Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May23 - Pacemaker Circuit Run 2 (30km)

Another month till my 1st 2009 marathon at Phuket. So when Keat Seong told me Pacemakers was having their Circuit Run at Lake Garden, I jumped to it. Mainly because :-
- I need the distance into my legs
- It’s a flat route around the lake
- It’s at night
- And every runner who completes it will get a trophy

The bad thing was we had to run 13 rounds around the lake. Seriously…the ultimate sienness

It started raining heavily at 6pm, with questions in all our eyes, is it still going on? The starting time was delayed 1.5hrs due to Mother Nature (weather ah…not me) but it cooled the air for a better temperature.

The run was on, with about 25 runners on the trail. I wouldn’t say it was a race because you are running against urself and not the others. There’s no Top 10 cash rewards nor Top 100 finisher medals.

We were provided with fruits & cool drinks. To my disappointment, the watermelon wasn’t sweet, & I didn’t dare to touch the bananas as I’ve not tried eating & running at the same time. Well, imaging eating & bouncing continuously. Hence the reason why PowerGels was created. It’s easier to swallow with water by just gulpping it down.

I kept a pretty good pace in my first few rounds. There were parts of the route which was dark, without any street lamps. But with the earlier rain, the wind cleared the skies & the moon shoon down, lighting our way.

I was seriously thanking our lucky stars when we were provided cold 100plus. I could have just drank 3-5 cups in a row but I wouldn’t wanna bloat myself.

I think I ‘bong’ at the 18th round where my back started to hurt (holding body up). My legs was starting to drag as if I was carrying bricks around my ankles. The heat was taking its toll around me. The music in my ears (mp3) come out as a humming tone. Yes, that’s wat’s its like to ‘bong’ aka hit the wall. At least I didn’t imagine a Polar Bear (KS did).

Each of our loops was timed & counted by volunteered timekeepers. When I was at my 20th round, I could see a few male runners already resting. I wan to!!!
Poor Keat Seong was mistakenly told by the timekeeper to go an extra round when he should have already completed it. Manual timekeeper vs Garmin GPS. Fight!!! Too tired to argue, he just went for it.

I was glad that mine was over. I was the 1st female in the group to complete and to my surprise I was awarded a trophy labelled ‘Champion’ on it.

By 11pm, we were both tired & satisfied (this sound so wrong). We’ve got our distance, our sores, our freebies & trophy.

From what I read, the last runner who completed the run, finished nearly 1am taking almost 5hrs worth of run/walk. Kudos to the organisers & Tey who was there to support.

May17 - Pacesetters New Balance 15km

After last weekend’s Larian Bomba, I had tried to train myself acclimatising with the weather by running at the odd morning & afternoon hours (hey, not working yet so lots of time in my hands). This NB run would the test of my so-called training.

Talks of the 15km route had given me the shivers with the double-hills & moderate inclines that had actually prompted me to rekkie the route but due to the unavailability of a vehicle, I just had to experience it for myself during the run.

The men starts at 7am while the ladies was at 715am. A few of the “keng” runners made their training loops around Lake Garden to warm up.

Bang!! The men was off while the ladies gave support at the sideline. It took nearly 8mins till the last male runner cleared the starting area. I wasn’t as nervous as before. I knew what I had to do, keep a good pace & monitor my breathing. With my ipod all charged up, I began my 15km hilly challenge.

The first 2km was getting out of Lake Garden with a small hill at the start. I must be at a pretty good pace coz I started passing the men when I got out. The runners joined the standard 10km route, passing Bank Negara & heading towards the Jalan Duta, but turning towards left before it, which leads to the double hill.

I took a deep breath when I made that turn, where I confronted my enemy. I ran passed a ol'running friend, Kevin, whom I have not seen for nearly a year, but I didn't stop to chat. The 1st hill was bareble, no walking for me once i reached the top, but went I saw the 2nd, I had the "har?" expression on my face. Walau eh! Twice as steep. Taking small running steps, stablisation my breathing to prevent stitches I made it to the top, but had to stopped to walk to catch my breathe. I actually advice a youngster on how to keep going (he was nearly topling over). I felt bad for him, I was that too.

From here on, it was straightforward route of flat, slight incline & downhill. I maintained a good comfortable pace until we reached Lake Garden again. We made the last 2.3km circle around the lake towards the finish line. 1hr 32mins. Definately better than my last run. I was actually more cheerful and wasn't tired when I rushed to collect my medal & foc meal vouchers.

Double hill, thy shall fear thou not

Friday, May 22, 2009

KK Trip : Day 4 - Free & Easy

The first itinerary on our free & easy day was a massage to relax our muscles. The girls would love a good spa massage but that would just put us to sleep. Not that I’m complaining. With expert’s advice, Thai massage it was.

We had our arms, body & legs pulled, pushed, pressed & squashed with moans & groans heard around.
Running is not an option. Crossing the street, u’ll see a bunch of “orang tempang” (limping people).
We visited the Craft market for a few souvenirs. I bought my magnet of Mt KK as a memoir of the places I’ve visited.

We had our group celebration dinner at a Seafood Restaurant (also walking distance from the hotel). Too bad we couldn’t afford for fresh seafood. Too pricey.
We also had our own certificate presentation.

B&W cert for those who didn't make it up to the summit:
- This certificate is presented to ___ as a record and souvenir of an ascent of MT KK

2 colour cert for those who climbs up to summit via Mesilau
- This is to certify that ___ has climbed to Low’s Peak MT KK via the Mesilau Summit Trail
- This is to certify that ___ has climbed to Low’s Peak MT KK on [date]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

KK Trip : Day 3 - KK Summit / Descend

I had purchased a pair of climbing shoes used by the porters aka “adidas kampung”. Its not Adidas brand, no idea how it got its name. Its just a black pair of rubber shoes with rubber studs.

With only like 1hr sleep in my system (because of heavy snorers), I was up at 1am, all dressed up in my woollies & waterproof jacket. Once again, we were briefed about the hike. Estimated duration of hike was 4hrs, in time for sunrise at 530am. It was pitched dark outside, with only our headlamp to light our way. There’s no getting lost as the trail was pretty well marked.

The first hour was the normal stairs & sandy trail. Then came the ropes to pull our way up (gloves is a must). When I look up, I could only see a trail of light and nothing else. The granite stones came next. Gawd bless adidas kampong. I was walking up the incline mountain without a single slide from my shoes.

It was so cold, I had my arms crossed around me the whole time. Then, it just had to rain. I could see the mist passing in front of my headlamp with the rain wetting my jacket & pants. I slotted 2 packets of handwarmers into my gloves to keep me going. There came a point where I took 10 steps, then stopped & just stood still to recollect myself.

I could see the daylight starting to emerge at the horizon. I was wondering it I could make it in time for sunrise. Thankfully, I was able to catch up with those in front of me. The peak was so narrow, with everyone crowding around to take pictures of the highest point.

We made it!! It was like a pasar malam (night market). We had to take turns taking pictures of our achievement. I think it was 5deg at the peak. We were all freezing cold. I even had trouble talking with my lips quivering away.

The climb down was the most painful for me. Adidas kampong was great for climbing but no cushioning for descend. The technique to climbing down is to zigzag. This way it puts less pressure onto ur toes. I was near limping by the time I got down to Gunting Laganan. I didn’t have the strength to walk down to Laban Rata Resthouse for breakfast. I just took off my shoes & crashed in bed.

After about 2hrs rest, we started our descend to Timpohon Gate. I think we began our journey at about 9am+. The duration was estimated 4hrs (average). Shorter than Mesilau. So lunch was waiting for us at base. My 2 big toes was already bruised, so I wore socks & sandals.

The descend from Laban Rata to the Timpohon Gate marker (1/2 mark) was pretty fast. Being lightweight, I just skipped along the rocks. But after that, it was just stairs stairs stairs. This is where the hiking stick does its job. The knees takes a heavy impact with every step taken.

The first group arrived around 3pm with our tummys rumbling. 2nd group at 4.30pm, 3rd at 5pm and last at 7pm. (estimated time). We were then droved to our KK Shangri-La hotel for our night of proper rest.

KK Trip : Day 2 - Hike up KK

We were up bright and early for breakfast at 7am, with our bags all packed up & ready to be shipped out. The bus took us to the Mesilau Gate (where we started our hike). There are 2 routes up KK : Mesilau & Timpohon. It was said that Mesilau’s route was more scenic but takes longer time to get up.

We were provided our registration tag, that stated out name (I/C), date & a group number. The group number helps the hiking guide/porters to identify its responsible group. We were then sold hiking sticks for RM3, a necessity to some if required. Our bags were then weighed & noted down. Payment upon descend.

We were briefed regarding the hike, its pitstops & its estimated hour of hike was about 6hrs (average pace). This was when we encountered our 2nd mishap. The park organisers was suppose to provide us lunch for our hike but nadah. So another waiting session until an agreement was made, of a porter carrying it up to us.

We began our journey at about 920am. It was hot at the start with sun shinning. Luckily I had applied sunscreen on my shoulders. I can’t say that I fancy walking up stairs. For the next few hours, its just walk walk walk. Beginning of the journey was just greenery in sight.

When I run, it takes me a minimum of 7mins to run a 1km. But hiking, it feels like ages. Make that 1hr. Every 500m, there’s a marking point. It’s a total of 21km to the peak. Come noon, I was freaking hungry, with no lunch. I have this sickly feeling that the food porter was following the slower group behind. Those in front were separated, and I was stuck in the middle. At times, with no familiar face.

Thankfully, an earlier group had left a few boxed lunch for us. Fried chicken, hard boiled egg and sandwiches had never been so scrumptious. Timpohon Gate signage was our ½ mark to Laban Rata, the place where we’ll reside for the night.

I was suffering from blisters on majority of the hike. Stopping quite often to apply Vaseline (to prevent friction) and bandage. There was also a time when I just hiked with only my socks on. Rule #1 : don’t wear new shoes. Sigh

By 3pm, I look back, I could see the mountain & clouds, but when I look in front, more stairs. There came a time, that each step felt like I was carrying my own weight (actually my boots are heavy). When I saw a building at a distance, I wasn’t quite ecstatic. Dunno why. Goal was just getting there first.

It took me 6hrs+ to get to Laban Rata. I was so worn. I just wanted to sit & not move.

Laban Rata Resthouse is the main meeting place for hikers and the only place with proper food. It is also heated and with hot water shower. But too bad, I was too late.

Dinner was served from 5pm to 7pm. During this time, our group started to gather except for 4 other hikers who only came in at 830pm, in the dark.

We stayed at Gunting Laganan, another 500m hike away from Laban Rata Resthouse. It wasn’t heated, but we were too tired to care.

Waking up at 1am was the target, because at 2.30am, we start our hike up to the peak in time for sunrise.

KK Trip : Day 1 - KK / Poring Hot Spring

The flight to KK was about 2.5hrs. KK airport was relatively small. Felt a little dejavu coz I was here last year for my diving trip to Layang-Layang then.

The 1st mishap of the trip was a missing luggage by Air Asia. Seemed like the luggage tag on the bag wasn’t the same as on the ticket. Good thing the airline was able to deliver the bag to the hotel before the hike.

Nice comfy bus for our long journey. First up was a 2hr journey to the Kinabalu Park. Another sleeping session.

Our tour guide registered us for our hike and we were provided a briefing of our daily trip. Oh, our tour agency was called Exotic Tours. Kinky isn’t it. Would you believe that the fastest person to climbed KK only took him 2hrs47secs, and here we’re planning for a 2day hike.

The scheduled was a little screwed up. I had suggested for Poring Hot Spring after the hike since it’s better for our muscles. But on the day we descend, we wouldn’t have enough time to visit Poring, as we’ll be heading to KK town already.

By the sound of “Poring Hot Spring” might seemed like a spa, but at first sight, the thought of my mind was “like that only ah?”. It’s like any local waterfall with picnics around & kids running about. U can opt to soak ur body or only legs. Since we weren’t “equipped”, we went legs only instead. U could see steam from the water surface.

I had my doubts about the water being “spring”. It might actually just be water being boiled somewhere. Anyway, It took me sometime to get accustomed to the hot water. Make that 20mins. By the time I got out of the water, my legs was lobster red, ready to be eaten.

Our first night stay was at the Kinabalu Pine Resort. The room was quite big, and the resort had a peaceful serenity atmosphere surrounding it. At a distance, we could see the mountain that we were attempting tomorrow. When night fell, the temperature dropped to Genting Highlands level (15deg). Seems like a custom to have steamboat (hot soup) for dinner to warm our bodies up. That night, all of us were busy with packing.

Packing for KK (3 bags)
1 – watever stuff not required for the hike, at all, will be left in the care of the tour agency
2 – watever stuff required for the hike, to be carried by the porter (RM9 per kg)
3 – stuff you’ll be carrying for the hike eg. Water, snacks, medicines etc.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May10 - Larian Bomba 2009

My 1st run back in Malaysia. The re-start for my collection of medals. I felt the humidity swished across my face as I opened the car door. Trying to calm the butterflies in my stomach, I kept telling myself “just a finisher medal would be great”. Limited medals for this race with only 100 for the women & 75 for the men.

Keat Seong decided to skip this run coz its too much of a risk pushing himself to the limit just for a medal. Especially for a 10km distance (spoken by the Ironman :p ). Eventhough the distance is short, that means it’s a sprinting race, something like 100m in a school event. For distance runners eg. 42km Ironman, endurance & speed needs to be incorporated, but for 10km its all about speed speed speed.

Met up with some old frens before the start of the run. Another 20mins, runners were directed into the runners cage aka “kandang”. Well, I guessed it seemed appropriate coz when the cage opens, all the kambing biri-biri rushes out. The sound of the gun starts us, the stopwatch in our wristwatch moves us and the finisher medal motivates us.


I was feeling sick from the start. Nervousness. U think ‘why’, I wish I knew. Maybe just coz …. I was nervous. Sorry, that was the best excuse I could come up with. It was the normal 10km route, passing Bank Negara, out towards Jalan Duta and back towards the Parliament building. It was a very straight forward route. My heart was working overtime, so was my sweat ducts. I couldn’t believe myself when I had to slowdown to a walk at the 7mins mark. A total disappointment to myself.

When the only water station came about at 5km, we were provided bottles & cups. Forgetting that my jersey wasn’t dry-fit, I poured water onto my head & body (too use to it during my triathlon events).

Thankfully the weather wasn’t burning shining sun, just the humid air accompanied us the whole way. I didn’t even need to wear my sunnies. I didn’t feel like seeing ‘clearly’ (prescript eyesight).
As I turned up the Parliament flyover, passing Padang Merbok, just another 400m towards the finished line, I started to put some sprint towards my steps. I spotted my targets when I noticed 2 ladies in front of me, whom had passed me before.

I didn’t show my custom ‘peace sign’ to the photographers. By the looks on my face, anyone would know it was a torturing run for me.

The feeling of grass on my feet felt good as we ran across Dataran Merdeka field towards the finishing banner. I couldn’t stop moving. If I did, I knew I would just puck my guts out. It took me about 5mins to compose myself to even mutter a word.

17/100 placing at a time of 64mins. Not something I was expecting, but it was great, I guess. Back to square one when I first started running.

Top 10 runners for each category were awarded $$$. Can’t say I was hoping for that, just yet. Too many great ladies runners in the market to beat. Kekkekek