Tuesday 30 October 2012

Bukit Damansara Fun Run 2012 - A fun run, celebrating our female champion & cracking Bootcamp commands

Bukit Damansara Fun Run 2012 (BDFR for short) was a fun run held last Saturday during the long Raya Haji weekend that is organized by Decanter. Yes, the restaurant / pub / hangout place. I'm sensing there is a trend coming up with establishments like this organizing such fun runs that ends with a pint or two and great amount of food. Looks like MMT is having a run of its money. 

The DR (Dutamas Runners) gang has been talking about this run for a few good months. Especially if there is a free flow of beer and food involved. I couldn't join the run as I predicted that during the Haji Holidays I would be working (as it has always been for the last few years).

Nonetheless, I said I will pop by and support if I can leave work as early as I can that evening. 

Spotted Kenny and Azam at the corner of the school about to make a dash to the finishing.
 When I arrived, I could see there was already a small stream of runners (mostly families) running on the route. I would had expected the guys would had finish by then but at the corner of my eye, I saw Azam and Kenny just passing the school and making a dash to the finishing.

OK, actually I saw them from afar chatting and running at the same time. It's when they spotted me that they made the dash; with me giving BOOTCAMP style orders! I love you guys but I have to break the "bromance" for a while. Hehehe....

Ran a good rough 200m with the guys until the finishing line and spotted Vivian and Ashek along the way. Ever the supporting husband-wife team with Vivian shooting runners at the finishing point.

Front door of Decanter. Packed!
It was a happening scene with loads of food, beers, music and fun going round.

Capt Khoo walloping his carbs. So hungry until the tham chiak face also out. 
Food aplenty!
Soon I found out that our girl, Yvonne has won the race as the first female to finish! A big congrats to Yvonne Teo. You made DR very proud!

Yvonne receiving her 1st place finishing from organizers but Capt had to photobomb the shot!
I think it was a special 1st finishing indeed as they only awarded one male and one female first finisher. No other after that. It's really an honour for Vons, ain't it? ;)

First finisher male and female. And Capt photobomb again!
The DR gang at attendance. From left, Azam, Kenny, Vons, Khoo and me.
The gang made a pact to wear our DR "Don't Think, Just Run" official shirts; sans me. I had them at the dryers unfortunately. Mine clearly just states "RUN" only.

To add more hilarity and joke on to Yvonne's expense, she got an entire box of Fa "Blue Romance" deodorant as part of her prize winnings! I kept calling her "Ms. Fa" that night and joked that she will indeed smell like "Blue Romance" for the entire year. Same issue went I won a one year supply of Sunsilk products earlier this year (which could easily be 2-3 years for my short hair). So I understand the hilarity behind it.

The "Bromance" continues under the rain, under the umbrella. 
The Bromance between the guys continues under the umbrella when it started to rain. Was it kiasu-ism, because they were close to the emcee for the night announcing the lucky draw picks. Need meh..... Indeed a  hilarious and cute sight to be behold. Anyways, none of them got their names called.

Vivian and Ashek.
The banner. 
Yes, we are always associated for a few good gwailo tea drinking. 
Kenny awarding himself with a beverage. 
Although I didn't manage to run at this event, I had a great time hanging out with the guys and met a few more at the event. All of you did great!

ps:/ I heard Capt is opting this route for our handicap run. Yikes!

Thursday 25 October 2012

AC Training Run Group - Special Sharing with David Mutai

AC Training Run Group has recently organized a special sharing with Kenyan Elite Runner, David Mutai. David is currently the 1st place finisher for Adidas KOTR 2012 for Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. I was trying to work around my schedule due to workload to attend the training. Well, not the training cause I had some certain "logistics issues" but was adamant that I at least attend the sharing part. 

Originally supposed to be held at the group's weekly training ground at Dataran PJ but due to the weather conditions, was last minute changed to Athlete's Circle Shop at Jaya One.  

The AC team with me and David Mutai. From left : Alex , me , David, Azwan and Jolene. 
 I've come to know David by accident actually. It's almost like fate would have it that we bumped into each other. Last December I was departing from KL Sentral to LCCT to catch a flight to Singapore for the SCSM 2011. I took the shutter bus and the only seat available was (you guessed it) with David.

The day I met David on the bus to the airport. 

We struck up a conversation and I pretty much guessed he was a runner judging from the WeRunKL T-shirt he was wearing. What I didn't know was he is quite the accomplished runner. He was on his way for the Macau Marathon. We talked and shared about his training and our running activities. I am still amazed on how he trains twice a day, 6 days a week. Raymond (Tomato man) used to joke whether his Kenyan powers had rubbed on me. Nope, Raymond. I wished.

A quick intro by Alex and Edan. 
 The sharing started a bit late as Alex had to get everyone that was heading to Dataran PJ to to go to AC instead. I was a bit lucky as I was compelled to check my FB while driving to find out the last minute venue change.

Once everyone was there, the sharing started immediately with a quick intro by Alex and Edan.

A quick intro by all the runners. 
 Soon we all introduced ourselves and give a brief reason on "Why We Run?". Honestly, what I've said is really brief cause my reason for running is seriously long. So I gave the short version of "the bet I made with a friend" reason. But seriously, there is more to it than that.

The man himself, Mr. David Mutai giving an intro of himself. 
 And again before I yak too much, below is a video recorded of the sharing with David. It was a relax and intimate sharing with the man himself as he humbly explains on how he started running and shares his trainings. Please do forgive if the recording is a bit pitchy cause I need to jack up the volume. The video also ends with a quick Q&A from the participants.

If you wanna join their weekly training runs, the AC Training Run Group is more than welcome. Do join them every Wednesday at Dataran Petaling Jaya (opposite Amcorp Mall) 8.30pm. For more info, do click on their  FB Fanpage for more info.

A group photo to end.

Monday 22 October 2012

Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012 - of threatening weather, easy relax pacing and running in the memory of a lost one

So PNM 2012 is done. Another tick on my list of runs to do this year. This will be my last HM for the year and there isn't any plans yet for another anytime soon. No worries; I ain't saying that I'm "hanging up my shoes" just yet. 

This is my 2nd PNM around and a few know that I have a small piece of "history" with PNM. Although I've been running for some time but my first real official running event that I've actually signed up for was PNM 2010. Albeit just under the "Fun Run" Category, it was this one moment that the running bug bit hard on me arse. This past 2 years seems like ages ago.

Driving to Putrajaya. Weird weather works going on.
 Technically speaking, I didn't really prepare myself for this run. I wasn't aiming for any PB and I just wanted to have a free and easy relax run with friends. Someone mentioned that I should further improve my current HM PB; but I think there is a time to do it. Just not now.

I just wanted to experience the joy of running long distance WITHOUT any worries of how fast/slow I should be going. It's not that I was aiming podium anyways.

With Patrick and the GNC girls. 
 Started my journey to Putrajaya at around 4.30pm;  hoping that I would arrive around 5.30pm to hang about and say hi to another who arrived early. For some strange reason, I decided to take MEX through KL town. Bad mistake cause of an unexpected jam along Jalan Tun Razak. Apparently a giant trailer with a crane was stuck on one of the lanes. After some maneuvering around and getting through the MEX entry lane, I was relieved but cautious about time. Nonetheless, I made it safe and sound arriving after 6pm. Though it rained cats and dogs along the way, Putrajaya was surprisingly dry!

This bomoh really working hard to keep the rain at bay.

A quick meet up with the guys and everyone seems very geared up and ready. Patrick seems ready; seeing that he is hiding behind his GNC booth. I usually like to poke fun at Patrick being that he is quite the someone at GNC Malaysia. I always introduce him as "The 2nd man of GNC. Any problems look for him!". Hahaha... no puns bro, I love ya man.

All thumbs up! 
 Of course this run also holds a special meaning this time round. Just a day before, the running community has lost a fellow runner, Cheah Mei Mei and many runners ran in her memory. Although personally I didn't know her, she is well known for her podium finishings and well praised in the running community. I couldn't believe the news myself, having just shot her podium pictures 2 weeks before during Salomon X-Trail. Her passing was indeed sudden but many of us felt her presence that night. Thank you for inspiring us!

In memory of Cheah Mei Mei. A good one from KK. 
 Sad notes aside, this relax run of mine was actually quite a thoughtful one for me. Since I wasn't concentrated on my timing, I had time to pace myself correctly. From my breathing, listening and aware of my strides and take in the whole experience. Mentally inside of me, I'm just thankful.

Alright, skipping all somber parts; let's just head straight to the race.

With Kelvin and Tristupe. Thumbs up means ok to go!
 In this race, I've actually decided to try a few things differently.

First was loss the water bottles. I'm seeing how far I can go without them and it does feel good without the extra weight. Besides the water stations were very sufficient.

Secondly was the contemplation of bringing safety lights. I have a bad habit of not bringing one during my night runs even though I was bugged for the millionth time by peers. But because of the recent incident involving Stupe's wife, I think I better not risk it. Took the safety blinker from my bike and attached it on my Fuel belt and used the spare Energizer headlight from ENR. This has proven very useful during the run where some parts were not very well lit.

Besides, someone commented that my arse is blinking red from a far. Good.... it means it can be seen; even when I went for a pee behind the bushes!

The start point.
The main stage with Orangeman. 
A grand startline lineup. 
 The starting of the race was indeed grand. All the light and sounds, all the cultural performances and finally that Gangam song. OK, I have to admit it's getting tiring now. I love the song but I think it's over-played too much. The DJ must have sense our groaning and quickly switched back to some other uptempo beats.

At 8.20PM sharp, the gun was off for HM and I slowly made through the timing mat. I told myself not to go off too fast like I usually do. First 2k was easy, breezy, japanezzy.

First cheer team of the day. Drums!
With Brain Ng. My fellow runner who always motivates me to push faster. 
 The organizers must have really put into a lot of thought for this run. The cheer teams were fantastic, especially it's really dull and quiet at Putrajaya. From what I gathered, there were cheer teams from each main sponsor and they were quite well spread. Very happening affair.

First in my eyesight was Brian Ng who always like to push me when he sees me in a run. His usual trademark is "Come come faster" and he zooms off hoping that you would catch him. Hahaha... not this time.

The marching band of Falun Dafa. 
The happening cheer team from BSN.
 Since I was on a relax pace, I took the opportunity to shoot any photo I could even with the cheer teams and volunteers if possible. Thanks to you all for making this whole experience wonderful.

The ever, EVER Forever Young Uncle Oliver.
 Next up I caught up was Uncle Oliver who is doing a FM. I always have the upmost respect for Uncle Oli who is also a regular Ultra-marathoner. It's just so inspiring and amazing to see someone like him still doing the things he loves. I salute you!

With Manson for his second ever FM. 
Keep it up! 32km to go.
 At the 10km mark and water station, bumped into Manson who is doing his 2nd FM. Congrats bro on finishing. Don't worry so much about the time. You are already a winner when you completed it. Keep it up for the next round.

Mohan at the HM/FM route split. 
 Further up caught up with the ever energetic Mohan just right at the HM/FM split. Can you believe that he has done more than 100 FULL Marathons?

From 12km onwards, things started to get quiet and number of runners started dwindling. It was quite a cooling night with just a slight tinge of humidity. No complaints but a little rain would had helped further.

Our route was mostly cheered on Superheroes (and Villains). I heard for the FM, they had clowns.

First it was the Villains who greeted us.

Boba Fett. Your visor is fogging up!
The Lord Vader. Besides his shortcomings of his lightsaber, he ain't my lim peh (father) either. Lolx!
 I was so tempted to ask "Vader" the "Lu si gua lim peh ah?" question but the poor fellow in the costume seems to be breathing very heavily inside. It's either he is maintaining character or he is suffocating in his dark cape. A quick look back, I saw him wiping sweat under his helmet.

Up next were the Super Heroes!

Spiderman aka Peter Parker. Has he shrunk cause that costume looks like it has seen better days.
Batman aka Bruce Wayne. Trying to look cool and I swear his body is radiating heat!
Ironman and Superman side by side. Marvel vs DC with me in between.
 Coming back into the run, all fun was over for the last 3km. I for one usually dreaded this stretch that is long, winding and elevating. It's a boring straight road with a U-turn heading back to the Palace of Justice. I seriously took my time on this part and I heard many complained getting cramps along this area. Yah, I share your sentiment and I had my fair share previously.

All pain and tiredness were gone 500M before the ending. Buddies were cheering on and I playfully skipped my way through the finishing. Vivian did not manage to capture a shot because she didn't realise I skipped by so fast. Next time dear. ;)

At the finishing line with Victor, The Real Ho and Brian.
With My trustee "Don't Think just Run " tee with my DR gang , Yvonne and Jamie Pang.
Congrats to Von on finishing Top 30. 
I was just so happy when they hung the medal around my neck. Although it wasn't finished at a great time or PB, inside of me I just felt great. I continue to count my blessings every time and everyday I get to do this.

Congrats to all who finished PNM 2012. If you didn't do well, there is always next year to look forward to!

Thursday 18 October 2012

Salomon X-Trail 2012 - Of Mud, Water & Getting down and dirty.

It has already been more than 2 weeks and I still have that enjoyable and memorable feeling from Salomon X-Trail 2012 at UPM. It's one of those memorable ones that I really enjoyed very much.

Reasons? Mud, getting dirty and trails. Nuff' said.

Missing last year's event was very heartbreaking for me. I wasn't sure what was the reason I missed it or was it because I didn't had any trail running experience before back then. I can't remember.

So having experienced a little more trail running this year, I didn't want to miss the opportunity and it was indeed a good choice. 
With the bike marshals. Raymond (Tomatoman) & Ee-Van (Tristupe)
The Men starts first. Beautiful morning!
It was my third visit to UPM Stadium having previously done the last 2 Mizuno Wave Runs at the same venue. Knowing the distance and parking situation, I decided to  leave early from home and arrived roughly 5am at the venue. I was a little shocked cause I was one of the early ones to arrive and parts of the stadium is not even lit yet. Usually for Mizuno, traffic was already a havoc at that period of time.

Oh, well. Lucky me then...

Casually started the morning with a slow walk and see whether the rest of the guys arrived. Behind the stadium, the usual gang was hanging about; either for the run or working as volunteers for the day. Brilliant organization on Pacesetters part. 

Bump into the Raymond (Tomatoman) & Ee-Van (Tristupe). They will be part of the bike marshals along the route. Both of them has already given a "preview" of what to expect from their FB and blog updates. No problems for me. I want to get down and dirty as much as possible. 

Come by 6.30am, most of the runners are already gathered at the start line. The Men's category started first and followed by the Women. It was a great and cooling morning and UPM is famous for it's brilliant and beautiful sunrise views. Over the loudspeaker, Rustam (President of PACM) was announcing last minute details. And almost like poking fun; he announced that since it rained last night, expect to be running through mud and getting wet at the same time. You could tell there was an echo of groans going around. Geoffrey and Andy who was stood by me did not know it was going to be this tough, especially Andy is wearing his new Nikes. Inside of me, I was letting out a big "HA-HA'. How sneaky mean of me. 

First part. The pool of muddy water.
Photo courtesy of KH Tang.
Once the gun was off, everyone was blazing through frantically (as usual). Me and Wei Li was just looking at each other in astonishment. We've learn by now in a race is not to "peak too soon". We laughed even more when they started playing "Gangam Style" in the background. Oh gee, the horsey dance song again. 

We ran out of the stadium and in less than a kilometer, there is a clogged up. As I got closer, it was the infamous pool of mud water. Yesh, time to get dirty! Majority of the runners were trying very hard not to get wet by climbing over the barriers on the left and right. Kudos to the organizers for building up larger barriers this year to dissuade runners from climbing over. The scene was hilarious. People are actually afraid of water!

Me as usual not caring, blazed through the muddy pond, knowing that it was part of the fun. Kinda like Moses crossing through the parted Red Sea. How biblical. 

I didn't take any shots cause I know it was time to make up some time and cut through as many runners as possible.
Tristupe ever ready with his camera.
The view and sunrise was breathtaking. 
In general, the whole route was pretty muddy; with the occasional surprise of cow dungs along the way. I was having a blast. Trail running is awesome but I've never experience anything as awesome as this. Well, minus leeches like the ones I got at Batu Dam Trail run. 

The route is pretty straight forward; totaling up to about 11km. It was the same place we had to specially apply access for Melvin and Michelle's wedding shots many years ago. 

It wasn't a tough trail run and elevation wise it was pretty easy. But there were some parts that mud was really an overload and difficult to run through. I couldn't care less as I ran through much of it, getting dirty as much as I can; ON PURPOSE. I could hear some of the runners complaining that I "splashed" too much mud around when I passed. Replied a quick sorry; but I didn't mean it that much. Anyone that comes out of these routes clean is next to impossible.

Kelvin guarding the 2nd obstacle. The crawling under the barrier gate.
A quick look from the back, so many runners climbing over. 
 Next up was the 2nd obstacle course and poor Kelvin was the only one handling that area. I believe this was a new addition to this year's run. We had to crawl underneath the gate barrier, and getting dirty on your upper body is unavoidable. Again, there was a clog up. Many were climbing over the side fence and poor Kelvin was shouting and trying to get everyone to go under. Now as many know Kelvin is infamous for his loud voice but poor fellow seems to be struggling after shouting for so long. Thanks for all the great work Kelvin but I think next time you need a bigger backup.

Surprisingly I manage to crawl through very easily. Was in and out in a jiffy. We had to pass through this twice along the route and by the 2nd time I was back, the whole gate was dismantled! I was later told by Kelvin that the moment I left this part, 5 minutes later the whole barrier was just completely removed by the participants.  He just got too overwhelmed.

Hi Moo-Moo. Cows everywhere!

The 7km point.

The ever ready Khoo stationed at 7km point.
 From this point onwards, it was just pretty straight forward. Met several friends along the way with a quick Hi. The view was amazing but I didn't want to stop and take a picture. So I had to run and shoot at the same time. Point to note self, next time get a camera with better low light capture and Hi-speed. Most of my shots were pretty shaky even with the IS on. 

Khoo was stationed at 7km mark. Joker had a fun time pranking anyone who asked him the distance left. His usual reply is "10km to go!". Brilliant answer! :D

Below is a video that Khoo recorded during the race from his mark.

View from the banks.
Last sunrise view before heading out of this area.
I tried to maintain a reasonable speed and made sure I was not speeding too fast. My heart rate was already shooting up like crazy. I always have to keep reminding myself that I'm not running on tarmac.

As we slowly made our way out of the "muddy area" we still had to cross the mud pond one more last time. By now, there wasn't much runners around so I had the benefit to splash a little bit more than usual. The experience is very uplifting as I enthusiastically blast through like a HOOLIGAN.

First was parting on Rea Sea, then it was walking on water shot.
Photo courtesy of Rozmi of The Marathon World Photography.

And to finish off as I got through the finishing line, I unconsciously did "that" dance move. It would be the last time and retiring it. Khoo must be cringing by now. 

That horsey dance move at the finishing. Unconsciously did it.
Photo courtesy of World of Sports Malaysia. 
At the finishing line, we were given our finisher medal, cert and an awesome looking Salomon Trail cap. Such a beauty but I was kinda hoping they give the one with the hoodie like the one I was wearing. Finished at a decent time of 1:08. Kinda slow by my standards but I thought it's a well effort. Nowadays I just prefer to enjoy the race rather than chase for time.

We were slowly ushered to the wash area to do a quick clean up for our shoes. There were a few outdoor water taps strategically placed right after the finishing line and the line was building up. Quickly made my way through and had to wait for bout 10 minutes for my turn. 

Doesn't really look dirty at this angle but reality I'm drencehed. 
Signage very well placed. 
A quick change later, it was time to be rewarded with Nasi Lemak, Watermelon and Tau Hueh (Tau Foo Fa). It was indeed a great reward. I take pride in simple pleasures like these.

With Manson. Brooks Sunway Pyramid. 

With Max Lim, Celebrity Blogger/ Photographer and Runner. 

Andy and Geoff back from their run. Andy showing sour face looking at his new Nikes. 

All the winners group photo.
With Uncle Oliver. 
Back from marshalling, Tristupe. Alongside with Esfah and Cheryl.
With my highschool classmate, Eng Soon.
And in all it was a great race and one that I had the most laughs about. I didn't want to sound mean but I dished out quite a lot about how people reacted throughout the whole race; about being afraid of dirty water, mud and maneuvering around dry grass just to avoid getting wet. I was just having a conversation with Yvonne about how nowadays our generation is like the "Strawberry Generation". Go look for the meaning at Wiki.

Excuse my saying but sometimes in life, we have to crawl through shit to achieve our goals. Even a beautiful flower is grown and nourished from a dirty old cow dung.

So do I wanna get down and dirty again next year?


The awesome finisher medal. Well technically it was 11km. 
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