Thursday, October 31, 2013

How To Run (And Then Some)

I've been getting a few emails from readers asking me how to run. Honestly, I am never taught how to run. I just go out and do it. Growing up in a family with no sports background, it was not until school days I was exposed to sports via "Hari Sukan" or School Sports Day. That too, I was limited to weight-related sports as my body was, according to my teachers, not suitable for any type of endurance sports. It was not until joining Royal Military College that running became a must. Being at my teen prime age, I did struggled with only basic knowledge on running and it was more of survival in a military institution than a passion if I sit down now and think back. Fast forward to about 10 years back when I officially ran a race - a 10km event at PJ Half Marathon and the route brought us into housing area in Sungai Way (no kidding). Back then, running wasn't an in-thing. I ran with the same shoe I wear for Chinese New Year, into mountain biking in Kemensah, training in the park and even going to the market. 

I ran because I can.

That was how it was back then.

But those days, My fastest 10km was a 48minutes, and now I suspect it to be under-distanced (Subang Jaya 10km) or it could be a downhill route (around USJ). Even when I was training extensively for my triathlon races and notably the Ironman triathlon distance, running has never been my strong point. In the past years, I've had injury ranging from pain in the knee, which turns out to be ITBS in the making. Had a full blown Sciatica. Shinsplit was a norm (that numbing feeling in the front of your shin thinking you broke a bone or something) and chaffing was a good friend. So, I am about to make it easier for you readers that has just started running, about how you can bypass all the above and start building your running fitness and share the knowledge learn to others. 

As usual, my sharing is free. Pass it on if you find this useful Pay it forward.

It is about Efficiency
"Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend." Bruce Lee on Power of the fluid

My running go-to person aka my (I appoint him as) sifu, Yip Weng Tak, which is my teammate in Team 2ndSkin has told me to read about Bruce Lee, not about the martial art but the way Bruce Lee see life as a philosophy. I've since tried to understand a few things and the above make most sense to me to a large extend.

Many of us fight the movement (running). The very basic of running is like fluid flowing. I was told that the Kenyans train on uneven road or in dirt road where the ground are softer. it is NOT to protect their joints but to make themselves work harder. Imagine running in a sandy beach as opposed to running on a hard tarmac, which is easier? 

Never fight the movement (of your legs), work it around the surface. And for this reason alone, I run in the trails whenever I can. 

It is about Injury Prevention
If you run in a way that will hurt your body, you are not in for the long haul. Many new runners started too fast and run too far. It is a common mistake as the running bug starts biting and the endorphin kicks in giving the "Runner's High" feeling. Bad running form due to bad advices, trying to keep up with others and even the daily food and diet will accumulate and catch up with you. Inadequate rest and over training will eventually seep into you and you will then give up running altogether. 

Many new runners and even seasoned runners failed to see the importance of correct running form and technique, choosing to be in denial and going with the general consensus and "trend". You may be fast now, but you will get hurt faster, and those shoes will be door stopper.

So How Do You Do It?
Posture, leg swings (high lift, high kickback), body position and going with the flow. This is the basic of running that no one can teach you unless you are willing to unlearn and re-learn.

Some seasoned runners say you can't change your running style. I beg to differ. I was a heel striker and running

Posture
Thank you Doke. Powerman 2013
Starting with posture, you make sure your body is upright. Our skeleton are build to take stress and to take off the load from the body when running. You have to make sure your body are aligned straight - as it allows the skeletons to work as it should and of course, to help open up your chest to allow breathing.

Too many I've seen slouch and bend at the waist when running, which effectively takes the load off the upper body structure and places the burden on the legs, and eventually, your joints.

Mid-foot Strike
May sound like some trendy way of running with inclusion of some specific shoes that "help you achieve correct running gaits". But let me share with you that there are truth in the claims - provided you are strong enough and has your legs developed to do this. This is where the unlearn and re-learn concept comes in. Bear in mind that it takes me close to 18-months to unlearn and re-learn how to run. It started with an very down-to-earth 7mins pace just to get the basics right.

Best way to do this is to lift your legs up high when moving forward, as it will then make your feet land right below or right behind you. Then you kick back as if you going to touch your butt with your heels - as this will cause your feet the shortest distance to move forward again. Think of it as shortcut, instead of taking a full circular swing (which will make you land on heel).
Body position, leg lift up front. Kick back behind. .Thank you Shanaz for the photo. 
Engaging Your Core
Some will say that it is a waste of time to work on the core muscle. Ever ran a LSD and felt sore in your abs and hips? That was because the core wasn't engaged and you are either running with your hip forward or your abs/tummy sunken in. 

Work on planking for about 2minutes each day and progress to longer planks. While some will say it's silly, planking and a strong core is the basis of a good run. A strong core will hold your hip/pelvis aligned against your spine. A strong core will carry the load of the upper body so your legs can do what it should - run efficiently. 

Going With The Flow
Many of us freeze the upper body and do not allow it to move when running. This results in many of us running like robot and wasting unnecessary energy. Learn to let your shoulder hang loose and your hands positioned in a relaxed comfortable position around or below your waist. Do not hold it up against your chest as it restrict blood movement and you will get numbness. 

Lean your body slightly forward and let gravity help you. Once your body is in a position "off centre", you will run easier (and faster). Put in the posture and mid-foot strike and you start kissing the slower pace goodbye.

I've written many blog entry on training. These may interest you and I find this blog entry to be a good depositary for all things running and to help running. Share this out if you find this useful, and as usual, let me know what you think.

On Injury and Prevention

On Understanding Your Body Condition

On Training Routine
Tempo 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Essential Nutrition To Support Prolonged Training

2-weeks into my base Ironman triathlon training and I am already feeling the training stress. Juggling multiple roles in life and work takes a lot from the body. I've been aware of my own body changes and reacting to the training. Just yesterday, after a (just) 30minutes of trainer on Turbo (which meant high cadence), I felt what I've not felt for a long time - difficulty in standing upright upon coming off the bike. Fair enough that the training mileage has been increasing the way it was planned, the following four weeks of base training will only start to demand more from me physically and mentally. Recognising these, nutrition, apart from rest comes into the equation. Honestly, this is two area I am personally struggling as I squeeze more time to do other things that matters more, like spending time with the family.

The idea of nutrition or some would call it supplement is to protect the body from extensive tissue damages, boost the immune system and to lessen oxidation stress. While all these may sound complicated, I aim to (again) use myself as an experiment to see how I would react to these lack or excessive nutrition. I aim to be as natural as possible, if that is not possible, an alternative would be suggested.

Vitamin C - With less rest and more training, adding on to a prolonged training, your immune system will start to get weaker and a normal cold will turn into a full blown flu which will render you not able to train for days, if not a week. Most of us fail to see this coming thinking it will tide away. Vitamin C will help to protect cells from oxidation apart from helping with iron absorption. Lack of Vitamin C will also prolong wound healing (like small cuts or blisters).

Food rich in Vitamin C : All fruits generally with Guava, Kiwi, Orange to be a very good and affordable source of Vitamin C. Don't forget your vegetables such as Broccoli. Eat as much as you want. As a general guidance, two oranges provides 1000mg of Vitamin C, which is what a normal person need per day. As an athlete, go for a the acceptable upper limit (UL) of 2000mg. Excessive Vitamin C will be purged through urine and study has shown mega dose of 5000mg will cause diarrhea.

Vitamin B Complex - There are eight type of Vitamin B researched and each provide different functions. Combination of these eight Vitamin B is known as B Complex. Generally, Vitamin B is known to help with metabolism of fuel to energy. Fuel in this sense is the carbohydrate, protein and fats we eat everyday. Vitamin B Complex help support the neuro system as well. It is known that Vitamin B will help those under stress. It is known to support the heme (iron) profile in the body - which is essential for endurance athletes. Lack of Vitamin B will also contribute to prolonged fatigue, heart palpitation, loss of appetite, numbness or pins and needles sensation and even sore-throat. These are symptoms we take for granted everyday and overlooked without attempting to understand the basis of it happening; lack of Vitamin B or deficiency.

Food rich in Vitamin B Complex : Vitamin B Complex is high in unprocessed food. Meat, fish, nuts, leafy vegetables are high in Vitamin B. It is hard to over-dose on Vitamin B as it is water soluble (similar to Vitamin C) and will be excreted via urination - which explain the wastage that occurs when one takes Vitamin B supplement more than the body can absorb. Avoid energy drink that usually add in high concentration of Vitamin B and claim to "help you get energy". It is not sustainable. If the need arises, a good Vitamin B complex supplement suitable for pregnant women would be the best and cheapest option. 

Good oil/Omega 3 and 6 - Good oil, Fish oil or oil/food rich in Omega-3 and 6 is good as an anti-inflammatory supplement especially if the training involves a lot of impact like running. Apart from that fish oil or food rich in Omega-3 and 6 provides the body a better lipid (fat) profile and assist the body to use fat as fuel - which from the endurance athletes point of view, is a big win. I need to bump up my intake of these good stuff. 

Food rich in Good oil/Omega3 and 6 : Good oil such as virgin olive, virgin grapeseed, virgin coconut, (virgin?) fishoil is a good start. If you are considering to replace your oil at home, always read the label first. Not all oil are created equal as many are refined from pomace or known as second press. The gem is in the first press. Don't forget the good old avocados with good (plant) fats that is another superfood. For food rich in Omega3 and 6, but you hate the smell and taste of fish, there is always the super food known as Chiaseed. I've written about it before. You can read it here. If you have been taking fish oil, be aware of the fish oil source as to minimize taking in contaminated sources (mercury poisoning on mega dosages or accumulative ingestion)

Iron - Feeling tired, over-trained and under-rested? Fatigue may come in various ways masquerading the underlying cause of iron deficiencies in triathletes. The demand of iron in training triathletes (and any endurance sports people for that matter) are the most overlooked factor and many took it too lightly. I had a bout of low iron level that was not funny at all. There is a limit on how much iron can be processed and absorbed by the body. Typical absorption rate is between 1 to 5mg/kg of body mass per day. How did the iron dip happen? When this happened to me in 2009/2010, I was under stress at work and had to keep up with my Ironman training. The body reacts to training and it adapts by increasing the total amount of blood in vessels, including iron-rich red blood cells (that carries the previous oxygen). The concentration of hemoglobin in your blood stays roughly the same, but more iron are used up– and a result, the body start dipping into the iron reserves. Iron depletion has caused many world class athletes their career and even with sophisticated and planned training, it could go undetected. It happened to me and by the time rectification were implemented, it was too late. 

Food rich in Iron - Plant based iron rich food such as soya bean and lentils offer high iron per serving. Traditional spinach is known to be iron-rich. Meat, the red variant and host of shelled seafood carries high level of iron. Key point of iron in food is the bio-availability of this mineral taking into account the body absorption rate. Due to my condition that took close to 6-months to fix, I am on 500mg of ferrous glutanate, which is a more readily available iron supplement. If you are taking iron supplement, don't forget to boost the Vitamin C intake as it will help the absorption.


Powdered green - Powdered green refer to plant based, phyto-rich food that are concentrated and allow the body to readily absorp the nutrition. Some example of this is super food such as spirulina, wheat grass, algae, barley grass. Why are they so needed and potent? One thing is because we can never eat enough green food such as the super food broccoli, spinach, alfalfa and other leafy green. Powdered green functions as a supplement to the already robust diet that incorporate healthy vegetable profile. Remember that this is not to replace real food and if you are, you shouldn't be training for any sports anyway.

Food supplement recommendation  - My choice would be spirulina. Go for the powder form instead of the tabs as it offers better value for money per serving.

Whey Protein - Whey protein is the highest grade of protein you can purchase with your money. Whey protein originates from milk and a by-product during cheese making. Whey protein is almost pure protein when compared gram to gram. Go for the highest concentration, which could be as high as 80% protein per serving. During high intensity exercises, your body will deplete glycogen (sugar) and uses sacrifices muscle mass for energy. As our body regenerates at all time, a demanding training schedule will inevitably wears you out. Refuelling correctly using Whey protein is one of the investment you can put in. Just careful and read the labels. As much as possible, up to two serving can be taken separately per day to allow better absorption and less wastage. 

Food supplement recommendation - no hard and fast rule here. Whey protein should not be mistaken as a "protein shake" or as a meal replacement. Again, it is meant to supplement an already healthy diet for an active training triathlete. Avoid sugar laden "protein drinks" and stay away from those high in fats. Remember to look out for at least 80% purity. 

For more reading on good food we should be eating more, head over to these three articles I've shared back in 2011.
http://www.tristupe.com/2011/11/food-you-should-be-eating-part-1.html
http://www.tristupe.com/2011/11/food-you-should-be-eating-part-2.html
http://www.tristupe.com/2011/12/food-you-should-be-eating-part-3.html

Do share with me your thoughts on what other good food that can be options to sustain an active and support the demanding training that will only get tougher as the day rolls by.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Powerman Asian Duathlon Championship 2013 Race Report

Pre-amble
Race Kit Collection for 2013. Everly Hotel.
"Can We Have More?"

That was playing in my mind after the race yesterday and how a few sign along the way tells me that this may be the very last Powerman that will be sponsored by Malakoff. I hope I am wrong, as the strong 2000 participants that showed up and brave the sun yesterday showed that multisports activities has gained such big following it will be a shame to see this die after 12 years. 

I hope i am just speculating on this as news i heard on the ground aren't too favouring the continuation of the race if Malakoff pull out from being the title sponsor. 

I know many Malakoff staffs will know and hold this fondly to their heart on how the their company has made and formed many duathletes and even propagated to have their own cycling club that does yearly CSR including the famed Interstate rides that reaches far and wide. 

What was started as a initiative to help young universities students to dabble in multi-sports via the Malakoff University Duathlon Series (MUDS) has seen the propagation of this world class event known as Powerman. It is an international circuit and it is not exclusive only to Malaysia.  

Malakoff in a very very big way, over the past 12 years of Malakoff Powerman Duathlon and 5 Runs, contributed a healthy competitive development of the sports that will NOT be the same without their name as the "Brand" associated to the sports.

Perhaps Malakoff's management, if they are reading this (maybe), will come back as title sponsor. Don't let this legacy die!

Race Kit Collection
My registration was done late but it was sorted out eventually with the race organiser. The race expo this year was awesome. The hotel of choice were way better than last year and the organisation was top notch (as usual). I like the fact that the race briefing were playing in loop and everyone have no excuse not to know what was shared and told by the Race Director - unless you did not attend it ;-). Here are some photos to get things going. 
With Melody. The Race Director
Well organised and race kit taken in less than 2-minutes.
Past years' event T for sale. Closing of a chapter?
Helly with wifey. Scarfit and Medal hanger galore from her small business!
A more interesting item on sale for Muslim women that runs. Active hijab branded as Scarfit. Locally produced.
With a bunch of very strong athletes
Screen Capture from Quick-sports.com

The race expo saw a few major triathlon retailers setting booth apart from the Pacesetters, Ride for Diabetes and few other booths. Most interesting is the Quick-Sports Malaysia featuring the full carbon Quintana Roo TT bike CD0.1 with SRAM Red groupset. Salivating? Yes, until the bike at home reminded me that I need a stronger leg, not a new bike (but still...*roll-eye)

Abang Razani also setup his mobile shop offering everything under the sun for Triathlon. The only thing missing in the carts he brought was a spare legs that has his power-output capability. This young man is super strong and put many younger men to shame on the race course!

History made. Signed up as Pacesetters member with wifey. My daughter was negotiating a price reduction for group sign-up. Should had sent the boy instead.
Race Ready
I've made up my mind when Ironman Langkawi was announced about two weeks plus ago that I will use all races as training opportunity. This simply meant going out to race and use it to improve and polish things like nutrition, transitions, speedwork and intervals. Using it as training doesn't meant I will not be serious about it - it simply meant nothing more than Zone 4 effort or lactate threshold effort (at this point of writing, nothing more than 164bpm). 

Reason for this is for me to be able to sustain my training regime without wearing/burning out. It was a tough decision to make, but one that needed to be made nevertheless. I have a boogie 4:04 timing from Powerman 2012 to beat - and i am fully aware of the level of effort it took me to reach that timing last year - heart busting and cramps on the bike. Over the past 1 year, much has changed training and race nutrition wise. 

Drugs
I've been skeptic on race nutrition and much has evolved since, however, things are kept to a limit (nutrition wise) as the main powerhouse is still the body. 

For this training session, I've prepared these, and you can use it as a rough guidance if you see fit.

Pre-race : 1x Perpetuem Solid, 4x Endurolytes, 2x Anti-Fatigue. 1x600ml HEED sipped an hour before race start.
T1 : 1x Perpetuem Solid, 2x Endurolytes, 1x Anti-Fatigue.
Bike (KM0-KM34): 1x HEED in aero-bottle.
Bike (KM34-KM64) : 2x Endurolytes, 1x Anti-Fatigue. One serving HEED to be mixed with water at KM30-34 Water station into aerobar bottle. 
T2 : 1x Perpetuem Solid. 4x Endurolytes, 1x Anti-Fatigue.
Hydration rule of thumb - Drink between 500 to 600ml of liquid per hour. Stay hydrated. It will get hot in Putrjaya.

You will notice my nutrition are devoid of GELS. I am taking Perpetuem Solid at Pre, T1 and T2 where I can chew it while wearing my shoes, helmet and such. With gel, you will need to tear it off, take it, drink water and go. So, turning to Perpetuem for me is a way to fine-tune my transition routine. Every minute spent in Transition is a minute wasted (so to say, but I am far from podium ya).

In the spirit of KISS at Transition, you need to keep things to minimal and simple. It is a fine tuned routine that you will know exactly what is next as you enter T1 and T2. Many multi-sports athlete do not practice this enough to remember and end up spending too much time and getting all worked up when things don't go their way. 
This is all (plus sunnies on my head)

Always lay things out as not to miss anything
I have the shoes I will use for the run sorted. It will be the GoMeb and the GoBionicRide. Both will be sockless. Decision to use two shoes were from previous experience where the first run soaked my shoe and it was uncomfy to be used the second time around damp. 




Garmin 910XT, HRM, GoMeb and Camelbak Podium

For tracking will be the Garmin 910XT with the HRM on as I want to know what level of effort I was training in. The Camelbak bottle were to put the drinks before race (see PRE above) and to hold my post-training drink. Many forget to recover correctly after a training or race and that spell disaster for many wanting to prolong and sustain a training program.

My spare tires (the bike, not my waist-line) are folded and placed together with my CO2 canister and head in a cut-away bottle placed on the bike. It is ONE thing i hope I won't need to use in any training or race.

Aero bottle secured. Straw removed for roof-rack transportation
Drinks will be from my aero bottle as I've trained myself to use/rely on it for bike ride less than 90km with sufficient water stations. The organiser has informed of two water stations per loop and that alone was suffice for me. 

Lastly, make sure the bike number is correctly secured (as some does such a bad job with stickers the numbers fly out halfway) and that your race bib is attached to your race belt or shirt. I prefer race belt as the position also help to cover my crotch region when wearing tri-shorts (I am modest like that lah).

All the above are checked-rechecked and packed into the transition bag. You can't risk to forget anything - not when the race and your home is a good hour drive away. Last thing to do before retiring at night is to make sure you set the alarm. For this race, multiple alarms were set. Wifey helped with the logistic with the boy that will be following us to Powerman the next day. We left our small girl with her grandparent. Everything, short of the Hammer HEED that will only be mixed the next morning, and the bike, has been placed in the boot of the car. There is no excuse to miss out on anything. 
Rise and Shine!
4:15am. It was a good night rest between 11pm to alarm rang. Showered and has decided to use the tri-shorts and not the Kraftfit compression shorts I have as I would need some sort of padding on the bike. Lucky for us, our kids are easy riser and they sort of get themselves ready with a shower and change. By the time i loaded the bike on the car, mixed my HEED and put it into the Transition bag and loaded up a mug of black coffee, we were ready to roll. 
Ikea shopping Bag. Transition at RM1.50
We arrived Putrajaya in about 45mins and passing one accident scene at Puchong where some brilliant chap drove up a divider. I guess he/she could had felt the tremor from clubbing still. Haha. 
I took a 10mins shut eye in the car upon reaching. The organiser went one up by arranging for an open car park, secured with RELA and right next to race start with the race secretariat next to it. Thumbs up for that thought!

140.6 is indeed just a number. :D
The transition area this year was a looooonnng stretch. It is easily 300m end to end I believe. Almost 2000 participants will be racing the full, sprint and relay and security were tight. Walking to my 799 spot, i realised it was at 3/4 end of the transition. Making mental note that it will be a long bike in and it will make sense to remove the clips and push the bike in running. That would also meant my transition time will be easily 2mins just running to my spot. It will be the same for everyone, so that is normalised. First person i bumped into was Kok Aik. Fellow Ironman and FamilyMan. Learnt a lot from him with regards to priority with family, sports and work. Thank you for sharing. My first official roadbike was bought from him, which sort of marked the start of the friendship since 2006.

With Chloe, Muniandy and friend
Chloe (above) is an inspiration. She is fighting SLE or Lupus. There are up days and down days for her I guess. I can relate to SLE as i lost one uncle and aunt to the disease about 20 years ago when the treatment wasn't as advanced as now. 
Dave in Happy Purple and Robert in Lycra
Then, it was bumping into Dave Spencer, which just recovered from a broken ankle/shin and Robert whom I just met about two weeks ago in Bukit Kiara (I have to stop picking up Mat Salleh in the jungle).

Reaching my spot, Roy and Yim were walking towards starting line and we exchanged light banters and jokes. I've always love these races where friends show up to race and it is like a big gathering of sort. Roy is my fellow 2ndSkin teammate. He is a stroke survivor and Ultramarathoner. Yim need no introduction as he is known to eat ultra runs for snacks.   
Men In Tights. Say you love them.
Transition was setup and items were placed out at my bike and sorted according to use basis. The area were well lit and the surface carpeted. Transition will be clean and muckless when compared to Powerman in Lumut on the stadium field. 
Transition in front of MOF
Take note of my arrangement; T1 food in the biking shoe, so I would need to remove the food before wearing my shoe, which essentially remind me to take it. T2 Shoe behind on the bag and to be placed in the front when I take the bike for fast T2 later. Food for T2 in the shoe (black GoBionicRide). Helmet placed on tri-bar and secured by the existence of the straw poking through it. 
Transition setup done.
Bike food is in the pouch. Roy learning new things
Once that was all sorted and bib number secured on the waist, we started leaving for transition and I needed to get to the gents to pee. But there is always a last photo with fellow Old Puteras (OP) that was taking part. Missing in the photo below is OP Ramzul, OP Fariz and Senior-OP AJ. 
OP Iran, OP Raja, OP Raja's Dad (which is also OP), me, OP Asfani and OP Syed Azlan
And The Way We GO!
...Which actually took me by full surprise. Haha. You see, I was looking for a toilet, only to find out that the organiser prepared shower booth. By the time I found a toilet, I heard the Kannan and Adele (the Organisers and MC) announced "ONE Minute to START!".
Toilet Sprint!
It was a WTF moment for me as I abandoned all plans to pee and sprinted to starting line. I started my Garmin on Gun-off and I was easily a minute behind by the time I reached the other side of the starting arch. Saw wifey and did not even kiss her before I started the race (!!!). I started right at the back of the pack literally and slowly find my way to the middle pack and headed to the front to escape the crowd. 
Run 1 : 11km in 50:30
Really can't hold it anymore
I was doing a 4:05 pace due to the excitement and realised I am running a bit too fast. First loop was done in about 22:10 and I knew it is a matter of time before i have to pee. It finally happened at KM7 behind some trees (and hopefully away from other's eyes). The first 11km was completed in 50:30 (Elapsed time). On Garmin record, the moving time was 49:47, meaning I peed for a full 45 seconds? Wah!
The first 11km Run was good and completed within Tempo pace; which was actually too fast but I treated it as a warm up for the bike. Along the way, i goof-ed around as I ran past the starting arch and the crowd support were simply awesome. :)
The 50:30 was faster by a good 2 minutes compared to 2012. Time to slow down and have some fun.
As seen by Mohan. :D
Bike : T1+64km in 2:08:59
Going into T1, I started to recall the sequence of things. Helmet - nutrition - HEED - Shoe - Bike Out.
As I exit, I was stuck behind a group of participants pushing their bikes slowly out. Another participant were making way across them and i follow suit. I climbed on the bike and started to pedal away. Legs felt good and soon, I was cycling among the Sprint participants. Understandably, many were first timer and some were cycling abreast of each other going slow. A few of us swerved out of the cone to get ahead and luckily, many gave way as I shouted "Bike on RIGHT". I slowly got ahead of the slower bikers and managed to hold onto a good decent cruising speed of about 33-35km/h. At some section it is slightly downhill and that was when it was used fully to gain speed to climb up the next road/slope. Typical of highway configuration where the elevation is steep, one need to be able to read the changes and be prepared with the gear changes. 
What irritated me the most were drafters. I had a group of about 3 to 5 participants leeching behind me when they clearly know this is a NON-DRAFTING race. Not only is it dangerous, it is also un-sportman-like as you are riding in another draft, which essentially saves you energy. I braked twice and told them off - and some had the cheek to scold me for braking suddenly. I should had halted to a stop then! Here is the ironic part - i came past transition and a spectator actually shouted at the bike behind me "NO DRAFTING!" but that chap behind me held close until i slowed down to let him pass.
"Hi Sexy!" As I passed wifey
In the same frame taken as above, this one by bro Fairul. Another biker coming close behind!
The race continue and Loop 1 of the 64km were completed in about 50minutes and I knew I was going too fast. Had to hold back and maintain a slower speed and keep to the plan. Loop 2 saw the speed dropped to 30km/h average and that was when I started to lose a lot of position to many others I've lead in the start. Concentrating on the cadence and trying to understand my 9-speed TT bike better, i used it to make sure i get maximum out of the day under the sun and road riding. I was at my LTHR for biking (142bpm) which meant it was starting to be a hard workout. But it is all good. I came into T2 and finished the biking in 2:05. Took a minute to remove my clips and ran into spot 799. 
Shoes off
And letting the feet feel the ground again before running in
Again, T2 plan played in my mind : Bike racked - helmet off - nutrition in mouth - HEED - shoe on - Run out. Not too tough. I am getting better at my transition. Compared to 2012 where i completed the 64km loop in 1:58, the 2013 saw me coming in a whole 10 minutes slower. 
Run 2 : T2+11km in 1:08:30
Coming out of T2, the legs already felt fresh and recovered due to the light run to bike rack. Having been training on BRICK, the jelly-like feeling is a thing of the past. I found myself being able to pick up and run again at my usual speed. It was scary as I was moving at 4:15 to 4:30 pace in the first 2km and had to slow down else I know it would not be too pretty. Though the legs felt good and the heart rate stayed low. The sun came out in full scorching glory and I know i would need to start getting myself to get wet to stay cool. Training as it may be, burning out with a heatstroke will not be fun.
Loop 1 of the final 11km!
Hot Day!
Loop 1 was done in a slower 28:56 compared to the first Run. The run started to be slower paced as tiredness seep in. I found myself dropping to average of 5:30 after the first 5.5km (loop 1) and the fun did not stop as I continued to clown around whenever I can. Keeping good pace for the second run, it was shower time at every water station after Km6. 
When tiredness seeps in, that is when maintaining the correct running posture and technique will be at it's greatest pressure test. Using races like these to gauge and understand my own body, I am happy that the muscle memory of the legs and body has helped to maintain a consistent mid-foot strike and upright running position. That is more important to me that posting a PB (of course, being able to post one is good too!)
As captured by Arman of Team PACat. Thank you sir!
As it is, all good thing has to come to an end. I ran to my 6th Powerman finish in 7th time participation. It is not an easy race when it seems the organiser never failed to get bright sunshine on race day every year. They may be using the same bomoh as Sepang F1.
Yes! Training Finish!
It was a good feeling, as I know I can definitely do better taking into consideration I did not push past my lactate threshold heart rate. The second run finish plus T2 was 2 minutes slower than my 2012 finish. But there was nothing shy of it. 
Thanking Ultraman Kannan for the brilliant MC-ing. He mentioned my name everytime i passed by
Last year Kannan predicted I will do a 4:30 timing and i went to clock in a (PB) 4:04. This year as I blazed through the first run, he said 3:30. I know personally a 3:45 is very do-able if i set myself into racing pace. I could easily shave time off from the first run, the bike and the second run if i allowed myself to. Many asked why I did not. My only answer to it is I need to train tomorrow (the next day after race) and stick to the plan. I treated the Powerman as my training and it was done at a cool 143bpm average with a lot of spare in the tank. 

I believe I have found my limits and how to push it. 

Pros
- Adequate water station on the run, approximately every 1.25km.
- more than sufficient water station on the bike. Why bring two bottles?
- Whole lane blocked off along the main road, allowing more space for bikes to pass compared to 2012.
- Shower stalls for after-race clean up!
- Love this year's medal design. Best among all the years!
- Good control at finishing medal and t-shirt collection. 
- Good security at bike transition and also car park.

Cons
- Drafting seems to be a norm among many cyclists with at least (spotted) two trains that were moving at 40km/h.
- A bit slacking at the ribbon give out point at KM4. Some were seen taking two ribbons/more and the people were seen giving out wrong color code (supposedly yellow-yellow Run 1, and red-red Run2). Some runners were seen with yellow and red ribbon after run 1, no way to determine if they ran the full 2 loops correctly.
- Finishing Marshall should check/demand for the ribbons. Every participants supposed to hand in 4-ribbons. If none, that is clearly a violation. If a participants found out they drop one, they should go back and get one more. It is only fair, else, no point having the ribbons. 

Post Race
As I finish writing this, the official results is not out yet. I reckon, after adding up all the elapsed time of my own race, it was a slower 4:07:59 compared to 2012 4:04:15. A good 3 minutes out but it was a good 35% less effort compared to 2012. The effort and proper training I put in the past 1-year is showing results. It took a lot of hardwork and sweat. Most of all, it took a lot of learning and understanding my own body and limits. 

I participated in the Powerman 2013 using:
1. Top : 2XU top that has been in service since 2008. 
2. Bottom : Zoot tri-shorts, in service since 2008.
3. Shoe : GoMeb and GoBionicRide (Run 1 and 2 respectively). Sockless.
4. Bike : Orbea Ordu TT Bike. 9 Speed on ZIPP Wheels
5. Nutrition : Hammer Nutrition primarily Perpetuem, HEED, Endurolytes and Anti-Fatigue tabs.
6. Tracking : Garmin 910xt (bought from Quick-sports since April 2012)
7. Camelbak Podium to hold my drinks in Transition.
8. Rudy Project Noyz. Yes, I was "color coordinated".

I've posted 600++ photos here : TriStupe Facebook Page ("LIKE" it if you want). My wife were the official photographer for me as she say I should try "racing with no camera". I felt naked. 

Lastly, thanks to Mohan Marathon humor, and Louis Ong's capture...this photo of me on the bike showed what fun we had on race day.
At this year's Powerman, the "Authorities" used the latest high technology to make sure no one cheated. 

Instead of hiding behind 'bushes' like the Malaysian and Singapore Traffic Police, the "Inspector" -( Hafidz Abdul Aziz ), hid behind a sign board.

Instead of installing hidden speed cameras, they borrowed my Olympus TG2 with high shutter speed. 

But some how, with all these high tech gadgets in place, Tri Stupe managed to beat the system using unapproved tyres.....
Wait for the official results to be posted soon!
Results of the race is available on Oct 29, 2013 as of 12noon. My results compared to my Personal Best (PB) of 2012 per below.
RED = Slower than 2012. GREEN = Better than 2012
Initial calculation of 4:07:59 was close to the official NETT time of 4:07:42. Gun time was 4:08:30, with the differences due to the Toilet Rush. I improved on the first run, which was expected and went slower in both the bike (by 6:44) and the second run (by 1:50). My Transition time improved by leaps and bounce shaving off a full 2:01 total (T1+T2). Position wise (percentage of Men Age Group 30-39) dropped by 1.9% but overall men improved 0.4%. 

For the results, click here

Thank you to all collaborators of 2ndSkin (Skechers, Garmin, Hammer and Kraftfit), Camelbak (since i am an ambassador) and to Quick Release Adventure (Melody, Adele, Led Ye, Kannan) and the volunteers, for the race and organisation. Sponsors of the race and least but not least, Putrajaya Holding to allow the use of Putrajaya.

ps - looking at my pre-amble write up above, will you agree with me that it will be a shame if Powerman will not happen after 2013? Share with me your thoughts!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Diabetes Awareness Events Malaysia

In year 2000, WHO statistic shows we have 942,000 reported cases of diabetes, which put us at the top in South East Asia region. It is estimated that in 2030 (17 years from now), we will have a whooping 2,479,000 cases - making us, again, the champion that we should not be proud of in the region.

In conjunction with World Diabetes Day two major activity will fall on November 9 and November 10, 2013.

Cycling
The cycling event will be held in Putrajaya to raise awareness to this lifestyle disease. To register for the event and to find out more about the event, click here : http://wddride.tagteam.my/
http://wddride.tagteam.my/
Running
The running event will be held in Dataran Merdeka on November 10, 2013. To find out more and to register, please click here: http://www.diabetes.org.my/article.php?aid=1100
http://www.diabetes.org.my/article.php?aid=1100
I am helping to promote these two events because my family has history of this disease, which put me in the higher risk group. I have since changed my lifestyle and influenced my family to take hold of theirs when it comes to daily food and diet. I am hoping that my own initiative and sustainable weight loss (46lbs or 21kg) over 18 months, and keeping them off via lifestyle change would inspire others to do so to. 

Diabetes is a non-communicable disease or NCD. It is a lifestyle disease that has strike many Malaysians young and old due to over-consumption of processed food and food high on the glycemic index (GI). Not helping with the reliance of Malaysians to starchy food and sweet drinks, and daily local "kuih", which contribute to the overall blood sugar spike of the general population. 

Do not wait to be diagnosed with diabetes before wanting to take action, by then, any lifestyle change is compulsory and will only be more frustrating. 

Change now, for the future!
-----
Key Facts on Diabetes (From WHO website)

Key facts

  • 347 million people worldwide have diabetes* (1).
  • In 2004, an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high fasting blood sugar (2).
  • More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (3).
  • WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030 (4).
  • Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
347 million people worldwide have diabetes. In 2004, an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of fasting high blood sugar. A similar number of deaths has been estimated for 2010. More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset) is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin. The cause of type 1 diabetes is not known and it is not preventable with current knowledge.
Symptoms include excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. These symptoms may occur suddenly.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Type 2 diabetes comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world (5), and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Symptoms may be similar to those of Type 1 diabetes, but are often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, once complications have already arisen.
Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is hyperglycaemia with onset or first recognition during pregnancy.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes are similar to Type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is most often diagnosed through prenatal screening, rather than reported symptoms.

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG)

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) are intermediate conditions in the transition between normality and diabetes. People with IGT or IFG are at high risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes, although this is not inevitable.

What are common consequences of diabetes?

Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke) (6).
  • Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation.
  • Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. One percent of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes (7).
  • Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure (4).
  • The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes (8).

How can the burden of diabetes be reduced?

Prevention

Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:
  • achieve and maintain healthy body weight;
  • be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;
  • eat a healthy diet of between three and five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and reduce sugar and saturated fats intake;
  • avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Diagnosis and treatment

Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive blood testing.
Treatment of diabetes involves lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Tobacco use cessation is also important to avoid complications.
Interventions that are both cost saving and feasible in developing countries include:
  • moderate blood glucose control. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin; people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin;
  • blood pressure control;
  • foot care.
Other cost saving interventions include:
  • screening and treatment for retinopathy (which causes blindness);
  • blood lipid control (to regulate cholesterol levels);
  • screening for early signs of diabetes-related kidney disease.
These measures should be supported by a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use.
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