Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Reflection

With one more day to the end of 2011, many things had happened in 2011 for me personally. Some good. Some bad. Some dramatic. One depressing. It was a truly rollercoaster year for me in many sense. A year that will be hard to comprehend and make sense off; and it flew right straight in front of me like it was just 36.5 days.
Lets see if i can list down all the good, the bad and the ugly that happened in 2011 to sum it all up.
The Good
1. Blood iron content improved and i no longer has fainting spells or out of breath when climbing up a flight of stairs.
2. Had a tattoo done.
3. Completed Sabah Adventure Challenge with Bandit. We finished the race, but not official finisher.
3. Adopted two mongrels and now the family is almost complete.
4. Wifey ran her first marathon in June. 4 months of training paid off.
5. She then went to run her second marathon and scored a personal best.
6. Was offered a few jobs after i left the consulting line. Tough choices but Family First guided me to my decision.
7. Lost almost 10kg (see The Ugly, Item 1).
8. Started to revamp and eat healthily (see The Bad. Item 7).
9. Learnt to forgive. I hope (see The Ugly. Item 3).
10. Started My own domain on the World Wide Web.
The Bad
1. Ironman Langkawi officially cancelled from race calendar. No more affordable IM distance races.
2. Extremely low mileage for swim, bike and run.
3. Failed to revive my Project365. Realised i started taking photos for this and JUST for this. No quality. Appalling images. Yucks.
4. Stumbling block with work and career. Being seen as not productive. Not all things can be measured.
5. Developed Sciatica. It's a stumbling block to my planned SBR.
6. Changed job twice within three months. Effectively wiping out my accumulated leaves and bonuses, and pay raise.
7. Lost an online friend. Then a week later, lost a dear friend. Both pass away while running. Made me re-think my commitment to my sports.
The Ugly
1. Went into a depression. It was a tough hard hole to crawl out from without any medication.
2. Lost passion for things i love to do because of the depression.
3. Found out who back stabbed me previously. Disappointed with what people are capable of to get on top.
Reflecting back. the Statistic stood at 10-7-3 for the Good, Bad and Ugly. Looked like it was a rather mixed year for me. But one thing i know for sure, I am blessed. For i am still here writing this and i managed to overcome the Ugly. I hope 2012 will be good for me and those around me.
And i certainly hope that 2012 will be a year where i will be able to strike that magic balance of work and life, and as a matter of priority, make it to be Life-Work balance, in that order of priority!
Cheers all!
Taken from Fondos website

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Trail Running Thrill

Trail running has started to gained a healthy following since a bunch of running friends decided to add a little variety to their running routine. Places like Kiara, which is a world class mountain bike trails has seen more and more action from the two-foot kind.
I am not an accomplished runner, let alone call myself a runner. I hate running. I hate hate running. The more i hate running, the more i want to run so i can try to get rid of the hate. Before i ran on the road, i actually started from running in the jungle - yes, those of you that know me will know my background as an adventure racer first and a triathlete second. With a void of good adventure race in the last 7 years until i found out about Sabah Adventure Challenge (SAC), things has changed a little bit.
There is an unexplainable draw to run in the trail. The undulating surface? The thrill of getting lost? Love nature? The basic caveman instinct? Maybe all the above. Running trail is different from running on the road. To start with, muscle usage is slightly different - you will engage your core muscle. You will build those smaller supporting muscle. You will get stronger. That will translate to a more agile and possibly even faster running on the road.
No where else but the trail you will face a 10degree gradient climb on your "easy" run and even come face to face with literally a wall in the form of a cliff.
Yesterday, i took to the woods of Kiara. I intend to run the trails. I told myself that walking should be minimal, if not at all. I was determined. I want to kick start my 2012 training. I want to keep my sciatica in check. I need to train like i signed up for another Ironman. I need. Need. Need.
I was re-introduced to Kiara by Roland. I never liked the place. Maybe because Kiara is too technical for my liking on the bike. But a twist of event when i signed up for SAC this year sort of forced me to visit Kiara at least once a week. If any technical riding needs to be done, this is the place. I know if one were to ride in Kiara well, any other crosscountry (XC) trail will look like it is flat. Running Kiara, however, is a totally different ball game. There are no granny gears to haul you up the big climbs. No hydraulic brakes to slow you down on those downhills. Only saving grace is that on two feet, the single trails looked like highway compare d to when one is on the bike. My game plan was to replicate what i did with Kheng Leong but even the most seasoned Kiara rider will sort of lost his/her bearing especially on the run. I went up Lung Buster with intention to cross over to the 4K loop. However, since running uphill was such painful fun, i decided to go up and exit at Twin Peak. My lungs were fighting for air and my heart were thumping wildly. A quick check on the wrist says it is approximately 190bpm. That was almost 100% HRmax. The legs was feeling good and the body was in agreement. I push my way up through Twin peaks and reached the peak.
Took a deep breath and started descending towards upper and lower. I was apprehensive initially to run down fast, but i remember seeing Kilian and Marco flew down Kinabalu with their hands all over the places to stabilize. I instantly shifted to high gear and imitated the way they ran down trails. Needless to say, i now know why the hands are all over the place - balance. Running down on the steep incline was addictive. I supposed i could had went like 12km/h or a 5:00 pace, maybe faster while looking about 10 meters ahead to anticipate the terrain and change of direction. Now, that was enough to remind me why i love trail running. Without a doubt.
I exit at lower and saw that the time was not in my favour as i am designated driver for wifey. The plan was to trod through Bar-A-Kuda and exit at the lowest point before entering Apollo. That was cut short and i took the tarmac to Apollo. From Apollo, i ran the 2K loop and the climb was just too painfully nice. Exited 2K and ran on the tarmac and entered the trail again to be back out to Kiara Park. I worked up a good sweat - and i could had scared a biker or two when i suddenly appeared from switchbacks running downhill on the reverse carnival. Total mileage was maybe between 8km to 10km that took me about 75minutes. Sciatica did not pay me a visit today, maybe due to the frequent changes in terrain and the muscle gets to work in a more unpredictable manner.
Looked like i could had found part of the Mojo i lost back. All i need to do now is to keep the momentum and hopefully, i will be able to run a  decent 10km on road again - and as an added bonus, run through Kiara as if she is flat pancake flat. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Ride To Sofea Jane Waterfall

It was a ride back to memory lane for me last Saturday with Bandit and Hakim. I grew up in Ulu Kelang, as many of you know and Kemensah used to be my playground. I have explored almost every trail in Kemensah and has forgotten how to get into some due to the repaid development and changes in landscape around the area. What used to be a pristine orang asli village with wooden Bailey bridges has changed into a modern modern looking landscape with pseudo-resorts coming up on the pretext of you able to picnic by the riverside. Most of us growing up in this area has played truant once, perhaps twice by taking a walk to "Jeram" or rapid in english. Back in those days, crossing the road meant only having to look left and right twice before doing so. Now, try it on the MRR2 you might end up as one of the many road kills on the road.
The ride plan was to meet up with Bandit and anyone that wants to ride into Sofea Jane waterfall. Made famous by the actress in the movie Perempuan, Isteri dan Jalang (Woman, Wife and Slut/Bitch) where there was a scene in the movie where Sofea Jane took a dip at the waterfall. Since then, the waterfall has been named after her. I have been in there once, perhaps when i was very young, which i can't recall. So, now, with almost no recollection how the trail/route would look like, it will be a mini adventure by itself.
I reached the RV point, which was where the Len Seng bus 170 used to stop - the bridge near Kampung Kemensah. That is the only widest point where the 40 seater bus used to be able to make a 3-point turn. It was a wet morning and it started to drizzle when Bandit arrived to meet up with me.
 Bandit has called someone the night before to ask for direction. We were told that we should cycle into Kampung Kemensah, pass the fish pond and towards the ATV park. From the ATV park, we are to cycle about 200m and will reach the trail head on the right hand side of the road. We found the trail head pretty easy and it is actually bordering on the Ukay Perdana development. A big piece of land has been demarcated and earmarked for development by the former states government. I remember this area used to be accessible only by means of scramblers bike. Those were the 20 odd years ago before the whole Ukay Perdana and the development by that infamous developer started.
From the trail head, it is a clear trail towards the waterfall. The official name for the fall is actually Air Terjun Kubang Gajah. After what seems to be like 10km (actually only 3km) of riding and pushing through a Category 3 trail climb (average of 4.4degree gradient), you will reach a fork with a marking on a tree. One should turn right down towards the waterfall and reach the site within the next 2km.
The trail is mostly rideable - i managed to ride through a major portion of it, short of ruts created by the ATVs that has made it impossible to ride through in the wet ground. My heart rate could have been running on the average 80% while i steadily climb at 8km/h average. Some part of the trail is large enough to accommodate rivers side by side while most of it are double-tracks.
Look out for the signboard - it is on the ground and take right. If you take the left trail, it will be more climbs and you will eventually linked back to the other side of Kemensah. That would be explored next when i bring a bigger machete than the 6 incher i brought along that day, in case of any unforeseen circumstances that need chopping of felled branches or small trees, which we encountered when we took the left trail for reasons only known to us.  

You be surprised to see a large waterfall with about 100feet drop when you reach the destination! I was. I almost forgotten how huge this place could be!
It was a good ride spanning close to 16km if i were to ride from Bandit's house. For me, it was a 10km quick in and out with great company. We talked about family and also about our new work. With Hakim around testing his newly acquired front shock, it completed the conversation and outing.

If you are planning to ride into Sofea Jane, it will be best to do so from the RV point i started. If you decided to hike, you can park near the ATV park and make your way in. You will not need that 3km of tarmac if you are hiking in. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Running Three Marathon in 90 Days

In the midst of planning for 2012 races. With a new job, growing kids, two dogs and a wife that has been bitten hard by the running bug, there is a need to prioritize races and at the same time the commitment to the sports. Work-Life balance is slowly finding it's equilibrium and soon, i hope to swing it to Life-Work balance.
I will be planning for these races in April, May and June - and hopefully it will qualify me and wifey to be a "Marathon Maniac". While it is really not a big deal to run marathons back to back, as proven by many inspiring runners, it could be the first for me and wifey.
Marathon 1 will potentially be at Bali for the Bali Marathon on April 22, 2012.

We had our honeymoon in Bali and it would be nice to be able to visit the place again for something totally hot and sweaty again.
The potential second marathon would be at the Borneo International Marathon on May 6, 2012. A bit pushing it to run a second one within 2 weeks time. But should be "can lah".

The last potential marathon to complete within the 90 days would be the home ground Standard Chartered KL Marathon set to take place on June 24, 2012. The press release on the race has been just released in my blog here.
So, is the April 22 to June 24 timeline qualify as the 90 days period? It is exactly 64 days actually. :) In fact, running Bali and Borneo back to back would already qualify us for the Bronze Level in Marathon Maniac.
But why stop at 2 in 16 days when we can do 3 in 90, or 64 days?
Next step is to convince my new employer to allow me to take time off for these races. :) Fingers crossed!
Update Feb 23, 2012:
Permission and leave has been granted to do all three marathons. One day off Bali (Friday), Borneo will be a whirlwind 24hours trip and KL Marathon, as it is on home ground, is ready any time of the year! Bring on 42.2km x 3 in 64 days!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What You Can't Do In Jungle

Following up from the "best motivational speech" posted yesterday, this is yet another good motivational speech, though can be painful, to see. It is considered a taboo for fighting infantry to light three cigarettes with one match. It is known to give away the troop's position and often, the third man will be shot first. Other superstitious in the jungle is not to call a person's name for fear that the spirits residing will use it to call upon the person, and making them lost in the jungle. It is best to use nickname (then again, wouldn't it be the same as well?) or don't use any names. When i was in RMC and during the weekly class of Ilmu Medan Perang (IMP) or battlefield knowledge classes, we are reminded that lighting fire or cooking will give away the troop's position. It is a no-no during dawn and dusk, as that is the favorite time for enemies to strike while the eyes and body is getting used to the change of time and lights. Cooking are often reserved in friendly area, or resorting to eat cold ration.
When my friend, Aman, posted this video from Youtube. I found it super hilarious and can't help but to laugh and smile when the platoon Sergeant reprimanded one of the private - yeap, for cooking or boiling his "Chinese medicine herbs". Take a look, this is 100% Singapore humor from Jack Neo's movie "Where Got Ghost" that was released in 2009. Enjoy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Best Motivational Speech Ever from Full Metal Jacket

I love Full Metal Jacket. I almost how much i love it until Yip Ultraman posted the part where the Drill Sargeant gave a rousing hashing on the privates to "man them up"and to tell them what is in store for them. It reminded me how my seniors in RMC back in 1991 welcomed some of us when i was a "new boy".
"Speeches" like these make or break the person. Often, it send shiver down the spine of the listeners and very likely, messes with their mind.
I wish  could give these speeches to my subordinates when they were reporting to me. But alas - i am just too soft hearted for that. However, the same "strictness"i provide and shown to them. Not many would appreciate it, but i am sure many that came my way agrees, it did turn them into a well oiled mean machine able to face the toughest of client. Enjoy the video.
If the video above fail to load, head over here

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Taken Online
Here to wishing all of you a good Christmas and May all of you be blessed with good health and prosperity.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Strawberry Park Family Getaway Day 3

I hope you have enjoyed reading all the installment of the Strawberry Park Family Getaway here, here, here and the bonus posting here. This posting is to wrap things up. It has been a very enjoyable stay in Cameron Highland, especially at Strawberry Park Resort. This will be a short post and me and my family wish to wish all of you (readers and Staffs of Strawberry Park Resort) a Merry Christmas and a very happy (everyday) 2012.
View From the Top of Hill

A Spa and an outdoor jacuzzi? 
Apartments with 3 rooms 
Jim Thompson last residence

Business As Usual

Sunday Crowd

Best Roti Canai on the Highland

But revert back to Oats.

Happy Happy!

Monkeying around. Again!

No doubt. Above all!
With Mr. Lim, The GM of Strawberry Park

But can't resist some beef.

Gingerbread House (work in progress). Eat parts are edible!
The man made waterfall. Been here for as long as i can remember!

*The family trip is courtesy of Strawberry Park Resort, Cameron Highland. Our family would like to record our utmost gratitude to the management and staffs for the hospitality given. We would also like to thank Rouge Communication, Petaling Jaya for the opportunity to be here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Malaysians Love Their Cars

A car is to be used to move from Point A to Point B when it was first invented. It was meant to replace the horse carriage. It was also a status symbol. Malaysians are known to love their cars; some drives car more expensive than the house they live in. Some even willing to give up their kids, burn their wife...but was saved by his love for his car.

What disgusted me more when i read the news above was that the husband, was apparently trying to give away one of his kids to a friend. Fair enough if they are poor and not able to support more hungry mouth like the olden days. But unlike the olden days, this father, obviously has no love for his own kids, or wife. Read on and tell me if this man deserves to be burn with his beloved car. He can shove his ding dong into the car exhaust tip if he wants to.
News from The Star
I know many that drives better car than the average Malaysian, but don't own a house, or have savings or still staying with parents or staying with gf/bf. What mattered most is that they have a CAR. A flashy one is a bonus, but if it is an average car, they will spend a month, maybe two or three months wages to get it done to be ONE OF THE KIND. I spotted this hideous car in Empire yesterday. I was in awe of his taste and he could had spent close to four to five thousand just to do this up, physically. He could be a big fan of a certain brand with three-stripes too, judging from a very consistent theme across the car. You might also be in awe - and that too, will tell a lot of your flavour and view with cars ;-)
I sometimes wish i have a truck. When cars like these tail gate me, i just slam on my brakes
F1 team must learn from them to make diffusers such as these on the lower left. Can act as a Tar-pow pick up too, just leave the tar-pow on the road side and these will scoop them right up.
Diffuser on the bonnet. The downforce on the front could rip the roads apart. Wait, maybe that explained all the pot holes in KL.
Diffuser even on the window's deflector? So the cigarette ash won't fly back in?
Power by a 1.6 inline 6 - quad cam- triple DOHC engine. 0-100km/h in perhaps 14 second?
Must have - LED lights under the rear diffuser. Useful when changing tires at night.
 Serious, this car is hideous.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dongzhi Festival Winter Solstice

Dongzhi meant the extreme of winter. It is also known as the "Chinese Christmas". While the significant of Dongzhi has nothing to do with religious celebration. The significant of this is that the sunshine will be at the weakest and the daylight, shortest, hence amplifying the extreme of winter. Basically, it signifies the the changes and balance - that we will be a year older. Traditional and culturally, this festival provides an excuse for family to get together to make glutinous rice ball or tong yuan. The stickiness of the rice ball symbolically represent a family that will "stick together", at least for another year until the next celebration. For whatever that it really does signify, as the Chinese (including we Malaysian Chinese) will find all reasons and excuse for a get together.
This year, however, only has my mum in my home making them. My sisters is too busy to be present and my dad is not fit to drive at night and through the heavy traffic. Nonetheless, they are on our mind and lets hope the family does stick together. Often, we can make time for other less important things and i hope next year, all, if not most, will be together for this activity.
Here are some photos taken. The kids clearly has more fun shaping the balls.
Ryan being shown what Incredible Hulk eat for breakfast.
Rolling rolling rolling!
Edible Playdoh
Poor girl recovering from food poisoning.
Ahma let him play with his food. Lucky him.
Getting worried that she is turning green...
Wish there are more that was present
Thumbs up, Dongzhi's way.
If you are happy and you know it...roll your dough!
Green done. Next is pink.
She tired already. Not eaten well for the past two days.
Happy Winter Solstice!
Left in fridge to be cooked later!
Cooked in ginger water and pandan leave!
Happy Dongzhi Festival!