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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!

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!

10407423_10152678685155798_9118000045645758234_nPhoto courtesy of Kin K Yum

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.

10531420_10152678662970798_1497674498397423630_oPhoto courtesy of Kin K Yum

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

Recent Happenings

Oh wow, excuse my absence. I just remembered that I have a blog to update!

The past few weeks have been crazy. The good kind of crazy…I think. Time needs to slow down. Everything just seems to be happening concurrently. I have quite a number of things on my plate right now (work, church, studies, running etc).

Responsibilities are piling up, and I’m trying to do all of them. They are things that I enjoy doing, but I realize that I have less time to do what I need to do. Sometimes, when you try to do too much, you end up giving 25% to each instead of 100%. Still trying to find that balance. BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE!

Time to get moving with my crazy life! Something exciting has happened recently. I can’t reveal anything right now but let’s just say good things come with great responsibility. I am happy and excited but at the same time, afraid of the unknown. Time will tell if this works out. It is a huge commitment on my end and I just hope that I can juggle all that is to come.

In other news, the ParX team relay race is coming up this week (on Sunday)! I haven’t been racing in over a month, so it’ll be something fresh. It was a good break from racing almost every week (and one back to back!). Still, my weekend mornings have been filled with training sessions.

I am really looking forward to this race. My first mix and road relay race. SO EXCITING!

Flashback:

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This was my last race back in June – Score Run 2014.

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The final stretch…

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And I was the champ. It was totally unexpected…really. It was a pretty good day with lots of watermelon at the finish line. YUMS!

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Cari Team Brazil.

My awesome teammates for the ParX relay! Jing Jing, HYH, Bryan and Zi Shen. These guys are good and it is an honour to be in their team. They recruited me after just knowing me for a few weeks (back in February). Thanks for giving me this chance and believing in me. This team is solid. I am sure that we’re going to be alright.

GAME FACE- ON!

We’re going to go ALL OUT this weekend! Can’t wait!

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This is what our typical training sessions look like. I never thought I’d say this but I am starting to enjoy doing track intervals.

10514623_10152567701141388_6628874600536759067_nTrack…It has become a weekly affair.

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Our training sessions have also been growing in numbers. As we move closer to race day, I guess everyone felt the need to start gearing up! The last minute heroes.

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Support from the Puma gang!

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The final group training session – race route rehearsal. This is it. All the best to all the teams!

Stay safe, train well, sleep tight, eat right & gear up for this weekend!

Running Spots in KL

Thanks to http://www.healthworks.my/ for featuring my article on “Running Spots in KL”!

They feature everything from food to fitness to health advice to daily motivations. If you’re a health nut like me, you would definitely want to check them out. Remember to “LIKE” their Facebook page too.

The article that was featured:

Congratulations, you’ve decided to run! You’ve bought some flashy (and most probably expensive) running gear. You’ve set some goals for yourselves (hopefully). Now the question is: Where to run? The real answer to that question is: Anywhere!

But I guess sometimes we just need specific pointers to get started, so fret not, here’s a quick and short list to help you identify suitable running locations. Okay, I know the locations listed below (except for number 1) are mostly in Kuala Lumpur. That’s because I’ve only listed the locations that are familiar to me. But hopefully, even if most of the locations on this list aren’t very accessible to you, you’ll find it a handy guide to look for and find your very own running trail!

Without further ado, here’s my list:

  1. Your own neighbourhood

Sometimes things are just outside your door step! Before you venture far away in search of that perfect running trail, explore the surroundings that you commute past every day on your way to school or work. I’ve been surprised because some people tell me that they’ve never considered their own neighbourhood for running.
Think of it as a tour – how well do you know your own neighbourhood, really? You can make your run more interesting by greeting and chatting with your neighbours (not too long, though!), smelling the literal roses, petting a friendly dog (make sure it’s friendly!), or checking out that newly renovated house (perhaps chuckling to yourself that money can’t always buy taste). You may also spot some eye candy you’ve never noticed – a shiny new car, a hot girl, a cute guy.

A good thing about running around your own neighbourhood: you don’t have to look for parking space!

  1. Desa Park City

If you feel motivated by the sight of other people running, this is where you should be. Parking is free and safe, on accounts of guards patrolling the area. There are many other runners in the park, along with cyclists, people walking their dogs, families and their kids.

There is a relatively flat running/walking track that makes a big loop around the waterfront, for a distance of 2.2 kilometres. If that is not challenging enough for you, you can go all the way up to Ridgewood, also known as “DPC Hill”. Be prepared for a non-stop 600 metres of uphill torture! There is an additional 200 metres up to the water tank, but I’ll leave that for you to decide once you reach the round-about. I will say, GO FOR IT!

You can run here at any time, even late at night.

central-parkSource: desaparkcity.org

 10001511_10203681770064398_1275453995_n“DPC Hill”

1723556_10203681816825567_472968638_nOn the way down from the water tank!

Source: Victor Chong

  1. Lake Gardens (now known as Perdana Botanical Gardens)

This is a popular place for runners in Kuala Lumpur, especially on weekends. Many runners do their LSD (long slow distance runs) there, and many running clubs and communities gather there. Go and join in the fun and meet new people. Most are welcoming and will let you run with them.

There is a variety of terrain to keep things interesting – a mix of stairs, hills, flats, twists and turns.

The park itself is relatively safe with a lot of runners around during peak times, but it is a big place. Take care if you are running alone, in the more isolated areas. Don’t leave valuables in the car, as there have been cases of break-ins.

Segway-Tour-Lake-Gardens-KL-Kuala-Lumpur-bridgeSource: Google

  1. KLCC Park

Another popular location for runners, this park is convenient if you work in the heart of the city and want to put in a run after work, or before. One loop around the purpose built running/jogging track is 1.2 km. It is quite safe, as there are guards patrolling the park. I believe the park is closed after 10 or 11 PM.

Parking is expensive. You are, however, rewarded with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers, and the park and track itself is very well-maintained, with water fountains located throughout.

1538793_10202927450041525_900563239608092125_nYeah, we have loads of fun (at our Puma Running Club Sessions)! Or maybe its just me.

Source: Victor Chong

  1. Kg Pandan Sports Complex Track

This is a competition 6-lane running track (where one loop equals 400 metres). The track is open and free to the public. Parking is free and relatively secure – you can see your car from the track so if you’re the paranoid type you can even keep an eye on it while doing laps around the track!

There are quite a number of runners after working hours and on weekends, but not so crowded that you can’t run properly. On a “closed” flat track with clearly marked distances like this one, it is easy to train with speed runs and intervals.

 

kampung-pandan-trackSource: kakithon.blogspot.com

  1. Indoor

I very much prefer running outdoors than doing miles on a machine, I love the wind in my face and the feeling of covering ground with my own feet. But there is an alternative when circumstances just don’t allow running outdoors (Rain? Hail? Snow?): the treadmill, either at home or in the gym.

The good part is the convenience. But the convenience can also be a bad thing – you can easily hop off the machine and quit a run halfway!

When you’re out running, your main focus is of course the run itself. But safety is paramount. If you are used to running with some tunes, lower the volume so that you still hear the sounds around you – it’s not a good thing to not be able to hear a car beeping their horn because you’ve strayed onto the road!

1003585_10152347139061388_1610799531_nWhen you run, don’t just focus on your footwork. Look up, be aware of your surroundings (and also enjoy the view along the way). Remain alert, especially when you’re running alone. Have fun and stay safe!

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Long runs are better when the sun goes down.

Time to explore the road ahead of you. GO!