Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hail the hols!

Working in the government sector does have its perks.

Unfortunately, receiving a ridiculous amount of 3-5 months worth of bonus, enough to purchase a brand new five-figure road bike is not one of them.
Very unfortunate indeed.

However, let's not dampen my holiday mood by focusing on that cons.

The obvious pro to the equation would be the holiday mood (and the days off!!!) that beckons with every festive season.....especially since now I'm not required to be on-call.
(I'm always thankful that I was not smart enough...or keen enough to pick up some surgical based or internal med program....and for that, I think I'm pretty smart!!!! Yea yea...I know, oxymoron)

In fact, the holiday mood has been pretty infectious amongst us at the clinic since a week ago.....and despite praying very very hard (and I even threw in a couple of Hail Mary's) for the announcement that this Friday would also be declared a public holiday, it was just not meant to be.
(Oh well....I guess it's evening swim session on Friday for me again!)

And Monday was totally non-productive at work after we've cleared off our exercise-program patients.
(staring at the clock, waiting for 1pm doesn't really count as hard work.....unless you're one of my previous psychotic patients in my previous hospitals, then by golly, you deserve a 3-5 months bonus!!!!!)

Anyway......with the three days off in a stretch (thanks to the coinciding Independence Day), lots of training can be fit in.
Well...not 'lots' as in the amount that I'd really like....but enough to ensure that I do fall asleep without needing benzodiazepines.
(yes....still having intermittent and early awakenings....but that needs another blog post on its own)

In fact, so far we've done 2 cycling sesh at the Gurthrie Corridor Expressway.

No.....we've not done any earth-shattering-mileage (or speed, for that matter) that would satisfy the Ironman-class-athlete.....say, Richard Tang or Sofian Triathlete......but adequate for nobody-athletes like us bunch.
In fact, in retrospect, our cycling mileage was actually kinda pathetic both days (48km and 45km respectively) but at least Tobias got to get outta the house.

Photo-log (take note that these super high quality photos were courtesy of Chooi Wan and her super Nokia phone....which by the way only can be operated by the owner herself):

* Tuesday's ride.......we had great weather throughout.....even through our mini brick session.
Tobias was as usual squeaky....but as long as no one mentions the obvious....we can continue being ignorant.

* Wednesday's ride.....we had even BETTER good that it was reminiscent of Kenyir Tri.....rain and wind make great muffle the squeakiness.

* Yeah....I reckon POSITIVE thinking is gonna get us thru Desaru.....what'dya think!?!?!?!

In fact these days, I've managed to wean Tobias off his annoying hobby of collecting dust and cobwebs.
Actually it didn't really annoy me that was a rather adorable quirk of his.

Mom however found it a tad of an see dust....and the house.
(yes folks...the reality of living with the folks again has hit home hard)

Anyway....the cold hard reality of the impending Desaru tri.....has surprisingly not hit me that hard yet.
Perhaps it's the holidays......or the antidepressant.

I'm expecting to be in extreme-panic mode by next Monday.
People around have been warned!


Thursday, August 25, 2011


Wednesday night, 11pm......
I'm rolling around in bed, eyes wide open, my thoughts going faster than Lance Armstrong at Tour De France.
I just took my antidepressant after a 3 full months of total hiatus from it.....and a benzodiazepine.
In fact, I took them both almost an hour plus ago.
On the good side, I'm no longer sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason......and I don't feel the doom and gloom that I was experiencing a couple of hours ago.

Backtracking several days back.....

Friday, 19th August 2011.....
I just got back from dinner with Chubie and had a massive Korean pig out....and then adjourned to some bubble tea place for dessert.
Nothing would particularly strike me as odd.
I got home....prepared for tomorrow morning's early run.
Washed up and jumped under the blanket by 11pm.
Late by usual standards but what the hell.
I lay in bed...eyes wide open.
Checked the phone....12am.
Damn....only 5 hours more to sleep.
C'mon Puisan....sleep sleep SLEEP!!!!
Check phone again.......1.30am.
This is not helping.
I was too lazy to get up to do anything.
Check phone one more time.....3am.
The last I remembered was the alarm going off at 5.30am.
Time to roll off the bed and prep for morning run.
I still felt fine.
Kinda like doing a shitty surgical houseman on-call and was given a luxurious 2 hours of sleep before presenting your cases to the specialists and getting fucked for'll survive.

After the run (and Sofian's lil bash), headed home and got some shut eye for an hour or two.
Nothing particular wrong with this picture either.

Went out to paint Kota Damansara a faint hue of crimson with Elaine that night and helped our flailing economy by going shopping post-dinner.

Saturday, 20th August 2011....
By the time I got home, I was really tired.
Was under the blanket by 11.30pm.
But the mind was not ready to sleep.
I needed to sleep. I have a 20km run scheduled on Sunday.
But the mind was not having any of it.
Check phone.....1am.
Didn't realize time pass that fast when you're struggling to fall asleep.
Check phone....2.30am.
This is not good. Not good at all.
Try and sleep, for crying out loud!!!!!
Check phone.....3.30am.
There goes my Sunday's long run. Sigh.
Check phone.....4am.
I think the alarm was set for 5am.
Next thing I alarm rings.
I snoozed it.
Considered actually dragging my sorry sleep deprived arse out of bed.
Considered the consequences of not going for the run.

Oh well...I figured the right ankle needed more no-run time for FULL recovery.
(it amazes me the excuses I could come up with when sleep deprived)

Sunday, 21st August 2011....
Sleep was intermittent and fleeting.

I got out of bed, groggy.....tired.....and wondering what day it was.
Absolutely plastered and zombified.

I told myself no way I was gonna let myself nap today.
I was going to get myself out and about and only head back to my bed once fully exhausted.
Was a little short fused and impatient....but luckily no one bear the brunt of it. was time to hit the sack.

It's 1am....I have to go to work tomorrow.....and I'm tossing and turning.
I think (vaguely) I fell into some sort of slumber after only to be awaken at 4am.
More tossing and turning......
The next thing I alarm rings.

Monday, 22nd August 2011.....
I still felt alright at work.
A little confused.....but alright.
A little irritable.....but alright.
A little moody.....but alright.
A little out of focus.....but alright.
In a nutshell.....I felt (or at least I thought I was ) alright.

Thankfully, Monday clinics ended after lunch and I headed home wondering if I should at least take a nap.
The weather was wet and gloomy.....the best kind to head for a swim.
Mr. Anonymous Whatsapp over that he's sick and dying.
I tend to take the dying part rather lightly in view that Mr. Anonymous is rather well known for his dramatic, narcissistic antics.
But I figured if in some turn of event, he really does keel over....then I'd have no one to go cycle with...(especially Andrew and Bryan are on their cycling 'high horse' and refuse to bring me along coz I'm ridiculously slow)
So after my swim, I popped over at Mr. Anonymous' find him well and alive.
(big surprise there rite...)
I felt kinda bad as I was rather irritable with him but thought nothing of it.
(you have to understand that withstanding the traffic getting to USJ makes any normal person irritable)

As I was driving back home.....I got to thinking.......perhaps something isn't right.
I can't sleep......I'm a wee bit moody.......I'm a little bit more sensitive to negative remarks......I'm easily irritable......
I'm also 3 months minus medication.
Then....lightbulb moment.
Omigosh.....please say it's not returning......

That night, I slept. But I woke up again at 3am.

Tuesday, 24th August 2011.....
I woke up....and I felt like shit.
Worse than shit, actually.
I felt like shit ran over by a 2 tonne cement carrying truck, then got peed on by some stray flea infested mongrel.
Yes....I felt exactly like that.
I went to work.....I didn't feel as cheery as I usually am....(and if you've seen me at work in the morning, you'd wanna smack the cheeriness out of me!!!! I'm that happy in the morning!!!!!)
I was also literally dozing off at the table.

Went for tea break in between patients, me and a couple of my colleagues.
As I was recounting my weekend tales of fabulosity, I suddenly felt the urge to cry.
No reason. Nada.
I just wanted to cry.
I wanted to sob and force every single tear drop my lacrimal gland can produce out of my eyes!
I quickly change the subject and did my very best to subdue that urge.

Now I know I needed to talk to someone.
And I need to talk to that someone STAT!!!!!

I called up Aiza but she was busy at the psych clinic.
I didn't wanna be a bother.
I told my colleagues I'm not feeling that well and chucked home early.

I felt like a total mess back home.
I can't sit still. I can't focus...(not like watching E! entertainment channel needed much focusing and concentration)
I felt like screaming....but I don't know why.
In all desperation, I called Grandpa G (whom by the way is officially a 'consultoid' in the psych unit in one of KL's busiest hospitals).
I was sobbing and weeping and goo was leaking from both nostrils.
(I wasn't a pretty sight)
I told him I didn't know what was going on and I felt like my whole entire world was going upside down.
He asked how long I've been without my meds....and a bunch of other questions.

He concluded that I need to get back on them....and pop a benzodiazepine if available.
I have several Clonazepams, I told him.
He didn't even bother asking how I got my hands on them.

He said to just take them.....and speak to someone at the psych clinic tomorrow.....or drive down to KL to see him.
The prospects of not being able to find a decent parking slot put me off driving to his hospital...but the psych clinic at UMMC is just down the corner.

Wednesday, 24th August 2011....
Told the gang at work about my little issue.
Surprisingly very supportive.
And since the clinic was rather empty....(the holiday mood has finally taken its toll), I ran off to meet up with Nusrat...(Aiza was busy with something else)
I told her everything.
From the lack of sleep which I thought nothing the irritability....and to the suddenness of symptoms which scare the living daylights out of me.
She was reassuring.
Unlike Grandpa G, she didn't think I needed Aripiprazole at the moment.
(I didn't think I left the psych world for too long but apparently I did leave long enough for them to present a credible study stating Aripiprazole being helpful in preventing switching in Bipolar II....I really have to get that study checked out!!!)

She asked if I would like a few days off from work to erm.....sleep.
I said that would be lovely!!!!

Thursday, 25th August 2011....
Day 1 off work.
I really hated the Clonazepam.
It made it groggy the whole entire day....and I keep bumping into things.
I've multiple bruises over my knees and shins to show for it.

Anyway.....I'm glad I'm back on meds.

I'm not as labile as affect is still a tad restricted......and so is my mood.
My appetite, for once in a very long time, seems to be retreating.....which I think is a damn good thing!!!!!
My sleep......still working on it.
And best of all....I don't cry over stupid things anymore!!!! (ok, so it's just D2 of meds, so it's still a bit early to tell.....but I'm hoping the loss of appetite will carry on its effect indefinitely!!!!)

My colleague just texted a while ago to see how I was. She asked what I did the entire day.
I replied...sleep...more sleep....and then I went cycling.
She was rather amused that exercise was still on the menu.
Frankly....if I no longer desire to run, bike or swim.....then for heaven's sake, someone drag me to the nearest psychiatric unit coz then, I'd be this close to being suicidal!!!!


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Take note, this is gonna be a VERY short and mashed-up update.

Minus the viva mock-exam earlier this Monday, the fiasco of realizing that I've lost my beloved KSOs, my pathetic attempt at the VO2 machine, being reminded that I sucked (a lot!!) at cycling, my right ankle still hurts and I'm still running through it with my KT tape in-situ, my impromptu discussions (or arguments, if you'd like) about the delusional term 'soul-mate', my near death brush while running during thunder storm AND the sudden weekend-nights insomnia that made me miss my Sunday long run.......this week had been remarkably uneventful.

Yeah.....I'm totally playing down my perceived drama in my so-called life.

Anyway, I've finally signed up for the Desaru Tri......and the sense if impending doom had been imperative.
Am trying hard to ignore it until a later date. ignoring the fact that I need more work at my cycling....running....everything!!!!
I figured that there are things that I need to deal with NOW....and then there are things that just kinda happen on their own.
I'm hoping the preparation for the tri is of the latter category.
(and now you can label me delusional by all means)

I've also signed up for Putrajaya Night Marathon for the 42km category.....and after much push and pull, have decided to NOT go for the OCBC cycle event.
Well, everyone was telling me that the event was gonna be super fast and furious....and I was more of the slow and happy sort, so it would make more sense to forego it altogether.

Let me impart some photos of yesterday's post-run get-together for Sofian's belated birthday (yes we know he's fasting but we're kinda promoting and his super early farewell before the dude leaves for Qatar.

* Tip and Sofian....(she makes the BEST cakes ever!!!)

* The food all set up and ready for hungry runners...

* Sofian giving tri a very interested crowd...

* Mo-maniac, Sofian, Winnie and yours truly...

* More runners...

* Karen presenting her famous home made cake to belated birthday boy!

* Meet Lawrence & family....he proved that this blog has readership!!!!

Also....I received an email from this dude, whom we shall call Ray (well, his name actually IS Ray) from the Philippines, who by the way has high regards for this blog and figured that I could somehow help garner more attention to some of his local long distance races (and when I say long....I really mean LONG!!!!).
So Ray is recommending for those super high mileage-junkies out there (I'm semi-retired, mind you), to please take note of:
The Warrior 50km race on September 10 and the Cebu Century Challenge (102km) on November 19.
(all I can say is to go Google it if you're interested)

Alright...since I've gotten this outta my system, this insomniac is now gonna go for her coffee break.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guinea pig mode

Earlier this week, the Sports Medicine Unit finally acquired the full system to assess VO2 max.

Before this, we were using VO2 peak instead for our exercise prescription.....which honestly despite being a lot easier to carry out, wasn't exactly too accurate.
It doesn't take into consideration the patient's height, weight and oxygen consumption.
But we were kinda lacking so VO2 peak just had to cut it.

However with the arrival of the new system requires a new learning curve...and a guinea pig.

I eagerly volunteered.
I mean, after all those years (actually, not that many come to think of it) of reading Runner's World and lately, Triathlete magazine (because I didn't know what on earth was a peloton).....all the hoohah about VO2 max.....given a chance to find out my own, I jumped at it!

And I'm sure I'm not the only one out there with the same mindset.
After all, with all those hours spent on training....who doesn't want to know how far off from superiority we are from say, Lance Armstrong (VO2 max: 75 mL/kg/min....if you're wondering).

So yesterday boss said to bring along my exercise gear.

The process of getting on the wires were horribly labour intensive.

The chest leads had to be on exactly as anatomically required (it's been a while since I last counted intercostal spaces) and the wires taped to my body just in case it comes off while running.
The limb leads wires were also taped to my arms and my hips.

The mask then goes onto face really tightly and at the tip of mask was inserted the device to detect oxygen/carbon dioxide differences.
Then comes the vest with 2 huge devices larger than my fist inserted into the two front pockets of the vest.
The wires then connect the 2 huge devices to the uncomfortable face mask.

Everyone thought it was hilarious and kept asking for Darth Vader impersonations.
There was only that much "I'm you're Father" before it kinda fell flat.

Boss keyed in my age, height and weight...then wait for all the other vital stats detectable by all those wires to show up on the computer screen.

He decided I'd be doing the Bruce protocol and I agreed...(totally bad judgement on my part. I should have gone for Modified Balke protocol instead of killing myself with Bruce)

After a bit of a lag, all my vital stats popped up on the screen.

At resting heart rate was elevated....(it showed 73!!! I must really hate the mask that much!!!!), my respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was at 0.7 (which meant I was using fat as fuel as oppose to a ratio of 1 which means purely fueling on carbohydrate), my current VO2 (oxygen consumption) and a bunch of other stuff which included a running cardiac tracing.

Waited the compulsory 5 minutes of being stationary....and then the treadmill started moving according to protocol.
(the shiteous thing about Bruce protocol was that both the increase in speed and inclination occurs at the SAME time every 3 minutes)

The first stage was at an easy speed and incline.
It was pretty alright. I was walking. Breathing was....annoying considering breathing through the mask made the air inside the mask really warm, humid and uncomfortable.
Initial Borg Scale was 7.

After 3 minutes, speed and inclination increased again.
Was still at a walking pace.
The face mask was getting a tad annoying.
My heart rate was climbing at a pretty fast rate.
My RER was increasing slowly but surely nearer to 1.
Borg Scale at the end of 2nd stage was a 9.

3 minutes up and the speed and inclination increased again.

Suddenly I find myself running really fast on a really steep hill.
My breathing became more laboured and the face mask was pissing the shit outta me!!!!
My RER was at 1....I was burning carbohydrate.
I really wanted to give up.
Everything was bothering mask....those taped wires.....the heat (mind you, we were in an air conditioned room).....everything!!!!!
C'mon.....get through the 3 minutes and then reassess situation.
Just before the 3 minutes were Borg Scale was at a 15!
(in case you're goes all the way up to a maximum of 20)

My colleagues prepared me.....15 seconds more till the next stage.
I held on to the hand rails of the treadmill and braced myself.
3 minutes up.
The speed and inclination went up further.
I was now sprinting uphill.
I couldn't breathe. It felt so hot and horrible.
30 seconds in.....I called it quits.

I only made it to stage 4. Sigh.

Just before the end of heart rate was at 178, my RER was 1.11 and my VO2 was recorded as 47 mL/kg/min.
I was disappointed that I didn't make it past the 50 mark.

I think my boss was also kinda disappointed that I pulled the plug before stage 6.....coz today at work, he told me that since I was now "conditioned" to the face mask and the entire process, I could re-do my VO2 max next week and aim to get to a higher stage on the protocol......
I on the other hand was not very keen to get back behind that mask and getting taped up with wires.

I seriously have no idea how we're gonna convince all our patients on the obesity program to go through this uncomfortable process. Sigh.

On the up side.....I found out later that a VO2 max of 47 mL/kg/min was actually pretty good!!!
Apparently the average population comes in at around 35.....and the terribly untrained (which come to think of it is the majority of the Malaysian urban population) would hover at around 20 and below.
But obviously comparing myself to Lance Armstrong is kinda far fetched (47 vs 75).
C'mon...that dude made it to Boston Marathon and his first full marathon debut timing put a lot of serious runners to shame.
(on the other hand, you get people like Mr. Anonymous proclaiming that his VO2 max was probably at around the 85 range....)

Anyhoo.....I'll be updating when AND if I ever do repeat my VO2 max next week.


Friday, August 12, 2011

If you didn't already know how to tape your ankle.....'s the deal.

I'll tell you all I know (which by the way is severely limited) about the ankle taping that I've been doing post-ankle sprain...and YOU will stop questioning me about the colourful tape on my feet.....and try to be discreet when giving me the weird, "OMG-what-the-hell-is-she-thinking-and-honestly-is-she-fully-discharged-from-the-bloody-nuthouse" look.
(coz seriously, that is SO not ON!)

In fact, I'll even TEACH you (free of charge, coz obviously you can also Google it and learn it online for free) how to tape it.

However let it be known that whatever it is, like most things man-made and available in the market these does have its limitations and the technique that I'm posting up is regarding the lateral aspect of the ankle.
(I'm heading for the taping course in Penang next month and probably/hopefully by then, I'd be a bit more knowledgeable about this topic!)

But like with everything that has gotta do with sprains.....we will start with a little anatomy.
(don't worry...I'm googling up the easiest to grasp diagram that I can find!!!)

Oh....and a fore-warning before we start. I'm gonna be a little narcissistic and will be using MYSELF (go on...roll your eyes...see if I care!) as example to explain the condition.

Referring to diagram above....this is the lateral view of the ankle...

In my case...I was running when I stepped into a pothole, introverted my ankle and feel.
(introversion meaning ankle goes inwards.....that is as lay a term as I can get)

Since the ankle was forced into introversion by the fall......the ligaments at the lateral aspect of the ankle are high risk of being injured.
Most commonly would be the ATFL, CFL, PTFL and peroneal ligaments (not shown on diagram).

Personally, I did an ultrasound scan on my foot and found that I had Grade I sprain of the ATFL and peroneal ligaments.
That was the cause of the pain, swelling and mild instability.

Usually, the standard directive that the doctor will prescribe to the patient of such injury would be to abstain from running for a bit.
Unfortunately, like most patients.....I was impatient and I needed to be well enough to race 5 days post injury.
I could deal with the pain....the swelling.....but the instability.....that could be quite a nuisance.

So taping was my answer.
(do take note that if my pain had persisted and the swelling not subsided after a couple of days, I would have done a x-ray and call off my Hatyai half marathon. But taking into consideration it was only the instability, I decided to risk it and run)

1. First....cut three strips of KT tape (we're using Kinesio Tex, btw) as shown above.
If you do not have outrageously small or large feet compared to mine (I wear running shoes size US8), just follow the large squares for approximation.
The above picture is the back portion of the tape, if you didn't already figure it out......

2. Dorsiflex above.

3. Use middle length tape. Tape at the middle part of dorsum of food (ie upper aspect of foot) without stretching the tape.

4. Remove the underlying paper adhering to the tape. Tape the shin, at around 2 inches from the ankle fold without stretching. The center of the tape should now be stretched out and there is empty space underneath.

5. Now smooth out the entire length of tape against foot. This automatically stretches the center portion of tape as it adheres to the skin. Give the tape a good rub as it activates the tape against the skin....and it also helps with adhesion.

6. Now....use the longest length tape.
Adhere the initial bit of the long tape at the medial aspect of foot, without stretching the tape.
I find that the highest point of arch is a good place to start. Also not to overlap with the first tape as the adhesiveness is better on bare skin. Give the initial taped bit a good rub to activate it.

7. Now give the tape a good stretch (about 70-100% stretch), go underneath the foot but tugging it a bit posteriorly, aiming for the lateral malleolus (erm....that would be the protrusion at the lateral side of ankle).

8. Pull the tape upwards pass the lateral malleolus and tape the end bit at the lateral aspect, in between shin and calve. Remember not keep last 1-2 inches of tape lax, not stretched. Give it a good rub for activation. Again, try not to overlap with the first adhered tape as the adhesiveness is better on skin as opposed to on tape.

9. Now...the shortest strip. Start at the medial malleolus....(erm, the protrusion at the medial aspect of ankle). As usual....keep the end bits lax, give it a good rub to maintain adhesiveness, then stretch it about 70-100% (it's totally up to you, really) across and tape it, if possible, just after the lateral malleolus.
I didn't stretch it that much which is why it didn't end after the second tape. But you get the jist, rite?
Again, give it a good rub over the entire length of tape.

And ta-daa!!!!! You're done!!!!!

Instantly, you'll feel the ankle being more secured and less "loose" feel.

Now who said that you can never learn anything from my blog?!?!?!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hatyai Nature Run - 7th August 2011 I've been uber busy lately that it took me THIS long to blog about my race last Sunday.

I think the last I posted on the blog was regarding my sprained ankle and my worries about running a half marathon 5 days post-sprain.
But I'm glad to report that after some KT-taping for ankle stability, the race went on without a hitch......(especially since I regard my lack of placing in my category a non-hitch!)
In fact I'm so impressed by the taping method that was taught to me by one of the seniors at work, I'm considering doing a blog-tutorial on taping for ankle stability.....
Erm, I'd probably get around to blogging about that......once I actually make some time!!!! since I'm a little on the time constraint side and having a bit of a creativity mental block, I'm making up for the lack of interesting-ness in this blog post by putting up a lot more photos than usual.....(at least more than I would for a 21km race)

So we got into Hatyai on the one and only daily flight by Air Asia on Saturday afternoon, got to race site and got myself registered for this race, despite not doing anything online prior to my arrival.
In fact this race was that efficient that my previous details from last year's race was still in their computer system.
No forms to be filled. Just gave them my name, pull out the Baht.....and voila!!! Instant-race kit collection!!!!!
Best I've ever had in quite a while.

This race was extremely popular this year. I think the race participants almost doubled since 2010!

On race day, got up super early....did the usual prepping pre-race, and walked from our hotel (thanks to Dannie and Carrie for putting me up at their hotel room) to the pick up site.
The race organizers had arranged for busses to pick up participants that were staying around the town area.

The photos will tell a wee bit about the on-goings that morning.

* Winnie, Carrie, KA and Rich Chai

* Champion couple, Wai Mun and John!

* Kim Lai with his furry ears. Gotta love the Singaporeans for these sorta stuff...

* Yours truly and Alexis in our leopard skirt get-up. Karen later expressed her horror regarding my colour "dis-combination". I figured if there's any place in this world that I could get away with awkward colour combo, it would be in Thailand!!!

* Everyone hanging around waiting for the bus.
Unfortunately, the bus was a bit late. 'a-bit' was really giving a lot of leeway. It was REALLY really LATE!!!!

* KK and Geannie looking all ready for the race!

* Well....some runners weren't gonna wait around for the bus to come. Instead, a bunch of them decided to hop on the local tuk-tuk to head to race site.
Goodness knows when the bus will actually materialize!

But we were cheap....(actually I didn't bring any Baht with me, so tuk-tuk was out of the question....I shall instead rely on the bus as promised by the organizers.....)

So we continued waiting....

* When the first bus arrived, there was a mad dash to get on the bus!!!!
Suddenly friendly runners turn savage 'me-first' monsters!!!!!
The first bus load was sardine packed.

We waited in hopes of a second and third bus.
Thankfully there were....and we did get to the race site in time for camwhoring, mandatory toilet visit and pre-race pleasantries with people that we sorta know on Facebook.
(social networks definitely made the world a smaller, albeit less-intimate, place)

* Good to see the KRI uncles there.....
Suddenly I really really miss Ipoh.....

* We were all lined up at the starting all the way at the back.
Take note of Winnie in her yellow get-up!

* More Ipoh peeps.....I really need to get my arse back to Ipoh soon!!!!

* The race was let off on time. Was really surprised to see Uncle Sonny running more or less the same pace with us.
Alexis was on a mission to break her PB and get herself on the podium......Winnie was high on Red Bull.....and thankfully I had Dannie and Carrie to pace me.

* Since it's debut at Phuket Laguna Marathon, I've yet to use my reusable water "thingy".
Yes...trying to pretend that I actually care about the environment.
(fine...I do care.....but I don't wanna come off as being too emo and unstable)

The first 5km of the race was by the housing area.
Then at around the 6th km, we turned off into pseudo-forrest area.
(in fact, rubber taping estate!)

Then someone threw in the hills.
Makes one really appreciate the "mild" inclination of the Double Hill route in KL.

*'s not the camera angle....the hill really is THAT steep!!!

* My 2 constant companions......
Yes I do realized that I was being a third wheel. In fact I think I WAS the third wheel for the entire trip!!!!!
(but I'm sure they enjoy my company and my nonsensical shit)

* The hills were definitely alive and rolling.
Dannie and Carrie walking up the second hill.

* The water station. They only have water and nothing else. Thankfully I sorta remembered this and brought my own energy gels.

* At the 11th km...the turn around was in sight.
Winnie still high on Red Bull on the returning side of the road.
Gotta catch up!!!!

I find that I run better after the initial 8km of what I'd usually call "race-warm-up-distance".
Well...that, or the caffeine from my energy gel finally kicked in.
Managed to catch up with Winnie.....and then overtook her.

Dannie and Carrie were more or less behind me.

Another 5km or so and we'll be back.

By this time....the sun was up and it was getting pretty warm and unfortunately rather sunny.

Kept on running.
Was very surprised that my right ankle did not hurt one bit.
In fact...I think I was on a roll!!!!!
Kept up with pace.

Finally.....I saw Yen Erl in front.....was trying to pace her for a few kilometers before heading back to the university (ie the race site).
Never believe Yen Erl when she says she was gonna run slow.

* Yen her consistent pace.

* Running through town...the traffic was crap. I'm very glad I made it back ALIVE!!!!!
(especially since I'm beginning to think that I'm very accident-prone)

* Entering university compound. All the way up and I was done!!!!!

* I was SO glad to see the finishing line. The sun and the heat was killing me!!!!

I crossed the finish line in 2:15 (self timed).
Good news...I ran this faster than I did last year.....(I think I did a 2:30-ish)
Bad news....I didn't get a placing like I did last year.
(I was 4 months to getting myself into the 30-39 age category...which would have gotten me 8th position....oh well....there's always next year!!!)

* The medal as always was very interesting in appearance.

* Alexis got a placing!!!!! She did it in 2:08!!!! Great timing and great performance!!!!!!

Anyway.....since I really need to get back to the books for an upcoming exam, I'll just conclude that the race was awesome.....and I had great fun.....and definitely heading back for more hills next year (in a new age category, no less)!!!!!