My stomach however, thinks otherwise.

Oh well.....maybe I can try (like persuade the stomach to comply) to lose like 3kg....and see if I can do a 4:30 marathon.....and if possible then aim for the total 7kg to reach the peak next year!!!

Erm.....I seriously prefer to achieve both the 4:30 marathon and peak next climbathon WITHOUT the weight loss.

Later!!!!