Run More, Eat Less. Lose Weight, Maybe Not.

It sounds theoretically correct does it not? Running more equates to burning more calories, and eating less equates to consuming less calories. Thus, calorie input is less than calorie output, hence it should result in greater weight loss. This all makes logical sense.

The Obesity Research & Clinical Practice journal recently published a study from York University that could show otherwise – that there could be more to weight loss than calorie output exceeding calorie input. Researchers found that between the years 1971 and 2008, although physical activity increased and at the same time protein and fat intake decreased, there was still an increase in BMI (Body Mass Index). So is there to weight loss than this simple formulae?

This research does seem to suggest that there is more to weight loss. Emerging evidence does indicate that hormonal changes from lack of sleep and stress, certain environmental toxins, certain medications, low calcium status, gut bacteria, and more may factors have an impact on body weight regulation. Eating less may also cause a reduction in metabolism. This would mean you would need to keep eating lesser in order to ensure a continuous weight loss – and how much lesser can you go?

So, there is no proven one theory. But there are a few things you can do to ensure you are in the right direction.

#1 Eat The Right Amount Of Calories

Eat more fruits and vegetables instead of fried chicken or curry puffs. You will feel full with lesser calories. Don’t take it to the extreme. Do not decrease your calories drastically. You may see some result but this may cause your metabolism to drop – you will find that when you eat your normal portions you may gain weight easily. Remember, do everything in moderation.

#2 Start Moving More

Take the stairs instead of the lift. Walk around the office every hour. Sneak in a short run during lunch hour. Make sure you do some form of exercise at least 4 times a week. This will keep your metabolism going. Consistency is key.

#3 Sleep Sufficiently

Sleep is paramount! Aim to get in 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night. If you aren’t able to hit this, sneak in a 20 – 30 minutes power nap. Sleep is significant in regulating our hormones which may affect weight regulation.

#4 Boost Your Calcium Status

Ensure your calcium intake is sufficient. For instance, have a cup of greek yoghurt for breakfast. Or you can take the easy way out and take calcium and magnesium supplements.

 


6 Tried And Tested Approaches To Recovery

In athletics, recovery is part of training. It is when you recover well that you are able to push through another tough session. It is when you recover well that you become stronger. There is an array of options for you to choose from when it comes to recovery. Check out these recovery approaches below and opt for the recovery method that suits you best – to keep you going, to become stronger than yesterday.

#1 Massage Therapy

How It Works: Pressure to muscles help decrease tension and adhesions between tissues. It also increases blood flow to the muscles, to help flush the lactic acid and helps speed up muscle recovery.

When: As and when needed. Some athletes incorporate massage once a week as a regular recovery method whereas others go for massage only when there is signs of pain or early injury.

Who Uses This: Elite marathoner Kara Goucher with a 2:24:52 marathon timing uses her favourite therapist for 15 years. During tough training periods, she sometimes go for 2 2 hour sessions.

#2 Cold Therapy

Photo Credits: Snokes

How It Works: Ice baths or Cryotherapy Chambers helps reduce swelling by constricting blood vessels and reducing inflammation in muscles.

When: Soak in ice for 15 – 20 minutes after a hard workout.

Who Uses This: Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein (2:11:50 marathoner) soaks in ice baths to recover well before a big race, especially if his competitions are close to one another.

#3 Electric Muscle Stimulation

How It Works: Electric stimulation is used to passively activate your muscles. You engage your muscles without stressing your joints, allowing for increased blood flow thus better recovery.

When: Use on sore muscles for 30 – 60 minutes a day

Who Uses This: Canadian runner Natasha LaBeaud is an advocate. She especially likes to strap the device on during long plane rides to help her legs keep fresh.

#4 Foam Roller self Massage

Photo Credit: Singular WOD

How It Works: Probably a more economical way to approach a massage therapy. It helps increase blood flow to the muscles and release tensions, thus promoting recovery of muscles.

When: Daily

Who Uses This: Chelsea Reily

#5 Stretching/Yoga

How It Works: Post run stretching is very important to reduce the tension and stress on the hamstrings and quads. It plays an important role in preventing injury.

When: Immediately Post-Run. You spend 2 hours doing a long run, you can at least spend 20 minutes stretching can’t you?

Who Uses This: Almost every known athlete. Meb Keflezighi took a 10-week yoga class in college at UCLA to incorporate into his training.

#6 Sleep

How It Works: It is during sleep that our body are able to perform vital tasks – repairing the minor damage to your tissues and replenish your stores. With lack of rest and sleep, your body will feel constantly fatigue and you will start to feel signs of overtraining.

When: Always

Who Uses This: Elite Runner Alia Grey is an advocate of sufficient sleep. She attributes her 31:59 10km timing to this.

 


Losing Motivation? Here Are 5 tips To Keep You Training, Running and Racing!

We runners dream big. We want to tackle a new distance. We want to hit a new personal best. We want to lose more weight. We human loves progress. We love to see progress. So what happens when we start to plateau? The progress curve is never exponential. People tend to start to lose the motivation to run when this happens. We need to constantly remind ourselves to – run far, run long, but never outrun the joy of running!

Here are 5 Tips To Keep You Training, Running and Racing!

#1 Take a Break

Often when we fail to see the joy of running is our body’s way of saying – dude, I need a break! Take a break from running and do something else. Try other sports to maintain your fitness level. Go hiking, rock climbing, learn to swim, go white-water rafting or maybe even try crossfit? Give your body a break from running! Remember, even the greatest of elites do take time off – their off season!

#2 Strength Train

The benefits of strength training is immense. You’ll start to see changes in your body and performance. Suddenly cramps don’t happen as often anymore, injuries stay at bay and you’re just much faster climbing that hill than you used to be. These improvements may be just what you need to keep going on!

#3 Go Shopping

You can’t deny this – often when we get a new toy, be it running shoes, a new watch, new apparel – we are super excited to try them out. We are more inclined to go for a run – does the new shoe make me run faster? What analysis about my running can my watch tell me? Even new apparel can get us moving- because we just look hotter in that new sports bra!

#4 Don’t Take The Fun Out Of Running

You have to always remind yourself the joy of running. Remember to always try something new! Haven’t tried speed work before? – hit the track and try out some speed workout! Go into the trails and try to be the next Kilian Jornet! Explore a new route! Run in a new neighbourhood! Forget pace and distance, and just run to soak in the beauty of running!

#5 Find A Running Buddy

Sometimes what we need is a good running buddy or a running group! It is easier to give up alone! But when we have someone pushing us on, we can go the distance together. Find a running group and run together with them! Looking for a running group? Check out our Running Clubs in Malaysia and Singapore!

 


My Maiden Full Marathon: SCKLM 2017

What a feeling when months of preparation comes to a harvesting moment in a form of Standard Chartered KL Marathon – SCKLM 2017.  It is one of the biggest marathon event in Malaysia.  Some regard it as the biggest in Malaysian standard.  Which is also the nerve wracking moments building to this event.

The ninth edition of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) took place at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia, with close to 36,000 runners from 52 countries and 75 nationalities taking part in the event. Out of these, 8,000 runners had taken part in the Full Marathon category, a 7% increase from previous year.

I like this analogy from our SRR leader and buddy, Chin Heng.  He said that this marathon is like a major examination, and those training that we had were like revisions, exercises, assignments and trials.  This is the day of the report card, the day to show your performance from all your hard work of endless training.  Training after training just to beat our best record in the previous year’s achievement.  I am no different as I was carried away by the waves of enthusiastic runners group I am associating with.

From the social media group like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat and Blogs, everybody seems very much involved into this event.  Describing about their training, nutrition, habits, best practice etc.  To a point that I had an impression that this event was as big as the Boston Marathon, an iconic marathon event in the world.  Perhaps SCKLM is regarded as iconic in Malaysia’s perspective.

On the eve of the race day

On the contrary to my running buddies, I was lack in training due to commitments to family and work.  In fact I was still working on the eve of the event.  The place of work for that day was so near to the starting line in Dataran Merdeka.  Felt the strong urge to pose a couple of photos at the starting line, but decided to deterred as it was already 4:00pm at that time, and I supposed to catch some rest and sleep before the big day (see how the adrenaline got the better of me).

Final countdown at the final week to the race (tips & tricks, preparation on the final week, the race-kit collection experience)

Normally I would prepare everything before the race day – Bib pin nicely to shirt, ensure all nutrition is in order, shoes, socks, watch and phone are fully charged etc.  This time all has not being prepare, oh man.  Panic mode sets in briefly, before everything is set in order around 7pm, except for the watch and phone which is still charging.  I got to settle down, calm the nerve and catch some sleep.  Easier said than done… 8pm I can’t seems to sleep.  The heart beat seems to be drumming like a war beats than a soothing relaxing beat.  10pm, still the same (that was the time my watch is fully charged).  11pm better but still on alert mode….11:30pm finally….. and 12:50am woke up at the first sound of alarm.  In summary, not much rest as I would like it to be.  I guess that I have to sit this through without much rest…yes running a marathon like a zombie if I have to.

Race Day

Walked with Master and Wai Ming at 1:25am to the waiting point at 99 speed mart.  Around 6 cars arrived at the waiting point.  I hopped into Ping’s car together with Master and Alex Wong.  A convoy of SRR cars spearheading to Central Market Kuala Lumpur, the place of parking.  We had arrived at around 2:45am.

Weather forecast said that it has a 55% chance of raining between 3am to 5am.  It was cloudy when we arrived but no signs of rain or thunders.  Everybody was excited, adrenaline was boiling high.  So many familiar faces in the running scenes. High five each others, fist pumping, self affirmation, self talk, joking with bunch of friends, some catching up with old times… all just to calm the nerves that were running so high that I can hear the sound my heart beating even with the noisy environment in Dataran Merdeka.

Ready, Get Set, Gun Time

wp-1495361734917.Everybody was instructed to go into their respective PEN.  I was in the PEN 4, the most runner category.  A quick warm up session by the MC, which we could hardly see from PEN4.  And there is no place for that as all runners were packed like sardine fish.  The moment of truth had finally arrived, this is it!.  A quick call out and a 10 seconds countdown from the mayor of Kuala Lumpur…and gun time!!!

We have to walk a bit towards the starting line as we were from way back.  From slow walk to slow jog, to faster jog as approaching the starting line. Started my watch for a recording when crossing the starting line mat.  I was consciously minding my pace, as I made the mistake in last year’s half marathon.  This time guess what, it is still the same 6min pace…this adrenaline seems to be a ‘nagging’ adversary (I shall put that in my note as a point to improve in my training).

Running journey

SCKLM17 Map

SCKLM 2017 - performance

Summary of my run by 5-10km block:

  1. km1-km15 – managed to maintain my cadences above 180spm on average
  2. km15-km20 – slight walking due to the uphill slopes of the highway
  3. km20-km30 – more walking and a sharp drop of cadences.  But still managed to maintain at about 180spm for the moving pace.
  4. km30-km40 – was the most suffering of all, as I’d subdued to more than half the distance to walking.  Walk/run at this stretch, especially the uphill – walk, downhill – run, at a control pace.
  5. km40-km43 – tried to run steadily but not fast, as I felt some pulling sensation at my hamstring.  Passed by the last 500m big Honda baloon banner but dare not surge until the last moment of about 200m.

Cutoff points:

14, 20, 30, 36 and 6:30 was all the numbers I had in my mind when I started the run.  These were the cutoff points for the race, which translated to the followings:

  • Reach KM14 before 6:35am
  • Reach KM20 before 7:35am
  • Reach KM30 before 9:15am (and collect wristband)
  • Reach KM36 before 10:15am
  • and reach the finishing line before 6 hours 30 minutes.

I had a Data Fields called Race Screen in my Garmin watch that serves as a real-time finishing predictor.  It uses your current pace to predict your finishing time as you run.  It has it’s pros and cons.  The Pro is when you are faster than your set pace, it will give you a shorter finishing time, and the Cons is when you are below pace especially at those killer hill slopes which it will give you a longer than kingdom come sort of finishing time – which is not helping your defeated spirit at that time.

I was happy that I had reached those checkpoints with time to spare:

18582380_1559365937409357_7310939231247906432_n
Photo credit: Alicia Chia
  • KM14 reached at around 5:43AM (6:35AM)
  • KM20 reached at around 6:32AM (7:35AM)
  • KM30 reached at around 8:00AM (9:15AM)
  • KM36 reached at around 8:52AM (10:15AM)

With these timing, it had encouraged me to surge on the remaining of the course.

The pinnacle of the cutoff point is the KM30 where the green colour wristband was handed to me.  Without this band, you can’t collect the finisher T and medal.  It is so important that I dropped the band while running through the row of volunteer handing out the bands.

GPS glitches

wp-1495361759196.I was running at a steady pace of 6+ min.  It was manageable and felt good about it.  At about KM3, my watch reported less than 6min pace (5:52min), I knew instantly something was wrong.  At this time it was about 300m off the mark.  Then it struck again at KM5, recording 4:26min, this time it was off by around 1.7km!!.  This is similar to previous year GPS glitch incident at about the same area.  This had imposed a physiological barrier as the mileage build at the later stage.  Imagine when your watch told you that you had reached 38km, but later you saw the distance marker board that says KM37.  It create a false positive scenario that affected my performance.  At this moment I really wish that I have the ‘Run by Feel‘ skill (ok, another note in my training book).

The accidental pacer

I was running my own pace, kept telling myself not to load too much anxiety into my run.  Keep the adrenaline at bay.  All the sifus’ teaching flashing in my mind at that time… don’t exerts the energy, keep the energy for later use especially in all the elevation and uphills that is ahead.  Don’t be intimidated by people that passing you by, even those that looked bigger and fatter size than you.  Then I came across Madam Sim who was running alone.  I’d noticed that she had difficulty breathing, some runny nose problem.  She was running at a slower speed, and I thought I can use her company and be able to watch for each other in the run.  At first I thought she would just stick for 1 or 2 kms before she would sped off.  But we ended up finishing the race together (I was just 0.1 seconds ahead of her).  For many occasion she would waved me to carry on while she clear her nose for better breathing.  I would keep looking back to check on her.

She almost gave up at KM12, which I’d encouraged her to keep going.  “Try to see whether we can reach KM14 the first checkpoint”, I told her.  We’d managed to passed the checkpoint 30 minutes ahead of time.  Then in KM16, she wanted to declare DNF again, which I told her “let’s see whether we can reach the second checkpoint at KM20”, which we did.  At about KM23-24, she told me to carry on and I haven’t seen her since.  At about KM40+, she reemerged again.  She told me that she had walked a solid 2km and really wanted to declare DNF.  Luckily she kept on.  It is at this point that I almost gave up on the idea of sub 6.  Well it was a funny game, as she encouraged me in return this time.  She told me that sub 6 is still a possibility and not to give up now.  We both fist pumping, run and walk till the last 200m before dashing to the finishing line for our ‘strong finish’ :).  The last stretch in Dataran Merdeka was a memorable one, as it was filled with spectators at both side.  Leaving a small lane to passed by before going into the finishing line.

Madam Sim taught me not to run in uphills when energy is low, and make the time back by running at downhill.  This was part of the reason I didn’t get any cramps through out the race. (apart from loading madly on power-gel and salt stick, but that’s another section).

Fueling strategy

I had consulted the sifus on how to fuel to keep the energy up and prevent runners worst nightmares – the cramps.  So I stick to the fueling play book (the first hours 1 powergel and 1 salt stick, the next 10km 1 salt stick, another 10km or hour 1 powergel and so on.  The last stretch 1 powergel).  I have never practice this before in my LSD runs.  So I would not know whether my body will adapt to this settings.  By the way, it will cause me a fortune if I’m practicing this fueling strategy this on the weekly LSD 🙂

The following were the actual fueling I had at this race.

  • KM 9 – 1 power gel + 2 salt stick
  • KM12 – 1 salt stick
  • km? – 1 salt stick
  • KM25 – free power gel – consume
  • km? – 1 salt stick
  • KM35 – consume the free power gel from KM32
  • KM39 – power gel

Due to the fatigues, I couldn’t remember clearly the exact KM mark that I took what.  When I stock counted, I left with 3 power gel and 5 salt stick.  The overall experience was that I didn’t felt any hunger as my stomach was quite full to a point that I don’t feel like consuming the banana. I even gave one of the banana that I got from the 1st fruit station to a road worker.

I was able to skip water station at the first 15km – stopped at alternate water stations in order to shed some precious timing. However, I had stopped at each water station from KM20 onwards.

Reflections of my run

I’m still in disbelief, surreal state that I’d actually completed a marathon.  A humongous challenge that anybody can take on at any given Sunday.  Like what all my sifus would have said, “Don’t be a hero on race day”, “Run as per what you had practiced”, “Don’t change your game plan”, “Reached 30km mark to assess your condition before deciding to surge or walk”.  These wisdoms were what I hold at heart during those massive challenge especially on the rolling and punishing elevated highways stretch and Bukit Tunku.

So now, I am officially a Marathoner.

e-Cert

My first marathon Finisher T

Side note:

  • I saw a lot of people stopped by the road side due to cramps from KM25 onwards.  This could be due to the rolling hills of the highways where runners pushed too hard too soon.  And the weather was not helping – hot and humid.
  • It could be fatigues that blurred my vision which I thought I saw abandoned of unopened power gel pack on the road.  At least 3 sightings.  I couldn’t u turn and check it out.  But it could be a hallucination.
  • My overall average pace was 8:02min, the exact pace as previous year half marathon.  In my HM I finished in 3 hours, but this FM I’d finished less than 6 hours.  Perhaps this time my pace was more consistent than previous year.
  • Caught up with Chin Heng, Peter and Albert at the Jalan Kuching turning into Jalan Duta.  I was pleasantly surprise that I could caught up with them, especially the Goh’s brothers.
  • Chin Heng told me that it is his wish to finish every marathon below the 6 hours cutoff time at the international marathon level.  I have not fact-check this one yet.  Perhaps I shall check it out later.  Chin Heng is an international marathon runner who has 9 marathon under his belt.
  • Both Peter and Albert were so relax finishing the race.  They had encourage me to continue running and minimize walking.  Very good sifu they are.
  • I have to confess that I didn’t go to the mobile toilet throughout the course.  I have the urge to pee at KM4 mark, but the toilet stoppages incident that caused my sub3 HM finishing by 1 minute last year still fresh in my mind.  Somehow the urge subside and gone from KM9 onwards – miraculously 🙂
  • Along the Duke highway (after the U-turn just before the toll gate), at the Damai LRT station, I’d noticed a train with a handful of runners (with SCKLM running vest) looked a bit worry.  It was about close to 6AM.  I guess if they were HM runners, they would have been late for 30mins, unless they were the fun run or 10km competitors.

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The Fastest Family On The Planet – Dibaba

In Ethiopia, there are the fast runners and then there are the Dibabas. The Dibabas dominance in athletics is admirable and fascinating. Older sister Tirunesh was the previous World Record Holder of the 10,000m distance and still the reigning World Record Holder for the 5000m distance with a time of 14:11:15. Genzebe on the other hand holds the 3000m indoor World Record and the 1500m World Record. They are the only siblings in history to hold concurrent World Records!

“There are a few running families, but not like the Dibabas” – Haile Gebrselassie

A Running Family

They really are a family of champions! They are the Serena and Venus Williams of Running! Tirunesh of course is the most decorated with 3 Olympic Golds under her belt. Genzebe has been dominating the 1500m and 3000m distance of lately. Older sister – Ejegayehu is also an Olympian with a Silver Medal from Athens. Not forgetting cousin Derartu Tulu who became the first black African woman to win an Olympic Gold back in 1992.

Tirunesh – A Mother And A Champion

Tirunesh took some time off running to raise her son. She made a comeback in Rio, and what a comeback it was! Giving birth to her son in 2015, she came back to win a Bronze medal in the 10,000m distance in the Rio Olympics! You think that was impressive? – She became the 3rd woman to run a sub 2 hours 18 minutes marathon in the London Marathon 2017! Tirunesh never fails to surprise us with her talent!

Genzebe Dibaba

Photo Credits: NBC Sport

She has been a part of many Ayana v Dibaba showdowns! Being crowned Athlete of The Year by IAAF, we really look forward to see what more this young talent can do. There is no greater honour than being crowned Athlete of The Year in Athletics!

The Fast duo are fearsome on the track! Their accomplishments are unprecedented in this sport!


Race Review: Perlis Marathon 2017 – David vs Goliath of Marathon (by Paradigm Runner)

We are all somehow guilty of negative presumptions, simple errors we commit in our day-to-day judgement, especially when it comes to size. Throughout history, literature and TV shows, the society has placed cognitive biases on small persons or nations, which will influence human thinking and decision-making; with examples aplenty!

Just think of the unfancied David versus Goliath (from the Bible), the under-estimated Hobbits (in The Lord of the Ring), the black sheep “Imp” of House Lannister (in The Game of Throne), the irrelevant feud between Lilliputians and Blefuscudians (in Gulliver’s Travels), the derogatory ‘Napoleon complex’ in the realm of psychology, the world history – where small nation Belgium was snuffed out in World War I, and perhaps the football sports – where the minnows Liechtenstein and San Marino being sometimes considered unworthy of the European qualifiers!

Likewise when Perlis (the smallest state in Malaysia) organized Perlis Marathon 2017, doubts would be naturally raised about its ability to organize event of such grandeur. Would the run be well coordinated, the traffic properly controlled, the water stations adequately set up etc? Do they have what it takes to orchestrate such event?

Would the running experience be as heavenly as the former moniker of this land, once known as Indera Kayangan (The Land of Heavens)?

Put another way, it was whether this Perlis marathon would be another run-of-the-mill event, or it would hit a home run!

Organized by the Perlis government on 30th April 2017, this event would be inevitably benchmarked to the bellwethers of Malaysia marathons, such as the more illustrious Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon (SCKLM) and Penang Bridge International Marathon (PBIM). Against SCKLM and PBIM, Perlis Marathon was still in its infancy stage – only its 3rd year running!

Leading pack of marathon runners                                                         (Photo credit: ActionPix Malaysia)

When experienced runners were asked to join this marathon, some skeptically replied “Not wasting my time to attend this small run”; “Kangar – so remote! No airport, can’t fly in – must drive or take train or take bus.”

But was such pessimism really warranted? Was this another clear instance of cognitive bias?

For a start, let’s consider its entry fee! When informed about the Early Birds RM50 registration for this Full Marathon, the immediate reaction of regular runner Neoh Soon Hueng was “That was truly good value for money.”

Yours truly with his running buddy, Neoh Soon Hueng

He had a valid point, of course. With participant’s entitlement such as goodies bag, timing chip, medal, event T-shirt, finisher tee, E-Certificate and much more, such token charge was rather encouraging. Nowadays the entry fee of other full marathons could easily come to about RM100 or possibly more.

How about the proceedings on the run day?

On the event date, the entrance to the starting point was properly managed, with race marshals dutifully directing the vehicles to the car parks. The parking spaces available around Stadium Tuanku Syed Putra were definitely adequate.

Even before the midnight flag off, the event had a carnival-like atmosphere, with the whole place brightly lit (unlike another run). There was even a live band performing at a rock concert, with loud music blasting away at the stage’s speakers.

From the Stadium, the runners travelled eastward along Persiaran Jubli Emas, passing State Mosque and some schools, before heading south towards Arau. There were 2 U-turns during the run – the marathoners made the first one at Km 13.5, moving back westwards along Persiaran Jubli Emas, until Km 25 when they veered south into Jalan Padang Behor. Then the runners made their way to Masjid Al Mustaqim for the second U-turn at Km 33.5 to track their way back to the Stadium, via Jalan Kangar – Alor Setar.

Perlis Marathon 2017 42km Route Layout

The midnight weather was slightly humid and hot, which was not truly ideal for FM runners. Barring the punishing weather, thankfully there were really a lot of positives in this Perlis Marathon.

Firstly, the 42km run route was generally flat with a negligible, short elevation around Km5.5. Of all the major FMs, this could probably be one of the most pleasant courses for one to attempt their PB.

A worthy mention is the lightings along the route – most streets, if not all, were very well-lit. It was a treat for the sight to run under luminous streetlights, especially the beautiful ones outside Istana Arau, which was a welcome distraction to the mind. There were even a few selfie points for the photographers.

Beautiful Istana Arau                                                                          (Photo credit: ActionPix Malaysia)
Another beautiful lightings along the route                                 (Photo credit: ActionPix Malaysia)

The traffic control at the junctions was certainly praise-worthy; with the passing cars stopped way ahead by the marshals before the approaching marathoners. The water stations were also sufficiently set up; with one every 3 – 4 km (some with bananas or water sponges). There was even water sprinkler at Km 37.

Water shower at Km37                                                                    (Photo Credit: ActionPix Malaysia)

Another plus point is the supportive local crowds, who thronged the roadside during the graveyard shift to cheer the runners. Imagine all the pakciks and makciks, enthusiastic teenagers and children giving high-five to the passing joggers!

Local crowd cheering the runners                                                 (Photo credit: ActionPix Malaysia)

The only shortfall? The runners were a tad suspicious that at the onset of FM, its distance markers were somehow misplaced. Compared to the Nike Plus and Runkeeper apps, these visual displays seemed to measure the cumulative distance shorter by 1km.

Nevertheless, such minor overlook should not be the deal breaker!

In a nutshell, Perlis Marathon definitely has the potential to rival the more-established events in Malaysia! Despite its diminutive size, this Perlis state has somehow surpassed all expectations with its gargantuan effort to ensure heavenly moments for the runners.

As Napoleon Hill once said, if you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way!

The Perlis run has proved that this puny David can indeed beat the other Goliath of marathon!

Memorable moments at Perlis Marathon 2017

 Ratings for Perlis Marathon 2017


Healthy Snacking: It Matters What You Stock Up In Your Fridge.

When it comes to dieting, or eating healthy, many people tend to get quite lost as to what they should be doing or putting into their bodies on top of all the exercise they do. I’m not just talking about those who are starting out but also the ones who may have been on it for some time.

And while many may say it’s all about clean eating, low carbs, high protein, and lots of water, believe me when I say that most of us don’t have a clue what exactly clean eating constitutes. Even when it comes down to the kind of healthy snacks to munch on when we feel the mid day hunger pangs coming on, it can be a mystery to some.

Why Does It Matter What We Have In Our Fridge?

Our fridge is probably the first place we go to when we are feeling hungry. That is the reason why nutritionists are adamant about people stocking up healthy snacks and food like fish, lean meats, nuts (unsalted and unflavoured), fruits, vegetables and maybe some protein bars because when all you have are these foods, the chances of you consuming a healthier diet is higher. If your fridge is full of sweet, salty and/or fatty snacks, the first thing your hand will reach for will be one of these foods and guess what? You will be asking yourself why you don’t seem to be losing the excess weight or becoming healthier. And as long as your fridge isn’t properly stocked, it will just become a vicious cycle every time you open that fridge door.

Is There A Way To Make Healthy Snacks Look Inviting Sitting In Our Fridge?

A fact that even I cannot deny is that your bars of chocolates and packets of sweets and bags of empty calories usually will look more tantalising as compared to your protein bars and fruits. While you can’t change the taste of these healthier snacks, you can change the way you look at them  every time you open the fridge door. Try switching the snacks around every three or four days and if you can, try and purchase a different brand of the same snacks so that you don’t suffer from taste fatigue. Our brain can be a very powerful tool when it comes to tricking our eyes and body into thinking we are consuming different items when in fact, it is just different packaging and different placements that are creating that “want” effect.

Read More:

  1.  5 Best Food For Runners 
  2. 4 Mistakes In Dieting You Should Avoid Making 
  3. Navigating The Food Court 

Race Review: Scotiabank Ottawa Half-Marathon (Canada, 28/05/17) – by HMRunner

Ottawa half-marathon start point

Scotiabank Ottawa Half-Marathon (with 13,475 finishers on 28 May 2017) is the most popular race category under the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, Canada’s largest and most prestigious running event. And I’m glad to have fulfilled my dream of being a part of it this year.

Prep and all
Expecting an international contingent of runners, the organizer offered valuable online tips and assistance on accommodation and travel.  Based on pricing, amenities provided, location, and accessibility, I chose to stay in the residence of the University Of Ottawa – a place worth considering if you are visiting Ottawa regardless.

As I was travelling from New York City after my Brooklyn Half race, I decided to pamper myself by opting for a one-hour flight to Ottawa (instead of making a coach trip that could take like hours).

Pre-race day
Race kit pick-up at the Shaw Centre (Colonel By Drive) was made easier with signs and volunteers’ direction and assistance despite the growing crowd on the first day of collection.  This kind of reminded me of the SCMS’ REPC – swift and efficient.

After the race kit collection, participants and their family/friends moved onto the Health and Fitness Expo where they were dazzled with an array of sports merchandise, including the official race merchandise.  Much like Airbnb Brooklyn Half’s expo, visitors could purchase a finisher tee without completing the race (and so I bought a half-marathon tee for my sister). What most impressed me of the expo was its scale – it seemed larger than what is often seen here.  Above all, I got to sample a number of protein bars and gels.

Ottawa Race Expo
Race kit pick-up
Rideau Canal, a splendid sight next to Shaw Centre (where the race expo was)

Complimentary marathon route tours (with limited seating) were provided on the day before race day.  I opted to tour the city on my own instead, taking in the sights of neo-Gothic buildings of the Parliament and the iconic National Gallery of Canada.

Ottawa and beyond (a view from Peace Tower, Parliament building)
National Gallery of Canada with Louise Bourgeois’ Maman, the giant spider

On my way back to the residence, I passed by part of the 5K race route and saw cheering crowds.  I was impressed by how thoughtful the race organiser was in ensuring the safety and convenience of both the passers-by and runners (see photo).

Bridge over the race road

Race day
Walking to my race start point, I witnessed the flag-off of the kids’ marathon.  The children took to task seriously about the race as their family members and other spectators (including myself) cheered them on.  What a splendid sight!

Ottawa kids’ marathon
Runners waiting in corrals

After leaving my bag at the bag check, I slowly made my way to my corral. Runners were waved off in corrals (of 6 different colours) every 2 minutes, based on their expected finishing time.  Marathon was flagged off at 7 am, followed by the kids’ marathon at 8 am, and half-marathon was the last race to start at 9 am.  Starting off a race event with the singing of the national anthem seems to be the norm in the States and Canada.

The half-marathon route was supposed to be relatively flat, though elevation was felt on a few parts of the course which somewhat put my stamina to the test.  The route began in the heart of the centre town at Elgin Street and looped round the city, taking runners past landmarks/icons, such as the War Memorial, Canadian Museum of History, Parliament Hill, National Gallery of Canada, Rideau Canal, and finally Shaw Centre. (Visit the course map here)

On top of the never-ending cheers from the enthusiastic spectators and passers-by both young and old, the logistical support was unparalleled with plenty of drinks (water and electrolytes) at every 3 km and cooling aids (such as wet sponges and sprinkling of water) at selected stations.  Such support was life-saving on the windless day at the unexpected 25 degrees Celsius (that felt more like 30 degrees).

Post race
My reward for finishing the race – recovery food items and a medal.  The end of the race also meant a time for runners to bond with family and friends as they gathered around Ottawa City Hall for more food, drinks and entertainment.

Reward after race – recovery food items and medal!
Family reunion area
Ottawa City Hall
My race bib and medal

My views on –

the good

  • Efficient and orderly race kit pick-up in accessible location
  • Large-scale race expo that offered various sports/running merchandise
  • Quick bag deposit and collection
  • Timely schedule of races with no delay in flag-off
  • Ample hydration stations and cooling aids
  • Live update and results (via online site/app)
  • Pacers of various planned pacing times (continuous or run-walk) for 10K, marathon and half-marathon categories
  • Amazing cheering crowds and volunteers/ support team
  • Swift distribution of recovery bags
  • Professionally taken individual photos and videos for purchase
  • Great logistical support, including accommodation and other race-related advice.

the could-have-been-better

  • Distribution of crowd and direction at the end of the race – more signs and direction could have been given at Ottawa City Hall for runners and family/friends to meet
  • Advice on weather and cooling aids – more printed advice and more cooling aids, e.g. wet towels (instead of heat blankets), could have been provided
  • Pacers’ commitment – as pacing is a lone job in US or Canada (unlike the pacing done in groups in Singapore races), sometimes pacers who cannot keep up with the planned pace might drop out discreetly. (I witnessed one!)
  • Regular entry fee of C$90 included a technical tee, recovery bag, medal and e-certificate (for race finishers), and logistical support.  Was it too expensive?

Some stats on the races (taken from Sportstats World)
5,287 marathon participants with 1,917 women and 3,370 men
13,475 half-marathon participants with 7,368 women and 6,105 men
1,339 kids’ marathon participants with 701 girls and 636 boys

About Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend
Established in 1975, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is undoubtedly Canada’s largest and most impressive running event, with more than 43,000 participants in 2017.   It is held on the last weekend of May every year in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Of its 6 race categories (Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon & Half-Marathon, 10K, HTG Sports 5K, Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon, & 2K), the 10K and marathon categories are IAAF Gold Label road races, thus giving the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend the attention it deserves each year.


How Much Sleep Do You Need To Perform At Your Peak?

Image credit: Healthtap.com

With the never-ending demands of life and work, we feel like we are constantly short of time. How many of us have wished that there was 48 hours in a day? – Exactly! Not only do we try to juggle work and a social life, we also try to keep aside time to keep our bodies and minds in tip top condition with some exercise. Because of this constant need to set aside time for so many aspects, we find ourselves worn out the next day, sometimes to the point of not being able to perform, or even function, properly.

So Is There A Need To Have Enough Sleep? How Much Is Enough?

The need for sufficient rest is real and has to be carried out to ensure we can get our stuff done the best we can. The sad thing is how many people fail to see the importance of having a good night’s rest. Instead, they see having little sleep as a sign of being diligent and involved in whatever they are committed to. Preferably, you should be getting at least 8 hours of slumber every night. In circumstances that can’t be helped, try to get a minimum of 6 hours of restful sleep if you can.

Will Enough Sleep Really Allow You To Perform At Your Peak? What If It Isn’t Possible At All To Get The Minimum Number Of Sleep Hours At Night?

Image credit: Krishna.org

You will find that there is a difference when you have enough sleep and when you don’t. A lack of sleep will cause you to constantly feel fatigued, running on low, and generally very tired. Even your body will not be able to process properly and you will eventually suffer a break down which could lead to a burn out. With our hectic lifestyles, we sometimes find it hard to have a proper night’s rest so when that happens, what else can we do? Well, there is always the option of taking quick power naps during the day to amp up your productivity and keep your mind alert and your body rested. Of course, this cannot compare to you having a full night’s rest but it is a good alternative to consider if you have to.

It Can Get Hard To Have A Restful Slumber With So Many Things Running Through Our Heads All The Time. Is There A Way To Tune Those Thoughts Out?

While it is easy to tell people to get the amount of sleep they require to function at their peak, some just cannot switch off when they need to. A few of these people will counter it by plugging in to relaxing music that will lull them into lalaland, or have a glass of warm milk before turning in. For those who need something stronger, melatonin is sold across the counters in most good pharmacies and helps the body relax and sleep well. With a good night’s rest, you will wake up feeling fresher and more ready than ever to take on the world.

Read More:

  1. 6 Dinner Ideas To Help You Sleep Through The Night
  2. Suffering From Insomnia? – 3 Remedies For A Good Night’s Sleep
  3. Sleep – How Much Do You Really Need?

Diet and Exercise: Is One More Important Than The Other?

It’s a constant struggle between these two isn’t it? While a popular saying goes “20% exercise, 80% diet”, don’t we look at ourselves and wonder why our bodies don’t seem to have changed even when we feel we have been eating healthy and staying away from carbs, deep-fried and sweet stuff? Then again, there are those who exercise so much and yet don’t seem to lose any weight at all.

Diet More Important?

Dieticians and nutritionists have made it very clear that how we look on the outside is directly affected by what we consume. If we want to look slim and svelte, we need to stay away from as much carbs, sugar and fat laden food as much as we can and consume more fruits, vegetables and lean meat.

If you have noticed, there are several shops that sell weight-loss programmes that concentrate on the food to be consumed. These shops claim that just by consuming their special diet food, you will be able to see results even without exercise. These diet products are usually very low in carbs, with little to no fats or oil. While the taste may not be as palatable as your nasi lemak, it seems to serve its purpose of helping one lose weight.

Exercise More Important?

But without exercise, how can the body toughen up and be fit and strong right? While some may say that exercise is not necessary or it is only suitable for those who wish to develop muscles (not true!), including some form of cardio or jogging into your diet regime can help you to get rid of those excess pounds even faster and easier.

Although it is true that you can still lose weight without exercise, you may end up having flabby spots around your body that can only be tightened through exercise.

So Is One More Important Than The Other?

In conclusion, you need both to look and feel your best. Dieting alone may cause you to look tired and worn, even though it does get the job done. With the inclusion of exercise, you will not only look healthier, but also attain your weight and fitness goals in lightning speed. A good combination of diet and exercise will always get you the results you want fast!

Read More:

  1. Marathon Running – Why I Think The Distance Commands Your Respect
  2. 6 Coolest Running Tracks In The World
  3. My Race In Review: Kyoto Marathon 2017

5 Things To Know About GPS Watches

The GPS watch has evolved much in these couple of years. The players have dramatically stepped up their game to provide us end-users with a greater product. If you’re in to health and fitness these days, it’s time to get yourself an upgrade! Here’s 5 things you can expect from a GPS watch these days!

#1 Heart Rate Straps No more

These days, the wrist HR monitor is the way to go. It’s less of a hassle and much more convenient. Everything is in one! Let’s be honest, no-one really likes chest straps. As if there aren’t enough potential items to give you chaffing. Many GPS watches now offer wrist-based heart rate monitoring through optical light sensors on the back of the watch.

#2 Sensors – Here, There Everywhere

These days, we want to track everything. We track how far we’ve run, how fast we’ve run, how our heart responded to the run, how fast our legs move during our run – in short the more information the better. Lucky for us, technology is keeping up with our wants. Now, watches can include a barometer, altimeter, compass and even thermometer. You never know some people may want to compare how much better they perform at 32 degree as compared to 38? Watches can even track stride length and cadence. Wow right?

#3 Shapes, Sizes, Colours And Battery Life

GPS watches now come in all shapes, sizes and colours. GPS watches are keeping up with the fashion trend these days – with interchangeable bands and fashionable bezels. You can have a different colour with a different outfit. The watches these days are also shrinking in size and weight. Everything is becoming less bulky! Gone are the days of big bulky watches! The perfect example – the old generation of the Suunto Ambit 2 versus the new Spartan Ultra – the new Spartan Ultra is so much sleeker, so much more sophisticated!

#4 Come Stalk Me? – Keep Me Safe

For safety purposes, people you’ve invited to view your activities can live track you during your run. For instance, if you’re using a Garmin watch, your friends and family would be able to track you during your run. Perhaps you’re doing a late night run? – they would be able to know exactly where you are throughout your run! Kinda cool no?

#5 Phone Notifications

Photo Credits: Garmin

GPS watches are also acting as smart watches these days. You are able to read messages, receive Instagram new comments, get updated regarding a new Strava like, read Facebook messages – you will be forever connected, even during your run!


Race Review: Garang Warrior Ultra 2017 (by ‘The ReAwakenedRunner’)

Second edition this, and a slight amendment to last year’s course due to roadworks
Distance : 4 km (2.6km trail, 1.4km road) loop (vs 5 km loop 2016)
Format : Complete as many loops as you wish on foot within 7am till 7pm*


I did well last year, unexpectedly finishing 5th, completing 16 Loops (80K)
Also, this was just under 3 weeks since Monster Ultra 200K Singapore, coupled with other issues, i never came close after 5 loops to be in the game

Flashback : Craze 2016 100 Miles, i’d DNF due to injury after 142 KM due to left ankle ligament strains, which was followed by a series of other injuries in the 2 months thereafter; right ankle ligament strain, left posterior calcaneal spur, and then what i suspect a right inferior calcaneal spur cos i started having mildly sharp pains (the kind associated with plantar fasciitis) when i awoke in the mornings (there’s been since a calcium deposit of the posterior calcaneal spur kind on the back of my right heel too though it hasn’t resulted in the kind of inflammation pains that i’ve had 3x to date with the left one)
The heel spurs do affect me during my runs. I’m constantly reminded of these injuries by the pain emanating from the heel pads

Also, i should highlight 3 words every runner should be aware of :
Dehydration
Hyponatremia
Hypohidrosis

Date : 20th May 2017, Saturday
Start Time : 7:00 AM
Cut Off Time : 7:00 PM
Venue : MacRitchie Reservoir

Pre-Race :
Woke up to my alarm at 5 am, and thought i’d made a mistake in the setup. Was about to go back to sleep when i suddenly realized – Garang Warrior Ultra !
Breakfast : 3” of baguette with butter, and a cup of coffee
Shared a cab with Choon Han & wife Jennifer (prearranged late last night)
Arrived onsite at 6:30 am, collected bib, final preparations, photos with friends

touch down … with EuGene

Loop x (cumulative distance) : Lap h:mm:ss (Trail : mm:ss; Road : mm:ss); Nett : hh:mm:ss; Time of Day : h:mm am/pm

Loop 1 (4K) : Lap : 25:25 (Trail : 16:59; Road : 08:26); Nett : 00:25:25; 7:25 am
Started off and running for some time with EuGene, and Jeremy Lee in the trails segment
Jeremy had decided to drop back by the time we got onto Lornie Rd
Also running In the company of Ee Meng, Muk Tuck Sang, Mervyn Chew
Skipped the water station at Lornie, and later at the Start/Finish area as well
Weather : cloudy but humid

Lornie Road @ 7:16 AM
Lornie Road @ 1st Loop … Photo Credits : Umar

Loop 2 (8K) : Lap : 24:11 (Trail : 15:58; Road : 08:12); Nett : 00:49:36; 7:49 am
Headed out with EuGene, but i decided to drop off his pace midway in through the 2.6km trails section
Weather / climate – no change
Stopped for first drink of water along Lornie Rd, popped my first salt tablet
later isotonic at main area
This loop was to be my fastest of the day : 24 mins 11 secs

MR @ 7:29 AM … start of loop 2
in the trails, 2nd loop … Photo Credits : Umar

Loop 3 (12K) : Lap : 25:42 (Trail : 17:54; Road : 07:47); Nett : 01:15:18; 8:15 am
Running solo, leapfrogging with Mervyn (over the next few loops too)
Perspiring more due to the high humidity
Faster runners EuGene, & Taz (Tay Yong Wei) already out on their next loop. As we passed each other at the service road close to the zigzag bridge, EuGene informed me that he would take a break at the end of his 5th loop
3 loops done, i had my first cup of Coke

This year’s Finisher Tee & Medal (needs separate purchase, add-on item) Image borrowed from Jeremy Lee’s Facebook

Loop 4 (16K) : Lap : 26:40 (Trail : 18:28; Road : 08:11); Nett : 01:41:58; 8:41 am
Solo. still running
Lornie Road – drink plus my 2nd salt tablet
End of 4th loop, got my UD soft flask out from my drop bag

4th loop, seen here with Kelvin Ng … Photo Credits : Umar

Loop 5 (20K) : Lap : 30:50 (Trail : 22:08; Road : 08:42); Nett : 02:12:48; 9:12 am
The high humidity was starting to take a toll on me. Losing focus and making me sleepy (although i had almost 5 hours sleep last night). This was to go on until i finally relented and decided to take a power nap in the later stages of the race
Skipped the Lornie Rd water stop since i was now carrying my water bottle in the back of my running Naked band
Probably the first time in this race my left heel starting to hurt (kinda used to it)
It would be an on/off issue throughout the day
End of #5, 2 mins rest and before i headed out again

Start of #5, 8:49 AM

Loop 6 (24K) : Lap : 34:23 (Trail : 22:57; Road : 11:24); Nett : 02:47:11; 9:47 am
Power walking and running now, but definitely more walking than all the loops before
Refilled my bottle, and helping myself to the Coke and sliced watermelons

start of #6, Time : 9:15 am
CheckPoint Spot, race timings

Loop 7 (28K) : Lap : 49:15 (Trail : 37:33; Road : 11:41); Nett : 03:36:26; 10:36 am
Headed out with Jeremy Lee
We walked more than we ran, sharing our Monster Ultra experience
Lornie – 3rd salt tablet (and eventually to be my final of the day)
Completed this loop and realized that i’d missed out on the Longans the few loops before

End of Loop 7 with Jeremy Lee … Photo Credits : Umar

Loop 8 (32K) : Lap : 44:54 (Trail : 32:48; Road : 12:07); Nett : 04:21:20; 11:21 am
Clouds starting to disperse. Temperature on the rise
We headed out together again. Jeremy was taking it easy, this being his first Garang having forced to miss last year’s already registered race due to work commitments (travels). He was set on doing the minimal 13 loops (52K) required for “Very Garang” classification of this event
Furthermore, this was his first long run since injuring his tendon midway thru Monster 200K but still gritting and fighting the pain (without painkillers) to finish joint 1st in that event just 3 weeks ago (i’m also against the consumption of painkillers to enable one to continue with the race)
I tried talking him into doing more, staying on until close to 7pm
Continued our run-walk routine
My right heel pad started to hurt (again, nothing new)
Longans, Coke, Watermelons at the end of the loop, followed by a quick pee break

Lornie Road, midway thru Loop #8 … Photo Credits : Albert Ow

Loop 9 (36K) : Lap : 43:49 (Trail : 32:30; Road : 11:18); Nett : 05:05:09; 12:05 pm
3rd consecutive loop with Jeremy. We run > walk this loop, but by the end of this loop i needed a longer recovery time than Jeremy
Jeremy hastened me to set off from the rest area, instead i urged him to go on out with Daniel Ong first at the end of this loop (my 9th, his 8th)
Said i would catch up after a couple of mins rest

chilling after #9 with Jeremy and PB Supporter Lily. Photo Credits : Umar

Loop 10 (40K) : Lap : 37:16 (Trail : 27:42; Road : 09:33); Nett : 05:42:25; 12:42 pm
Weather’s really hot now !
Headed out solo, and was running in an attempt to catch up to Daniel & Jeremy. I never saw Jeremy until along Lornie Rd. He was at the far end, running
I noticed that my hands had swelled. I’ve had this before so wasn’t alarmed.
Just a sign that perhaps i’ve had too much to drink
I passed Jeremy as he was going out on his next round
My fastest loop since #6
Also noticed that i was not sweating even after racing hard back to the end
Rested for more than 10 mins before i finally headed out again

start of #11, 12:57 PM ! Really hot now !!!

Loop 11 (44K) : Lap : 45:08 (Trail : 33:49; Road : 11:18); Nett : 06:27:33; 1:27 pm
We had been at the mercy of the sun for some time, and it was only getting hotter
I found myself losing my drive to run yet again, and noted that the swelling on both hands had not subsided
Later midway thru, i realized i wasn’t perspiring anymore, which had me kinda perplexed and more importantly, worried

with Fuse “The Shark” Lee (using this race as training for his 4 Deserts Race) Time : 2:03 pm

Loop 12 (48K) : Lap : 38:32 (Trail : 25:07; Road : 13:24); Nett : 07:06:05; 2:06 pm
Solo. run-walk. Stopped drinking. Starting to worry somewhat. Hyponatremia ?
At the end of this 12th loop, a cup of Longans (my last of the day), and a cup of Coke
Jian Hong had returned back to MR all changed (he was here this morning just before flag off. I’d joked then what was he doing here, cos that would mean no chance of me having my favourite desserts from Chong Pang Market). He’d brought the comfort food i’d so craved for
Helped myself to a bowl of Tao Huay (Bean Curd)
Daniel Ong was having ½ a bowl of Grass Jelly (Chin Chow). He offered me the other half which I saved for later
Pee break (in retrospect then i remembered it was dark coloured)
And headed out on my 13th loop afterwards

Joseph Wong, along Lornie Road during my 13th Loop … 2:43 pm

Loop 13 (52K) : Lap : 47:15 (Trail : 35:26; Road : 11:48); Nett : 07:53:20; 2:53 pm
Walking and sharing my trepidation about my inability to perspire since a few loops back with Joesph Wong
Midway thru Lornie, i decided to run to see if i could retrigger my perspiration
Hardly broke a sweat, which was worrying
decided to take a 20-min power nap. Unable to catch any sustained period of sleep, constantly awaken by my surroundings and myself. But all’s not wasted as I awoke feeling slightly better
Consumed the ½ bowl grass jelly
meantime, EuGene & Uncle Neo had just completed another loop

on my way out on #14 … Wai Thing with pacer Mary (with visor) Time : 3:20 pm

Loop 14 (56K) : Lap : 1:10:04 (Trail : 52:49; Road : 17:15); Nett : 09:03:24; 4:03 pm
EuGene & Uncle Neo asked me to join them this loop. They headed out first … I went after and eventually found them
Messed up my # of loops completed, my watch distance was off … thought i was on Loop 16
EuGene was 13 going on 14th, and Uncle Neo 10 going on 11th
Shortly after EuGene rediscovered his second wind and left the two of us; walking (midway thru I thought perhaps this was #15)
Spoke about our Monster 2017, and thanking him again for sharing his support van
Lornie – got ice to cool myself
Completed the loop, and was shocked that i got it all wrong ! i’d only completed 14 ! Thought i’m done for the day (60K)
I was seriously contemplating stopping for the day given the worrying condition I was in, that said I was starting to perspire a little now

Loop 15 (60K) : Lap : 56:25 (Trail : 39:48; Road : 16:36); Nett : 09:59:349; 4:59 pm
Again EuGene and Uncle Neo urged me to join them to walk this final loop (they both decided this was going to be their last)
Seeing volunteer CS Lim & Steven MooMoo tagging along, i relented and headed out for my own final lap
Jeremy was just heading back to complete his 14th loop (wasn’t aware he was still out running about beyond his 12 loops target). He was completing #14. I urged him to join us (once he’s ready). We were all do our last loop together
He joined not long after
EuGene, Jeremy & I broke into a slow run
On the final stretch, Uncle Neo, CS, Steven had caught up and was running alongside us
The trio of EuGene, Jeremy & I crossed The Finish Line as one, just as we did back at SCMS 2016
15 Loops, 60 KM … with 2 hours to spare
It’s a wrap !

Done & Dusted ! Each of us completing 15 Loops, 60KM

Post-Race
Rested, showered, and enjoyed the drama of the fight for podium finishing unfold between not just the Men, but the Ladies too

Prize presentations, final group shot … dinner with Steven’s Runningkakis at Hougang, before catching a cab home (swelling on hands not fully subsided by the time i went to bed)
Was back to normal by the next morning ….
Over next few days trying to determine what was the cause of my lack of perspiration when i felt that i had been overdrinking
Was a few days later when thinking back and remembering the colour of my pee that i came to realize so fearful i was of overdrinking that could lead to hyponatremia, that i’d completely overlooked the possibility of the complete opposite, that i was indeed dehydrated !
And that explains why i could not sweat despite running hard and not breaking sweat !

Results & Stats :

E-Cert

Consumed :
Water, Coke, canned Longans, Tao Huay, Grass Jelly, Watermelons

Podium Finishers :
Men
1st – Yong Yuen Cheng – 88K (22 Loops)
2nd – Tay Yong Wei – 84K (21 Loops)
3rd – Quek EeMeng – 80K (20 Loops)
4th – Amit Padhye – 80K (20 Loops)
5th – Sam Gibbins – 80K (20 Loops)

Women
1st – Thricey Leow – 84K (21 Loops)
2nd – Neo Lay Peng – 76K (19 Loops)
3rd – Law Wai Thing – 72K (18 Loops)
4th – Raudhah Abdul Rahim – 72K (18 Loops)
5th – Amy Khor – 68K (17 Loops)

Race Summary :
Good event, seems easier on paper to hit your number of loops … until you are actually there doing it. Loops are great for mental fortitude, and camaraderie ! You won’t feel alone, or left trailing as in conventional races
On a personal note, i find this year’s 4KM loop tougher than the previous 5KM one
Though lesser slopes, plus a chunk of the Lornie Road segment avoided, it is though more mentally challenging, a number’s game as a fellow participant puts it
And not discounting the temptations of more resting stops between loops, and more drinking breaks
And still a great event. Personally i didn’t do as well as i’d hope but still grateful i could even participate in light of all the injuries i’ve had since Sep last year
Will be back for 3rd edition, May 2018

Time : 6:45 pm

Thanks :
Ben Swee, Phil Tan (Running Guild), Yee Hua,
CS Lim, Theresa Leong, Yeo Kim Song, Amanda Oh, Tan Hong Chew, Jennifer Ng, and the rest of the volunteers
Albert Ow, Umar, Ming Ham (volunteer photographers)
Lily Bimmo (Support, drinks, etc)
Jian Hong (Support, Tao Huay, Chin Chow)

Final Group Photo of the day


Race Review: runDisney 2016 Inaugural Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon Weekend – New! Castle to Chateau Challenge – 25th Sep 2016 (by Gerlyn)

Hello JustRunLah Readers,

I am back with my second episode and final lap of my runDisney journey in 2016.

As I have mentioned in my TinkerBell post on my personal blog, I will be doing a Half Marathon in Paris in order to get the Castle to Chateau Medal. So this is my journey to obtain this special medal.

Somewhere in late 2015, Casper (Boon Hee), my husband actually won a pair of return tickets to Paris through a lucky draw. You read it correctly, we won ticket to America and we won tickets to Paris in 2015. 2015 is our lucky year indeed, 2016 is a blessed year for us too.

So we registered ourselves for the First ever Disneyland Paris Half Marathon in 2016. For the registration part and cost of race, I will not mention as this is a race review blogpost and that is about pre-race so if you are interested in the drama like it being sold out in 12hrs, please visit my blog.

Without further ado, I will proceed to the Day 3 of my trip which is 22nd September 2016, my 24th Birthday!

Celebrating my birthday at a Restaurant in Disneyland Paris with a Mickey Mouse Cake

EXPO (22nd-Sep-2016)

So after my Birthday Lunch Celebration in Disneyland Paris, we proceed to the Expo @ Disney Event Arena at roughly 2.30pm or so. The expo starts at 3pm and I believe I am very early! 

But this is what happened! The queue was crazy, it’s never ending and there is a queue inside the Arena too. These photos are taken outside the Arena. At this point of time, it’s 30mins till the Expo starts.

So I made a decision to go back to the parks and come back later. Because I have already bought my park tickets and it makes no sense to queue here for hours and let my Park Tickets go to waste.

I am back at 6.30pm, the Expo closes at 8pm tonight and hence I have 1.5hrs to settle everything including shopping and I need to go back to Disneyland Paris by 8pm to have my tax refund done. In America, there is no Tax Refund for California hence we do not need to do this step but in Paris, we are entitled to Tax Refund and based on my spending, we can get quite abit amount back! Which means? More shopping!

Basically there is no queue at all! Collecting the bibs are a breeze. Same as what we had experience in America. 

Proceed over to the Photopass booth to have my Mandatory Photo taken. My Bib and I.

Then I hopped over to the Cashier to make payment for the Photopass Card. Which cost €40. It consist of the Park photos and the Race Photos for the next few days including today. So if you are staying in Disneyland Paris for the next couple of days, it’s worth it.

Photos received is much lesser compared to America as Disneyland Paris does not have Park Photographers hence Park Photos mainly come from the Rides we took and not every Ride has Photo taking.

You can buy the Pass afterwards like after the Run and you can preview the photo first however, it will cost €50 instead. For my case, I would rather pay €40 to get it first.

Collecting the Event Running T-shirt, same as America, they did not issue the running tee together with the bib. But luckily there is no queue to collect the T-shirt so it doesn’t bother me that much. 

Afterwhich, we headed over to get our Castle to Chateau status verified. The verification was a breeze, they will do a search on your First or Last Name on your Passport or ID then they will issue a wristband for you to wear. With the wristband, you can collect the additional medal after the run.

*What is Castle to Chateau?*

If you do a America race and a Paris race in the same Calendar year, you get an additional Medal call the Castle to Chateau. Chateau means Castle in French.
I did Tinkerbell in May 2016 and I am doing Paris now in Sep 2016 hence I am entitled to this. Tell me I am a lucky girl who have won tickets to this 2 places in the same Calendar year!

  

Next is my favourite segment, Merchandise shopping!
For runDisney France, the merchandise available is not a lot in quantity which means by the time I arrived, many stuff were sold out already. There is also not as much variety as compared to America, no headbands, no jackets hence Casper saved a lot because of this reason.

Went we are about to leave the Expo and head back to the Parks for Tax Refund, I was called out by Heather. She recognised me from afar and asked if I am Gerlyn. She is the only person I met at the expo this time. I guess I was more popular at Tinkerbell Expo instead.

Before I left, I went over to the runDisney booth to take a photo with the medals I will be collecting in a few days time. But I made a terrible mistake by not walking inside the booth and see what’s the fuss about.

It should be a Singaporean attitude that whenever we see people queuing, we will join the queue right? But I did not on that day and they were giving out Souvenir Badges for Castle to Chateau runners only. By showing them your wristband, you will be able to get the badge.

I missed it….

The next couple of days I will be away and only back on the day of the race and by then, this booth would have been closed.

But luckily, my Best Friend Brenda is going tomorrow and so she got one for me and herself. Casper did not get it but it doesn’t really matter to him because he is glad Brenda got one for me. Because I was really upset that I missed out on this and I am thankful that Brenda is here to save the day!

Before we left, we prepaid for Medal Engraving Services! As you guys know, the cool thing about runDisney is that they can get your Medals engraved!

But this time round is €20 instead of $20 USD. Sadly it’s by the same vendor but well, “dollar to dollar” I guess, they have to cover their airfares too.

Brenda decided to bring her medals back to America and get them engrave it there for $20 USD. But I am not from America and I presume the postage will cost way more than the price difference hence, we will just get it done here.

But this time round, only my medals will be engraved and Casper will not be engraving his to save some monies.

Lastly, we proceed back to the Park’s City Hall to get our Tax Refund done. Glad that it’s a fuss-free procedure with the help of nice and friendly Cast Members.

RACE DAY (25th-Sep-2016)

This is what happened at 2.41am midnight. I woke up and looked at my watch and saw the time being 9.25am. So I hurried and wake Casper up thinking the Race have already started at 7am and we are still in Lala Land.

Then we check out of the window, it’s dark and then we knew that it’s not 9.25am which my watch was telling me but it’s showing 9.25 (the date) September 25th. 9/25 to be exact!

Oh my gosh! This is the problem with jet-lag. You don’t sleep well and you hallucinate all things possible that can go wrong.

Wore my wristband at 5.37am and we shall head over to Disneyland Paris now!

Our OOTD (outfit of the day) we were Peter Pan and Tinkerbell in America and we are Nick & Judy in Paris! The temperature was 13 degree Celsius and as compare to Tinkerbell, it should be warmer but we flagged off late hence we almost became a popsicle!

We were thankful that we met a friendly couple who showed us the way to the metro. We stay in the same hotel and we stepped out at the same time so I asked if we can follow them to the metro and they agreed.

We bought the Metro tickets for €1.90 per pax and it’s only 1 station away. Pretty steep for the cost of transport in Paris but even you travel 10 stations away, it will still be €1.90. But obviously I would not wanna travel 10 stations away to make my money worthwhile and miss my stop instead!

The train are filled with fellow runners and many of them were from America because I can tell from their accent and their Castle to Chateau wristband!

Because it was so cold and I forget to bring tissue, there is a friendly lady who gave me some tissue to rub my nose. Kindness around the world.

Once we arrived, we need to go through Security Clearance checkpoint 1. This is to check if anyone brought selfie-sticks or any other prohibited items.

The map of the race course today! 

Our Corral is C and within Corral C, there is a few wave hence we set off quite late.

Unfortunately, we were told that backpack or hydration bag is not allowed at the security checkpoint 2. Due to security reason and we need to have them checked in.

This is not a very good news for us, as we were carrying multiple mobile devices like our WiFi, my handphone and my camera. Hence our wallet and other stuff like passport and Casper’s mobile phone needs to be checked in otherwise we will run with our hands full.

What a coincidence to have met Paul & Amandine. Paul is a great fan of my adventure videos in Paris.

Next up it is all about waiting for the Race to start. 

However the race was delayed for no reason and we almost froze into a popsicle!

The race was supposed to start at 7am sharp however the first wave of Corral A went off at 7.20am. Eventually as the last wave of Corral C, we flagged off at 8.08am but we are not the worst, because we still have friends in Corral D and they too have waves. 

Finally we are near the start line. At this point of time it looks like it’s about to rain too. I heard it drizzle for those in Corral D, so lucky us. We flagged off just in time to avoid the rain.

Mandatory Castle Shot. We took a selfie using our Casio FR100.

Welfare for the race are not too bad. We are given Apple and Cereal Bar for treats. Water point were sufficient.

Local school band and cheerleading team came to cheer the runners!

I really loved all the fancy backdrop for the Kilometer Marker done by runDisney France team. It’s amazing, cute and special and I had such a fun time posing and taking so many photos.

The final 21km marker is a runDisney graffiti banner. As we know Paris are famous for Graffiti on the wall, so they included this element and also they did not forget the Earffel Tower and Castle.

 

We finished! We crossed the line!

Minnie Mouse greeted me with a High-5!

Volunteers were giving out the medals and hanging it for me. The medals are super heavy so the load she is carrying is no joking matter. 

We proceed over to the Castle to Chateau tentage and immediately we are identified and given the blings!

A photo with the Finisher Backdrop! I was hoping for a Castle to Chateau backdrop too but unfortunately no. But this will also do the job!

MEDAL PRIDE! Did you catch the Tinkerbell on the hot air balloon? It’s a sign, because of Tinkerbell I got my Castle to Chateau.

After the race, I proceed to the park to meet all my friends. I am truly blessed to know them. I had a fun and enjoyable time with them at the park and playing rides too.

I love Disneyland Paris. It made my dream came true. I did it again. Never knew I could run this far or even travel this far to run. When in the past 2.4km NAPFA test is a chore for me.

Paris have been kind to me, everyone and everything that happened here will always have a special place in my heart. I am thankful for this trip. Without winning the tickets, it’s impossible for us to make our way to Paris. Paris was never on my bucket list, I never dreamt of coming to Paris let alone to do a run. I did not even know Paris have a Disneyland.

If I planned a trip overseas it will be Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan. Europe, Paris, France, America have never ever crossed my mind. Not that I don’t want to visit them but I can’t afford to.

They just seem so out of reach.

But I did 2 YOLO (You Only Live Once) trip in 2016, we win some and we lose some. No regrets for it because we stepped out of our comfort zone, tried driving the opposite way, went to a place which English is not their native language.

I kinda regret not continue my French Class in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Who knew I will have a chance to go France!!!! But I came back knowing a little more French than I went there.

MERCI!

Not sure the focus of the photo is my Amazing Castle to Chateau medal or my nails or actually the Arc de Triomphe? 

My Half Marathon Certificate. 

My Castle to Chateau Certificate.

I really love the Certificate, it look so pretty.


Expo + Race Review

Same suggestion as I gave during the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. runDisney should simplify the whole process, we should be able to collect t-shirt, Bib and verification of Castle to Chateau status together and also the souvenir button to be given to us during or right after the verification. Although their purpose is for us to visit their booth but at least they could tell me to visit the booth for the souvenir button / badge.

During the race day, the flag off was delayed by an hour from 7am to 8am for us! Many were freezing but they did not give any emergency blanket like in the US. They do not allow us to carry hydration bag and we can’t bring wallet and handphone if we have no pockets and we need to hold them on our hand which is a hassle. I felt that they should allow us to carry our backpacks because we already went through the security check and we have been cleared.

The running route is awesome, scenery is nice, weather is good and there is lots of characters in the park. But I will say to avoid characters if you are at the verge of being swept, trust me when I say they do sweep. runDisney is a friendly race for beginner but there is a reason why they gave the time limit as they need to reopen the road and open the parks in time for visitors.

There are plenty of Toilet and water point were sufficient.

Runners were given treats like apple and energy bar and is enough to go around.

There is street performance by local school such as cheerleading and band which gives runner high morale.

Medal engraving is very expensive. It should be same price as in USD since they are the same vendor.


This pretty much sums up my experience for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon!

Let me know on Facebook “Ger’z World” if you like my writing or you think there is room for improvement. I am very much open to suggestion.

Till then we shall run again!

#GerzKeepRunning

gerlyn-signature-2016

For grandmother story and all the little details of the entire 8 days Paris trip, click here!


My virgin overseas race: Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2017

Beyond Brooklyn Half Pre-Party

In the beginning

The journey to my virgin overseas race began on 27 January 2017 when I successfully secured a place to run Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2017.  Brooklyn Half, part of the New York Road Runners Five-Borough Series, is known to be the largest half-marathon in the USA, with 27,440 finishers on 20 May 2017.  What’s more, all spots were taken up in just 2 hours this year! Yes, it is that popular in the States! (So, you can imagine my exhilaration when I got a spot to run!)

Expecting the unexpected, I only finalised my itinerary – flights and accommodation – about 2 months ahead of the race.  But life, as it is, decided to fuel my race anxiety when my initial Airbnb host had to cancel her offer only a few days before my flight to New York City!

A blessing in disguise as it turned out – I managed to find a wonderful Airbnb host and an accessible location that was just a stone’s throw away from Brooklyn Half’s start point that was near Brooklyn Museum.

Before the race

I landed in NYC on 18 May late night, settled down in my new ‘home’, and headed off to collect my race kit the following day at the race pre-party.

Airbnb Brooklyn Half Pre-Party took place over 3 days (17-19 May) at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It reminded me of something similar put up by Sundown Marathon organizer this year, though the Brooklyn Half pre-party seemed more organized and neat with race kit collection, sponsors’ booths, merchandise sale, and running clinic talks all housed in a single big well-ventilated marquee.

An interesting note – anyone could buy the finisher tee even before the race took place!

Expert’s tips on running the race
Brooklyn Half finisher tee, just another merchandise

On race day

My race anxiety (and probably jet lag too) allowed me no more than 3 hours of sleep before the big day. After a quick breakfast of rice cakes and rice milk, I walked to the start point, about 2 hours ahead of my designated wave-off time at 0745.  Runners were put in 2 major waves and many corrals (sub-waves) with an interval of 2-5 minutes per wave/corral.  Before we could drop off our belongings and enter our corrals, we had to go through strict bag/security check (much like the ones in airports).

After much deliberation, I surrendered to the ever biting wind and kept my jacket with me for the race.  The weather was most unpredictable with my first day in NYC being unbearably warm and the next day, i.e. race day, being unbelievably chilly.

Before the first wave was flagged off, the national anthem was sung, something new to me. Then, in an orderly yet swift manner, each corral was waved off as designated.

The half-marathon route began in Brooklyn Museum and looped briefly around Prospect Park before stretching endlessly on the straight long road, Ocean Parkway, to Coney Island. The route was basically flat with occasions of slight elevation in the Prospect Park loop. Hydration stations were aplenty, with one every 2-3 kilometres there were lined with abundant water and electrolyte drinks (which provided me with plenty chances to take much needed hydration breaks in seconds).

Runners in their respective corrals
Impressive holding areas and lines of mobile loo
Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2017 Course

What motivated me most were both the fearless fellow runners who would just pound on the roads relentlessly and the crowds (be they family members, friends or just strangers) lining the streets ready to cheer us on with placards, pom-poms, a song or a dance. Racing in the US is more than a personal affair – it is a family-bonding event, an atmosphere so lacking in Singapore.

I started out strong and fast (maybe a tad too fast) and struggled near the end, with a cramp and loose jacket about 200 metres away from the finishing point! By the time I managed to regain my composure to finish it all, I missed my goal of sub-2.  The consolation was – it turned out to be my PB.

After the race

Much like the races in Singapore, upon reaching the finishing line at Coney Island, runners were handed their medals.  The main difference is the Brooklyn Half finishers got to collect a bag of recovery goodies – water, food, etc.  There was a lot going on at the MCU Park in Coney Island – more food, beer, entertainment, but being exhausted, hungry and sweaty, I decided to join the others who were making their way to the subway.

My recovery bag and medal!

The trend in US is not for a runner to parade around in a finisher tee, but to don one’s hard-earned medal right after the race.  No wonder the medal is much bigger and more intricately designed!

Takeaway

Airbnb Brooklyn Half is a race I’d highly recommend to anyone, especially beginners keen on running a long-distance race in the US.  Here are a few things to highlight:

The good:

  • Accessible location – Brooklyn, a borough right next to Manhattan so one can do some sightseeing before or after the race
  • Efficient and well-organized REPC – very little waiting time and swift processing
  • Great logistics – uncountable mobile toilets and many hydration stations before, during and after the race
  • Amazing spectators/ crowds – never short of words of encouragement/ motivation
  • Encouraging and helpful volunteers – all so ready to assist at REPC and hydration points
  • Updated results – both unofficial and official detailed results (including ranking by gender, age, and overall) were readily available online.

The could-be-better:

  • Unpredictable weather – okay, this is hard to get anyone to get prepared, but maybe reminders/tips could be given ahead (I wasn’t the only one almost frozen by the biting wind; only hot-weather tips were given in print).
  • Limited photos – only limited event photos were available.  No photos of individual runners were taken or provided.
  • No accommodation tips – aside from Airbnb being the title sponsor, there was no mention of recommended accommodation; this could be due to the fact that the event was largely meant for the locals, in particular, those living in or near New York.  I suppose international participants were not the target group.  (And in the months of May/June, getting accommodation in NYC can be a chore as it’s like peak season, so be early to book!)
  • Pricey entry – at US$100, participant received a nice technical/race tee, a large beautifully designed medal (for finisher), a recovery goodie bag, and wonderful logistics/ support.

To know more about Airbnb Brooklyn Half, visit http://www.nyrr.org/races-and-events/2017/airbnb-brooklyn-half


Nike Built A LED Running Track Because – Why Not?

Nike does it again! Nike just can’t help make running cool. Nike has built a LED Running Track situated in Manila, Philippines. The track is shaped like the bottom of Nike’s popular, most innovative Lunarepic Flyknit shoe, and it covers 200 meters, half the distance of a standard metric oval.

Run Against Yourself

The lit track gives runners the opportunity to truly run against themselves in a virtual run setting. How it works – you log an initial lap time, attach the sensor to your shoe, and the sensor is what your Avatar paces against. Chase your Avatar! The avatar grows in height as you run faster with each lap, and up to 30 people can run on the track at a time.

How cool is that?


Showdown: Mary Keitany v Edna Kiplagat

These 2 ladies need no introduction with great starts to their running season this year! Both considered to be veterans – Mary being 35 and Edna being 38, they really are giving the younger generation a run for their money. They really show us that old is gold!

Edna Kiplagat – Boston Marathon 2017 Champion 

Photo Credits: Boston Herald

Edna obliterated her competition with a monster surge in Boston! She totally destroyed her competition. She ran a 3 minute/km split on heartbreak hill, to which her competition could not give a response. I mean running a 3 minute/km split is already amazing, to do it on the infamous heartbreak hill is even more amazing! She ran so well that towards the ending you couldn’t catch her competition in the same frame as her. She ran the 4th fastest time on this course.

Mary Keitany – New World Record

Photo Credits: IAAF

Mary Keitany broke Paula Radcliffe’s long standing World Record running a 2:17:01 in the Virgin London Marathon 2017! She took off, leaving all her competitors behind – running the first half in a blazing 1:06:54 and held on to finish with a new World Record! She was running solo! It’s hard to run solo – but she did, and she did it so well! It was such an impressive run from Mary!

Both women have a history with the Big Apple! Keitany is a 3 time defending New York City Marathon champion whereas Kiplagat won her marathon debut in the Big Apple back in 2010. Both have also won the Mini-Marathon (10km) in the past.

We look forward to a great showdown between these two empowering females!


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