Monthly Archives: September 2014

Team Dirigo in Terengganu – What Went Down Over The Weekend

My weekend came early this week! Thanks to Dirigo Events, the 5 of us (Muhaizar, Uma, Daniel, Chooi Fern and myself) were off to Terengganu on a racing trip.

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I took Friday off from work to catch my flight to Terengganu (my first out of KL race!).

I wasn’t feeling too well when I woke up that morning. I’ve had only an average of 5-6 hours of sleep per day throughout the week since my first half marathon (2XU Compression Run 2014). It didn’t help that I was sore all over from Tuesday’s killer workout session. I was on the verge of falling sick and I could feel it.

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My head was pounding that morning. It was so bad that I didn’t even bother going through my “list of things to bring”. From the picture, it seemed like I’ve got everything covered.

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I slept on the train to KLIA2 (something I don’t normally do especially when I’m alone). KLIA2 is huge but I didn’t have much time to wander. I went straight to the departure gate the minute I arrived.

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Met up with Chooi Fern and her posse (her mom, Yu Fang and Bee Hoon). We were a noisy bunch. I apologise on behalf of everybody (haha!). The plane arrived earlier than expected. We were in Terengganu by 12.30pm. Our Manager, Darnis, came to pick us up at the Sultan Mahmud Airport.

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The BEST manager ever, lugging my luggage around for me! Sorry Darnis, I just had to!

After checking in, we unpacked our stuff and went for lunch with the rest of the team.

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We stayed at Batu Burok Beach Resort (400 meters from the starting line) which was right next to the beach. We had the best view! The only downside was that it was too HOT! Darnis promised that it would rain that evening (it didn’t!).

After lunch, I took 2 panadols and conked out for the rest of the afternoon.

At 5.30pm, we got a training wake-up call.

SERIOUSLY? In this heat? We had to unwillingly gear up for a short run along the beach.

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Felt a little bit better after the run. Running along the beach was rather relaxing although the sun was still blazing.

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So privileged to be training with the pros. Muhaizar, the champ, takes the time and makes an effort to teach/show me a thing or two about running! I have learned a lot from him and the rest of the team.

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Gloria, Coach Mark and the rest of Dirigo arrived that evening. We had dinner at a restaurant that was just outside of our hotel.

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Loading up on spaghetti and fish!

Took another 2 panadols after dinner. Although I slept for the most part of the afternoon, I fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillow (thank God!). Chooi Fern was still fiddling around preparing for the race the next day.

At 4am, my eyes were wide open. I got up and slowly got ready. The race was supposed to start at 6.45am which meant that I had to eat breakfast at about 4.45am. Breakfast was in Darnis’s room and I couldn’t contact him until about 5.30am! By then, it was too late to eat breakfast. I settled for one powerbar.

Met up with Coach Mark at about 5.45am for a warm up session. At about 6.20am, I was feeling hungry. My stomach was just not in the right state. I was feeling bloated and hungry at the same time. I had a pack of biscuits before walking towards the starting line.

My only prayer was to survive this race. I really wasn’t feeling my best. By the time we were off, the sun was already shining. I started out a bit too strong (as usual). And soon, I felt the effects of it. The good thing about this route was that there was only one hill. The rest of it was pretty much flat.

I took a sip at the first water station. Thinking that there would be many water stations ahead, I decided to skip the second one. Oh boy was that the biggest mistake ever! The next water station was at least 11KM away! That whole stretch felt like death. On a side note, I could see Muhaizar leading the pack on the opposite side of the road! Wooooo! Ok, back to how I was dying along the bridge. I was crawling my way across the long straight road which seemed to never end. Too monotonous, too tedious. My body was screaming for water.

Also, I had my gel pack in hand which I had to take (long overdue) with water. My heart jumped when I saw what looked like a water station. I ripped my gel pack and started sucking on it. To my horror, it was the SPONGE station! Words simply cannot describe how I felt at that moment. I held the gel in my mouth, swallowing a bit at a time (it was too THICK!). I tried very hard to breathe through my nose or I would have been coughing the rest of the way.

Finally, I saw the water station up ahead. By then, we had already merged with the 10KM group. I literally had to fight for water. Managed to grab one small cup. With that small amount of water, I sucked up the rest of my gel. I grabbed a cold sponge along the way too. That sponge worked wonders! I immediately felt refreshed and energized. The weather was just INSANE. I could feel the heat eating its way through my shoes.

I was already going horribly slow. Coupled with a mild side stitch, I was THIS close to walking. The only thing that kept me going was the picture of me jumping into the swimming pool and of course, I had Team Dirigo in mind. During the last 3KM, one lady overtook me from the side. She went up quite far ahead but at the last 2KM, she was just 20m in front of me. I couldn’t be bothered to overtake her. My head was heavy and I was feeling very queasy. If I had sprinted my way passed her, I would have probably end up in the hospital. I kid you not!

After crossing the finish line, I could not hold myself together. I made my way to the medical tent. I was already seeing all sorts of stars. After resting for a bit, I went to meet up with the team.

We went back to the hotel, showered and had buffet breakfast before heading back to the start line for the prize giving ceremony. Food and water never tasted so good!

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Muhaizar put up a good fight all the way to the end! Team Dirigo’s Champion!

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And of course, the sister came in 3rd place! So proud of her. She fought so hard for it and she deserved every bit of it!

I came in 8th place with a time of 1:39:33. Not exactly what I had in mind but I am just grateful for making it to the end. Good thing the prizes from the 6-10th placings were the same. Chasing no. 7 would have done my body more harm than good.

Daniel and Uma did really well too! Everyone gave their best. Thumbs up, Team D!

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Post race beach hangs.

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Bollywood in the making.

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After collecting our prizes, we went back to the hotel room. I was too lazy and too tired to pack. I laid on the bed with all my dirty laundry in the bathroom.

Daniel came over to hang out and load up on bread with jam. Too funny. He was using the bed as his plate! I took a nap while Chooi Fern and Daniel continued to go on and on about everything under the sun. Those kids, bursting with energy. 10628200_10152783843261388_6411494511797440573_n

We checked out at 2pm and went for lunch! We were famished!

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Very authentic Malay meal. Muhaizar was describing each dish, some of which I’ve never tasted. But it was so good!

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The spread.

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And then it was time to leave Terengganu. It was actually my first time there.

1604448_10152786638826388_8337973676534387318_nWill I come back next year? Probably not! Then again, it was a wonderful experience.

Some things just cannot be read or studied, it has to be experienced and felt with the heart. Thanks to Dirigo Events (Rainer Biemans, Gloria, Darnis, Maarof, Nik), Brooks and the rest of team D for this insanely fun weekend! And of course, Coach Mark, who has helped me get to where I am today. Thank you for all of your advice and encouragement. We couldn’t have done it without you!

10606588_10152786638871388_4382993547337678046_nNow, time for some much needed sleep!

*My advice if you are planning to race in Terengganu: BRING YOU OWN WATER!*

Lord, for the blessings of Your grace, I am forever grateful!

Your marvellous, infinite, matchless grace!

Even in times of despair, God showers us with sufficient grace to see us through!

Keep Running!

Half Marathon Debut – 2XU Compression Run 2014

I was supposed to run my first half marathon at SCKLM (Standard Chartered KL Marathon). Registering for the half for the 2XU Compression Run was something I did on an impulse. I regretted my decision soon after. Just about a week ago I requested to change to the Women Open 10KM category. They wanted to charge a RM30 processing fee, which I thought was totally not worth it. RM65 + RM30 to run 10KM? Nah. So I left it at that and decided to take this race as part of my training.

Yes, I honestly didn’t plan to compete. I was planning to follow the 2 hour pacer and even told Kevin that I will only be back after 2 hours. As i didn’t have it in mind to compete, I wasn’t race ready. I didn’t rest enough the day before (I only had 2-3 hours of sleep and I was out the whole day) and didn’t pay any special attention to what I ate. Actually, the thought of not competing eliminated unwanted stress/pressure and I was calm.

I had no clue on how to prepare for my first half marathon. Everything was by trial and error. I woke up at 3am (2 hours before the flag off) to get ready and have my breakfast. I usually eat 1 hour before a 10KM race. Since I was planning to eat a little more, I allocated 2 hours for my food to digest. I had toast, bananas and a powerbar.

We arrived at Lake Gardens 45 minutes before 5am. I was feeling rather fresh and energized. The weather was perfect. It had rained the night before so it was wet and cool.

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I casually strolled to the starting line and I was right up front!

About 5 minutes past 5am, we were off. As usual, I darted out. I have this bad habit of going out too fast at the beginning. I had to keep reminding myself that it was 21.1KM and that I had a long way to go!

200 meters in and we were greeted with the first incline. I heard a lot about this route before the race, about how it was very hilly and challenging. The rumors were TRUE! It was insane.

Studying race routes before races is not my thing. I don’t fancy knowing what I’m up against. I like “discovering” the route on race day. I was glad I did the same for this race. If I had known how crazy this route was, I would have been demotivated at the starting line.

Running is not all about your physical ability; it is about your mental ability as well. In fact, it is more mental than it is physical. It’s all in your head! As cliché as it may sound, you have to believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. That is the first step. *hint hint*1524934_10152773735676388_3113678794514105039_nIn terms of pace, I was just as clueless. My goal was to either maintain the pace or speed up. I told myself that if I felt good then go for it. I didn’t reserve any energy for anything because I didn’t know what was ahead of me. Every hill came as a surprise and kilometre after kilometre, I gave my best.

There were many U-turns throughout this route. It was pretty scary as I could see how far or how near my opponents were. The only good thing about these U-turns is that you are able to cheer for the other runners.

1896803_10152776567801388_5539403941500996667_nI felt a surge of energy every time my friends /other runners cheered for me. It made a lot of difference! THANK YOU!

I was constantly monitoring how I felt throughout the race. I usually ignore water stations but this time, I made it a point to drink at every station even if it was just a sip. In terms of fuel, I ripped my gel pack after passing the 10KM mark. I was actually planning to take my gel after 1 hour but I didn’t want to wait until my body was crying for it. I didn’t want to wait until I felt tired or cold before fuelling up. The only mistake I made was taking the gel without water which threw me into a mini coughing fit. Thankfully the water station was up ahead!

We ran the whole course in the dark. I could barely see the road beneath my feet. Thankfully there were road marshals at every major turn. After inching my way up the last hill which felt like death, the race was finally coming to an end. I could smell the finish line!

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A wave of energy coursed through my veins at the thought that I had 4KM left. Again, it is all in your head! Your body is capable of it, you just have to convince your mind.

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Crossing the finish line was the best feeling ever. My first half marathon, done and dusted in 1:43:22. Kevin made it just in time to catch a glimpse of me running through the last stretch. He wasn’t expecting me until after 2 hours (because I said that I wasn’t planning on competing). He was contemplating on a nap but he had a hunch to be there earlier (Yay! So much love!).

Camera roll:

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With Voon Ying who also finished strong! Thumbs up!

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The sister. 5KM Champ!

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Yvonne, my colleague, took part in the 10KM category.

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Zi Shen who didn’t wait for me. We crossed paths 3 times throughout the race! Grrr! He also said he was going to “take it easy”. Lies, all lies! Lucas, on my left, did really well too!

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Goh Shu Wei.

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ParX team mate, Goh Jing Jing.

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Doon! She has improved so much! So proud of her. The only goal I gave her was to keep running. Every time she felt like stopping she could imagine my nagging voice in her head. Haaaaa! I guess that’s a good thing! Well done girl!

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Daniel hit his PB but he ended up on a drip at the emergency tent. Got a shock when I heard that he fainted. Thank God he was okay!

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3 monkeys?

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3rd place.

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Team Dirigo – 1, 2, 3!

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With the Champs!

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Stuff from the race.

This route was perfect for my half marathon debut, challenging with many unexpected twists and turns. No regrets. I truly enjoyed every moment of it. Zooming down the hills and climbing up others in the dark was pretty exhilarating.

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Yep, this race was totally RAD! Very happy with my first half marathon! Looking forward to all the other races in the future! Bring it!

Keep Running!

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Weekend Update: From Feeling On Top Of The World To Hitting Rock Bottom

Weekend update! Another back to back race weekend, or so it was supposed to be.

Here goes:

Saturday:

Took part in the Larian Hari Malaysia – Maksak 2014. Always thankful for races on Saturdays because that would mean that I can attend church on Sundays!

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This was my first time eating a Powerbar before a race. I know I shouldn’t try anything new on race day but oh well!

This stuff is awesome! Vanilla crisp tastes exactly like my favourite Kellogg’s rice crispies! Why didn’t I discover this earlier! Going to have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper…… okay let’s not get carried away.

Arrived rather early. Met up with the running sister and we did a mini warm up session together. I was feeling pretty nervous, the usual pre-race jitters. Bumped into our coach and he gave us a lil pep talk before the race. He also realised that he had signed up for the wrong category. Too funny.

We were off at 7.30am. This time, I didn’t start out too strong. I kept to my pace and followed the pack. It was a tough one with many competitors. But that’s the best part about racing! I tailed behind the 6th female runner all the way to the end. I managed to sprint my heart out for the final 100m and I was just 2 seconds behind her. In terms of nett time, I was 1 second ahead of her. I came in 7th place by gun time but I hit a new PB! WHOOP! It didn’t feel like it so I was pretty surprised.

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Met up with Michelle too! The 3 Puma girls.

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Pro Veteran runners!

After the prize giving ceremony, Chooi Fern and I made our way to KL for the Standard Chartered KL Marathon Media Route Tour. Team Dirigo was given a spot on the bus!

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When the rest of the crew finally arrived, we set off on our journey around KL.

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We drove along the Marathon route, escorted by police outriders. We managed to escape the Saturday afternoon jam. Many other drivers were poking their heads out, wondering who these bunch of jokers were hogging up the road! We felt like royalty with our 1 hour of fame.

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The little minions.

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Coach Mark led the session.

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Driving on the opposite side!

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We went up for some fresh air! Sylvia was there too.

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When the Media Tour finally came to an end, we walked to Chinatown for some grub. We hadn’t eaten anything since the race!

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FOOD!

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Tea time snacks courtesy of the sister! So much love! Marble and poppy seed, my favourite!

Sunday:

My colleague was kind enough to register the BHP run for me. Sadly, I couldn’t wake up and I missed it. GAH! It took me a day and a half to get over it.

I had doubts about showing up for the race the night before. But knowing me, I wouldn’t just give up on a race. I set my alarm. But I guess my body was too exhausted to function. I slept till 11am! Nearly 12 hours of sleep!

When i woke up, I was partially in shock and everything felt like a dream. I was feeling so depressed and disappointed at myself.

I woke up this morning, still feeling as empty as ever. I hadn’t gotten over the fact that I had missed yesterday’s race.

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I thank God for the friends that He placed in my life. It took my non-runner bestie to “wake” me up and to remind me of why I love running. It was a real slap in the face. And I love her for that. Thanks for being there for me, through the good and the bad. You can read me inside out and say all the right words.

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Yep, nobody is perfect. There is always failure and sadness. You wish things hadn’t happen but they did. Look on the bright side. There is always hope. Everyone fails once in a while. It is how you pull yourself out of it that matters. What is done is done. Accept it, learn from it and make the best of it. Those are the best kinds of mistakes.

2When you’re grateful for what you’ve got, you won’t complain for what you don’t have.

Today, I channeled all that negative energy into putting in one of my best LSDs ever! My confidence is through the roof right now. I’m celebrating the little things and the mini milestones that I’ve achieved.

Goals are important but it is also important with being okay with where you’re at. Right now, I am okay. Enjoying every bit of the process.

When I reflect on all that has happened, I am grateful that I came this far. All the pain, experiences, training, knowledge…… SO worth it.

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The little sister who is always on the lookout for me. Thanks for pushing me through all the tough training sessions. Couldn’t have done them without you.

image1Yep. Let God. I trust that He has a plan for me. I just have to keep believing!

Happy Running!

Word text images from various sources: Tumblr, Instagram, Google etc