Thursday, 27 September 2012

Brooks Frunner : Putting that "Gly" on that Glycerin shoe.

Glycerin, oh Glycerin. I've always had this strange obsession with you the first time I set my eyes on you. Well, mainly because I need a better cushioning shoe to cater for my heavy duty runs and my full marathons. Although I'm quite loyal to my GTS11, as time goes by I realised that I change my running style a bit needed a little extra cushioning for those heavy pounds on the road. But also I needed something light and not too bulky.

Brooks Glycerin 8. My lovely trainers won Runner's World Editor's Choice Award. 
 I was introduced to the Glycerin 8 previously and slowly transition to a more neutral and cushioning shoe. This was done in prep before my virgin full marathon at Sundown Singapore and Standard Chartered KL Marathon this year. Although it looks bulky, but in reality it's very light and it really gives the sensation of "floating".

OK, you won't fly. That I can guarantee.
Putting my Gly 8 to the test. Virgin Full Marathon in hard pouring  rain at Sundown Singapore 2012. 
During Sundown when I wore it for my first virgin Full Marathon, it carried me through a quite unforgiving route with the additional thunder storm thrown in. Generally, I was all wet till I finally crossed the finish line. But the shoes still coped well and zero blisters!

Float all the way to the finish line at SCKLM 2012. Photo courtesy of Wong Yi Bin.
Then in less than a month, I embarked on SCKLM Full Marathon with my trustee Gly 8 and again the "flotation" thing happen again. Sometimes I feel like I'm not wearing anything at all.
Oh...that horsey dance at KOTR 2012. Photo courtesy of Victor & Elaine.
 I usually reserve my Glycerin for competitive, long distance runs after that. I still wore them for LSD training and it still kinda looked brand new. I still find it surprisingly light for its size and the shoes always make me do funny things with it. I just had to try them out if it sustained the "Horsey Dance Test" and yes, it has passed it when I've had it tested in the last KOTR.

On the technical side, Brooks Glycerin series is ranked as a premium shoe at it's neutral shoe category. What makes it so light is it's Biomogo Midsole and Brooks DNA. Hence, why I feel so comfortable in them.  The energy return from these technologies are undeniable as you could feel them as you run with them.

Well, you have to try it to know it.

Glycerin 10 awarded " The Best Neutral Shoe" by Running Network for Fall 2012 
So when news broke out that the Brooks Glycerin 10 was launching, I got giddy and excited as usual. Finally when the shoes came in stores, I had to try it and give it a comparison with my Gly 8. It's definitely a different feel without sacrificing the built and weight. But one thing for sure, it's more plushier! It's like a pillow wrapped around your feet. It's also now Full DNA vs. the partial DNA in previous models; giving it even more cushioning and responsive energy return with every step.

It's no wonder it was awarded "The Best Neutral Shoe" by Running Network for Fall 2012.

I still itching to get a pair. Well there is 3 more days to think about it and don't forget about the Brooks Malaysia RM150 rebate that will be ending on the 30th September 2012.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

LSD-ing DragonBack ; of lonely long streets, cold misty views and dead snakes

It has been some time that I wanted to run along the infamous Dragon Back at Klang but I never had the chance to do so due to it's far away from home, it's tough rolling hills and I've been advised not to do it alone. So I've never really taken any initiate until Alvin Yap organized one LSD just recently at that route. 

At first I was excited cause finally I was able to run that route. But then again I was a little concern due to my lack of training recently. I wasn't sure if I can do this "much" hills. I'm this close of saying "I rather lay on bed on Sunday morning". But alas, I had to beat my sorry ass up cause I'm seriously not at my usual par.

Besides, I could just do an easy run/walk and enjoy the spectacular view of Dragon Back. 

The meet up point at SK Meru 2.
After planning the timing and logistics with Alvin a few days before, I started my journey at about 4.30am and took a slow drive to Klang. The meetup point was at SK Meru 2 at Jalan Paip, Klang. The journey took about an hour or so and I'm so blessed that we have GPS these days cause I'm sure I will be lost like a headless chicken to get there.

The morning was cold as we waited for Alvin and the other runners to arrive. Most of them are the regulars and I got to meet a few new faces (mostly from the Klang running group).

Alvin giving a quick briefing.
As most of the runners arrived, Alvin gave a quick briefing and intro. The Klang runners all seemed pro! I seriously feel like a small peanut.

After the briefing, we started about 6am while the others warmed up and waited for a few late comers.

The first part of the flats before Dragon Back. It's so quiet...
I started off with the first wave, not because I kiasu but because I am doing a slow run that day. At least I won't be so lonely when the other runners overtake me.

The first 2 km is pretty much flat. All we had was street lights guiding us through the long straight road. Some parts were not lit so I had to rely on my bearings a little.  My biggest mistake was not bringing my head light and safety light. I've never thought that it was gonna get this dark! But at least I had Sharon and the others to pace easily this part of the route. The regulars brought their lights; I felt safe a bit.

Alvin our portable water station boy. 
Perhaps the darkness is a blessing in disguise. I tell you why. First of all, you won't be able to see what is ahead of you, so expectations are minimal. After the flats, we were at the head of Dragon Back route and this is the beginning of the first rolling hill. It was dark,  no street lights and you can feel the elevation going up as you run. And then another and another and.... it just keeps going.

1/4 only!
Some parts of the road had street lights but I still can't tell vaguely how steep were the hills. Plus, I'm blind as a bat with no sonar powers. 30 minutes into the run, the sun started to rise and the street lights were off. Slowly I was able to tell how MASSIVE this route is and why is it called Dragon Back.

The whole route is just one straight road of hills and nothing more but more rolling hills! Hence the name Dragon's Back.
Ohhhh...MTB route anyone?
The first part of the route is pretty amazing to me. I thought I would be walking a lot but I ran all the way till the end; exceptional few stops for quick snaps. We passed Bukit Ramlee and it seems to be a MTB Trail for MTB cyclist. Perhaps one day I'll take my bike over here to venture.

The Dragon's Tail. 
As I continued on, some of the faster runners has already turned back and told us that this was the final hill. Yes! I made it half way through and was expecting some beautiful scenery at the U-turn point. NOT!

Pic at U-turn point.
As it turns out, it's just like another normal street with a few signboards. Sigh... so much of "end of rainbow" expectations. But I was still happy that I made it this far but was strangely thirsty. Even my spares were finished.
The saviour! Water when you most needed it!
Poor Alvin scarified his run that morning to meddle the water station. Thanks goodness he was close to the halfway point and started thrusting us with cups of water. Bless his soul. I quickly gobbled down my liquid before facing the next hill.

An incredible sight!
After reaching the top of the hill, I was stunned and amazed at the same time. The sun is bright enough to see the entire route and I cannot believe how many hills we've gone through! Hills after hills after hills. It seemed endless. Quite mind blowing actually.
It seems to never end.
From here onwards, I had to slow down a bit to take in the beautiful views. There were not many cars along the route and we felt like Kings conquering the road. The air was still cooling making the run more enjoyable.

Poor python. Looks like freshly made roadkill. 
Since it was already bright and I could see the road clearly, I got more "views" that I bargained for. The whole road is surprisingly filled with road kills. I've at least came across 4 dead snakes, one monitor lizard, one rat and (the most surprising of all) a dead tortoise. There was a joke on whether I should buy "number" after this encounter. Buy what I wonder; 4-4-4-4?

I've manage to identify 2 snakes, a baby python and a baby cobra. To call it baby is a little understated; judging by it's menacing length. Not long enough but enough to send chills to your spine. Imagine their parents looking close by from the oil palm and rubber estates along the road. Don't expect a warm welcome from them.

Thinking about it, I don't know how I got through the whole thing in the dark and some of the other runners were even barefooted!
More runners; colour coordinated. 
No time to hang around but just to continue with the journey. Along the way back, we saw more and more runners doing their morning run. A few cyclist were spotted as well. Think they are heading to the earlier mentioned Bukit Ramlee.

Looks intimidating but one has to go through it.
The hills got progressively steeper as we head back. Some looked very intimidating from afar but it's pretty okay if we've done Bukit Damansara regularly. Honestly after this ordeal, Bukit Damansara seems easy.

At least I can say I've been to this part of Klang.
After the last hill, we landed ourselves back to the flats. Finally! I think I'm done with hills for the day. I can speed up a little and meet up with the rest of the guys.

Beer at the end. NOT!
Most of the gang were already back making me one of the slow pokes. Well, I did say I ain't gonna push until I fully regain my stamina back. We were all greeted with a nice large cup of 100 Plus at the end and it was heaven! It has never tasted so bloody good. So much so I had 3 cups! Memang tak malu saya.

With the KL gang, Sharon and Soon Chung.
We hung around and talked a bit before heading off. Most are training for the upcoming PBIM where else me and Sharon are training for the upcoming Salomon X-Trail Run. We all had a great time and I will definitely want to come back here again for training.

A group photo before we left.
Dragon Back is a wonderful route for hill training and you won't easily get lost. The only thing is I advise is not to do it alone. Do it with at least a group of friends and have your hydration ready. There are a few small shops along the way if you want to purchase drinks or small bites. Bring a headlight and safety light if you are running before the crack of dawn. This is to alert drivers and to spot any snakes "crossing" the road. You don't want to be snake food!

As for me, besides the training I spotted a nice Nasi Lemak stall I found along the route. Ought to give it a try one day!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Athlete's Circle Malaysia Running Frenzy Promo

Sorry, but this may have come a little late to blog about it. Athlete's Circle Malaysia is having a Running Frenzy Promo from now till 29th September 2012. So do head on and check it out at their store at Jaya One, PJ or call them at 03-7960 2313 for more info. 

The CEP Compression Calf Guards and FITBAR are definitely a worth to  look at since I'm using it as well.
More reviews about them the next time round. 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Cycling round Janda Baik

Woohoo~! More cycling adventures!

Last week, Kenny and I were planning where we gonna cycle on our next cycling adventure. Mainly we want to destress from work and enjoy the long weekend as well. Janda Baik has been our mind for quite some time and we took the opportunity go venture there.

We started our journey pretty early. Kenny picked me up from my place at 6am and we quickly loaded our bikes on the back of his car.

Lock and load!
 While driving up, a heavy thunderstorm hit us. Oh dear, we thought what next. We've already reached Janda Baik but we helplessly drove around waiting for the rain to stop. We hung out at the Cheringin Hills Resort for a while but the rain just got heavier. In the end, we just decided to just head for an early breakfast at Andak's Place.

Yummy fresh Nasi Lemak. 
Andak's Place was just opening for business and their piping hot food was just leaving the kitchen. The aroma of Nasi Lemak is so mouth watering; especially eating during a cool, rainy weather. It was just so yummy. Having a nice breakfast as we waited for the rain to stop was just plain amazing.

Hi Gary, Where is Spongebob?
Amazing scenery after the rain.
Breakfast at Andak's Place.
The rain stopped about 8.15am and we quickly finished our food and drinks. We quickly set up our bikes and we officially started our journey by 8.45am.

The weather was pretty gloomy and the roads are still wet. But at least the wind is cooling making our ride enjoyable. Cycling around Janda Baik is filled serenity, peace and quiet.

We cycled around one of the inner loops (around 12-13km) of Janda Baik and also branched out to smaller roads to check out some spectacular views and recee some of the homestays and resorts that are available there.

Silly me. I got so excited fiddling around my camera and my newly D-I-Y monopod to capture some video that I've forgotten to get some info of the places that we went to. Anyway, enjoy the pictures of the resorts we visited but I can't tell you the name! (Shame me...)

Kenny wanted to jump in. A private pool at one of the resorts visited.
A Balinese concept Resort. Breathtaking.
Another resort with a "boat". Actually it's just a premium room for another resort. The boat aka room is actually standstill. And I'm just the additional garden deco statue wannabe. 
Passing Lorong Datok Panglima. 
As we are cycling along, we ventured into many small roads blindly to see where it would lead to. We came across this river bend and took the opportunity for some shots. Since it rained so heavily before, the river water is flowing quite rapidly that we couldn't cross over. No choice but to back track to somewhere else...

The usual faux paus picture with Kenny.
Of course I need one too!
 We continued on and headed to one of our intended locations. Saufiville Boutique Resort is located quite high above a hill and it takes about 2km to cycle up from their first signboard.

The first signboard.
Kenny and I made a bet and see how much can we cycle up hill until we have to get down and push our bikes. The hill is notoriously steep; averaging around 30-45 degrees. To us runners running uphill is quite daunting and we thought cycling up should be easier. How wrong we were!

Out of the 2km, we got off our bikes after 50M! How embarrassing but we had a good laugh. The hill was really steep.

Push our bikes into the clouds.
Amazing breathtaking views on the way up to Saufiville.
 I think it took us a good 30 minutes to push our bikes all the way up. The air is thin and breathing is hard. Not helping much as I was recording myself giving loads of gibberish commentary about going up the hill. But alas, the view on the top is rewarding.

Saufiville Boutique Resort is beautiful and extremely quiet. The resort only has 6 rooms available for guests to stay and the price range starts from RM260 onwards per night. Apparently there is an attached dorm available but I didn't check it out. Still out of breath.

One of the main highlights of the resort is the spectacular view from the terrace to see an amazing infinity pool against a mountain backdrop. It feels like heaven!

We had our short break of snacks and we headed straight down to "University of Life".

The infinity pool with a view; jawdropping!
 The "University of Life" is actually the home of political writer S.H. Alattas. We were actually fortunate enough to meet the man himself and helped ourselves to some food and drinks served. The compound of his house is huge and one can easily get lost. Mr. Alattas was busy with some matters but asked us freely walk around the compound.
Hi you lazy Kitty.
A short break and chat with Mr. Alattas himself. 
Walking round. This is just a tiny portion of his property!
A photo before we head off. 
 It was close to noon when we left the premises. Kenny and I decided we just need to clock in some mileage and cycle back into the inner loop before heading for lunch at Andak's again.

One of the many places we passed.
Done! Can't believe we cycled to all this places. Mostly just passed.
 It was fairly still an easy ride but at a faster pace. We passed many spots but only stop momentarily a few times for some photos and enjoy the view. We wanted to continue on but since we had a late start, we decided we shall leave it for next time.
Obligatory shot. :P
 We were back at Andak's by 1pm or so and had a quick lunch. But first, we need to wash our bikes clean. It was a tiring day of cycling. Although time went by fast, we surely enjoyed ourselves on those few hours. Sure was a good "de-stress" moment for the both of us.

Cleaning time!
And now the "silly" video I made with my so called DIY monopod attached to my handle bars. Don't mind me talking gibberish. I think the lack of oxygen had me rambling nonsense. :P

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