Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Understanding Your Resting Heart Rate

This is an extension of the over training articles I've written here and here. This article also follow through with a previous article on heart rate training that i wrote a while ago.
Differences between Running and Cycling Heart rate are due to body conditioning
While knowing what zone you are working in is good and furthermore you know your ability at the next skip of your heart beat. But many has failed to understand some of the most easiest most important parameter in your quest to be fitter and faster. It is as simple as your Resting Heart Rate of RHR for short. While most of us aim to train at as high intensity as our body can take it, RHR tells a lot too about your current condition.
This article that i will attempt to write about are mostly based on my own research and understanding from one of the article i read some time back. While most of us focused on high mileage and high intensity exercises to improve our fitness, some of you might had noticed that my running mileage on "normal" days are limited to anything less that 7km or 5miles at most. And it is for a good reason. Read on the attached article, and understand why my obsession with RHR.
Aiming for 28bpm to be like Miguel Indurain.
Credit to Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton BSc (Hons) who wrote this article for sharing. 
The Resting Heart Rate:Understand it, Control it, Improve it
This article is inspired by an athlete you’ve probably never heard of, yet was at one point the greatest athlete in his sport, in addition to being analogous to the greatest athletes of all time. David Palmer, a professional squash player from Lithgow, Australia recently retired from the sport at the beginning of November, having had one of the most illustrious careers ever seen.
David’s story is a lengthy one; however the focus of this article is a period in his life from 1992, where he had to choose between the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) and Joe Shaw, a coach who pioneered the use of, at the time, highly advanced methods for the development of elite athletes. David chose Joe to the annoyance of the AIS, and subsequently became one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Joe used many methods to monitor David’s progress, and whilst these are now mostly common practice among elite athletes, such as using binaural beats to alter the brain wave zone and implant positive affirmations, at the time they were revolutionary, and some still are.
The Resting Heart Rate
A key training aid which can be employed by a variety of athletes (stretching from recreational to elite) is that of the resting heart rate (RHR). Most people who exercise can tell you how to measure the pulse, and also that a low pulse can in theory denote a good level of fitness. Most people however are unaware of the full potential of the RHR to describe the current and future states of their body.
Joe Shaw used this expression to explain the reasoning behind measuring the RHR:
IF YOU CAN'T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND IT.
IF YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND IT, YOU CAN'T CONTROL IT.
IF YOU CAN'T CONTROL IT, YOU CAN'T IMPROVE IT.
If we take the example of most exercisers from above, most can measure the pulse, however most people’s knowledge of that system stops at understanding.
The pulse rate can be thought of as not just an indication of fitness, but also as an indication of vitality. It’s essentially a barometer of the body.
There are limitations however and these need to be understood in order to realise the importance of the RHR.
Firstly, it is natural for some people to exhibit symptoms of arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a condition whereby the heart beats faster than normal (tachycardia), or slower than normal (bradycardia). This point shows the main limitation of using RHR as an exclusive measure of fitness.
For example, you may test untrained subjects at random, and find that some have a RHR of around 50bpm. You may then test well trained subjects, and find some of these also have a RHR of 50bpm.
Whilst this is an extreme example, it shows that RHR’s are highly variable and specific to the individual.
Levels of Fitness
So whilst it may not be scientifically accurate to compare between subjects, the RHR can be used very accurately to measure within subject fitness (the fitness of an individual). Many formulas exist to determine various zones of heart rate, and also as a predictor of fitness based on the RHR, however the most important measurement is the starting RHR; that is the very first RHR that you take and record. With this number, fitness can be measured very accurately providing several factors are met. Firstly, the RHR should be recorded daily, and secondly, the heart rate should be measured (preferably when you wake up) at the same time each day to ensure consistency.
On taking the RHR for a period of weeks, you can begin to understand your own pulse rate better, and even pre-empt and prevent overtraining which is explained later.
A trap many people make the mistake of falling into, especially at the beginning of a training programme, is expecting the heart rate to fall down too quickly. When no decrease is noticed after a week, they get disheartened and stop their training.
A lowering in RHR is brought about through long term training, resulting in athletic bradycardia/ventricular hypertrophy (enlargement in the heart muscle). This can often take many months, with shorter term changes such as increases in red cell volume occurring first. Once the RHR starts to decrease, it’s important to always refer back to the initial RHR value, since this will show your true progress, and be much more informative that a generic heart rate zone table used to describe the general population. These should generally only be used as a rough guide.
A Barometer of Health
Another feature of the RHR which is relatively unknown by the majority of athletes is that the RHR is generally very stable, and usually fluctuates only, and very precisely, at the onset of illness, so the RHR in this respect can be thought of as a barometer of health.
An extract from Joe Shaw’s journal illustrates this:
“I cannot stress the importance of this measurement strongly enough. The RHR is an indicator and a barometer that informs you of problems before they occur. If his RHR rises from 37 to 40 overnight then there has to be a reason. David assesses what he did yesterday, how he feels, tired or whatever, what he ate, and establishes a reason. If he cannot, then he monitors the RHR the next morning and it has risen to 42.  He immediately stops training because he has an illness about to commence, or it has by now commenced, and he requires medication or rest.”
Whilst this may seem a very extreme example (it must be remembered David made his living from sport), it illustrates the point that the RHR, when measured in a consistent way can advise on whether or not to train, and whether the current training regime is resulting in improvements to fitness.

Crucially for more regular exercisers, the RHR can give indications of the onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is important to note that contrary to popular belief, anyone partaking in regular exercise has a risk of developing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, especially if the individual partakes in heavy bouts of high intensity, short duration sprint or power exercises. Another extract from Joe Shaw’s journal illustrates this:

“[David’s heart rate has risen from 37 to 42 in two days.] It may be that he is overtraining, and the warning signs have been given. You can bounce back from exhaustion in 2/3 days but overtraining is a state of prolonged fatigue and can destroy your athlete. One AIS pupil ran 400 meters in 75 seconds, 30 times in the morning, considering that essential to his fitness. He finished with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and in my opinion these runs did not help him at all.”
“Overtraining may be defined as a state of prolonged fatigue caused primarily by excessive training and characterised by decrements or stagnancy in performance despite continuous training (Costill 1986 & Kuipers and Keizer 1988). Overtraining is the result of short term balance between stress and how your body adapts to it (Michael Yessis Ph D .Sports Medicine)”
Using expression the if you can’t understand it, you can’t control it etc… through not understanding the actions of the RHR, an athlete could mistake a sudden increase in heart rate as a sudden drop of fitness, or conversely, could train exceptionally hard but not detect any noticeable decrease in heart rate. Both these situations require a thorough evaluation of the training plan:
1) Am I doing the correct type of training which is specific for my needs?
2) Am I giving my body enough time to rest and recover? (And fundamental part of training)
3) Am I eating and drinking to sufficiently replace the nutrients I have lost?
4) Is my training regime sufficiently varied?
5) Am I being realistic? (Remembering that it can take several months to notice a decrease in RHR)
From the above examples and current literature, it would appear that the monitoring of RHR is imperative if you are serious about maintaining health, and increasing fitness levels.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Borneo International Marathon 2013

Borneo International Marathon or BIM as it is fondly known will take place on May 5th in 2013. With 6 months to plan, runners can start scouring for the best deal in flights and hotel. 
Start Line in 2012. Photo from Borneo International Marathon website
This year, the run took place on May 9, 2012 and myself and wifey took a late flight into Kota Kinabalu to run the race the very next morning. More photos and race report of the 2012 race in my blog entry here.
At her fittest. Second marathon within two weeks of running Bali Marathon. A feat she never thought she could do.
The race registration has not started yet but the details of the fees and race, has been confirmed in the website here.
Is it just me, or races are just getting way too expensive???
Race Route
If you are interested to run it, this was the 2012 route and i do not suspect it will change much. 
The 42km route
The race starts early aka 3am and cuts off at 9.30am (6:30 cut off). Kota Kinabalu gets bright early and you can expect to see break of dawn at about 5.30am. First stretch of the race will bring you from Stadium Likas towards the Tg Aru area, passing the Airport. Then you back track to run towards Universiti Malaysia Sabah and make a U-turn. You will run pass 1Borneo and the route is scenic only when you run along the main road aka Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen.
Lodging
If you do not mind budget accommodation with no frills (I am not talking about that Red Hotel), backpacker's lodge is likely the best compromise. With the rooms typically clean and comfortable and smack right in the centre of the town, if will offer direct access to shops and food for pre and post run sightseeing and meals. We stayed in Borneo Backpacker. At RM70/room with aircond but sharing common toilet/bath, it promises some privacy and opportunity to rest without your bunk mate tossing and turning around the lower bunk.
Model not included
Final Tip
The race organiser has race pick up and drop off arrangement at RM10/trip. You will have this option upon registration. Do not try to save on this as a taxi ride between the town (Mile Zero) and Stadium Likas is RM30 one way. Best if you just pay the bus - and the pick up point is right where all the backpacker's lodges are.
Hope to see you all there!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Malakoff 12km and 7km Kuala Lumpur Run


MALAKOFF 12KM & 7KM KUALA LUMPUR RUN
GEARS UP FOR RECORD 3,200 PARTICIPANTS
 ‘Run With Family And Friends’ To Attract Participants From Across Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 19 October 2012 – The much anticipated Malakoff 12km and 7km Kuala Lumpur Run organised by Malakoff Corporation Berhad (Malakoff) scheduled to be held at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort on 16 December 2012, targets to cap the entries at 3,200 for racers signing in from across the country to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.
Organised for the fifth consecutive year, the race has received overwhelming response with over half the entries already being taken up within weeks of the registration being opened. Participation in the “Run with Family and Friends” themed event is still open with prize vouchers worth RM18,000 up for grabs for racers of varied fitness and athletic abilities.
Speaking about the event, Yusop Rashid, Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations for Malakoff said “The community sporting events are organised as an integral part of Malakoff’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility platform - the Malakoff Community Partnerships. It is part of the Company’s commitment to encourage community participation in sports to foster a healthy active lifestyle.”
“I am pleased with the strong response by the community as indicated by the high number of registered participants thus far. We are truly humbled by the continued support towards the Malakoff KL Run from the racing community and I am confident that the event will be able to meet its targeted number,” he added.
This year, the 12km race is open in six categories: Men's Open (16 years and above), Men’s Veteran (40 to 50 years) and Men’s Senior Veteran (51 and above years), while the Women’s categories are Women's Open (16 years and above), Women’s Veteran (35 to 45 years) and Women’s Senior Veteran (46 and above years). Amateur and beginners can opt for the 7km race, which is open in the following two categories: Men's 7km Fun Run (16 years and above) and Women's 7km Fun Run (16 years and above). Further to this, the Men's Junior Fun Run 7km and Women's Junior Fun Run 7km cater for teenagers aged 13 to 15 years old.
In terms of prizes, the top five racers in all 12km categories will receive RM1,000 (first), RM800 (second), RM600 (third), RM400 (fourth) and RM200 (fifth) respectively. Additionally, trophies will be awarded to the top five finishers in each category and finisher’s medal for all those that complete the race within the specified qualifying time. Top five finishers in the 7km Junior categories will receive placing medals and while goodie bag will be given to each 7km participant.
Highlighting the success of the Run, Yusop said, “Malakoff is excited to see that the Run has been steadily gaining record participation since the inaugural event in 2008. We are glad that our Run with Family and Friends events is a platform for family and friends to encourage each other to lead a healthy lifestyle whilst spending quality time together

“We look forward to the community’s support as we continue to organise community-focused sporting events not just in Kuala Lumpur but in other regions including in Penang and Johor as well,” he added.
For the 12 km race, the entry fee for members of the public is RM60. Pacesetters Athletic Club and Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort members enjoy a discounted rate of RM50. The fee for Men‘s & Women’s 7km is RM40 for all participants, while for the Junior category it is RM20 per participant. The closing date for registration is 9 November 2012.
(Editor's note: Please be informed that registration has since been closed due to overwhelming response)
For further details about the upcoming Malakoff 12km and 7km Kuala Lumpur Run, please visit www.malakoffrun.com.my

ABOUT THE MALAKOFF COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
The Malakoff Community Partnerships is Malakoff’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) platform. The Malakoff Community Partnerships celebrates the achievement of Malakoff’s long-term and continuous commitment to being a responsible and active participant in communities where it operates.

Malakoff believes in building meaningful partnerships with the community, every step of the way. So while Malakoff continues to provide donations and sponsorships to deserving organisations candidates, it takes concrete steps to ensure that the Company grows and flourishes together with the community, in a more meaningful and holistic manner.

Malakoff does this through a three-pronged approach:
•   Commitment to Community & Education
•   Commitment to The Environment
•   Commitment to Community Sports
  
ABOUT MALAKOFF CORPORATION BERHAD
Malakoff is a leading Independent Water and Power Producer (IWPP) with core focus on power generation, water desalination and operations & maintenance services.

Malakoff is Malaysia’s largest independent power producer with net generating capacity of 5,020 MW from its six power plants.

As part of its global expansion plans, Malakoff has power and water ventures in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait and Bahrain. The company is also making inroads into the fast growing South-East Asian markets.

Malakoff believes in working together with all stakeholders in productive partnerships. As such, the Company takes pride in being a responsible operator and a good corporate citizen in communities where it operates.

Malakoff Corporation Berhad is a subsidiary of MMC Corporation Berhad.

For more details on the Company, please visit its corporate website at www.malakoff.com.my.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Remembering Cheah Meei Meei 1976-2012

The running circle was shaken and shocked by the passing of a fellow runner and friend last Friday. I first got to know about it via Tey Eng Tiong's Facebook update. It looked unbelievable. Just two weeks before her passing, I was escorting her in the Salomon XTrail run. I was given the task to follow/lead the women runner - and she happened to be the fastest one.
Meei Meei chasing after me
A week later, she joined the Perhentian Island Challenge and ended up as Women Elite Champion.
Meei Meei with Mich (second place) and another runner. 
It was also then that i read on Mich's FB update that she was down with food poisoning right after the race.

 It was then followed by Tey's update on a group of people having "food poisoning".
It was estimated up to 30 persons had the "food poisoning". One of them was Singapore Mad Runner that upon advise/reading about Meei Meei's passing, gotten himself checked for "suspected" Leptospirosis.
Meei Meei's passing was a lost to many. I was of no exception. Though i do not know her well, but the measure of a (wo)man is the words said about the person when they pass on. There was only good things to say about Meei Meei. The running circle was very open in telling it - even though we all know Meei Meei would not be able to read them anymore. After finishing the Putrajaya Night Half-Marathon, i drove myself to Meei Meei's home. I felt that i need to pay my last respect to this person - and what a relevation i got when i got to know her a bit more. Meei Meei is not just any "runner". She was a daughter, friends to many and an multi-talented person. As I arrived at her home, there were a whiteboard made by friends and family to remember her. This is just a fraction of what was there.
 Yes. Meei Meei was the country first female horse jockey. She has won a few races and a quick check on the Internet returned a news about Meei Meei's involvement with horses.



You will be remembered Meei Meei. May you rest in peace.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leptospirosis - Know The Disease

This little known disease has claimed the first recorded death in Malaysia in 1925. In recent years, It has became more prevalent. In Malaysia, it is considered as an endemic (or when that infection is maintained in the population without the need for external factor/infection). It is also known that this disease is prevalent in animals (as carrier). It is otherwise known as a zoonatic disease which is contagious and can transfer from animal to human.
Good Reading Materials on Leptospirosis
1. A REVIEW OF HUMAN LEPTOSPIROSIS IN MALAYSIA
2. A Case Study: Leptospirosis In Malaysia
Many of us, myself especially, often goes into the trail and races in Adventure races. The risk is there and as with everything in life, we have to deal with it once it hit us.
April 2012 media report on the death that happened in March 2012 at a Sg. Siput National Service Camp
Our mainstream media is not doing enough to raise awareness of this potentially fatal disease (potentially as in, if correctly diagnosed, can be prevented). Most news I found/read came from other sources that were NOT mainstream. However, the truth is known by many and there is no way to hide these.
From AFP - Non-mainstream
Transmission
Leptospirosis are often known locally as the "rat urine disease". While the connection is true, many other animals, wild and domesticated could be potential carrier. We can't do much about the wild animals, but domesticated animals, especially pets, need to receive their yearly vaccination as part of being a responsible pet owner. Transmission of this disease is via broken skin, the eyes or even ingestion. From there, it will enter the bloodstream and will attack the body cells and organ.
What To Avoid
There are reasons why i often shy away from those "cool zone" at some races or "shower zone" that were prepared by the race organisers. One must remember to be careful of the sources of water and most importantly, the container used to store the water for these water mist.
Always a risk
Unless the water source used were from potable water or piped water, one should minimise the risk of passing under these installation.
Puddles of stagnant water in the trails and/or jungle should also be approached with caution. One must not soak themselves too long in these unknown water source and minimise contact if possible. Moving water is OK and bear little or no risk - but beware of stagnant water, always.
Suspicious looking water station set up by race organisers where the water served is NOT from bottled sources. There is always the risk of contamination from the container, especially if they are left overnight. Learn to carry your own water - or drink at your own risk. If the water taste funny, chances is that they are. Avoid.
BYOW - Bring Your Own Water. Seen here is Desaru 116km race, where i carried a bottle of water while running
Always remember to wash the top of your canned food or drinks. Many do not realise this but food and drinks left in the supermarket or grocery stores are an open landmine where insects such as roaches (that carries diseases), rats and even lizards to pee and leave their feces. Always look at what you will put in your mouth, for you never know what you will ingest and regret.
Symptom
I will quote the medically correct article where applicable as this blog entry serves as a reminder and guidance. Symptoms will typically show between two days and four weeks. In severe cases, it could happen within 24hours. This has been proven in the case of the National Service trainee in the article above where the disease manifested and he passed away within four days. With all due respect to a fellow runner friend, Cheah Meei Meei, that has shown sign of this during the last race in Perhentian Island Challenge, she too, has the same diagnosis as the late Vinoth (RIP). Should you have, after a race/training and you crossed puddle of water/drank water and shows symptoms such as:
Fever
Dry cough
Food poisoning like symptoms
Muscle ache
Headache
Skin rash
Joint pain
Sore throat
*a more complete syndrome could be obtained here 
Medical Attention
Seek immediate medical attention and request/alert the doctors of your activities and possibly check for leptospirosis. The Doctors/clinic/hospital will usually do a blood test specific to test for a few markers such as kidney and liver functions. However, some of these are expensive and not all medical facilities are equipped to do this - and by then, it could be too late. Early medical help understating the condition and what you did before the infection happen could potentially save your life. One thing to note is not to self-treat. Knowing what type of antibiotic to take will not help unless you get the prescription from a learned medical practitioner. As this infection will attack the liver and kidney, in extreme cases, dialysis will be needed as a supportive treatment to the kidney.
Bottomline
Do not take any sickness or complication that happened after any race, more so if it potentially exposes you to questionable water sources lightly. If condition do not improve after 4-hours (as typically it takes 4-hours for food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract) and worsen, it is a sign that the body is struggling and medical attention must be considered. Charcoal pills or traditional tummy ache pills might suppress minor food poisoning (or symptom), but in case of bacteria infection, these over the counter (OTC) drugs will not help.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mission For Missing Children

There is a new "movement" among a group of athletes that has been in existence for the past couple of months. I first encountered them during Desaru Triathlon that they had a support/refreshment station set outside Desaru Pulai. 
Photo from MfMC Facebook Page
Known as Mission For Missing Children or MfMC for short, It aims 
"To create awareness on missing children and to provide information and alert on missing children."
Find them on Facebook and Twitter
In existence since August 2012, they aim to create and raise awareness for adults, especially parents with young children. As they rightly said, the current system is reactive rather than proactive. Only when there were missing children the general public starts to "cry". Here is their Mission Statement.
Straight forward and informational
You can follow them at their official blog http://www.mfmc82012.blogspot.com/ and myself as a parent and an athlete see no reasons why i should not help in promoting and sharing this good initiatives with everyone. If you feel that you can help and do your bits, perhaps, "LIKE" their Facebook page and "FOLLOW" their twitter would be a good start. Help promote their blogpage too. They need the exposure.
Remember, It is not just for fun, it is for a reason.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homemade Shepard's Pie For A Complete Meal

My wonderwife never fail to cook up something healthy and good despite her condition. She promised me that my mum in law, aka her mum was at hand to help her with this. If some of you do not know what is a Shepard's pie, it is basically a meat pie with a baked mash potato at the top. It is simple to prepare and make a good balance food with protein and carbs. Here is what you need to serve up to 3 person. We made this on a 8-inch (by 4 inch) casserole and served 4 adults.
What You Need
1. 300grams of Lean ground/mince beef. As usual, wifey got the fat-less meat. You can substitute the beef with lamb or mutton - which traditionally what were used for this dish.
2. 3 big potatoes.
3. One onion
4. Some carrot or vegetables such as celery or peas or any vegetables
5. A few cloves of garlic.
6. Some butter or good oil.
7. Salt & Pepper
8. some water
What To Do
1. Firstly, peel and boil the potatoes. Boil it for about 20minutes with some salt. If you do not want to peel the potatoes, you can always wash it, take a knife and cut around it to break the skin, and then boil it. You will then need to quickly soak it in cold water and then like magic, you can "slide" the skin off at the incision you made earlier. :) It's magic - or something like that.
2. While the potatoes are boiling, dice the onion, carrot, garlic, or any vegetables and cook them in a pan with some butter or oil. As items such as carrot takes longer to soften, it is best to cook these "harder" vegetable before anything else. If you do not want your garlic to be burnt, put them in mid way while cooking. Use medium to slow fire.
3. Drop in the mince meat and cook together with the mixed vegetables. Saute the mix until the meat is not pink/red anymore. Add in salt and pepper as needed. You can skip this if you rather the diner to season the food themselves.
4. While the beef is cooking, you can add in some water as needed to keep the mixture moist. Ideally, you should use some broth. You have an option to make some if you want/need using anchovies or bones. It is a good chance to heat up the oven to 180degree C as well.
5. Remove the potatoes and mash it up with a fork or a masher.
6. Place the cooked beef with vegetable into a casserole or into a container suitable for baking. Line the mash potatoes on the top and level it.
7. Use a fork and poke the mash potatoes so it has uneven surface, these "peaks" will brown nicely when baked.
8. Put in the preparation into the oven and bake about 30minutes, or until brown and the content below bubbles. 
Suggested Serving
Browned nicely.
Divided into four equal portion or you can divide it into six portions and keep the last two for supper later. :)
Good for 4 portions more
We love our salad and we have these in our fridge all the time. With a hard boiled egg, it completes the meal.
I move the meat out so you can see them
Caloric Damage
A serving of this will rake in close to 500kcal with most of the values coming in from the potatoes at 200kcal, protein at 120kcal, egg contributing about 80kcal and the balance is from the sauteed vegetable in butter or oil. Seasoning with salt and pepper has no significant caloric value.
P.S. - this was my "carbo-loading food" a day before Putrajaya Night Half-Marathon i did.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012 Race Report

It was a last minute decision to run the race. I did not registered for it but was handed a bib by my colleague whom had to attend a wedding dinner (thanks Kanthaa). I am fully aware of the implication of doing that and thought to myself that i WILL not come close to podium/winning anything. So, let me declare in advance that i "technically DQ" by running under another person's registration. So, there is no official glory other than self satisfaction of a good run. :)
Thank You Kanthaa!
I ran the race with mixed feeling. The running community lost a friend a day before the race and the route will bring me past the spot where wifey was hit by a motorcycle. I was not feeling too good with lack of rest the past few days due to a combination of factor and not helping that wifey told me i looked "pale".
Pale, really? With Kam doing his 20th Marathon. :) Insight was Zairin at the back.
Putrajaya run at night is notorious for being superhumid. Due to the location of the administrative capital build around wetland, that is expected. With half the Klang Valley experiencing torrential rain from 4pm, the race was bordering of going through a wet experience. But it was like the organiser summoned some bomoh (Shaman) and kept the rain away. Putrajaya was...DRY!
Could it be the Psy Gangam Style song that kept the rain away i.e. the rain also don't like the song!
As safety is important, i geared up with bright yellow vest and used my blinker and headlamp, together with reflective strip to "stay seen" by any vehicles. I noticed a number of runners doing this and that is good in my opinion. Awareness is important!
Stay Bright. Stay Alive.
I reached Putrajaya at about 7:45pm and by then, Anand Orangeman and his MC was announcing to the crowd of runners the passing of Cheah Meei Meei. "Keep Smilling Buddy". That, according to them, was Meei's trademark. She was there with many of us that knows her.
Tribute by Kin Kok. Nice one bro.
On day like that night. I am very very glad for two things. One, wifey is still alive and with me. To some the accident might look petty (as some of us had to go through worse experiences being hit by vehicles when out training). Wifey is recovering, but not as well as we hope. We were told that the injury is now compressing on her spinal cord via the latest x-ray done Saturday morning. More rest were prescribed by the Doctor; and also "upgrade" on pain management drugs. Secondly, we are so glad for friends and families around us. For example, many friends that lend support and visited wifey (too many too name); and friends from Singapore that brought a cake all the way up to cheer wifey up.
Thank You Mohan Marathon. You Are Awesome.
And three friends that came to celebrate me and wifey's wedding anniversary with a cake.
Awesome Phui Tin, Lynn and Pat!
And one that came with a 99% chocolate...you have no idea how something this bitter tasted that sweet.
Doc Azman - Awesome.
And many more of you that personally called, offered help in more than one way, and wished wifey a speedy recovery. The wishes in social media of all forms including this blog. The fruit baskets and flowers, they were all awesome. We are very blessed to have all of you as friends and families. Too many to name, all of you played a pivotal role and acted as an extended support system to help wifey recover faster. We Thank You!
Back To The Race
I know, i have the knack of getting off-tangent. It happened since i was small. It is a shame i am not a politician. Anyway...More photos of awesome friends at PNM2012. Take from Start line till Finish Line!
Tey Gor and Kelvin Ng.
Andrew, Kelvin and me!
With Yum KK. He runs marathon for supper
With Carol, Wilfred and friends!
Gutsy Patsy. She told me she retired from "long distance race". I guess 21km is just...a walk for her.
With NanNoor. A friend i know from Twitter. Funny how we recognise each other!
With Raymond. Hope he recover fully soon. He and Mich was affected with the same thing that took Meei Meei's life.
(R-L)Doc Pui San, Winnie and friend!


And with Awesome Mohan! How come i looked like crying?
With Foo and friends. All in hydration pack - or was it beer since it is still...October?
With Chow, that share the same birthday as me. :)
Hot Mum Vivian. She was taking photo of the bridge. :)
My senior in RMC, Asfani aka Upak. His first 42km. Awesome!
Those of you that knows me and been following my updates on social media will know I have been concentrating on basic fitness regime to get fit again. Things has been working very well with more informed and in-tuned training plans and learning to eat clean and healthier. I was not sure if I should take this race "easy" or "push for it". After saying a small prayer for departed friends (Terence Penguin, OP Zoob, Ngae, TSB and Meei Meei), i started running as i crossed the timing mat. Feeling good, i started to pick up my pace to around 4:30min/km. I have never hold on to this speed more than an hour and I thought it would be interesting to see how fast i could go. Also, inspired by how i was chased during Salomon XTrail by Meei Meei, i wanted to see what and how it is like to be running at my 85% and above. Afterall, I will still have fun per how i took photos with friends above. :) My first KM was done in fairly good speed...then it was no turning back as the engine just kept going.
Supporters drumming away!
 Hard not to run faster when you have bands playing too!
All Girl Percussion Group?
Is it just you? Or you just very happy to see a handsome runner?
Marching Band! Awesome!
You see, i did have fun. But compared to other races, I took less photos this time. Perhaps mainly due to the darkness. At KM5, a glance at my watch told me i almost equal my best 5km short of a few seconds. Feeling good, so i went for it. Would be fun to see how I will perform holding on till 10km. I caught up with Bud, an accidental friend that I knew from Dailymile.com. I then bumped into Doc Kian Ming, the DAP Chief Strategist. I was supposed to run with him but the starting line crowd made it difficult for me to spot him. I pushed ahead with both right behind me. At KM10, Bud overtook me and a glance on my watch says i did a 48mins for 10km! Awesome. That's faster than my best 10km of 48:44 done eons ago!
Did I run too fast i started seeing Star (wars)???
I maintained the pace and push ahead and the run got stranger...I started bumping into people that looked familiar like the one above. Then, him...
GULP! I am not your son!
Spidey with many loose skin. Is this how Peter Parker looked like as Spiderman at 70?
Ironman met..(ahem)...IronMan.
There was supposed to be a Superman in this pic. But he was faster than a speeding bullet (I kid you not)!

This Batman forgot to bring a hankie, see his sweat under the nose?
I did have fun running the race. Who won't when you see these people above along the 21km route? I have to stop to take photos with them...and then speed and play catch up with the Virtual Racer. :) (a function on the Garmin that let you pit against a virtual racer that runs at a constant speed. I chose the VR to be 5:30). Not sure if any of you noticed, but the organiser has a good sense of humor and even set up two fake cauldrons and a bubble machine!
For a moment...i thought those were Spirits and Orbs...aiyaiyai...
At KM15, I checked the watch and i could not believe that i managed the distance in a cool 1:14! I continue to go for it! It was also then that Shan overtook me. I then saw Raymond from the opposite side of the road. Said our HELLO and continued running. I was doing mental calculation that I could do a sub2-hours if i can hold on to this pace.
Woot! 1:48 Gun time!
It was an ecstatic moment. Knowing that i will be "cleared" of any podium finishing (as i counted at least 10 person in front of me, so i can't possibly be "top 25"), I speed up and crossed the line in a cool 1:46:51 on my Garmin and 1:48++ on the Gun time.
Who is your daddy?
My PB for 21km, and along the way, scored two more PB for 10km and 15km! What is there NOT to love here? I left as soon as after the race finished and only managed to catch Bud and Shan. They both scored a sub 1:40 and even earned themselves some placing! Awesome and congrats!
15th for Bud. Men Open!
Shan 10th Men Veteran. I wasn't trying to be cute...
I rushed over to Meei Meei's wake soon after and headed home after that. Pay my last respect to this awesome runner/athlete and found out more things that not many knew of her. I will write a separate post on this. 
Meanwhile...there were laundry to wash, shoe to dry and a blog post (this) to write...
Coffee and bottle i used to put water for after race
Here is the race route and race statistic on my Garmin. Enjoy.

This was one of my better run in years. It would be interesting to see if i can hold the pace for 42km. I highly doubt so, maybe in the next 5 years i will be able to run a sub 4:00 marathon at average speed of 5:30min/km. Perhaps. Until then, keep on training. Things can only get better if one stays injury free for the years to come!
Post-note
Race Pros:
1. Hooha.Asia - I've worked with them in previous races before either as co-organiser or as photographer. All i can say is that they are professional and are one of the better race organisers around in the country. With that, the expected support services such as water stations and such is expected to be high.
2. Superb route that has mix of undulating roads providing equal opportunity for runners with different ability to perform. Some runners love hill work, and they truly shine. 
3. Rela officers spotted at car park - based on previous experiences (of other races) with break-ins, this is certainly a welcomed effort.
4. Good traffic management - including a portion of the route where runners are running against traffic for both vehicle-runner visibility. No one like to have vehicles creeping up from behind you.
5. Great race atmosphere, a lot of cheering groups along the 21km route. Now sure about the 42km.
Race Cons:
1. Playing PSY's "Oppa Gangam Style" at the 21km flag off...
2. OK, more seriously, I did not noticed any. Not for the 21km race anyway.

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