Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Blessed 2015

2014 will have end soon and 2015 will be exciting and challenging on all front for me and the family.

Time flies when you are busy with life. On the sports front,  I swam a bit, cycled a bit and ran a bit. Also gym a little bit, walked a fair bit. Completed a number of good races and the journey has been nothing but amazing. The Team 2ndSkin has been an integral part with the collaborators supporting. It is indeed a challenging task to be an ambassador for the brands.

On the work front, i have been been called "A Gen X that changed job like a Gen Y". I agree, but most importantly is moving to a better front that help me along career wise. Your reputation precedes your name and that is one advice i would like to share with everyone that is at the fork of their career. Be good, do good and you be good.

On the personal front, I count my blessing everyday that I get to wake up and go through my days (they are never boring) - do what I love and try to contribute where I can.

But what I believe I have done most is love a lot - Family is always first and there is no two ways about it.

My kids are growing up fast and I have missed out on the important years while trudging through " career". Like a close buddy said, there are many balls we juggle in life, spiritual ball, career ball, family ball, health ball and  love ball. All of them will bounce back in except one. Take a guess which is the one you must not drop.

Have a healthy, blessed, full of good tiding 2015 all of you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Superb 2015

Have a blessed and safe celebration. Thank you all for the support throughout the years.

Happy Holiday and stay safe!

Skechers GoRun4 Review

A complete overhaul - that is the best 3-words I can use to describe the new (yet to be launched) Skechers GoRun4. My 2-years experience with Skechers has been nothing but great. With new editions and addition to my running gears, I count my blessing for not only on the receiving end of these good shoes, but also the opportunity to lend my opinion that will be fedback to the shoes designer in Skechers. Improvements are sometime a hit and miss, depending on your own personal preferences as there is no one shoe that pleases everyone, even if it is the most expensive shoe on the rack. So, what can you expect from the new GoRun4?
Unboxing - sort of
The unit I received were a "sample" unit. Meaning it is first cut from the factory and meant for testing purposes. There is the "Not for sale" under the tongue and the size were not printed on any part of the shoe. I went for US11 for this iteration. It came with two sets of laces (as how most Performance series would) and minus the inner sole.
All new upper
The upper of the GR4 consist of a tightly woven mesh outer layer of tightly woven mesh over an inner layer of more open mesh. It's stretchy despite looking "tight". Compared to the "Powerprene" 4-way mesh in the GR3, it is as flexible which reminds me of the FitKnit material in the GoRunBolt. I did not feel if the shoe is hotter than usual and I run sockless 90% of the time (the other 10% is just to make sure the socks I have are still elastic)
See the inner mesh (criss cross white square). Note the padded tongue compared to GR3, and the sockliner that are supersmooth
The tongue on GR4 is slightly padded compared to GR3, but thinner than GR2. It seems that the desginer can't decide to go less, or more, so I guess they went "more or less". ;-). No complains here, as it worked as it should, providing sufficient padding on the top of foot when you lace down. One thing obvious is that there were more ventilation on the tongue via meshes as shown below.
More mesh on tongue
The midsole of the GR4 was reported to be thicker than the GR3. The drop is maintained at 4mm without the sockliner or insole and 8mm with it. The bump in the midsole has been reduced as well - or maybe it is just me after wearing Skechers that long it sort of "blended" into my arch or feet.
GR4 is minimally structured. Overlay welding seen on toe area
Running the Skecher's tradition is the minimally structured upper that uses welded-overlay to provide the support. It was good (for me) and you may feel it's under-supporting if you are using Skechers for the first time. Comparing to the GR2 and GR3, the GR4 actually provide more support with addition of the back (heel) counter that provides a bit more support at the back.
reinforced eye-lid allow quick lacing
more structured heel counter (blue). Also visible is the new "Quick-Fit" loop
New to GR is the Quick-Fit loop, which are designed to allow you to hold it and pull up the shoes without you unlacing. I felt this is not required and there was fear that the back end may over-extend and bite into my Achilles. Good to report that the material is soft and supple, which did not bother me much after running in it a few times.
Front of shoe with the extended front crash pad
The M-Strike is still there, which meant the GR4 continues to help promote midfoot strike. You can see the front and back portion is curved upwards with the shoe pivoting on the mid-sole position.

Balancing act
M-Strike rules. Side profile also provide the impression that the sole has been slightly thicker compared to GR2 and GR3

The sole of the GR4 has been revamped with the round pod receiving some pattern which may add in a bit more grip as it wears off slowly. Don't get me wrong to think the previous round pod provide no grips, just that visually, it provides a better assurance, apart from acting as a wear indicator of some sort. It is worth to mention that the pods are actually thicker than the GR2 and GR3, which meant it can possibly last a bit longer.
Remind you of any shoes?
The mid section of the sole is a complete revamp and I was told it is molded from the same piece of Resalyte material - which meant it offers the same cushioned ride that may not favor those that like a firm feel on the ground. I have no complains as I like the bounciness of the Resalyte materials.
Closer look
A word of sharing is if you are runner that do land on the heel or scrape your heel as you run (thus not mid-footlanding or forefoot landing), you will see significant wear on the heel portion due to the pods being placed at the far end margin of the sole. Nothing to be worried about as I have myself questioned if the shoe were wearing off faster than it was intended to. Happy to report that I've seen this in all my Skechers and it did not impede the shoe service life to any less than 500km. 

Fitting the GR4
The US11 without insole/sockliner was a bit too roomy for me. I can conclude now that Skechers caters for many wide footed runner which is good as most Asian feet are wider and smaller as well. Perhaps due to us growing up not wearing shoes. I never had any issues with Skechers when it comes to toe-box fitting. Except now. It's a tad too wide and it could be because I was without the sockliner (the sample did not come with it, remember?). I will try the next few runs with the sockliners I have at home and see how it fits up. My guess is it will be a good fit. 
Take note of the new Skechers Performance logo. More dynamic outlook
The GR4 is a very flexible shoe. I've never failed to fold the GoRun generation up to demonstrate the suppleness of the shoe. The photo below shows how it is when rolled up, with the rear heel portion a bit stiffer due to the heel counter that lend a bit more structure to the back. 
Bending it like Skechers

Weight wise, it comes in light at 220grams. A 20grams heavier than the GR3. The increase is expected with the thicker soles. No big deal as the shoe is already light. 
Add in 10grams more if you use the sockliner or insole
I took the GR4 out for a few runs to gauge the feel. Good to report it requires no breaking in and getting used to. It was straight to the road with no socks and sockliner and minimal issue.
lost count of shots I took to get this!
Minimal issues here meant that I had one issue and it was hotspot felt at the inner ball part of my right feet. I attributed this to the wider toebox due to the missing sockliner - or I've not ran enough lately (feet became more...errrmm...sensitive?)
Successfully taken this after 120++ burst shot... But worth it.
As to the concern if the shoe is sufficiently able to support your feet? The photo right above shoes how it manages to wrap around uneven ground, spread it out (notice the far right side what appeared as if my right toe touching the ground?), molding itself to the uneven surface and cushioning the impact. I am sold. It is like running barefoot without being barefoot (at 4mm drop).
The pseudo hill sprint - smaller steps, faster shuffle = blurred image
As of today, the GR4 has been clocked close to 90km over the past 3 weeks. Not huge mileage by my standard as I use to run double of that in a fortnight. With the ITB feeling better, and hopefully no relapse, I need to catch up on my running and get back up to speed. Nevertheless, the GR4 will now be part of the "shoe cycle" as to ensure longer service life. Wait up for more reviews as I past the mid-life cycle of the shoe at approximately 300km.
Decent 8km in 40mins Tempo paced
Note: This pair of Skechers GoRun4 is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair of GoRun4 will retail for RM369(women) and RM399(men) and is available at all Skechers store in December 2014 or early January 2015.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Boardman AiR TT 9.8 Unveiling

This is belated birthday gift and an super early Christmas gift I got myself. Thanks to Hee Hong Cycle, I was able to own a spanking new 2014 Boardman AiR TT 9.8 frame that is rated at 1.25kg (with fork and integrated brakes)!

The decision to get the bike were driven by the need to ride a correctly sized and fitted bike. While it was a perfect excuse to upgrade, I know it will not be a cheap affair.

To keep the cost down, I've spent the money on just the frame, choosing to transfer all my other items from the Orbea Ordu over to this new frame. I had an issue with the bottom bracket, as it will meant I need to get an adapter that convert the 23mm bb to 30mm bb. Not an issue, as H2C boss, Ah Siang (as he is known to many of us that frequent the bike shop, his surname is Koh, given name is Chun Siang) tell me. He happily parted way with his FSA standard crank, with 30mm pressfit BB to be installed. I can't be happier! Without further ado, this is how the full bike look like.
As fast, maybe faster?
First Feel (Trainer)
I have clocked no less than 400km since November 29, 2014. The bike has been fully tested on the trainer and has been very responsive and noticable stiff as the trainer allow me to pedal a little harder (and more reckless) without fear of traffic or road hazards. If the reflexes and stiffness holds true on the real road feel, I reckon this will be a very responsive fast machine. I missed the chance to bring this out for a 150km ride to Melaka on December 20, 2014. It will however be put through the pace in a Broga ride soon.

Full Specs of my Boardman AiR TT 9.8 is as follow:
2014 Boardman AiR TT 9.8 in XS (50cm) with integrated TRP brakes and carbon brakepads. Di2 system ready. Fork and seatpost (both carbon) included.

FSA Headset
HED Delta Wing
Profile Design Torpedo bottle system
Shimano Durace end-shifters
Carbon riser
Fizik bar tapes

ZIPP 808 front 
ZIPP 1080 back
Vittoria Rallye 700x23c Tubular tires front and back

Boardman E4P
Profile Design rear 2-bottles carrier system
Plastic bottle holders

FSA Energy crank standard 53-39, 170mm
SRAM Truvativ Pressfit bottom bracket 30
Shimano 105 front derailier (year 2007)
Shimano Durace rear derailieur (year 2004)
Shimano Durace chain (year 2014)
Shimano Tiagra 12-28 Cassette
Shimano 105 pedals (year 2010)
JagWire SL cabling throughout

Plastic bottle holder
Garmin Speed and Cadence Sensor


Enjoy some bike porn in these following photos

Note: Thank you Hee Hong Cycle (H2C) for the opportunity to own this sexy bike. The AiR 9.8 TT retail for MYR9500 (Frame, fork, seat post (all carbon) and integrated brakes). Head over to H2C or it's authorised reseller for Boardman, Bike Elementz to view the machine up close.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gillette Mach3 Shaving and Grooming Tips Contest Results

It's out. Many entries received and unfortunately only four readers managed to answer them correctly based on the questions posted at:

Congratulations to :
1. Wan Mahathir Wan Abdullah Sani (IC : XXXXXX-XX-XX83)
2. Mohd Azriq Matzalan (IC : XXXXXX-XX-XX95)
3. Teng Kok Wai (IC : XXXXXX-XX-XX65)
4. Omar Khayam Abdullah (IC : XXXXXX-XX-XX41)

Please contact Key Message PR Sdn Bhd at 03.6203.5048 to coordinate and redeem your Mach 3 Turbo! Happy Shaving!
Illustration purpose only.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas 2014 Qs and As with Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey and Kate King

Scarlett Johansson
1.          What do you do in your free time over Christmas?
Over the holidays I like to watch old movies, read and bake.

2.          Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
My favorite holiday crooners are Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby.

3.          Do you have a favourite Christmas film?
My favorite holiday movie is Home Alone 2, believe it or not!

4.          What do you look for when selecting the perfect gift for a friend or loved one?
I always look for a present that my friend or loved one covets but would never ask for 
themselves. I also love to give gifts that can be keepsakes, like The One Collector’s Edition - 
the bottles with unique coins are beautiful!

5.          What is the most precious Christmas gift you have received, and why was that particular 
        gift so special?
The most special gift I ever received was when my brother got me a gift certificate to our favorite childhood restaurant. It was an opportunity for us to spend time together, reminisce and finally try the daiquiris we were always too young to sample.

6.              Red is inherently festive, what festive thoughts does red conjure for you?
I love red all year round, but at Christmas it means even more. It makes me think of getting glammed up for the red carpet, or parties with my friends, and of course it brings out passion in everyone. 
Dolce EDP 75ml + Body Lotion 100ml + Shower Gel 100ml (RM439)
7.              Christmas is a time for celebration, how do you prepare yourself and make yourself feel great for holiday season parties?
I make sure I hit the gym a lot before the holidays. Then I don't feel guilty about over indulging at holiday parties!

8.              You are often spotted wearing red, what do you like about the colour?
Red is the perfect colour for the red carpet and fun events, and if I’m not wearing a red outfit I’ll rarely step out without a red lip.  When I wear red I feel passionate, feminine, and powerful. 

9.              Do you ever collect any items that may be considered special?
Collectibles to me can be of any value or description. They are my treasures that evoke special memories. That’s why The One Collector’s Edition fragrance is so great, it gives you an ornament to keepsake, long after the fragrance may be finished. The bottle because of its unique look will always bring character to any women’s dresser.

Matthew McConaughey
1.             Do you find it difficult to keep in shape over Christmas?
Oh, yes absolutely! I let myself off. And I say to myself - you’re going to put on ten.  Let’s do it! It needs to be done.

2.             Do you go on diet after Christmas?
Yes. You got something to work for. I try to say, you know what?  Don’t sit there and look at it, let it go.

3.             Do you have any special Christmas decorations?
We have old stockings. My mother passed down a lot of our stockings that we had as kids so every year she brings stockings. And now our kids have stockings too.  We keep those. We have boxes of old ornaments that my mother passed down that we used to have on our tree. We still have the same star that was on our tree that we put on our tree to this day.

4.             Do you have any Christmas traditions?
The tradition is getting the family together, and all the grandkids and all the kids together.  We don’t go anywhere;  we stay at home and tell the stories. Some of the same old stories are always told. That has always been the most important tradition – just to have my family together.

5.             Do you have any favourite game on Christmas eve?
Not really.  We don’t have a ritual of certain games we play.  There’s no ritual to games.

6.             What do you for the New Year’s Eve?
My wife’s tradition, in her country is to wear all white and go to the ocean and get little white flowers and put them in the sea. We’ve done it the last few years.
 Kate King
1.             What is your Christmas Day look? Do you put any make-up on? Do you keep it simple and fresh? 
On Christmas day with my family, I don't wear any make-up. When we go to church, I wear simple make-up with a red lip. I think at Christmas there is no better time to wear a red lip.
Dolce EDP 75ml (RM439)
2.             How will you be celebrating New Year's Eve this year? 
I'm going to Toronto for New Year's Eve. That is my ritual, to go back home and celebrate with my childhood friends. Usually just have a party and a couple of drinks, bottles of champagne.

3.             What is your top beauty tip for the classic New Year's Eve look?
I definitely love a smoky eye on New Year's Eve. Smoky eye is very festive. Lots of highlighter. A little glitter. Lots of highlighter and a smoky eye.

4.             Do you change your beauty routine in the winter months?
Not a lot, just slightly. Maybe I'll stop using a toner if my skin is drying out. But generally, it is pretty much the same. Little treats here and there, put on a bit more moisturizer. I don't use as much sunscreen in the winter. I find that sunscreen is quite heavy on my skin, so if I can get away without wearing it I prefer to do that.

5.             Do you wear moisturizer all the time during summer?
Not all the time, but if I am going outside, I try to. Emphasis on the word ‘try’.

6.             Do you wear a different fragrance at different times of the year?
No, I don't actually. I find a fragrance I love. I love that if my friends smell it, they instantly recognize it as me. I like to be loyal to a fragrance. I think if something smells good, it smells good all year round.

7.             How would you describe your winter style in general?
I love dressing in the winter. As much as I love shorts and a crop top, there is nothing nicer than a beautiful coat. I wear darker colours with a lot of black all year round, but in the winter even more so. I love beautiful dark navy blues and greys, especially for my nails.
8.             Is there anyone you find it difficult to buy Christmas presents for and why?
I think boys are always harder to buy for than women. Cologne, every Christmas, cologne is such a good go-to. Again, it is something they will always need, even if they got some last Christmas. They will need it eventually. I think that is a good go-to gift. A watch is a good gift. And socks… Men are hard to buy for.

9.             You travel so much for your job. What is your favourite place to spend Christmas? 
I love spending Christmas in Florida, obviously. I grew up in Canada, so a white Christmas is nice. I love a white Christmas. But I spend Christmas in Florida and New Year's in Canada. It is nice to have the best of both worlds. A hot Christmas and a cold New Year's to make up for it.
10.         Do you have any funny Christmas memories from your childhood? 
Usually we had massive Christmases, my aunt and uncle from outside would come in and we would have dinner and then go into the basement. Actually, it all started in the living room, we’d turn on music and be dancing to Christmas music and some classic dad rock. Dire Straits. Everyone would go crazy with their dance moves…

11.         You would be dancing?
I can fill the dance floor like nobody's business, it just takes a little while. Normally, I have no game that is my biggest problem when it comes to dancing but if I am with my friends, it is all about the dancing. We will have dance parties. Literally, for hours, we will all be going at it.

Kate King's Christmas wish list.
10 things you would like to receive this Christmas:
1.             Dolce fragrance
2.             Dolce&Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Fire
3.             Dolce&Gabbana Aurealux Mask
4.             Dolce&Gabbana Velvet Collection Candle
5.             A trip to a place I have never been
6.             A book by my favourite author Kurt Vonnegut or David Sedaris
7.             A new leather classic handbag
8.             A new laptop
9.             A new record, I like vinyl – something I have never heard before to widen my musical horizons
10.         A new coat, a nice winter one like a trench or button-up one