Thursday, June 28, 2012

SCKLM 2012.. a macik's story

The excitement of the running community over the recent scklm is slowly dying down.  understandably so, those who lost their 'virginity' and the many who achieved PBs, its a glorious moment to be relived over and over again.

I seriously thought i would be missing out on the event again even though i was among the early birds to register for the half marathon, my second attempt at 21k. last year i had to skip my first scklm when the opportunity for a dubai trip suddenly manifested itself and this year the flu bug got me real good and i was having an overdose of phlegm & a heavy head right up to race day.

SCKLM 2012

But thank god i survived, without pain nor injury to boot, and clocked in 2:40:49.  for the non-runners, no, its not about getting a placing like 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 10th and 11th.  top positions & placings are usually for the elite runners.  for the rest of us struggling to put one foot over the other until we cross the finishing line, its more about timing and how to keep improving, thus the term PBs or Personal Bests.

And truth be told, its also about the medals.  yup, that 'useless' looking piece of metal that might come a dime a dozen but the absence of which can turn the mildest mannered person into a terrorist lol.  i guess its actually quite justified to think of runners as a mad bunch *wink*

21km finisher medal 

Anyways for the other maciks (and paciks also why not lol) out there who're already in their 50s and wondering if they should ever consider trying out 21km, this is my story :)

First and foremost, put away your fears of ever making it to the end... yes it can be done even if we're not spring chickens anymore and you don't have to be an athlete or a sportswoman/man either.  insya allah if you put your mind to it you'll cross that finishing line in one piece.  but of course nothing meaningful ever comes that easy, you will have to put in some effort in the form of scheduled training & consistent running prior to that 21km.  you need to cover some serious mileage or at least build up a solid running base.

For me its probably my consistent running rather than any specific training that has helped carry me thru.  More for health maintenance than anything else, I've been running a minimum of 4km 3-4 times a week since 2005 but not until last year did i take my running seriously and trained with a running group.  with the help of my running group & buddies, i completed my first half marathon at the PJ Half Marathon last year with a PB of 02:20:38... and i did it with minimum pain and no injuries.  the only injury i have suffered so far came much later but thats a whole different story altogether, to be shared another day perhaps.

OK other than the basic requirement of having some kind of training plan (especially if u want to do it injury free) theres also a couple of things you will need to help you along the way.  and top on the list is  of course your partner in crime, that all important pair of shoes.  running 21km in the wrong shoes can mean the difference between success & disaster.  after years of running within the adizero range, this time i switched to one with better cushioning.  after my injury, plantar faciitis to be exact, i have to be mindful of additional support so i gave up my norm and went with adidas response cushion 20. thankfully it was the right choice.  good running shoes don't come cheap so you want to keep making the right choices lol.

My Adidas Response..  and its pink lol

Then theres also my other running musts.. 1. hydration & multipurpose belts for fluids, gels, keys and that inseparable phone lol and 2. my iPod. music can be quite a motivating factor especially when you're pounding out 21km on the hot tarmac.  for scklm 2012 i decided to go for a purely techno playlist, i somehow find the instrumental beat to be the perfect background for my zikir. and instead of the hydration belt, which in all honesty isn't something i am really comfortable with, i decided on my dual-pocket spibelt which would hold my gels & my phone.  in this case, comfort won over fear of thirst.  i was hoping that water would be aplenty along the way, and thank god i was proven right :)

Belts & iPod

And this next section is especially for women.  now regardless of whether your boobs are huge or small, you'll be needing a sports bra.  trust me, it'll be good for you as well as the people around you.  theres nothing more distracting then a pair of swaying or jiggling boobs lol.  and u certainly don't want to have chaffing where the skin is soft & sensitive.  slathering a generous amount of vaseline will also help.  and if you're unlucky enough to be having your period during the event, then tampons will also minimize further chaffing (might not be suitable for the younger girls though).  don't forget 2-3 hours of constant rubbing can even cause blisters so we might as well be extra careful.

Ladies arsenal.

Running 21km can be tough on the body, especially when we're already in the middle-age group.  so be prepared, stay hydrated a couple of days before the race and take some form of oralites to prevent or at least minimize cramps on race day itself. sadly for me, i was bogged down with flu and didn't have the luxury of such preparation.  during scklm 2012 i relied heavily on the strength of my daily supplements i.e. multivits, vit C, omega 3 fish oil, lechitin,  EPO & glucosamine sulphate, usually taken  in the mornings.

My normal pre-breakfast fare

During the race i armed myself with a supply of 2 tangerine powergels and a nuun tablet (which i actually forgot to take tsk tsk).  i had earlier decided against a power gel to start off the race and took my first energy booster when i was into my first hour.  the weather was excellent and i was feeling pretty good despite the phlegm and the running nose (hahaha even my nose was running ).  my greatest enemy has always been the heat & humidity and thankfully throughout the run, the sun was shaded by the tall buildings of kuala lumpur lol.  i downed my second gel about 15km into the run and until the end, i wasn't hit by fatigue, alhamdulillah.  i also made sure i stopped at most of the water stations to keep myself hydrated.

Energy & electrolyte boosters

Despite my fears of inadequate training & preparation due to months of injury and less than optimum health, i ended up really enjoying my second half marathon around the city of KL  again, the weather couldn't have been better and the organizers made an excellent job of running the event.  nothing is perfect and of course there's always room for improvement but i can't say i have anything much to complain about. yup, i'm that easy to please lol.

Majectic KL

Running in familiar streets

Water & sponge stations

Relief for aching muscles

Cooling zone for heated bodies

The finishing line
(pics courtesy of Leong Kwan Weng, tqvm)

One thing that really made a huge difference to my mental state was staying overnite in the city.  the swiss hotel was probably as close as u can ever get to dataran merdeka, venue of the race lol.  not having to rush and deal with the inevitable traffic jam and parking problems really took the edge off. i found myself very relaxed prior to flag off and that, i can assure you, is no easy feat.  when it comes to races, i am the undisputed queen of gabra hehehehe.  much thanks to my running family & friends for making it an enjoyable experience for me.  you know who you are mwaah3.  

Allow me to also share an incident that left me smiling the rest of the day.  as i was queueing up for the medal & goodie bag, a guy came over and excitedly told me that for most of the way, he was pacing me.  picking up someone to pace is a game that runners play to make the run a little more interesting.  i was wearing green so i guess i sort of stood out in a sea of blue, that probably made it easy for him to track me. 'you run well' he said, 'i tried overtaking you once but you stayed ahead after that'.  of course it's always nice to have someone compliment you to your face but it was also rather embarrassing for me bcos i knew i wasn't all that fast to begin with lol.  still, i thanked him but by then my curiosity was piqued.  taking a quick peep at his bib i asked,  'so dan, whereabouts are you from?', all the while thinking he was going to say ipoh or something.  but it was indeed an international event bcos he replied. 'oh I'm from hong kong'.  needless to say it took me by surprise and we parted ways just like that, strangers bound by a common love for running lol

Onwards to the finish
(Pic by TET, tqvm)

Post run, i actually felt better than my first half mara.  i woke up to almost zero pain... no muscle aches and my right foot was acting pretty normal, surprise surprise.  in conclusion, i can just say that God really loves me lol.  truly, He's given me a huge break and I'm again hopeful of making that 42km one fine day :)

Yay i did it !

SCKLM 2012 Official Results:
Rank -108/226
BIB No - H 12097
Gun Time - 02:45:30
Chip Time - 02:40:49
Split 10km - 01:20:49 

So please maciks & paciks, if i can do it so can YOU!! Jom lets run woot woot :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Toffee Latte

When nicolei died he left a void, a huge one in fact.  he was always there for all of us and truth be told, with the head of the family constantly absent, we were quite often in a rather  needy & dysfunctional state lol.

He listened patiently to all my rantings, he kept AH company during her revisions & assignments, he helped drain away most of AI's emo energy and he stayed beside Cikgu even thru his earth shattering snores.  yup, he stuck it out thru thick & thin and loved his people just as much as we loved him.

Our darling Nicolei, who will always be close to our hearts

I never thought i'd take in another cat, i just didnt want the emotional involvement.  loving & losing is never easy.

Then a little bundle of fur found his way between the mountain of boxes i kept stored upstairs... and straight into my heart.  so much for keeping that heart locked & barred lol.  one of the strays had decided to have her kitties at my house and was recklessly moving her litter around, hurting and losing them in the process.  at that point she had only two left and to keep a long story short, i ended up with toffee latte, while his bro, adam, ended up with the vet at sekyen 13 lol.

Toffee Latte & bro Adam @ 5 weeks

Oh it was quite a responsibility raising a small kitty still dependent on his mother's milk.  i remember carting him around in a little paper bag armed with towels, milk bottles & lil teddy bears to keep him company lol.  as long as he was fed he kept pretty quiet so he's no stranger to sunway pyramid, sacc mall, guthrie's driving range and even the hair saloon hehehe.

Bottle feeding baby toffee

Warm & snug in a paper bag

Toffee in the car

Toffee at the hair saloon

 Toffee safely tucked in at home

The future Toffee Bolt y'all

He's now about 6 months and quite a handful, but its no surprise that he has become everybody's sweetheart, even stoick, often emotionless, i-dont-like-cats daddy lol.  maybe animals naturally understand hierarchy & recognize the 'top cat' bcos toffee, that used to be lil-ball-of-fur just idolizes big daddy.  he purrs & sleeps with daddy every chance he gets and he wont settle for 'no' either lol.

 Toffee with his 'hero' - big daddy

He can never take the place of nicolei bcos nicolei already has a special place in all our hearts but toffee has become a natural extension of his legacy... toffee's also there for all of us.  but most importantly he has brought the family back together again.  these days, everyone looks forward to coming home for some 'toffee therapy' hehehe :)

Toffee Latte @ 6 months

I hope he will be blessed with a long & healthy life.  we need our toffee latte :-D