Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon - 5th February 2012

I figured if I don't get down to blogging about this race, I'd probably let it slide like how I did with the Miri tri...the climbathon and the Newton New Year's Challenge....

So let me try and see if my memory hasn't failed me since the race was like....2 weekends ago.

About a week before arrival into Hong Kong, my facebook wall was plastered with reports of extremely cold weather in Hong Kong......apparently much colder than the year before.

I was thrilled.
I like running in cold weather.
It really just gives you the extra boost you need.
A whole lot different from running in our warm, humid local weather.

Unfortunately, the moment I stepped off the plane.....I knew it was no where as cold as last year.
My teeth wasn't chattering and my piloerectors were not activated....and strangely there was no shivering at all....

Anyway...woke up Sunday morning feeling extremely groggy and really tempted to continue my snooze-fest.
But I didn't splurge that much on the entire trip (not including the splurge at Longchamp) to sleep in on a Sunday morning in a foreign country, mind you, on a rather firm hotel mattress as well.

Walked out of the hotel half expecting a cold draft.....but all I got was an air-conditioned room stuck at 18 degrees Celsius with the fan stuck on low-medium level. least I don't feel so bad for underpacking and under preparing for my pre-race outfit.

* Elaine and I waiting for our MTR to meet the rest.

* Gotta love the MTR system in Hong Kong.....flooded with (majority) runners and a speck of few late night party goers.

We found Terence and gang (we didn't stay together with the rest as Elaine and I wanted to go a little "high-class" and stayed at a proper hotel as compared to a backpacker's hostel......ok ok, actually we procrastinated in finding an accommodation and all the cheap hostels were fully booked!!!), got out of the MTR station and frantically looked for the baggage deposit vans.

The moment we came out of the was already raining lightly.
I guess once we're used to the flash-flood-inducing rain that we get on a regular basis in Klang Valley....any rain out of the fore-mentioned type is regarded as light.

Thankfully I brought along my disposable raincoat....which I had brought along initially to sorta keep myself warm while waiting at the starting line.

* The kiddy disposable rain coat (I figured it would be extremely age appropriate), that I initially got for the Climbathon last year (which I conveniently did NOT blog about due to procrastination and later, sheer bum-ness) came in handy during the initial light rain.

* I know I looked silly in my rain coat.....but here are other people looking equally silly as well as we walked to the starting line. When everyone else looks silly wearing it...suddenly you're the only one being silly NOT wearing least that's my opinion. Don't question!

Half of the group was scheduled to start the race at 6.45am.
The rest (me included) were suppose to start at 7.15am.

While loitering around killing time before the start, someone mentioned that there was someone famous running the full marathon with us.
Turned out that the someone famous was Edison Chen......

You gotta give him props for his extensive extracurricular activities and his orderly archived collection of those mentioned activities.

Of course I gotta see for myself what the big deal is about this dude...

* .....apparently not much.
I honestly think Tobias is a whole lot hotter.....but then some people might accuse me of being delusional for comparing a bike with a guy. But frankly, I don't care.
At least ChooiWan had a field day having her picture taken with Edison!

We all speculated how fast he was gonna be doing....or if he's gonna DNF.....or if anyone of us was gonna overtake him...
Of course it turned out we were all wrong and this dude finished 3:55....(then again he was plagued with sensational accusations of bib changing and stuff.....go Google it if you're interested)

The crowd moved nearer and nearer to the starting line.
The excitement buzzing in the still, humid air.
A bead of sweat rolled down my cheek......and my heart dropped as I knew this was gonna be one warm and sweaty race.

There was a bang somewhere and the race was started.
The crowd moved along....and I found myself moving with it, somewhat reluctantly.

* Right at the start!!!!

The road was still wet from the earlier rain and I was trying to not run into any puddles and get my feet wet so early in the race.

As the crowd was overwhelming, it was difficult to run too fast or too slow.
Luckily I don't do any of the above...although too slow sometimes do come in handy.
I was trying to tail behind Carol and least for the first 10km.....

* People...people....EVERYWHERE!!!!
Choi in front of yellow.

The sun appeared and shone with all its possibility to shine that early in the morning and I can feel the heat radiating towards me.
I should have ditched the knee-high socks.

And then in front of me....I see a bridge.

Not any bridge...but the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Last year.....I told Terence I was gonna walk up the bridge.....but somehow got tricked into running all the way up. He said I would be less cold if I kept on running.

This year, Terence was somewhere behind.....and it was warm and humid.
I walked.

* Tsing Ma Bridge....I know it does not look intimidating....but this picture does its incline no justice.

* On the bridge and waiting for the downhill slope in front!!!
(and also...waiting for last year's weather to return.....sigh)

Believe it or was 4-5km in and I was ready to call it a day and go back to slumber.

I just felt horribly uncomfortable.
Then I realized why......
I needed to pee.
And I needed to pee very very badly.
But I lacked the external appendages that allows me to pee at the side of the bridge without moral judgement.

I kept on running.

* Water station.......something to take my mind off needing a porta-potty.

Passed some porta-potties with extensively long queues.
Continued running......trying to ignore the sensation.
I figured I should try and continue running in search of a more secluded portable toilets.

* Entering the tunnel

Continued running..... passing 8-10km just before entering a tunnel which name I did not get.
While running through it (it was surprisingly a lot cooler in there and out), I started having tummy cramps.
Now not only do I urgently need a porta-potty to micturate, I also need one for a number 2.

As I exited the tunnel...there were some porta-potties available...but the queue was similarly long.
I figured I'd just continue until the next portables.
Heck if that still had a terribly long line in front of it, I'll give up and just stand patiently in line.

* So I the next porta-potty pit stop after the one exiting the tunnel.
No...there was still a queue waiting for it.

* I didn't bother pausing the Garmin.
Something rather funny happened as I exited the tunnel...the Garmin automatically added on 1km to the total distance ran.
It should have been 12.40km.....more or less. I really don't think that tunnel was THAT long!

Let's just say I came out of the portable feeling extremely relieved and renewed!!!!

And running was a tad less uncomfortable and slightly more enjoyable.
No...the sun was still trying to kill my melanocytes!

The route after that was more or less flat....
No drastic uphills or downhills of sort.
Mostly I was just trying to spot people running back on the other side.

* First turnaround......

After the turnaround.....I realized despite being a little slower than I was last year.....there were still a humongous amount of people behind me.
I'm not too sure if that was suppose to make me feel somewhat better.....but I just felt slightly relieved, that if I were to start walking right now.....I'd still have company most of the way back. was just a thought.

* The view!!!! Just wish the sun would go back to sleep!!!

After my portable toilet incident....the tummy discomfort was more or less in check.
Some flatulent-episode here and there and I'm mostly well on my way.

However with the excessive sweating due to the humidity which I was not expecting (so therefore I did not lube up well enough pre-event), I started to chaff in the usual areas.....
I was bargaining whether I should make another stop at the medic tent for some vaseline.

Well.....unfortunately for me, I didn't have the hindsight to stop earlier and slather vaseline on but only when it was really starting to hurt.

The medics were really friendly....(and I was very surprise that they were well stocked up at every single medic tent......yeah, I made quite a few vaseline pit-stops!!) and they were stationed very regularly at the water stations and portables.

As the application of vaseline was in progress, all that went through my head was how painful taking a shower post-race was gonna be. I hope Elaine doesn't freak out when I start screaming bloody murder in the bathroom later. Sigh.

* I was later told that no photographs were allowed at all medic tents. Oops.....tourist!!!!

Post-vaseline.....cutaneous pain slightly more tolerable.
And running continued.....

* At the second turn around...

After the second turnaround....I was getting a little bit bored.
But I knew the worst stretch was yet to come.

Continue trudging along.

Somewhere along the way, the sun took a nap and the humidity dropped.
And I was happier......although honestly I would be happiest laying in bed still....but that's not really the issue now, izzit?!

I reached 21km mark at around 2:15.
I could still sub-5 if I put a little more effort into it.....

* Exiting yet another tunnel.....approaching, IMHO, the worst stretch of the marathon!!!!

Anyway.....things sorta went south between the 20-30km stretch.
No matter how many packets of gels I stuffed into my GI tract, I still feel extremely fatigued and the yearning to walk (and keep on walking) was overwhelmingly strong.

So I walked a a bit...took some pictures.....repeat.
Could someone just take me out of my misery!?!?!

* Bumped into Uncle Chew, Vivienne, and Aleximon (in the middle of a very bad leg cramp).

* Someone pinch's the 30km mark!!!!!

When I passed the 30km mark, it was around 3:45. Still enough time to sub-5.
But in view that I have made many stops at the medic tents (and preempting more future stops for vaseline), plus my GI fatigue terribly strong internal instinct to walk......I decided there and hell with the sub-5...and to just get back within 5:30 or alive....whichever came first.

* The last tunnel.....the WORST!!!!!!
The initial downhill was great.....unfortunately with all things with slopes, there's the impending UPHILL which was absolute shiteous!!!!

* Out of the tunnel....and we're back into the city.....

* Gotta love the cheer leaders!!!

Somewhere along 35-36km....bumped into Uncle Chew again.
He had a fall...poor thing.
And we ran more or less together until the finish line.
It was nice to have someone to run with until the end.....
Imagine how difficult it would be parading the Malaysian flag at the finish line all by myself!

(by the way, Uncle Chew is becoming quite a bit of a marathon maniac since the recent couple of years.....and has been running WEEKLY marathons around the Asia region, and perhaps slightly further, until his erm.....X-th birthday.....hmmm, I can't quite remember. Please inquire from Roy, Uncle Chew's running PA about more information regarding his latest running conquests! And whatever that is said....I'd still like to believe that I'm NOT to be blamed for Uncle Chew's running addiction)

And was just a trudge back to the finish line!!!!!

* ....and suddenly the Heavens opened up and the angels started singing!!!! Yes....the end is almost there!!!!

* Last 2 kilometers to go.....a lot more people were walking and for once, I actually feel very fast while running.
The weather was taking a turn towards my favour as well!

* I could have hugged these ladies who pointed at the sign!!!

* Uncle Chew.....who just completed Khon Kaen Marathon the week before.....

* Running through the streets of Hong Kong was absolutely amazing!!!! Of course knowing that the finishing line is just around the corner was even more thrilling and exciting!!!!

* Crossed the finish line at 5:15.....(within 5:30...AND alive!)
Note that the Garmin recorded 45km in distance.....somehow after exiting the last tunnel, it automatically added on 2 more kilometers out of no where.

* Woohoo....I'm done!!!!
The finishing line with lots of tired and exhausted people.

* No PB....but not bothered.....I survived another 42km!!!!
Oh...Ron, wearing the punk rock shirt just for you!!! Get back on the blogging scene soon!!!!

Congrats to Elaine on her PB!!!!

And now....back to studying.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Apparently bullshitting works!!!

I know I still owe the Hong Kong Marathon write up but I'm in the midst of some exam preparation and you know just how sleep-inducing studying can be......
(on the good side, I've fully recovered from sleep debt)

Dang...even the thought of re-hitting the books just makes my eyes well up from all the yawning.
*double yawn*

And since I did not make it to my usual Sunday morning run due to Dr. William Chan's class ('s the only day he's not manning his sports medicine clinic in Subang....and no, I'm really not paid to do publicity for him on this blog....I'm just saying!), I met up with Emmy for an evening run at Kiara park, which coincidentally (thankfully!!) turned into a power walk session of 6.5km (we parked really far).

It's always nice to catch up with friends over power strolling and it's amazing the things we talk about during those endorphin-churning periods.

Anyway.....backtracking a little.....

During my birthday week (I'm so freakin "special" I actually need a whole month but with age, comes maturity and I figured I would be contented with only just a week....), Emmy and Leen took me out for dinner and Emmy brought along her neighbour, Aidi (I promise you this will not be one of those "my mother's neighbour's daughter's colleague's wife's uncle's father's" sorta story...bear with me) and since it was mine and Leen's first time getting acquainted with Aidi, obviously we talked alot....about a whole lot of nonsense.

Anyway along the conversational line, Leen and Emmy thought that it was very bright and knowledgeable of me with my "in-depth" knowing of the topics that Aidi was bringing up.
(but honestly if I was that bright, I wouldn't really need the auto-correct function on my computer and phone)

Emmy brought that up during our power-stroll....and that she was in a somewhat awe.....
She thinks that I am well-read and well-exposed.
So I told her my brutally honest opinion......

I just think that I'm really good at bullshitting.

So good that people around, for some reason or another, thinks that I'm really smart!!!!

......but it's mostly confabulations with minimal actual facts scattered around....really....

All I ever do a few key plenty of documentaries......remember some salient points from those books/articles/documentaries......and wait for key moments in the conversation to throw those facts back out and confabulate the rest!!!!
And wait for your audience to gasp in awe of your supposed brilliance!!

I know....easy right!?!?!!?

So in a's all about bullshitting!!!
And someone will evidently think you're a genius.....

Unfortunately.....Emmy didn't quite buy my explanation.

So I told her what she wanted to hear....

I read a lot....A LOT a lot!!!!

I have book shelves filled to the rim with all kinds of books of various genres.
From fictional to non-fiction.....from economy....and everything in between.
I have a collection of popular the non-famous.
I pour over current issues via online articles.
I constantly keep myself updated with the who's who and the what's what.
I'm like a freakin nerd just waiting to expose my true self!!!!!

....she seemed a little more confident of the latter answer.

Oh well....people will always believe what they want to believe.

There you go....told ya bullshitting always works!!!

Alrighty...will head back to studying...

Damn those books....


Friday, February 10, 2012

First run post-HK

I swear....Hong Kong Marathon was the most painful 42km ever!!!!
(this exclamation excludes all ultras and trail runs.....and confined to the definition of a road-race 42km only...erm, just in case you're wondering)

I spent the following few days in pain.
My quads literally beg for mercy each time I walked down some flight of stairs.
In fact, they were tender to on palpation just above the insertion onto the patella.


Which means I need days off....which I did get, due to work...(a very unfortunate way of attaining time off from exercise, mind you)

Just finish covering the Asian Cycling Championship 2012, the first 3 days of the track races, and while it was fun ogling at really expensive bikes that I could only dream of buying (bike porn alert!) and ogling at all those firm gluts, working form 8.30am until 10pm ain't exactly fun.

But in a way, I was forced to rest......which means no gym....and obviously no running.
(the 4 days of inactivity since post-marathon was really killing me mentally...)

The tenderness went away yesterday but I could still feel my quads being a little.....not like themselves.

I did do a little running (if you consider running towards a fallen rider during their competition as proper running), albeit really REALLY short burst here and there during the 3 days of medical cover.

But today I felt like I was ready!!!! would be THAT day!!!!
My quads have recovered their lost identity and somehow remembered that they were runner's quads!!
My body felt mind was ready......I'm ready to hit the road!!!!

And since medical cover ended early today (you gotta love Friday long lunch breaks!!!), I decided today was gonna be the momentous day where I take my quads out for a short test run.

Plus...the weather was agreeable.....I swear it was a sign from higher powers that today's run was gonna be just awesome!!!!!

I pull on my regular running T and Nike tempo shorts.....put on my "Lizards".....strap on the START.....and off I go!

Everything seemed perfect......

......except......the run wasn't as awesome as I've hoped it to be.
(big surprise there, right?)

The mind remembers how great it was to run....but the legs felt empty, and the quads were sulking like a spoilt 8-year old who was told there would not be any ice cream after dinner.

The heart was beating way too fast for the speed that I was going and I felt fatigued after 2km.

Ended up throwing some walking bits into the last 2km.

Argh...the disappointment....

But on the up side (there always must be!) least I ran.
At least I know how much I've "recovered" and that I still need more time off.
And that I need to cross train more!!!!

Oh right...I also need to blog about the HK marathon....which I'll get around to it....hopefully....tomorrow.

And if you're wondering, I completed it in 5:15.....


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guinea pigs wanted!!!

OMG.....I'm leaving for Hong Kong in less than 24 hours time and I've yet to pack anything!!!!

Calm down...calm down....quickly go grab something and shove it into the backpack.....

Breathe.....breathe......OMG....OMG.....where's my passport!?!?!
Where's my hoodie!?!?!?!
Where's my travel wallet?!?!?!?! (don't ask...I just happen to have one!!!)
*hyperventilates and palpitations*

Shit shit shit.....
Think calm.....calm.....calm dammit(!!!).....breathe.....breathe......still have time.....ohm.....ohm.....
Damn it, it's not working.

Think positive.....
I've finally changed HK currency (gosh I hope it's enough!!!)......and found my Octopus travel card from last year. it ain't that bad.
Found the letter that the marathon peeps sent me.....ok ok, calming down.
Found my backpack.
Packed my shoes and flip flops.......heck, at least I've packed something!!!

Anyway, been busy busy busy!!!!!
I thought my CNY would be a chilled out week....but somehow I managed to not get anything done and felt completely worn out when that week ended.
Thankfully I didn't have to face work for the past 2 days as I was at the Equal Sports Massage Level 1 course on Monday and Tuesday.
And thankfully, I had the camaraderie of sitting through the course with Grace.

* Self practice!!!!

Well....very basic stuff.
Effleurage this.....knead that....broad-cross fibre this.....drainage that......basic.

Was told that I need to log in 60 hours of practical time before I could be awarded with my Level 1 cert.
And dammit I really want that cert!

So for a short time only, am trying to recruit as many interested/gullible/plain bored guinea pigs for my attempt at sports massaging.
No fancy joint cracking, reflexology-pain-inducing, that sorta crap.

Oh...and no happy ending....(I'm just saying!!!)

But so far I've tried it out on Grace, Rupert, Maybel, Emmy and one died, suffered any permanent nerve/muscle/anything damage or suddenly develop an issue with being unable to run/bike/swim.
Therefore I think I'm pretty safe......fingers crossed!!!

So....any takers?!?!?!

Get back to me after I'm done with Hong Kong.

....which come to think of it, is currently pretty freezing.....and am trying my darnest to think positive about my subcutaneous tissue being able to shield me from the cold.
There MUST be some good outcome about not being shit skinny!!!! (deluding self perpetuates my current state of bliss......)

And to all HK bound of luck and happy shopping!!! (oops, that would be me)