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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Flashback 2009

Few days ago as we were approaching the end of this colorful year of 2009, I spent quite some time refreshing my memories by going through my own blog. Indeed, 2009 was a beautiful year for me, with the opportunity to venture into more endurance events (either official race events or the group training sessions), making and meeting new friends who share pretty much the same interest. Though some portion of my life was not as cheerful as much as I wanted it to be, I’ll take that as a learning curve in achieving a better life and becoming a better person for the future.

Allow me to bring you back to some exciting portion of my journey in 2009. These are some of the interesting stuffs I found worth remembering (for my own self), as well as to serve some key notes on how I progressed throughout the year.

JANUARY

I kick started my 2009 triathlon training season with some running, trying to build better base and putting a little bit more effort to run much further. It was a period where I tried to expand my endurance envelope, little bit at a time. I knew, the journey was still a long way to go.

GE 30km – I did not participate in it, just went there to grab some mood and to support some friends taking part. I did not know many of them, except for very few which I get to know through reading their blogs. Towards the end, Aini put the poison into my brain to do the 30km run next year.
OK, at least now I’ve registered for my first 30km run in January 2010.

It was also the time where I first run for 2 hours, by running 6 loops around the garden as my LSD (truth is, I didn’t even know what LSD meant at that time). It was so mentally torturous to run 2 hours alone, plus having to circle around the same loop many times. But, I was glad I did it.

FEBRUARY

February saw me doing lots of long distance rides, three to be exact. It was fun to be riding with a good bunch of cycling buddies, as some of them were finalizing their IM Langkawi training. I learnt a lot about the term ‘bonking’ too. And I can easily testify that long rides can make you cycle stronger afterwards. Oh, I miss those long rides!

Tour de Ayer Baloi

Tour de Pendas

MARCH

OK, March was the start of our local triathlon season, if I’m not mistaken. I participated for the first time in the toughest triathlon even, as some said. The Kenyir Lake triathlon. It was tough indeed, as the heat and the crazy steep short climbs surely taught me to train harder.

During the Kenyir Lake triathlon.

APRIL

Perhaps, with the shock that I had after doing the Kenyir Lake triathlon, I got bitten with the M bug in April. Going for training felt like being forced to get into a prison or some sort. I even felt sick for running.

Browsing through my photo album, I now remember I did one long ride to Kukup, which I did not put up any entry for it.

MAY

If I can remember correctly, I started preparing for the KLIM marathon in May. Together with Kash, we did few LSD run at which I for the first time broke my 2 hours running time barrier, as well we going beyond 30km and peaked my marathon training with a 35km LSD. I thought I peaked too early, as I still got at least three more weekends before the marathon.

Other than that, I also remember started doing few long swims as a preparation for the longer distance triathlon event I wanted to take part. It was great to be able to see how far we can take our body to. But the training was not easy, as it took lots of effort and time to go beyond something big for yourself. I blogged about it here and here.

JUNE

At the start of the month, some friends in JB organized the first eco-challenge event in the town. Yes, JB City Eco Challege was held for the first time and I had great time being with the organizing committee.

Behind the scene.

JB City Eco Challenge.

June was also such an important month for me, as I was going to attempt my first ever running event, which was to run 42km in the KL International Marathon. Not really sure whether I could survive it, but I gave it a go and how glad I was that I crossed the finish line. This was my first biggest achievement of the year.

My first marathon.

JULY

It was the month when I re-visited PD for the OD triathlon. I remember about the massive wave at PD beach, but I had great time during the bike and running leg. Felt pretty strong, and I almost clocked sub 3 hours.

And having met new friends at the event in our little local triathlon society made my PD race one of the most enjoyable ones. I hope they will always hold a triathlon event in PD for much more years to come, as it is relatively close to KL as well.

I can't remember why I took so less picture during PD triathlon.

AUGUST

Another big target for me to achieve this year, was to compete in a Long Distance triathlon event – at Desaru. In fact, my whole year training was focused for this particular event. I did not have a big target, just want to see whether I could survive the event without having any injury. It was another fun race for me, especially during the run. Plenty of friends around too, which was always a pleasure to meet them all.

I finished it!

And almost as usual, after a big race, it was easy to be bitten with the M bug. Especially when Ramadhan was approaching.

SEPTEMBER

Apart from the beautiful Aidil Fitri we celebrated in September, I had my first taste of what they call trail running. I even bought a pair of trail shoes, as I could feel that I will venture more into trail running. Together with 6 more friends (they call themselves the Geng Bas Sekolah GBS team), we run up Gunung Nuang up until Kem Lolo. It was fun.

With GBS, running up Nuang.

OCTOBER

I did another trail running in October, as there were no other events on the calendar.

We ran up inside FRIM.

Also, I volunteered myself for the Young Endurance Athlete (YEA)

NOVEMBER

I pirated the Genting Trailblazer upon a difficult-to-reject invitation from Syah and Ian. Perhaps this was when I got hooked into becoming a runnergrapher, or photorunner? I don’t know, you decide.

The pirate in red.

And maybe some of us were addicted to trail running, we organized another group trail runs, where we went to Kiara.

In preparation for Salomon trail run, we did a dry test at Kiara.

DECEMBER

OK, the last month of the year. Let see what happened.

Started off with Salomon X-trail run.

Then we also did the final group trail run at Batu Dam.

And finish it off with the last event I took part in 2009, the Malakoff Run.

To all of you, thanks so much for keep on coming to view this blog as I ramble through what came across my mind. My sincerest apologies if any of the contents in this blog ever hurt of disturb your feelings or emotions, as I never have any intention to do so. I hope you too had a wonderful year in 2009 and I hope I can continue writing in 2010 as it gives pleasure to me seeing comments from you. With each entry I put up here, my only wish is that, for a smile to be blossoming on your face. Hope you had fun at this blog.

May we all have another wonderful year in 2010.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Break the Pain

It is fascinating to see how our body adapts to what we do to it, with respect to doing endurance or speed training, and with respect to how it deals with pain.

I have not been swimming since Desaru triathlon in August, not until two weeks ago when the local swimming pool where I normally went to re-opened after being renovated. With roughly 4 months of zero swimming, seems like my swimming muscles are still enjoying their holidays.

When I was training for Desaru long distance triathlon which the swim leg was supposed to be 2km, I could swim 1km very easily without feeling any discomfort. 1.5km was when I started to feel the slight tense in the respective swimming muscles and going up to 2km, I get the satisfactory soreness. That means, tired, but accompanied by some happy feeling.

I even pushed myself once or twice, and managed to up my mileage to 2.5km and 3km. I was smiling after that 3km. Not that I swam fast. But, that 3km was a big milestone for me.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, and even last week, gosh, I don’t know what to call my swimming style was. I mean, yeah I tried the front crawl a.k.a. freestyle, but I barely moved forward and my muscles were aching big time. 15 or 20 minutes in the water was kind of a torture for me. 30 minutes max was my best achievement, and that was last week. I didn’t even dare to count the distance I swam, it would be embarrassing.

The first pain would normally start to attack the deltoid and triceps muscles. I also did not do much of weight training to enhance their strength, thus the feeling of no power to pull during the swim. Fortunately my breathing is still OK, perhaps due to the stamina I gained from running I am currently doing. But as I started to feel the pain, my weak mental told my body to stop swimming and get out of the water.

That was what happened for the past two weeks. And not being satisfied with that, I pushed it a little bit further this week.

I did a 40 minutes swim session on Monday after a 50 minutes run, and another 55 minutes swim session on Tuesday.

The tough part was to survive the first 10 or 20 minutes, when the pain in my underused deltoid and triceps muscles were shooting up to the peak.

Weird enough, the pain slowly went away after half an hour or so, and I could regain some mental strength to keep on swimming. It’s painful to break the pain barrier, but once it is broken, you’ll know you’ve grown stronger. Maybe this is how people increase their pain threshold, by breaking them first.

I can’t wait to be able to swim 2km or 3km again. It’s going to take some time, but I’m so going to enjoy the journey. Plus, it can give some resting or recovery time for my legs. I take this as part of my cross training.

P/s: Some friends have already asked whether I’ll be doing 2010 Kapas-Marang 6.5km swimathon or not (if there’s any), to which I answered, “Maybe not, but we’ll see…”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cancer

[Courtesy from a friend, received via email. Worth to spend the time reading it.]

Under weakly alkaline condition, cancerous cells are not able to grow, or even to survive.

These are real cases which are very important. Please read patiently and pass this on. Even if you had read it, you should read it again, especially the list of acidic and alkaline food stuff... It's best to read it several times and remember them. Please read this article in full patience. It helps to improve and maintain your health.

About 30 years ago, a Mr. Zhang who worked in the Public Sales Department of a Taipei Brewery, sat for Overseas Study Selection Examination, and passed with flying colors. Before leaving, unfortunately, the medical examination at a public hospital discovered that he had a tumor growth in his lung about the size of a child's fist. Thus, he was not able to make the overseas trip for further study.

Mr. Zhang was very disappointed. He thought that diagnosis could be wrong. So he went for a 2nd check-up in another hospital but the result confirmed that there was no error in the previous diagnosis. The young Mr. Zhang was in great despair after the confirmation. He made several calls to Mr. Wei, his old classmate who was the Mayor's secretary of Huangsun County, Taidong County Government.

On hearing the bad news, Mr. Wei rushed to Taipei to see Mr. Zhang on Sunday. Mr. Zhang briefed Mr. Wei in detail about his despair and pessimism, and entrusted his friend regarding his affairs after his death. It happened that Mr. Wei was a good friend of Dr Lu Geling, who in 1949-55 was in charge of the Maijie Hospital, and was a researcher and specialist in cancer.

He suggested to Mr. Zhang to seek Dr Lu's treatment immediately. Mr. Zhang initially refused to consult doctor anymore as the result might add further misery to him. But Mr. Wei said that he had called Dr Lu and made an appointment with him. So Mr. Zhang felt obligated and went with Mr. Wei to meet Dr Lu.

When meeting Mr. Zhang, Dr Lu said: "Mr. Wei is my best friend and he has introduced you to me. We are fated to know each other. Let me ask you do you know why is that cancer is referred to as terminal illness?" Both Mr. Zhang and Mr. Wei did not know how to answer.

Dr Lu explained: "There are only 2 approaches so far to treat cancer today. The 1st is to destroy the source of the disease. The 2nd is to increase the immunity to fight the disease.. But the strange thing is that, whether we use Cobalt 60 or other drugs to destroy the cancerous cells, before they are killed, the good cells are destroyed first. On the other hand, no matter what nutrients or supplements we use, before the good cells have a chance to absorb them, the cancer cells have taken them up. This simply speeds up the growth of cancer. Therefore, both approaches are doomed to fail, that is why cancer is terminal."

Dr Lu continues: "Human beings are the most intelligent creatures and they had successfully put men on the moon. But why there is no one ever questioned the above 2 approaches for cancer treatment which lead to ultimate death, and try to look for a 3rd approach? When I was conducting clinical research in Majie Hospital, I had many opportunities to work with many colleagues who had assisted me in the hospital. I found out that the blood tests of cancer patients showed 100% acidic results.

Those Buddhist monks and nuns who are long term vegetarians and live very close to Nature, their blood are prevalently weakly alkaline and none of them has yet been detected of any cancer illness. Therefore, I can boldly conclude that under weakly alkaline condition, cancerous cells are not able to grow, or even to survive.

Mr. Zhang, I would suggest that starting from now you must reduce your intake of the acidic meaty dishes. Consume more alkaline food. Also you can take green algae and soup made from water chestnuts with skin. Modify your physical condition, and try seriously to have a regular life style which is close to Nature. If you live for another 5 years, you should have no further problem. Best of luck"

Mr. Zhang followed Dr Lu's suggestion and was serious in changing his eating habits. Every day, he ate green algae, drank chestnut soup, became optimistic and did an appropriate amount of exercise. One year later, he went back to the same public hospital for a check up. It was found that the tumour not only did not increase in size, but was also shrinking. It's a miracle to the hospital staff who examined him. Five years later, the tumour had shrunk to almost disappearing stage. Now after almost 40 years, Mr. Zhang's health is totally normal, and is living a very pleasant life.

After Mr. Zhang's case, a Mr. Chen Tianshou, who was previously Head of the General Administration of the Taidong Provincial Hospital, was also diagnosed with lung cancer. When Mr. Wei knew about it, he told Mr. Chen what Mr. Zhang had gone through. Mr. Chen started to follow Dr Lu's recommendation of changing his physical condition. Just like the case of Mr. Zhang, he was able to recover fully from the cancer.

At that time, Dr. Lu and his family had migrated to the United States. When he returned to Taiwan and met up with Mr. Wei, he was told of the 2 cases of Mr. Zhang and Mr. Chen. Mr. Wei suggested that let both of them make detailed briefings in person, so that Dr. Lu could publish a report on this self-curing method.

Dr Lu very humbly replied: 'I am too old and I do not have any clinical records of the cases. Please tell your friends and relatives, if they agree, please continue and spread the words to others"

One should take care of oneself and also should be caring about others. 85% of cancer patients are having acidic condition in their physical bodies.

Blood of healthy persons is weakly alkaline in nature, with a pH of about 7.35 to 7.45.

Babies' blood is also weakly alkaline.

As adults age, their bloods become more acidic in nature.

According to a study of body fluid of 600 cancer patients, 85% of the patients are in acidic physical condition. Therefore, how to maintain the weakly alkaline nature of our body is the 1st step from keeping oneself from illness.

Acidic physical condition manifests itself in following ways:

1. Skin without luster.
2. Athlete's foot.
3. Feeling tired even after a little exercise, and feeling sleepy the moment one gets into a bus.
4. Easily out of breathe after going up and down the stairs.
5. Fat and with lower stomach protruding.
6. Move slowly and movement lethargic.

Why does the body physical condition turn acidic?

1. Excessive intake of dairy acidic food.

a) Meats, dairy products, eggs, beef, ham, etc are acidic food
b) Taking too much acidic food will cause the blood to become acidic and viscous, difficult to flow to the end of blood vessels, leading to cold feet or knee, stiff shoulders and insomnia.
c) For those who are young and strong, it's alright to consume suitable quantity of meats, but for older people, vegetables or small fishes are the more suitable diet.

2. Any irregularity in the pace of life will cause the body physical condition to become acidic.

a) Irregular pace in life will lead to mental and physical stress
b) According to statistics, people who sleep late are more likely to have cancer than normal persons, by as much as 5 times.
c) Human beings originally lead a life with regular tempo in this world. It's not possible to store up sleep or food and not possible to live a healthy life by mixing up days and nights.
d) Human organs are controlled by the autonomic nerves. During day time it is mainly sympathetic nerves activities, and at night it is mainly the parasympathetic nerves which are functioning. If this order is disturbed and reversed, then will encounter all sorts of sicknesses.

3. Over tensed becoming emotional.

a) Social stresses in view of civilized society.
b) Job related or mental stresses.
c) For a person suffering mental stress, a temporary release of stress may lead to death. This is known as the syndrome of imperfect adrenal cortex function.

4. Physical Stress.

a) Before any operation it would be necessary to check whether the renal cortex does function normally. If the adrenal cortex is lacking, or if the stress imposed by the operation exceeded the ability of adrenal cortex to cope, it could lead to death or other adverse impacts.
b) If the patient's face is puffy, it would be necessary to ask for the detailed patient's medical history and medication status. For patients taking adrenal cortical hormone, extra care should be exercised when acupuncture treatment is given.
c) Avoid stress due to physical labour or excessive exercise, or playing card games and driving through out the night etc.

Appendix: Acidity/alkalinity of Common food stuff

1. Strongly acidic food: egg yolk, cheese, cake baked with white sugar or persimmon, mullet fish roe, dried cod, etc.

2. Mildly acidic food: ham, bacon, chicken meat, squid, pork, eel, beef, bread, wheat, butter, horse meat.

3. Weakly acidic food: white rice, peanut, beer, alcohol, fried tofu, sea weeds, clam, octopus, catfish, etc.

4. Weakly alkaline food: red bean, radish, apple, cabbage, onion, tofu etc.

5. Mildly alkaline food: dried radish, soya bean, carrot, tomato, banana, orange, pumpkin, strawberry, egg white, dried plum, lemon, spinach, etc.

6. Strongly alkaline food: grape, tea leave, wine, kelp sprout, kelp, etc. Especially natural green algae which contain rich quantity of chlorophyll are very good alkaline health food, but avoid drinking tea in excess, and it's best to drink in the mornings.

It's a Blessing to you if you pass this on! Thank you. God Bless You!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Malakoff Run 2009

If I managed to carefully remember why I signed up for this run was, because the event took place relatively near to my house. The second main reason why I signed up was, to grab some additional ‘event mood’, as a preparation for a boost start for 2010 season. Without any races properly selected and scheduled throughout the months, one would easily get bitten by M bug again.

Where the event took place.

So, I signed up, and turned up at the event location with a peaceful feeling that I can run that 12km regardless of what the timing was going to be. However, it was something down there that was giving me a torture for the first most important half an hour timing window on that lovely Sunday morning.

I lost all the focus I needed for the run.

I even lost the mood to snap many photos that morning.

Well, to start off the story, I arrived at the equestrian resort 20 minutes before the gun off, after doing a 10 minutes warm up run from where I parked. It was still pitch dark, but so many runners were already there. Some rushed to the toilet, some just hang around with friends, while some were already at the starting line. In the havoc darkness, I managed to meet few friends I know, said hi and we shared good luck wishes with each other.

Bro Ayet and his buddies.

With Din and TSB.

No Kenyan runners this time. These runners were already standing at the start line half an hour before the start, or maybe earlier than that.

Managed to spot Shuk. He was already sweating out, indicating that he had done a good warm up. I lost him after the first 1 minute of the gun off.

I would say the organizer did a very well job, noticeably on the emcee part as the vibe of the race morning was kept high in the air with the continuous announcements made by her. The PA system was very good too, that I believe everyone in the 300m radius could hear her very clearly. Well done.

If I’m not mistaken, there were four portaloos, two for each gender, prepared for the runners. But the queue, OMG! I guess the organizer could do better in the future by doubling or tripling up the facility. Let say if on average one person spends 1 minute in the portaloo for a small leak, just imagine if you are at the back of the queue with 20 more runners in front. Can you wait?

10 minutes before gun off was where I started to feel the torture. There was something inside me that can’t wait any longer to get out.

Anyway, the count-down which then followed by the gun off was done right on time at 7am. Feeling very uncomfortable, I started my stopwatch as I stepped on the timing mat (we all had the timing chip strapped on our shoes for time recording) and began my run with the crowd.

The run route along that Jalan Beringin was about 30% ~ 40% hilly. Thank goodness for the few trail runs I did earlier, tackling the hills this time on the road was not that tough. At least that was what I feel, with my slow pace running.

As much as I wanted to make this 12km run a fast one, I can’t focus on my run for the first 20 minutes. With every few steps I took, I was praying that I can find a place to relieve. At one point, I almost wanted to just give up. It was painful. I’ve seen many runners took a small leak behind trees, or bushes, or behind bus stops during marathon, but for a big leak as was in my case, no, no, no. No bushes or trees can be my savior that morning. I need a proper toilet.

Only after 20 minutes running, I went to settle what I needed to settle the most. Thanks to the security guards at TM building alongside Bandar Damansara who allowed me to use their toilet. So, I lost a good 4 minutes there. Then after, I get back into the running, smiling this time.

Ok, now I can start to enjoy the run and start taking some photos, the two things I wanted to do that morning. Searching for the toilet was not supposed to be in the plan. But sometimes, shit happens to be forcing you into the state where even the strongest of all brain and body cannot control it any longer. You just need to let the shit it go.

Please pardon my language.

To cut story short, I was unable to run in my best mental state condition. So, I took it pretty leisurely and just log it as one of my LSD training. I did not go all out, but I still pushed up my pace once in a while, here and there.

“I like men chasing me”. Now, where can I find a tee that says “I don’t like to run, so stop chasing me!”?

I saw one uncle running shoe-less.

Thank you TM (where I spent 4 minutes settling my ‘business’).

Randomly shooting those running behind me.

If I’m the one who is pancit, who to call?

Checking my time as I passed through the first loop, I know I can just forget about my aim to clock sub 1 hour. Clocking a sub 1 hour means, I should maintain a running speed of 12km/hr, or pace-wise, I should maintain a 5min/km pace. I was half a minute pace slower than that. Argghh.. geramnya!!!

Tu la, sapa suruh malas buat interval training?

On the last biggest climb in the first loop, I even dropped to a walking pace for a while as I lost my breath. But, I made a promise to myself that I won’t walk again after that on the second loop, which I proudly managed to do.

The biggest climb of the day, where many had to surrender into walking.

As I reached the top, I took another shot while looking back at the long inclination I just ran up.

Getting back towards the equestrian club where the finishing line was, I had a second boost and started to makan sayur bayam sayur kangkung sayur kubis sayur bendi sayur timun sayur togeh another few runners. If only I can run that fast from the starting line all the way, sigh.

The view as I ran towards the finishing line.

Though I’m feeling shy to put up my unofficial timing here, but for the sake of logging my race, here’s my timing:

Total time including toilet break: 1h14m28s
Total time excluding toilet break: Should be around 1h10m, or faster (so I hope).

Anyway, this will be a new benchmark for myself. I want to be able to run faster than this though.

As usual, after the race is where we have the opportunity to meet and make new friends. I mingled around after collecting the medal and returning the race chip, chatting with friends and catching up on each other while taking more shots here and there. I was also proud that three of my ex-schoolmates joined the 7km run for their first time. Well done to them all. Join me in more race events in the future ya!

We used to share 2 years in our lifetime studying at the same place, back in 1994-1995.
We all managed to sedut perut for the photo shoot, except for that preggy mother. Kesian dia, ahahaha.

Very organized ‘one-way’ street done by the organizer. Starting with chip return and medal collection counter, to a fruit counter, to food counters and exit.

At one glance I thought we have to follow our categories to get the food, which was cool. But on a closer look, there were four menus combination that we can choose, double cool!

Azmar, AJ and Bacin.

The Chap Ayam Runners with their usual post-race gathering. Their numbers are growing big as we speak.

ShahM in the middle. Thanks for visiting my blog. And nice to meet you too.

As a short side note, I always and only consider my blog readers as blog readers and as friends, and never as blog stalkers or whatsoever which may hold some negative meanings. There was one occasion where I felt so much offended when I approached one blogger and introduced myself, and that blogger said “Hey, you stalk my blog ah?”. Anyway, it was an old story and I’m sure that does not represent all bloggers. So don’t worry, please do come and say hi to me if you happen to see me at any event. I would love to meet in person all my blog readers, as I’m sure there are plenty of things we can share and learn from each other.

I’m not sure whether I dislike putting high target to myself, or whether I dislike short distance running like this one (because I cannot run that fast). But, there was something bothering my mind with my poor performance last Sunday morning that I hammered myself hard on yesterday’s training with a 50 minutes fast running covering three big laps at Taman Kebun Bunga here in JB (should be at least 9.5km or so), followed by a 40 minutes swimming session.

Now I feel relieved and thus, managed to blog this up.

With the NB Pacesetters 30km run coming in fast, it’s time to clock more LSD runs. There’ll be only three weekends left.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back To The Road

Since after Raya, looks like I’ve been running more on trails than on road. From my first experience doing trail run, it’s difficult to resist the invites for another trail run. Not that I’m from a good running background, but I can testify, if I may, that trail running has more fun-to-boring ratio, as compared to road running.

Saying that, my occasional weekdays run training are still done on the road. I dare not to venture deep into any trails alone, so running on the road is much safer. My trusty Adidas Adizero LT is already showing her sign of aging, as I only have that pair of road running shoes up until today.

Malakoff 12km run which I’m going to attempt this coming Sunday, will only be my second ‘road-run-only’ attempt. The first one was the KLIM 42km run, i.e. marathon. Such a berserk, don’t you think? Tonggang terbalik. Maybe I was too greedy.

Anyway, I’m not really sure what to target for this Malakoff Run. Of course, as always my core target is to finish the event, injury free. By injury free means, despite of the relatively short distance of 12km, I still need to clock sufficient training for it.

Will I go for the speed? Hmm, I’ll do my best. I’ll be amazed if I can do a sub 1:00hr run. And I’ll be more than happy just to be able to finish the race.

Also, I’ll be running there with my camera, once again. I kinda enjoy the shoot ‘n’ run thingy.

I was holding my ‘gun’, ready to shoot n run.
This was during the recent Salomon X-trail run.
[Photo courtesy of KKPacers' Picasaweb album]

Getting into 2010, there’ll be the 30km run event in January, and followed by the night marathon in February. There’s also another night marathon by the end of March. Not sure about triathlon race calendars yet though, haven’t got time to do an extensive web surfing. The spirit is high now, as if I want to participate in everything.

But, surely I won’t do everything on the plate of 2010. I might try to pick few local triathlon events, and perhaps might venture into a eco-challenge kind of event, and… hmm, we’ll see how it goes. The bigger plan is for February 2011, insyaAllah.

Anyway, having said all that, it’s time to hit the road once again. With the 30km run and marathon events coming up in few months time, I might need another pair of road running shoes to endure the many-more-to-come future LSDs training. I've also resumed taking Glucosamine + Chondroitin Sulphate and Calcium + Magnesium supplements for my joints.

Last but not least, Good Luck & All The Best to all who is participating in this coming Malakoff Run, whether the 6km or 12km categories. Don’t forget to say hi to me if you happen to overtake me on the run ya! I’ll be ready with my camera.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Batu Dam Trail Run

Batu Dam (Empangan Batu) was where the final group trail run for 2009 took place. Off late since we started the first monthly series of trail run in September, I’ve ran quite a few trails, and each of them gave me different experiences, and most importantly, more opportunities to make and meet with more friends. I would also say that my shoot ‘n’ run expedition began with my first attempt of trail running.

And this time at Batu Dam, I did not waste the chance to shoot ‘n’ run again.

I was the first to arrive, at 0645hrs, with no other visible souls around me in the darkness dawn by the Batu Dam.

Fong, being the host this time around, arrived on time at 0700hrs and she directed me to park at the rowing training area. That’s the place she calls her second home. The air was fresh, and the view was truly awesome.

The ergo machines facing the amazing view. Now I know what motivates them to keep on ergo-ing for hours each day. The view was so breathtaking.

As I finished making my short tour around the area, I was surprised to see more and more people turned up to join us running the trail. At first, I thought it would only be four or five of us. But in the end, 18 people of all ages and fitness levels came to have a great morning. This number did not include another four of those who couldn’t make it. Or else, the force that morning would be 22. How glad I was to see so many people turned up.

5 minutes to 0800hrs, we started off with some light stretching to make the muscles ready for the beatings thereafter. We also had a brief self introduction to which I regretted for not recording a video of the session, as I can’t recall all their names as soon as we finished.

Fong and Bacin who had run this trail few times before, were chosen to be the lead runners, and they gave us some basic information about what we were going to experience. Grim Duo (Shaqi and Daud a.k.a Che) volunteered to be the very loyal sweepers, making sure no one gets left behind.

Stretching session, which then followed by some basic briefing on the strategies of the trail run.

Compulsory group photo. All 18 of us.
I wish I remember all their names.
Nice to meet you all!

We kicked-off at 0800hrs, lead by Fong.

From the parking area, we started off by entering the dam area and ran on a tarmac. From here, we started to enjoy the great sceneries Batu Dam offers to her visitors. In fact, this is my first time being at a dam this close. The golden shine of the morning sun added a bonus for my shots that morning.

What a fresh morning!

Soon after, we started to run just by the edge of the dam before entering the single trail track. I didn’t waste any chance to capture these beautiful sceneries of friends running along the dam, with the background of the green mountains and blue skies. I personally love these few shots.

The third photo is my personal favorite.

Entering the single track, we all ran in single file. The pace was very good that all 18 of us managed to stick closely to each other during almost the entire flat trail. Except for me, who had to run at the back, in the middle and at the front like a mad chicken, in order to capture some running moments.

Sometimes I had to run far ahead and standby at the front to take a shot like this…

… and most of other times when I get tired, I just settled at the back for this kind of shots.

Having done few trail runs this year, I would say this Batu Dam has the longest flat trail out of all. It’s a good place for a beginner trail runner to try on something new.

If there was something new about Batu Dam trail other than the magnificent view of the dam itself is that, we had to cross few clear streams. I did not think twice when I came into the first stream we had to cross, and there goes my dry shoes. From then onwards, some of us started to run with heavy wet shoes.

The first stream of clear water we had to cross. Some smarter ones chose to keep their shoes dry, by stepping on the stones. Pretty tricky though, but they are professionals for sure.

At this opportunity, we had some quick break while waiting for everybody to cross the stream. Time to catch some breather and re-hydrate the body. Although we did not feel the hot sun shining directly on our skins while running under the shade of the trees, it’s always important to stay hydrated.

Whether you are a strong runner or not, we’ll wait for the last person to arrive, before continuing the run.

Hanya sekadar lakonan semata-mata.

Having crossed the second stream, we started to face some climbs (not my favorite). This is where we generally start to see few runners slowing down, as running uphill is always a challenging task. Know your own pace, and you’ll be able to move yourself forward smoothly without having left behind some internal organs like the lungs or kidneys.

Time to go up!

Batu Dam trail is also not as tactical as what I experienced while running at Kiara trail. And the climbs here are not as much as at Kiara too. With every climbs, there surely be downhill. With a combination of focused mind, carefully chosen steps and a bit of balancing, one can breeze down almost effortlessly. Strong ankle and knee provides better confidence while running down for sure.

Enjoying running the downhill.

1 hour into the running, we arrived at the end of the trail portion of our run that morning. We regrouped and it was time to vote and decide which way we should return to base. First option was to re-run the trail back, which will take another hour. And the second option was to run on the trunk road, with a promise of reaching the base in half an hour.

At first, some raised their hands to the option of running back the trail. But as soon as Syah mentioned that he needs to rush back for another responsibility, we all agreed to run on the trunk road. So, road run it was.

Towards the trunk road.

With a full force of 18 runners, running on a relatively small trunk road put us at some kind of risk. Understanding that, we ran against the traffic direction, and tried our best to run in one big group, in single file.

“Left, right, left, right, left, right….”
I wonder what the road users thought upon seeing us.

Having ran 1 hour in the trail beforehand, the attempt to run on the road for that short distance of 4km-ish (I think) back to the base was like forever. I know it would only be half an hour run, but it just felt long. Some runners were left behind as the front pack guys pushed their way. These guys were strong, physically and mentally.

As for me? I tried my best to keep following the front pack. At one point, I even wanted to shout at the leader to ask them to stop for another quick breather and wait for the back packers. However, I hold my thought and chose for another option – to push my self harder and see if I can keep up with the faster runners.

The least I could say, I managed to stay in the front pack, at the back though.

My stopwatch was showing a running time of 1.5hours. What a good workout.

About 10 minutes later, all 18 of us safely arrived back at the rowing area. We then headed to the pontoon for the cooling down session. Yeah, cooling ourselves down by submerging our legs into the water. And notwithstanding the strength to resist the temptation for a dip, few of us dived for a minute or two.

Cooling down.

For those who experienced over-heating, a full submerge might be necessary.

They didn’t bring spare clothes to change, or else they’ll be among the first to jump in.

It was another great adventure running the trail at Batu Dam. And it was such a great pleasure to meet some of these new friends. May more monthly trail runs be organized in 2010, as I look forward for more shoot ‘n’ run adventures with many more friends.

Feel free to join us for our next trail runs ya! Don’t be shy.

To view the best 111 photos (out of total 127) I took during our last trail run of 2009, please click below. Feel free to leave your comments if you like. You may also copy any photos if you want. Let’s spread this healthy living lifestyle. Enjoy!