Monthly Archives: October 2014

PUMA NIGHT RUN 2014

IMG_5423The Puma Running Club has a special place in my heart. It was where my running journey really began. It was a society where I felt that I was cared for, loved and wanted. From being a member, to a pacer and now, one of the leaders of the club, all I can say is that this group is SOLID. With the Puma Running Club, many of us achieved our running goals and PBs. Together (both the pacers and our running club members), we grew in our running abilities and our love for the sport.

IMG_5420The Puma Night Run 2014 was the first ever of its worldwide series in Malaysia. This was the club’s major highlight event. It was where we could showcase what we have been doing every week, pacing our members and helping them reach their goals. We also had a 10KM program that was tailored for this event.

10733769_10152856017696388_96275407701808454_oThe months and weeks leading up to the big day were stressful for us. Although we were not part of the organizing team, we felt responsible for anything that could possibly ruin the whole event. We highlighted every single detail to the organizers and made sure that they met our needs. Stuff like the route being under distance was out of our control as we couldn’t get pass the authorities. All we hoped for was a killer event for the runners!  IMG_5419I was down with fever on the morning of the big day (of all the days to fall sick, it had to be on this day!). I was thinking of giving the event a miss but I knew that I HAD to be there. I had 2 panadols before making my way to Setia Alam.

Upon arrival, I was impressed with the Village Area. It was like a mini Puma carnival with large canopies, a stage and many miscellaneous stalls around. Honestly, this event exceeded my expectations. Judging from what we had to deal with the few weeks leading up to this event, I wasn’t expecting this.

IMG_5426We gathered at the Convention Centre for a briefing session and also to get our pacer balloons. LED BALLOONS! How cool is that?

IMG_5429 IMG_5422Lighting up the night!

IMG_5428We had some time to catch up with each other, take photos and walk around the Village Area before gathering backstage. The whole atmosphere was just really chilled and relaxed. I felt really good! For once, I will be pacing the runners instead of competing with them.

IMG_5435Going crazy backstage!

IMG_5436After the short warm up session by our celebrity guests, it was our turn to go on stage.

10734001_10152399456776048_5303479239131490496_nThey introduced the pacers. Our 1 minute of fame?

IMG_5437I was the 60 minute pacer, along with Yung Hui and Felix. As I don’t own a GPS watch, I had to rely on them to make sure that we were getting our paces correct. We stayed within 5:45 to 5:55, with a few minutes of buffer. It was an enjoyable run. The route was pretty much flat with one small hill (element of challenge?). There were many U-turns which I thought was great! I love U-turns because you get to see the other runners on the opposite side of the road. I cheered for all the top runners when I saw them running pass. SO EXCITING! And of course, seeing the other pacers and runners go by was also very exhilarating. I felt so good that I had forgotten that I was sick. Running is the cure!

I was surprised to see water stations at every 3KM (total of 3 water stations). I don’t normally drink for 10KM races but you would usually find 2 water stations. So, thumbs up for 3 water stations! I would have preferred if they had placed the last water station at the finish line. Also, traffic control was a bit poor. During the final KM, I had a few cars getting in my way.

75935_10152856017886388_1457225353403871153_nAs a pacer, I am glad that I was able to help motivate and push some of the runners to the finish line. Some of them managed to hit their Personal Best! Way to go! When the runners thank you personally at the finish line or through social media (Facebook, Instagram, twitter etc), you know that all your hard work has paid off. It is so rewarding. Their faces and their expressions – Priceless! I feel so happy for them!

10702011_10152856018061388_7944656669250686649_nWhen you are dedicated enough, you will find a way.

Before the big day, all of the pacers met up during the Deepavali Holiday to test the route. Although it was a Public Holiday, everyone made it for the trial run.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our guest pacers: Zi Shen, Hui Xin, Lucas, Yuki, Michael, Xiao Jin and Seven. Thanks for helping us out! And of course, our core pacers: Victor, Elaine, Daniel, Shu Wei, Yung Hui, Felix, Peng Peng and Brian. Special thanks to Zi Shen and Victor who made many other small arrangements and making sure everyone did their best.

As pacers, we NAILED our timings and I am so proud of them.

IMG_543350 minute Pacers:

0:47:59 – Zi Shen

0:47:59 – Daniel Lai

0:48:06 – Shu Wei

IMG_543460 minute Pacers:

0:57:32 – Yung Hui

0:57:33 – Felix Boi

0:57:36 – Adele Wong

IMG_543170 minute Pacers:

1:06:37 – Peng Peng

1:06:39 – Hui Xin

1:06:43 – Lucas Ng

IMG_543280 minute Pacers:

1:16:22 – Yuki

1:16:23 – Michael

1:16:25 – Xiao Jin

IMG_5430Sweepers:

2:08:30 – Victor Cheong, Elaine Tan, Brian Kit and Seven

IMG_5440After our run, we went to look for the sweepers. We ran/walked all the way back to the finish line together. No one was left behind.

10556307_10152856017441388_1518777635714235246_n63952_10205589844325062_3185327727986011138_nThe Puma Night Run 2014 winners! Congrats! Psssst, 3 of them are our running club members!IMG_5442The night ended with fireworks! SUPER!

All in all, I think it was a pretty good event! The pacers had loads of fun at the after party concert! You should have seen some of them. Everyone was out of their “running element”.

IMG_5445Errrrr…presenting…our fastest runner. IMG_5444We received quite a number of feedback from the runners, both good and bad. Thank you for all of them! No event is perfect, the organizers are humans as well and sometimes, we make mistakes. On behalf of Puma Malaysia and the organizing committee, we apologize for any mishaps that occurred along the way. We value all of your comments and we will forward them to Puma Malaysia. We hope that the Puma Night Run 2015 will be even bigger and better! Thank you for all of your support! It means the world to us!

10556316_10152856017471388_9171922350484687040_nOh and ummm, post run fuel with the Puma gang.

IMG_5441We came and we conquered! GOOD JOB GUYS!

At the end of the day, it all boils down to our love for running. We are all in this together. We are here because we share the same passion. Let us encourage and empower each other, instead of bringing each other down! Spread the love people! Love you guys! Thanks for making it an awesome one!

See you at the Puma Night Run 2015!

Marathon Debut – Standard Chartered KL Marathon

Whoop! Completed my first full marathon recently at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon. It was an amazing, heart-stopping, mind-draining, tear jerking experience…… with an unexpected podium finish! This is a long one. Grab yourself some popcorn and read on!

How I got myself into this mess (joining the Full Marathon):

Dirigo Events held a 5KM speed trial to select athletes for the Dirigo Athlete Development Program. Trying out for Team Dirigo was something I did out of curiosity. I wanted to see where I stood, and what I was capable of. I didn’t expect to be picked for the team! Also, I didn’t know that I was required to run the full marathon with Team Dirigo. This was after I signed the contract. I only knew about it during our first training session with Coach Mark (back in July).

At that time, I still had mixed feelings towards running a marathon. I hadn’t plan on doing so until maybe a year or two later. But I went on with the program, thinking that if I wasn’t good enough they would pull me out anyway. I had nothing to lose.

All of our training sessions together were done on the track. From there, it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t a distance runner. I didn’t have that kind of endurance to run a marathon (at my goal time, at least). They expected all of us to finish on the podium and I knew that I was nowhere near it (I couldn’t even see myself in the Top10). Not just yet. I am glad that Coach Mark didn’t give up on me. He continued to encourage me and push me during our training sessions. It was really tough, but also very satisfying. The first time I ever felt like puking while running was during his training session.

The hardest part for me was putting in the mileage. That meant more time spent on the road and less time with family and friends. I thank them for being so understanding and putting up with my horrible schedule (you know who you are!). I had to make a lot of sacrifices, even time for myself.

10557313_10152828557911388_2548100072912235335_nThere were many ups and downs along the way, both mentally and physically. Physically, at the beginning of stamina phase, every part of me was hurting. Ankles, hamstrings, calves……EVERYTHING! There were the tough times when I was so frustrated and so drained of energy that I just wanted to give up on the whole thing. I felt that I wasn’t good enough to be running under Team Dirigo and Coach Mark. Every time Coach Mark reminded me of my goal time, I can’t help but to think that he was out of his mind. I shunned his goal time for me by giving myself all sorts of excuses: never ran a marathon before, no experience etc (Sorry Coach! But this is the truth). Mentally, I wasn’t prepared to run a marathon.

1911604_10152828557956388_1905644860879136802_nWeek after week, I continued to press on. Run, run, run! Dragging my feet to put in the mileage. I got a slight confidence boost after my first Half Marathon followed by my 2nd Half Marathon 6 days later. That was 2 weeks out from race day and finally, I felt ready. I was mentally ready, if not physically. There was no better time to run a marathon. I told myself that the time was NOW. Still, I wasn’t expecting much from it. Anything between 3:45-4:00, that was my goal (I was being realistic).

Race Day:

10713002_10152828566741388_757989984552150196_nThe days leading up to race day were stressful. I was torn between enjoying my first full marathon experience and living up to expectations.

I had the usual pre-race jitters, except that it was magnified 10-fold. I was overwhelmed by the wave of emotions that I was feeling. Excited, worried, happy, anxious…… you name it, I felt it! I only managed to put in 2 hours of sleep the night before. I was also suffering from gastric the past few days leading up to race day, probably because I wasn’t used to the amount of carbohydrates that I was putting in (more on that in my next post!).

At 1.30am, my eyes were wide opened. I fuelled on a powerbar and a slice of bread. I didn’t want to eat anything more because I didn’t know what 42.2KM would do to my stomach.

Upon arrival at the race venue, I went to look for Coach Mark (because he asked us to but he was too busy with the pacers). Bumped into the sister (Chooi Fern) who apparently had gastric issues as well! Oh, the pain! I didn’t have time to do a proper warm up because I decided to change my shorts 20 minutes before the flag off. The shorts that I changed into had zippers and a bigger pocket to store my gels (3 packs). When you’re out there for 42.2KM, EVERYTHING MATTERS.

1470328_10152828557876388_5381660532147718019_nI was given the privilege to enter Pen A. I was right up front with all the pros. I certainly did not belong there (Haaaaaaaa!). Standing there, I couldn’t believe it. I was about to start my first FULL MARATHON! I was still unsure of my goals. My final mind-set was to DO MY BEST! And that was it.

We were off at 4.30am. I was running alongside the sister and Yu Fang. We started off at a pretty good pace, a bit too fast but still relaxed enough.

Once we hit the major highway (AKLEH), they sped off. I slowed down to the pace that I was supposed to be running at. After about 15KM, negative thoughts started to creep in. I was already thinking about the miles ahead and how it was never going to come to an end. I wasn’t even halfway through! It affected my performance and I felt extremely tired. I had to focus my energy on shutting out the negativity. I kept telling myself: “YOU GOT THIS!” And, it worked. Just like that.

10153041_10152828566676388_8090493810008577660_nThe whole event was really well organised. Dirigo Events nailed it! Volunteers were found at every major turn which made it impossible to lose your way. Water stations, sponges and toilets were placed at every 2/3KM. The only problem was that the other runners took Team Dirigo’s pre-prepared drinks. We were told that we had a separate drink station and that our specially prepared drinks were labelled with a black sticker. None of us managed to grab any.

I had to make-do with whatever that was provided. I made it a point to take a sip at every drink station. After what happened in Terengganu, skipping water stations was a big NONO! I didn’t think or plan which drink to consume (water or the isotonic drink). I grabbed whichever was convenient. And of course, THE SPONGES! Miracle sponges! I turned back twice just to get em’. Once was because Zi Shen took the sponge from the volunteer that I had planned to take it from (STEALER!) and the other was because the volunteer didn’t let it go! Oh, and when Zi Shen caught up with me all he could say was: “4.45 pace”. SPOT ON, i thought.

I was pretty much alone throughout the journey along the 2 major highways (AKLEH and DUKE). It was a long lonely run. Just me and my iPod. I kept talking to myself, smiling to myself, checking out the view, thinking about life, work, family, friends etc. I was also busy calculating my average pace whenever I came across the distance marker. Oh, the things you do when you don’t own a GPS. At least it kept my brain occupied! Sounds pretty crazy but this is what you have to do to keep yourself on track. Also, my mind was consumed by the fear of someone overtaking me along the way (thankfully, nobody did).

10704180_10152828625871388_2003672604511677509_nI think I nailed it pretty well, even without a GPS! I try not to rely too much on gadgets. Know your pace, feel it and lock it in. I was still on track (to hitting my goal time) all the way till about KM 40. And then it went downhill from there. Whoops!

I suffered side stitches (after 10KM) and signs of gastric pain along the way. I had to deal with the pain by not thinking about it. I consumed my gels at KM 15, KM 20 ish and KM 30 ish respectively. The gel taken at KM 30 ish had 1X caffeine. Thank God my body didn’t react to the caffeine in a bad way. Every time I drank or took my gel, I had this lingering fear that my stomach would reject it.

10502065_10152828558081388_3921605657549519550_nWhat’s your running mantra? I usually go with: “If not now, when?”

I expected to hit the wall at KM 30. Before this, I’ve been told countless of times that the real challenge begins after 30KM and that I WILL HIT THE WALL. Thankfully, I didn’t hit the wall (at least not until KM 35-36) or suffer any serious cramps (I was also expecting this to happen). I felt the onset of cramps whenever I slowed down to grab a drink. The solution? JUST KEEP RUNNING. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other, KM after KM. I held on to whatever that would keep me motivated: a smile from a volunteer, a wave, a cheer, the view, the sunrise…… anything! I also made it a point to acknowledge their presence (the volunteers). Thanks to Hui Xin, Cindy, Vic, Elaine and Yuki who cheered me on during the run! So much love!

By the time I hit the Bukit Tungku hill, I was tempted to start walking. But I knew that if I had started walking, it would be very hard to bounce back to the pace that I was at. Also, I wouldn’t forgive myself if someone were to overtake me at the last few KM!

At KM 38, we merged with the Half Marathon and the 10KM group. I knew that I was close to the finish line! SO CLOSE! Just 4 more miserable KMs! My toes were numb and my feet were burning. I wanted to speed up but I just couldn’t. I caught up with Yu Fang and I tried to stay as close to her as possible. But I was going REALLY SLOW. I couldn’t calculate my pace because the timer on my watch stopped at 3 hours and 12 minutes. I had a few seconds of happiness when I saw that my watch read 3:12 during the last 2KM (but in actual fact it had already stopped ticking). It did give me some motivation though. Chee Wai bumped into me at the last 500m. Thanks for cheering me on and partially wanting to wait for me. The last 500m felt like 5KM. KILLER!

10710568_10152828556906388_107453096785912263_nSpecial thanks to Victor and Elaine for the picture! They traded sleep to take pictures for both BSN and SCKLM!

I cannot quite describe how I felt running down that last stretch to the finish line. FINALLY! 42.2KM! My dad and brother called out to me as I ran pass. I did not expect to see them there and I was just so happy. Kevin recorded my finish and grabbed me by the side after I crossed the finish line. I could barely walk after running for over 3 hours. At the same time, I was choking up in tears and trying to catch my breath. Everything was blur and fuzzy. I was just too overwhelmed (and very relieved that it was over), exhausted too.

1899961_10152828557821388_2933958739922416704_nThe volunteers hung the 3rd placing badge over my head and I was immediately ushered to the winner’s tent. The next thing I remember was the sister screaming and running towards me to give me a hug. So happy to see her! She went straight for the gold! Awesome stuff! Coach Mark came to check on us and that smile on his face was priceless. I still couldn’t believe that I managed 3rd place!

10698470_10152828558166388_200532651006400873_nWe had to be quarantined in the winner’s tent until we went through the procedures for the doping test. They expected us to pee in a cup after running a marathon (at least 90ml). Seriously? We were already so dehydrated the last thing we could do is pee.

10629709_10152828557396388_1566355223043383765_n 1016573_10152828557481388_1261461103652750572_n 10690105_10152828557286388_2772804736156660894_nWhile waiting for the urge to pee, we hung around the area and chilled out. I pumped myself with 1.8L of water which my body rejected soon after. Purple-blue vomit! Probably due to the gel.

10671404_10152828557611388_5616199517383692030_n 10500443_10152828557731388_2439921601636654416_nWhen the adrenaline started to wear off, I suffered a major headache and felt so sick in the stomach. I felt a lot better after drinking the 100plus provided. The tent was filled with yummy food but I didn’t have the appetite for it. I didn’t have anything to eat until about 12pm. I was too caught up with everything that I was required to do. Filling up forms, getting my IC checked etc. I was very frustrated that I wasn’t allowed out of the tent. I couldn’t meet up with my friends who were there too!

1620460_10152828625891388_8236984567170413797_n3 minutes off my goal time but definitely not what I had in mind. 10703740_10152828557216388_7223643428478922369_nI remember what Coach Mark said to us in the car on the very first day of our training: “You guys will be up on the podium and I will be there with you. And you will remember this moment in my tiny little car where it all began. It is right there for you. You just have to believe in it.”

I never would have believed him, EVER!

Muhaizar! Team Dirigo’s Male Champ! Daniel and Uma did really well too. GO Team D!

After the prize giving ceremony, the sister and I stuck around for a good 2 hours before we could give them our urine sample. We left at about 1pm. Dropped Daniel off and headed home.

What a roller coaster ride! I still cannot put into words about how I feel about this whole experience. Too amazing. I am very grateful and very humbled by it. Hats off to everybody who has ever attempted to run a marathon. Standard Chartered KL Marathon was the perfect place for my Marathon debut. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Once again, thank you Dirigo Events (Rainer Biemens, Gloria Ng), Coach Mark Williams, Team Dirigo (Chooi Fern, Daniel, Muhairzar, Uma), Darnis, Maarof, Nik, Brooks, Powerbar…… Your support means the world to us.

10520600_10152828558126388_4378788326007986911_nI’m still new to this whole marathon thing. I wouldn’t consider myself as a long distance runner, far from it actually. But I am slowly learning what it takes to become one. I am truly honoured to be part of Team Dirigo and to be training under Coach Mark Williams. I have never pushed myself so hard and so far before. I have achieved PBs that I never thought was possible. There really is no limit when it comes to running. You just have to believe in yourself and see what you can do. If you put your heart into it, anything is possible.

I am very excited and anxious for what is yet to come.

This is just the beginning!

10670104_10152828556851388_7982515372125200644_nOh, and I own one of these things now. I’m officially a Marathoner!

When we remember that our STRENGTH is a result of God’s GRACE, we are kept humble.

All Glory, Honour and Power

belongs to You.

Post-race Report: Run for the Deaf 2014

It was a bad idea to take part in a race one day after doing the Half Marathon in Terengganu. I touched down in KL in the evening. By the time I got home, I was too tired to eat a proper meal. I had a bowl of cereal before heading straight to bed. I was whacked out.

I think I was suffering from heat exhaustion. It hit me pretty hard. Good thing the race venue was just 5 minutes away. I managed to maximised my sleep time. I felt ok when I woke up. Had my breakfast and waited for Kevin and my colleague to arrive. The 3 of us left to NU Sentral at about 6am. We were early and the crowd was just beginning to build up.

Met up with Chooi Fern and we did a mini warm up session together. Oh and we bumped into our coach, who wasn’t very happy to see us there.

When the music started blasting, my headache returned. I felt weak and sick in the stomach. At that time, I was already planning to give up on this race. I felt as though I was going to collapse. I told Kevin to stick close to me and he promised to call the ambulance if he spotted a tiny person lying on the side of the road (haha! I was kidding).

10698511_10152783841396388_2751486939274345004_nMeeting new friends. Socialising during the delay.

Thank God that the whole event was delayed by about 30 minutes. That delay gave me some time to cool down. I felt a lot better minutes before the flag off. I managed to maintain my pace and not speed up or slow down too much. After 2-3KM, we were directed to make an earlier U-turn. At that point, I was jumping for joy because I knew that it would be under distance. The 10KM route became 8KM. Phew!

10437640_10152783841936388_8916005955718910730_nAt the starting line.

Adrenaline was the cure! Whoop! Came in 2nd place behind the sister.

We did a proper stretch and warm down session. Ahhhhhh! It felt so good! Had a lot of time to mingle around after the race.

10398024_10152783840196388_7745418600628040899_nMy ultimate supporter came out to race too! So proud of him for hitting his PB! 10568837_10152783841136388_5967655880217208024_nParX teammate, Bryan! He came in 2nd too in the 5KM Men’s Open. Awesome stuff!10345982_10152783841041388_2548157007265929224_nWhaaaadduuppp!10628590_10152783840951388_3120048510206530531_n1,2. Very grateful to our sponsors! Dirigo Events, Brooks and Puma! 10647202_10152783840691388_1258877347678456427_n 10665188_10152783840761388_6390276655782453099_n 1394044_10152783841606388_5901724989075577920_nThe Champ! Watch out for this girl!10151809_10152783840466388_3012027939073156899_n 10433271_10152783842356388_1087118626955929815_nGot a mini lecture from the coach for racing that morning.

SCKLM is in 2 weeks and he expected us to rest especially just one day after our Terengganu Half Marathon trip.  10628199_10152783842231388_4776934087337753686_nYep, we deserved everything he said to us. The hard truth is always difficult to swallow.10626872_10152783842171388_7407078904415150145_nSorry Coach. We promise to taper accordingly for the big day! 10678559_10152783842036388_422757904342960600_nA coach that reprimands is a coach that cares.

Rest days are an essential part of training. It is a time when your muscles repair and refuel themselves. Your muscles will become tired and may damage without proper recovery.

10702088_10152798543011388_5801238101087534737_n

Muscle building food.10678544_10152798543206388_7467852579349124543_n

Dose of healthy gut bacteria.10626645_10152798542821388_3458381778371890175_n

Sugar in its simplest form.

When you’re training hard, your body craves certain foods. Listen to it. It knows what it needs to survive.

Time to kick my feet up!

Hello Taper Week!