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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cool Time Trial Video

Making full use of the nice (i.e. not raining) weather, I ran up and down the stairs at the stadium for three days consecutively. I now feel a little bit like a zombie, literally speaking. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – each day I hammered the stairs and tried to push myself a little bit further. Come to the third day, I even had to cancel my weekly night ride as I felt like not having any more energy in the legs to spin the crank.

It was not because of muscle soreness (glad that I didn’t have any until now), but it was just pure lethargy I guess. So, the next best thing to do is to rest as to let the muscle to re-gain its strength.

And for being a bit side-tracked into running more than cycling, I am seriously lacking in my cycling mileage (and swimming too). I needed some extra boost of motivation to get me going back again at cycling. Last night, I noticed there's already some spider webs on my bike. How bad it is.

Once upon a time, when I cycled 140km from Kg. Melayu Majidee, to Tg. Sedili.
I posted about it here.

I found this cool video on the net, enjoy!

[Avery Trace Cycling Classic - Part 3 (time trial/crazy bike mount testing) from Warren Kommers on Vimeo].

Yeah, I need to get back to cycling, soon.
I miss the long rides.
And one day I wish I can make a nice video of my cycling trips, or races.
Anybody wants to sponsor me a Contour HD camera?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tackling the Stairs

Something might be wrong with my biological calendar right now as I easily lost tracks with what’s happening in the near future. Previously I used to use tiny sticky notes upon sticky notes on my calendar as to show my agenda, especially for the weekends.

It shocked me a big time yesterday when I had this phone conversation with a friend who upon sharing his Penang Bridge Marathon story, he asked me of what I have in plan.

Him: “I’m looking for a running buddy this weekend coz soon I’ll be running for Singapore marathon pulak. Are you free this weekend?”

Me: “Hmm, this weekend is the Raya Haji la, I’ll be going to my in-laws’ hometown. What about the week after that? Maybe we can do something?”

Him: “Wei, the week after that is already the Singapore marathon la bro.”

Me: “Ooh, I see.” (I was still blur at this moment)

Him: “Bro, have you not registered yourself for Salomon X-trail run?”

Me: “Yes I have. Why?

Him: “But that Salomon run is on the same date as Singapore marathon.”

Me: “What? Really ah? Ayoyo. I thought I still have three weeks to go.”

That’s how blurry I am now. Mostly due to the increasing job loads I received, on top of the back log of unsettled ones which I got since the weeks earlier. Facts and tasks and dates (deadlines, races, events, blablabla) where jumbled up in my brain and I didn’t bother to jot down any of them. Thus, more blurry of me.

Anyway, focusing on the Salomon X-Trail run I’m going to attempt in less than two weeks time, I tried something new on my training menu. Instead of plodding more on the tarmac, I tackled the stairs.

Running up the stairs should equally simulate the uphill run on the trail, so I hope.

Yesterday was the first time in my own little history to run on a field track, inside the football stadium. I ran 2km as a warm up, and sure enough circling the track 5 times was so monotonous. Running outside on the road is much better than this.

After the warm up, I started running up and down on the stairs at one portion of the seating area. I did not count the total number of steps on that stairs, I just put a mental note on how long of the duration I can last running them up and down non-stop.

I was surely huffing and puffing in the first few minutes. I took small steps as not to fall into anaerobic state of exercise if I were to do big and slow steps. Getting into anaerobic state will just burst out more lactic acid in your muscles.

Extra care should be taken while running down the stairs, as weakening leg muscles will cause you to crumple and fall down. Same thing when running on a downhill. So, go slow on your way down (unless you’ve trained hard for it)

After about 10 minutes or so, I took a short break to re-hydrate myself. Never did I think running up and down stairs would be so demanding on one’s fitness. I was already drenched out with sweat, indicating a good workout. So I hope.

Not feeling enough with that, I continued running up and down the whole upper level portion of the whole stadium, 360 degrees. Well, putting aside the roofed area, perhaps it was only 300 degrees or so. Ran up one stairs, ran to the neighboring stairs, then ran down, then up again on another neighboring stairs. Repeat until all stairs were covered.

No, this is not the actual stadium where I ran yesterday. Just want to give you some rough idea on what I meant by neighboring stairs in between the seatings.

The seating of this particular stadium has lower level (from ground, up 20 steps or so), and the upper level (from the top of lower level, all the way up to the most top (another 20steps or so).

I tried my best to run up and down non-stop, but my fitness level didn’t allow that to happen yet. Total training time yesterday was only 50minutes. I’ll try again another few times this week, and next week. I might try to push myself a little bit further. We’ll see if this new training menu (kind of a crash-course to me) can help me survive the Salomon X-trail with considerably good timing, and injury free.

Hmm, I still feel like 6 December is in another three weeks time. I don’t know why.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kiara X-Trail Run

It was so exhausting to run and shoot photos at the same time. But it was fun!

Time was really not on my side this time around to share my tales about the Kiara Trail run we had last Saturday morning. Taking Monday a day off from work to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, resulted in me having to read and reply loads of work emails which causes a delay for me to write this post up.

Anyway, after experiencing the fun of being a cameraman during a race/event (i.e. Genting Trailblazer), I decided to do it again for this Kiara trail run, i.e. to run and shoot.

My day started pretty early and I was already prepped up and ready at Kiara park by 7am. I purposely went earlier so that I can do a warm up run around the park. When I coincidently met Syah who had just done 6 laps, we did another lap together. The park was already filled up with healthy living people, doing tai chi, running along, or just walking. The weather was nice too.

Warm up run with Syah

By 7.15am, many of them have turned up at the parking area where we promised to meet. Everyone was very excited for this run. Some of them were about to do their first time trail running. Very impressive effort indeed, as the trail we were about to do was tough, and the distance was quite far (about 14km). Kudos to them. We then started off our session with a group stretching

The weekend warriors
(Me excluded, I was only taking photos)

New lesson learnt here. All this while, when I do any stretching, never did I do anything longer than a count of ten seconds. But, Ian shared with us that the right way to stretch is to pull or push our muscles until they reach the first point of resistance (no need to push/pull so extensively), and hold it for 20 seconds. I will surely practice this from now onwards. The stretching session lasted for a good 15 minutes and by 0730hrs, it was time to roll out!

Stretching – a must do before and after any work outs. Flexible muscles are stronger than inflexible ones.

I once run a very short loop of this Kiara trail when I first run a trail, but what we ventured this time was much deeper and further, and more challenging. The twelve of us began our journey, trailing the slightly-muddy single track, headed by our main trail trekker, Daud.

Daud taking the lead from the start, till the end. We just followed him.

The first portion of the trail was pretty tough for me, as I remembered we were required to run on the tactical muddy and stony track, uphill all the way for the first 30minutes or so. And being a cameraman this time around, I tried my best to capture everybody in action, thus, requiring me to sometimes be at the most front and at the middle of the pack, and sometimes at the back. Torturously fun!

Too bad, due to poor lighting in the jungle and with the limitation on my digital camera, some of the photos turned up to be very blurry.

All the way up for the first 30minutes.

Some portion of the trail served us with obstacles like these.

The front pack taking a short break while waiting for the others.

At our first re-gathering point. Time to catch some breather, and of course, group photos!

Since not everybody can run as fast as the front pack, we agreed to wait at every main junction ahead. Running trail can be a bit dangerous where one can easily lost track since we mainly focus our views looking down on the tracks we are running on, and not paying much attention on the surrounding and the direction.

That’s why I think to run a trail safely, the more runners the better. As for us, we did stop at main junctions, but when we came to smaller junctions along the route, at least one person from the front pack would wait and make sure the others at the back follow the right junction. This is a pretty same method when doing long distance cycling, when not everybody (especially those who cycle at the back pack) are familiar with the cycling route.

At our first main junction. Daud was making sure which way to proceed.

After the first junction, we started to run at a wider track where we could see some rubber trees. We also could start to enjoy some downhill trails. Such a relief after the strenuous uphill run we did earlier. From then onwards, the terrain were mix with up and down hills, and some little flat portions.

A little bit of up hills…

Turbo-ing on the flat terrains…

… and flying (literally) on the down hills.

A shot of the cameraman in action
(Yes, I was only acting!)

I can’t really remember how many junctions we have taken, and I’ve lost track on the timing from one point to another. Out of a sudden, we came out to a bright area where to my surprise, I saw a highway and a glimpse of a toll plaza. Who knows, we were actually standing on top of the Penchala Link’s tunnel.

All the happy faces. The fact is, no one ever thought or knew that we were running on top of the tunnel.

We then continued our run into a slightly thicker terrain. Some areas of the track were mainly covered with grass, dead leaves and small bushes, indicating that the trail has not been touched for quite a while. The jungle gets thicker too.

Not far later, we reached the first hut (pondok), and soon we reached another abandoned pondok at a point where we all thought the trail was blocked with a water pond. I could see a worried look on Daud’s face, but he went to back track left and right and confirming with the maps he hold that we can still proceed with another way around the water pond.

The abandoned pondok.

While the lead was busy making sure which way to proceed, the other followers were busy chatting and laughing. No one seemed to be tired.

There was a small stream we needed to cross.

Right after the stream, steep climb awaited us.

Finished with the steep climb, we reached an open space where we could see some housing construction taking place. I bet the foreign workers were surprised to see a group of people came out from one side of a jungle, crossing their construction area, and headed up to climb the staggered cliff to disappear again into another side of another jungle.

The open space of construction area we stumbled upon, and the staggered cliff we climbed shortly after that and disappeared into another jungle.

Whenever I drive by a highway and see this kind of staggered cliffs (I don’t know the actual term for it), I always dreamed of climbing it up. I was glad that another dream came through.

With no foot steps for traction, and no ropes to hold on to, you just need to figure up your own way to move upwards.

I was surprised again to get to another point with great scenery of Hartamas, Damansara and KL from the hill. We stopped for a while to catch another breather, hydrated ourselves, and fighting with the hungry mosquitoes having our blood as their breakfast.

Another chance for a group photo.

We continued further and at this time, I was already so tired that I can’t think of which setting to select on my camera to get a good picture (i.e. to off the auto-flash, to select the sports-mode, etc). I kept on running with almost an empty fuel tank, but fully determined to capture few more photos of friends in action before I totally get bonked.

Refer back to the most top photo, where I had to stop to cool down my engine a little bit. This time it was not acting, I was really exhausted.

Few kilometers later, we arrived at an area full of fern trees. Daud said this area is known as the Twin Peak. Daud stopped here just so we can snap more group photos. Yeah, running in big group like this will assure you full of joy and excitements.

After a short group photo break, we continued running in the fern jungle. My camera went dead, luckily I came prepared with another set of fully charged battery.

From then onwards, we were welcomed with more down hills. Good enough for the tired legs because we can make use of the gravity to help pull us running downwards. On our way down, we met few mountain bikers and as we passed each other, we smiled and greeted everyone to have a good, safe and enjoyable morning.

Vroom-ing their way up.

I wonder whether this signage is meant to warn the humans, or the animals.

At last we reached the tarmac area, a familiar place for me as I’ve run few times here before. Just as I thought (actually I wished for it) we could make our way back to the park and end the run, they all decided to go the opposite side and dashed through another portion of trail. Nothing much I can do (takkan nak jerit-jerit protest pulak kan), I continued taking few more shots (and yes, while running with them lah).

One of the many frames of my multi-shots attempt.

Final part of the trails we had to run through before reaching back to the car park.

Finally, all of us reached the car park after about 2.5hours having fun running the trail. The bonus was that nobody get injured.

These guys are good bunch of people. Kash and Rais brought us cold watermelons, Shuk sponsored a big ice box full of 100Plus can drinks and mineral water, Syah came with his chicken-dok (a version of cekodok, but filled with chicken) and Ian shared with us something from his Fitness Kitchen, the salad roll.

Post-run refueling activities.

As always, we chit chat while filling up our hungry tummies, keeping track of what’s coming ahead and sharing experience and of course, laugh laugh laugh. I had to leave them early as I have to start playing my role as a weekend husband and daddy. My weekend had just started.

All in all, it was a good workout and good trail run training, and definitely a great fun! They’ll be arranging for monthly trail run similar to this (perhaps in different location), and by all means, all are invited to join.

My personal note: This is as good as a race event!

OK, you can have a rest now.

P/s: To see all the photos I took, go here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sneak Preview - Kiara Trail Run

L-R: Shakhir, EnAikAY, Meng, Doris, Kash, Shaqi, Syah, Ian, Shuk.
Daud came shortly after we snap this photo.
This is at the starting line (Kiara Park's parking area)

At our first quick stop point.

On top of Penchala Link's tunnel.

Enjoying the view of Hartamas and Klang Valley from far.

At Twin Peak's fern jungle.

Guys, go grab your photos at above link for your blogs.
Feel free to leave your comments there (at Picasa).
Click the slideshow to view the total 205 photos I took.

My story will come up later, InsyaAllah.
(When I can spare more time for it lah)

And you read the story behind it here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spring In The Leg

This whole week I’ve been out to train every evening in my effort to get back to train much more seriously as compared to the previous couple of months. I ran in three evenings, and cycled yesterday night. Not wanting to put additional running pressure to my running muscles, I skipped the planned run today and I as a substitute, I skipped.

Yeah, I skipped. You know, using the skipping rope as we Malaysians know it.

But the standard jargon for it is, rope jumping.

I totally cannot remember when was the last time I did rope jumping. Must have been more than 3 or 4 years ago. I was surprised I still can do rope jumping, not only the forward rope jump, but I also did the double rope jump (double spin of the rope with one jump), cross-over jump, and also the reverse rope jump.

It was fun and after 45 minutes of leg springing actions, I was as drenched out as if I’ve just ran 5km or more. What a good way to sweat out and laugh at my own self.

Equipped with my digital camera, a small tripod and a jumping rope I borrowed from my colleague, I enjoyed my evening outside my office making my first self-documentary.

The title of my first little movie is called,

EnAikAY Went Skipping.

Hope you enjoy it.
(Promise me you won’t laugh ok!).

video

Switching It Off

Starting something new from scratch is a tough deal.

Maintaining something we’ve been doing surely demands for hard core motivation and dedication, before that something turns into a habit.

To slow down or stop doing that something is one of the easiest things to do. You don’t even need to give 3 reasons for stopping.

And, you need to leap another big stone if you decided to re-do what you have stopped doing, and inject as much motivational dose to yourself to keep on going.

I’m talking about my off-season mode in this multisport arena.

When I decided to slow down, which started when fasting month came, I opted to slow down on my training because there weren’t much of appropriate time to push for training. I was glad that I was still able to do couple of gym sessions per week, and at least one session cycling on trainer. I guess that should be good enough to keep me actively idle.

When fasting month was over, I slowly kicked start some running activity since that was the easiest discipline among all. You just need your running shoes, and some appropriate sports attire to make you comfortable at running. The tarmac is yours!

And since then, I always bring my running shoes along just in case if the weather and body condition and mood permits, I can pound some distance on the road.

I have a confession though. I hate running.

Well, it is not that kind of hate-anger kind of thing, but more like a ‘hate-but-it’s-good’. Saying “I like doing the thing I hate” won’t sound right either. But, it is some where in that lines.

I do have certain target to achieve in my running performance, and surely I have to work hard for it. Looking at my secret training log, I am still far away to achieving that target.

I have to expand my limit envelope, making it bigger, pushing my threshold higher, one at a time. I know I can go further, only if I work harder.

I’m switching my off-season mode, OFF!

EnAikAY, time to roll out!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

HTTP vs HTTPS

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Ptotocol, which is a protocol for information to be passed back and forth between the Internet and your machine (computer).

If you are visiting a website or webpage, and the web address begins with http://, it means that the website is using the regular 'unsecured' language. In other words, it is possible for someone to 'eavesdrop' on your computer's conversation with the website.

HTTPS - The 'S' stands for 'Secure' Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.

If the website address begins with https://, that basically means that your computer is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can eavesdrop on.

Hence, if a website asks you to enter your credit card information or bank account details, you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with https://. If it doesn't, DO NOT PROVIDE any sensitive information like a credit card number.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Failure and Success

I was not born as an athlete, but I just like to be active and do lots of sports. For me, doing sports is fun, ever since when I was a kid. However, the kinds of sports which I did during school were those played-at-court types of sports, like hockey, volleyball, tennis, and such. Not much (or maybe never) did I do endurance sports like long distance running or cycling.

So, I failed a lot of times since I started doing endurance training or sports. For example, let’s take a look on my running history.

Looking back through my own blog when I started my first day or running back in July 2007, I can’t even run continuously for 3km. It felt pathetic at the beginning. Even 1km felt very far a distance to run, even slowly. I tried running on the treadmill, as well as at the indoor gym. Not being able to do as what I wanted to do, I took that as my first failure.

I kept trying to run further, very slowly building my mileage and endurance months after months (I was not so consistent in training though, mainly just to kill the time). Only about three months later that I can run continuously for 3km. OK, one step up. From not being able to run continuously, then I can run continuously for the same distance. But I still failed to run further.

Even 9 months after my first attempt or running, I was still not able to run 7km non stop. Another failure you can say?

In July 2008, I attempted my first triathlon event which was the PD triathlon. My very first triathlon event was an Olympic distance event. After swimming and cycling, it was time to do my first 10km run. And I failed miserably as I can’t run continuously throughout the course. And my time for that 10km run, not worth mentioning at all. One more failure.

Fast forward to another year, in June 2009, I completed my first marathon, a 42km distance which I somehow suffered a bit, and had to recover for a week or two to nurse my aching knees and legs. I didn’t even run all the way during the marathon. Had to walk for few kilos due to the fatigue. Fail again.

Similar stories for my swimming and cycling journey. Lots of failures over the years since I first started.

Why did I keep on mentioning about failures here? Have I not be successful even once?

Because for me, failure is very subjective as it reflects to what our expectations about success is. We all have high expectation towards ourselves, don’t we? And knowing that I’ve failed so many times, I know I have to keep on doing something to improve myself for a better success.

So what should I do then?

The answer is simple, but doing it is one of the most difficult thing to do.

Never Give Up

Perhaps, the best general formula would be,

“Failures + Never Give Up = Success”

P/s: Reading some of my initial posts in this blog since back in 2007, made me smile…