Monthly Archives: November 2015

#AdeleWFOTM – Angel Tang

Angel Tang – the ULTRA girl.

We met through the Puma Night Running Club about 2 years ago. She has been one of our loyal club members and we’ve witnessed how she bloomed (and still blooming!) into the runner that she is today! Even with a lingering knee injury, she’s still hitting the road and doing whatever she can to keep running. Crazy or determined? Read on to find out more:

1. How long have you been running?

Since secondary school! Back then, I was running in all categories from 100m – 1500m.  On top of that, I was also a member of the relay team in all the categories.  As a result of my active participation and achievement, I was voted the best sportswomen throughout my secondary school years.  When I graduated from secondary school, I stopped running to focus on my higher education and career. I rekindled my passion for running back in 2012 when my friend encouraged me to start running again by registering for a 12km run.  Since then, I’ve been running and by the end of 2012, I completed my first full marathon at Sundown Singapore.Angel 1

2. Why do you run/choose to run?

I choose to run because running allows me to slowly detach myself from the hectic and stressful world. Whenever I start running, I am able to immerse myself into my own little world where I can clear my mind and focus on myself.  It rejuvenates my mind even though it leaves me physically drained!

3. What do you like to do during your free time (other than running)?

Apart from running, my other passion in life is actually scuba diving. Due to the high cost and accessibility to great beaches, I can only dive once or twice a year.  I actually started diving around 2011 and I am now a PADI certified Rescue Diver.Angel 2

4. Do you follow a training schedule?

I don’t really have a particular training schedule or plan. I run whenever I can and whenever I feel like running.  Basically, if the weather permits, I would try to run every day and go for at least 1 LSD session over the weekend if there isn’t any running event.

5. What makes you want to go for an ultra? What keeps you motivated to finish?

Completing an ultra-marathon is the ultimate goal for me as a runner and I believe it is the same with most runners out there. For me, I want to experience what it feels like to run an ultra-marathon and to see if I am capable of achieving it.  My motivation to finish is my strong-will and my never-give-up attitude.  These traits push me to continue running no matter how exhausting or painful it is.

6. How do you prepare for an ultra-marathon?

My preparation for an ultra is rather simple but tough. It is basically trying to run as much as possible.  To be able to run an ultra, you basically need to train your body to be used to running as long as possible for extended periods of time.  To achieve this, I would try to run at least 10km for 3 – 4 times during weekdays and complete at least one 30km run over the weekend.  Apart from that, I will run with my hydration bag and under different weather conditions.  These are important as your body needs to be accustomed to the additional weight from the hydration bag and also various weather conditions that you will be subjected to while running an ultra-marathon.angel 3

 

7. What do you have to bring with you when you’re running an ultra-marathon?

I like to keep it as light as possible so I only bring what I really need. I carry about 1.5 litres of water in my hydration bag, which is sufficient as the water is meant to keep my mouth wet and I will drink more water at the checkpoints. In my hydration bag, I will bring around 8-9 packs of power gel, a few bars of chocolate, my light-weight jacket, a small LED torch-light, a LED blinker and a small tube of ointment for muscle pain/cramps. On top of these essential items, I ensure that I bring along mandatory items like emergency blanket, first aid kit, reflective vest and whistle.  The mandatory items list may vary depending on the race organizer.angel 4

8. Any advice to runners who want to go for an ultra?

Run more and train your mind. You need to be accustomed with running long distances alone and be in total darkness for long periods of time! It is important to be able to keep motivating and push yourself to the finishing line.

9. Do you suffer from any injuries? How do you handle them?

It would be a lie to say that I never suffered from injuries. Like any runner, I suffered from various injuries and the worst was my knee.  It has been a reoccurring problem from my hiking days.  Whenever my knee injury flairs up, I have to cut down on my mileage to let the inflammation subside. I stay fit by doing some core training and leg muscle strengthening exercises. Every 3-4months, I visit my knee specialist and if required, injections are administered to soothe the pain.

10. Your profession (your job).

Assistant Relationship Manager in HSBC.

11. How do you juggle work and running?

I normally train late in the evening (after work) and over the weekend. After work, I hit the road at around 7-8pm and run until 10pm.  During the weekend, I run early in the morning as my evenings are reserved for rest and some work.

12. Who do you usually train/run with?

My running buddy and running guru, Mr. Lee Teck Wai.

13. Which was the most memorable race and why!

Titi 100 in 2015. Even though it was only 50km, the Titi 100 route is one of the toughest road ultra-marathon in Malaysia and it is rather challenging to complete it.  Titi100 2015 was challenging as it started raining even before the flag-off at 12am and the rain continued until 3am.  The cold wind coupled with the darkness that surrounded us made it even harder to continue.  The beautiful scenery along the road and the experience of running under the moonlight that appeared after the rain had subsided made it unforgettable.  The sight of mist covering the tree tops along with the lake formed by the dam and other beautiful sights of nature were truly breath-taking.

14. Who inspires you the most and why?

I would have to say, Raymond Foo is my inspiration.  He provided the inspiration for me to start running back in 2012 and ‘poisoned’ me with all his stories of his various marathon and ultra-marathon experiences around the world.  I hope to do the same!

15. Fav running quote:

Don’t think, just hit the road!!

16. What do you think sets you aside from others?

Unlike many, I am not very disciplined with my training and I don’t really follow a particular training program. But I have strong will power. No matter the conditions, if I set my mind to run, I will give my best.  With this mind-over-body attitude, I am able to push myself further!

17. What are some of your running goals?

Currently, my main goal is to be able to complete a 100km ultra-marathon.  My other goals are to be able to constantly complete full marathons under 4hrs and to hopefully be a pacer for a running event.  Plus, I hope to be able to run in various marathons around the world.

To Angel: No, not every runner wants to experience an Ultra Marathon (HAHA!). Definitely not me…… yet.

Did she manage to inspire you to run your first Ultra? 😉 Thank you for your time, Angel!

 

Compression Garment – Does it work?

Hello my fellow readers! Sorry for the lack of posts/updates. Just a tad bit busy! TIME needs to SLOW down. We’re already into our 11th month of the year! WHAT?!

I am trying my best to juice out more informative articles for you guys. Do let me know if you have anything specific that you would like me to talk about/share.

Ok, time to cut to the point of this article – Compression Garment

Think: 2XU, Skins, Compresssport, RecoFit etc.

These are a few of the big names in the compression garment industry. If you thought they were just fashionable, you may be right. But they happen to be FUNCTIONAL too.IMG_9490

There’s nothing new about the compression garment technology. It is widely used in the medical field. Back at the plastic surgery clinic where I used to work, compression garments were sold along with major surgical procedures (liposuction, breast augmentation). Compression garments are worn to prevent excessive swelling, promote blood circulation, prevent seroma, and to a certain extent, provide comfort and support.

What Happens to Your Muscles after Exercise

Physical activity induces muscle damage in the form of micro-tears that can lead to delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), impaired muscle function, increase in circulating muscle proteins and possibly hindering exercise performance.

These are transient natural processes that occur whenever you place some level of stress on your muscles. Muscle repair follows muscle damage, healing it and making it more resilient to future stressors.

The Problem

Pain and swelling is common place during this time.

There is no real ‘problem’. In fact, you probably enjoy the PAIN and feel accomplished because PAIN means GAIN, right? But the discomfort we feel may interfere with our daily life or even our next workout session.

Enhanced recovery has become one of the top priorities for most athletes and crazy runners like YOU.

How Does Compression Garment Work

Garments with specific compressive qualities have made their way into athletic populations. No surprise there because it works. Although there are many conflicting conclusions from various studies (you have to take into account the design, biasness, type of workout etc), the overall review is positive.

For Recovery

As mentioned, compression garments promote blood circulation, enhancing muscle oxygenation and reduce venous pooling and oedema. Compression garments have the ability to alter local haemodynamics and expedite the removal of cellular debris and improve the swelling that comes along with it. It also provides mechanical support, resulting in faster recovery following muscle damaging exercises. Many studies have also found that compression garment reduces perceived post exercise muscle soreness, further managing the detrimental symptoms [1].IMG_9496

If you happen to wear them during your activity (like running), it helps to hold the muscle in place, controlling the amount of oscillation and movement that could aggravate the healing process [2].

Psychological Effect

“The body achieves what the mind believes”

I ALWAYS say this – YOUR MIND is SO POWERFUL! As the Bible says in 1 Peter 1vs13, GIRD your mind!

If you think you’re going to fail, chances are YOU WILL!

Studies have shown that there is the psychological feel-good aspect of wearing compression garment for recovery! Even if it doesn’t work, your mind is at ease knowing that you are recovering well.

Less worry = overall positive effects on your well-beingIMG_9495

What am I slipping into the sleeve of my RecoFit calf sleeve? Review coming up! 🙂

Fashion? Functional? Or nothing at all?

Still undecided? OK la, let me help you out.

BUY/use compression garment if:

-you are an elite athlete and recovery is necessary to maintain high training loads

-you are not an elite athlete but want to feel good/recovery faster

-you follow a strict workout plan that requires you to recover ASAP

-you think it looks fashionable

If none of the above applies to you then just REST LAH!REST-DAYYour next hard workout is going to be as good as the quality of your recovery.

REMEMBER THAT!

The Puma Night Run 2015 – An Unfortunate Event

A glimpse from a Pacer’s point of view:

We were thrilled and honoured to be given yet another chance to be Pacers at the Puma Night Run 2015.IMG_9646

Our task:

As pacers, we were well aware of our roles in keeping to our respective paces and motivating/helping the runners to complete their run.IMG_9533

We had a jillion things to do before the big day! This included the hype that was created on various social media platforms. You would have noticed if you were involved in ‘liking’ our photos. Thank you! I think you could sense our excitement!

Training:

In light of the upcoming event, we tailored our workouts for our Puma Night Running Club members in hopes of helping them to either complete the run comfortably or finish with a new PB. We did a mixture of intervals, hill sprints, tempo runs and negative splits. Even with the haze, many of our members found alternatives to keep their fitness levels up.

The BIG day:

After the string of disappointing event cancellations, this was going to be the next big thing (finally!)! Everything was going perfectly well – the haze had cleared up and the sky was crystal clear.IMG_9544

The pacers were there by 5pm for a mini briefing session.  We were ready. We had planned our paces and pace groups, made sure the printing on the balloons were correct and tested the route to make sure the distance was accurate.IMG_9539

We grabbed a light bite before heading backstage with our balloons.

We were introduced to the runners on the main stage, so that they could identify which pacer/pace group to follow. After the warm up session, we made our way to the starting line.IMG_9555

Everything went downhill from there.

Dark clouds began to creep in. Just as we were about to be flagged off, we felt the first drops of rain. The MC announced the delay and we went to look for cover.

10 minutes in and the rain subsided to a very light drizzle. At around 7.50pm, we were all ushered back to the starting line. I thought the starting was a bit haphazard. Many of the runners were not aware of the ‘sudden’ flag off. Those who went to the mall/convention centre to seek cover would not have made it in time to the starting line. I had to squeeze my way through the crowd to get to the front.

Shortly after, the count down was on and we were off! By then, the light drizzle was no longer a light drizzle, the drops were heavy and the wind was strong.

By km 2, it was a full blown thunder storm. Running with the balloon tied to your wrist with the wind blowing against you is NO EASY FEAT! It was a tough battle. But I must say, the wind did force me to run at my designated pace (5:50-6:00 mins/km).

Thankfully, Zi Shen’s balloon flew away with the wind. Without hesitating, I handed him my balloon. Even without the balloon, my petite figure was not built for such harsh weather conditions.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

With the resistance from the wind, the weight of our soaked gear and with the rain blurring our vision, every step felt like a burden. I wanted to give up. But when I looked around at the runners who were struggling along, I felt motivated!

I thought they were crazy. Runners are CRAZY people! If I did not have pacer duties to fulfil, I would have stopped. With the positive atmosphere from the crowd, I decided to have a little fun. After all, it is not every day that you get to run under the thunderstorm with 8 thousand people.

We continued to cheer for the runners and notified them of their current pace. The volunteers at the water stations were also happily handing out cups of water…… as if we didn’t already have enough of it (haha!).

At about km 8.5, we saw the 7, 8 and 9 min/km pacers along the side of the road saying that they were not allowed to continue. I was confused for a moment but decided to continue running. As we approached the 9 km marker, I shouted to everyone who wanted to do a sub 1 hour 10KM to follow me, with no knowledge of the non-existent finishing line (and cancellation). Everyone pushed, HARD!

But instead of turning into the finishing area, we were directed towards the convention centre! I thought they had shifted the finishing line, so we continued running, threading through the sea of people……until we were greeted with a metal gate that stopped us in our tracks. It was a nightmare!

We climb through the gate and made our way to the finishing area. We met up with the other runners and only then did we find out that the race was cancelled! I couldn’t believe my ears.


 

Post-race thoughts:

Everything was a mess. From the race to the finisher entitlements to the baggage collection. But only under such conditions, that the true colours of people are revealed(both good and bad). The Puma team, the pacers and some of the runners joined forces to help the technical team/organisers. I was happy to see everyone pulling in to minimise the damage.IMG_9554

I am not writing this post to defend or fight against anybody. I may be a Puma ambassador, but I am also a RUNNER. I KNOW how YOU feel. Believe me, I was just as disappointed! We were not informed by the technical team that the race was cancelled. I ran the whole course, I was wet, cold and shivering, I had a headache, my stomach was not feeling too good (women problems) and I had a race to run the next day!

I was under a lot of stress that day and I could go on complaining. But let’s look on the brighter side of things. Now you can all say that you ran in the storm with strong winds and flashes of lightning with 8 thousand other runners! Definitely an experience that I will remember for life. I also read that many of the runners managed a PB. Say what?!

Jokes aside, there is no excuse for the fact that there was no proper crisis management by the technical team. I totally agree that things could have been handled differently. But before you open your mouth or move your fingers to criticise Puma/the organisers/technical team, please make sure that you are making sense. I am seeing the silliest of comments on social media (honestly, it is quite entertaining. You can head on over to our FB page to check it out!), from phones to parking lots to smashed car windows……


Perfect weather on race day is never guaranteed. Even if the organisers made a wrong decision to flag the runners off in the rain, the ultimate decision is still IN YOUR HANDS. Elite runner Nik Fakaruddin, who would have easily placed top 3 that night, decided to watch the rest of us run from the comfort of his vehicle which was parked right next to the starting line. He made a WISE decision to NOT run even though the organisers carried on with the race.

What am I trying to say?

Take RESPONSIBILITY for YOUR own decisions. And LIVE with the CONSEQUENCES of those decisions. There are risks involved. Making a decision would mean that you would have considered ALL the risks. I think we should all stop pointing fingers unnecessarily and move on with our lives.

All I can say is that we, the pacers, did whatever we could to the best of our abilities. Special thanks to PUMA MALAYSIA for all the love, support and this awesome experience! WE LOVE YOU GUYS TOO!

IMG_9552

We showed up. We ran. We conquered. We were HAPPY!

I hope you guys are having a good day!

Keep Running!