Tuesday, September 28, 2010

McDonald Malaysia Olympic Day Run

Is that McIjam?!

My first McD run and also for the BTHO kids. It's their first long distance running event besides those annual "merentas desa" at school. 3KM is indeed tough for them but with sheer determination, guts and of course encouragement from wifey and me, I believed it could help to get the tiniest spark to be extra ordinary kids - hope so  :)

I had my family kicking and shouting all over the house on that peaceful Sunday morning. Reminds me of my neighbours that should get accustomed to this future to be running family that will be noisy on weekend mornings. Hahaha.

We left the house just in time to reach Dataran Merdeka and secure a parking slot at the school. Runners also parked along Jalan Parlimen towards Lake Garden, which I rarely see on other races. I missed those moments watching participants walked in joyfulness and jitters towards the venue along with friends. That morning, it was no different - read somewhere, 8000 participants signed up for this year! That's good news la kan which I believed the masses of them are casual runners or newbies and definitely kids!

Arrivng at Dataran Merdeka, we picked a spot by the planter box facing the stage and majestic Jalur Gemilang. Yasmin and Amir seemed to blend into the event quite comfortably. It's either they are nervous (which I don't think so) or they simply don't have a clue of what's waiting for them - I trust the later. They still joked around with Umar and cousin Jiha and seemed to be unbothered with many other kids running around for warm ups. Wifey suggested them to do the same but I simply suggested to stay cool and act casual as not to spark jitters into them.

I saw so many runners. This was perhaps a different perspective as an onlooker rather than participating. Groups of kids stretching and warming up with branded technical running shoes and technical tees. I think they have many schools participating and they came well prepared. Lots of people came with their families to simply run together. An uncle simply left his 50 cents face towel on a railing which I presumed will come back for it after the run and definitely it will be there. Madam emcee was I think the usual one and she managed to make it like a school sports day feeling. I was quite entertained at some of her nonsense. Lol! We should have more events like this.

The open category was flagged off at 7.30 a.m. and the mass was a huge one - merely 10 minutes till the last runners to cross the gantry. I can hardly spot any familiar face. Ye la, most of the peeps are running the Newton Challenge same time same date. Supposed 30 minutes later will be for the kids, so Ms. Emcee started shouting for kids to masuk kandang. We walked slowly towards the paddock and let the veteran category flagged off minutes later.

I was horrified when suddenly hundreds of kids from the holding paddock burst out running towards the starting gantry. They were like running their hearts out though the category was yet to start. The officials at the starting line facing them were shouting and putting their hands out to get them to slow down and stop. There was a moment of chaos. Crazy betul. Some kids were caught in the stampede and stumbled on the pavement. Argh! That was painful and I saw cute hurting faces. Lucky my kids were still outside. I reminded them to just stay cool and start at the back of the pack. The strategy was to start slow and pace towards the front along the race. They seemed to get the idea. Good.

The flag off was early. 7.46 a.m. just right after I took their photo with Det's son Naufal. My plan was to stalk them not wanting them to be manja with dad around. Our training was full of manja stuff. Always wanting to discount, walk-run attempt and also "boleh tak lari sampai tiang lampu tu je ayah?" thing. Aiyo! I can't simply let them run on their own on this first race, so I kept my distance 50 metres away.

They hurdled away into the running crowd. They seemed so tiny la but the blue Trikidz tees were easy to spot. Yasmin and Amir jumped onto the sidewalk as they ran towards Bulatan Dato' Onn and into Jalan Sultan Salahuddin. I assumed that they worried for the traffic which I forgot to tell them not to since the roads are closed for runners. Never mind. The climb up Jalan Sultan Salahuddin started to pay it's toll for most of the kids. Some parents were also starting to walk as well. Yasmin and Amir slowly squeezed themselves among the slow ones and I saw some jokes were shared when they saw some kids started to have a sit at a bus top for a breather.

Eventually they spotted me at the turn towards Padang Merbuk. Aiya! They seemed not surprised though. Hmmm...maybe they felt the instinct that dad will come to their rescue kot. Hahaha! OK la no more stalking and words of encouragement starts flowing in. No complaints so far.

Suddenly Amir started to increase his pace and left Yasmin. I was caught in between whether to stay with Yasmin or chase Amir. Aiyo! Trusting that Yasmin have some experience with races from Trikidz, I gave chase towards Amir. He was running fast with power-walk in between. As we turned into Jalan Parlimen, the open category started jamming in as well. Amir kept on with his strong pace now and Yasmin was not seen at the back. "Ayah! Abang dapat potong orang besar la!". That's what gave him the motivation to run strong. And I saw, with his new Mizuno shoes, he was actually running forefoot! Perhaps the running class did help with the running gait.

Approaching Dataran Merdeka, we met Che. Nice to see you bro! - the only RBU I met that day. But I can't stay for a chat since Amir seemed wanted to finish strong. And so he was. I can't joined him towards the finishing line without race numbers on me, so I just watched from afar. He ran joyfully into the kids finishing lane with mommy's hug waiting. Yeay! I waited by the side for Yasmin and shouted for her last push. She responded and managed to finish strong as well overtooking a few other kids. Phew! That was tough.

Queueing for Milo was bearable since they have booths for Coke and mineral water as well. The sun was up and striking by now. I can hardly face Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad without getting stung on my forehead from the sun. It brought me to think about my fellow Newtonians who were currently battling the hills. We feasted with the free McMuffin voucher at McDonald's breakfast treat on our way home. Kids seemed still energetic. I wonder if they could endure the same with Kumon and school revisions for upcoming final year exam :)

Certs, Milo & McMuffin day!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Fresh Air Fund for 2010 ING NYC Marathon

I got this email from Sara Wilson of Fresh Air Fund last week and another one yesterday. I trust this small world of Gebang could help for the love of the kids. And perhaps for the whole world's awareness.

Hi Diket

The Fresh Air Fund is looking for runners and sponsors to join our Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Marathon on November 7th. I thought you would be interested in helping out by posting a mention of this exciting news on Gebang jangan tak gebang beb. This is a great way to participate in NYC's premier race while helping Fresh Air Fund children. Please feel free to repost anything from our site here:


As you may be aware, over the past four years as a NY Road Runners charity partner for the NYC Half-Marathon, our 325 Fund-Racers have raised close to $400,000 for The Fresh Air Fund! Please let me know if you are able to post or have any questions, and if you could send me the link that would be great.

Thank you so much,

Sara Wilson,
The Fresh Air Fund

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ketupat Training

Like the title said, ketupat training was the weaving phenomena between hari raya celebration (ziarah and eating) and training. I was strong enough to start running on 2nd Syawal and did even better clocking 10km on 3rd Syawal. Thank you so much to Shuk with his footpod attached, we managed to cover the distance running around the magnificent Istana route and tackling some hills. However, the remaining days were spent on food harvesting and travelling. From Johor Bahru to Batu Pahat and headed towards Kuala Rompin. I had it planned to expand the ziarah boundary to the east coast. By the 4th Syawal, we were already travelling back to KL traversing the Bandar Muadzam - Keratong - Serting - Kuala Pilah - KL route. It was an interesting drive. It really helps with a different view of panorama through the laidback places.

The next day, I was already craving for cranking - bunyi macam tajuk lagu la pulak! Just some local dudes, the Langat dudes actually, revisiting our backyard attempting Genting Peres and Bukit Antu. Only this time, Genting Peres was raining and misty and the climb and descending was thrilling. I managed to do the crank-besar-masak-kicap up Peres and Bukit Antu - first time with Bukit Antu and I was surprised it was doable. Phew! With all those strength workouts, I was starving even before reaching home. Had to stop at an Esso for a can of soya bean just 5 clicks away from home.

Hari Malaysia came and a bunch of us was already excited to crank off those raya loads. Almost 14 of us attempted the 106km Cheras - Seremban stretch through LEKAS highway. Though it seemed flat as a pancake and comfy while driving, it was the total opposite when you are cycling here. The flat was windy with headwinds while the climbs were long and tempting. We exited the highway at Mantin-Lenggeng and climbed the 2km Bukit Mantin before rolling into Seremban town for refuelling at Temiang Corner.

The ride back up to the highway was granny and we were punished with stronger headwinds and streaking hot sun. The faster we went, the strong headwind we faced. The slower we rode, the longer we baked under the sun. There was no good deed with both options. I decided to tag along with the fast riders and suffer lesser time but LT level was pushed to the max.

I had to skip Newton Challenge this weekend. After so much weighing, my kids should enjoy running event as well. I signed them up for the McDonald run. At least they can taste the pleasurable suffering of running and God willing it will make them stronger persons. My next event will be K.O.M. Ipoh - Cameron Highland. My first ride as well up the 54km Simpang Pulai route. I just wish to enjoy the cold torment. All the best of luck to all fellow buddies with the Bukit Ammah!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Last Kopek Ramadhan Night Ride & Salam Aidil Fitri

Kalau la dapat angpow raya dalam bentuk ni alangkah bahagianya
Deti did the invitation this time since aku masih 50-50 untuk sesi letihan selepas peristiwa weekend lepas. Alhamdullillah, menjelang Jumaat, tahap keterujaan kembali untuk bersama-sama dengan rakan-rakan.

Malam tadi telah terbukti kehandalan masing-masing merempit semakin terserlah. Al-maklum aje lah, dah last kopek dapat main embun dengan kawan-kawan. Lepas ni, kalau semangat tak berapa kuat, mahu nya 2 minggu tayar tak bergolek. Tapi tu bukan aku la. Full swing letihan akan bermula sebaik aje matahari terbit pada 2 Syawal. Eceh! Hopefully semangat aku akan tegar pada pagi raya ke-2.

We missed a few fellow cyclists malam tu. Jaja sakit mata & perhaps Ziff decided untuk bedal daging waktu berbuka puasa. The rest was the usual gang. I think there were 15 of us. Lost count sebab ada a few faces yang tenggelam timbul dalam kegelapan malam macam biskut chocolate chip. Let me recall the members & termasuk sekali gajet-gajet baru pembuka semangat :

1. Deti - bartape Most putih baru
2. Nizam - helmet Bell Sweep baru
3. Shuk - jesi Crossroad raya
4. Yim - jesi HTC Columbia hensem
5. Zakuan - lost count of his new stuff...selalu sangat benda baru
6. Azmar - rakan menembak
7. Nik Raiha - kasut tri cycling baru putih melepak
8. Tony - temankan Nik
9. Fairul - the silent cyclist
10. Bahri - planning to get a new Lazer Genesis
11. Doc. Taufik - orang kampung cyclist
12. Shah - geng menembak jugak
13. Rizal - rider Kuota
14. Kawan Rizal yang sentiasa mencangkuk dia.
15. Aku
16. Ada lagi dua orang yang tak sempat aku nak interview tapi sorang tu pakai Specialized Tarmac putih hensem.

Atas beberapa sebab besar, kayuhan malam tu penuh dengan aksi tembak menembak. Sebab pertama, Nik Raiha ada Tony untuk temankan dia kat belakang. Sebab kedua, budak-budak ni dah 2-3 minggu tahan sabar nak menyetan. Aku rasa malam tu semua lepas geram. Tapi aku tak. Maksudnya bukan aku yang initiate those attacks, cuma contribute la sikit-sikit.

Kayuhan bermula at 10.30pm. Tapi sebelum tu keadaan agak meriah bila bertembung dengan kaum RBU yang dah lama sangat aku tak berjumpa. Ijam, Zaki, RayZeef, Syah, Ian. Seronok sungguh. Diorang pun mula la belek-belek basikal sorang-sorang tapi masih lagi tak nak tanya lebih-lebih. Aku faham, ini kes takmo termakan racun kalau dah mula bertanya. Alhamdullillah semua nampak sihat & ceria seadanya. Hopefully dapat kembali berlari dengan diorang lepas raya.

Route malam ni sama je macam last week. Aku malas nak work out route baru. Lagi pun bagus untuk semua since route sama kurang possibility nak sesat. Aku tak plan nak balun, even nak lari lepas ride pun masih 60-40. Rasa badan macam kurang kick lepas berbuka. Maybe kurang minum air, since cuaca pun boleh tahan terik sehari dua sebelum tu.

Aku banyak bersembang dengan Shuk kat belakang group seperti yang kita orang plan. Banyak berkisar sekitar basikal. Geng 606 dah mula nampak mengeluarkan taring kat depan tapi aku tengok je. Jiwa ku tercabar bila sampai di kaki bukit yang panjang sebelum Alamanda. Aku nampak ada Geng 606 yang dah mula berterabur tercicir. Ni peluang untuk aku catch up. Ada pulak Azmar kaki lambung. Apa lagi? Adegan memanjat pada 85% HR pun bermula sejauh 1km. Sampai kat puncak, masing-masing menghembuskan nafas lega.

Regroup tempat biasa kat simpang Alamanda & sebaik Nik & Tony sampai, group terus bergerak tanpa melengahkan masa. Nik masih dalam tahap pengajian clipless pedal jadi kami semua berteriak dan bersorak masa Nik nak mula kayuh & pasang clip. Fuh! Kami lega setiap kali dia berjaya.

Macam biasa, perjalanan patah balik ke PICC tak akan lengkap tanpa aksi tarik menarik. The usual suspects were in the group. Too bad Shuk & Yim tak dapat ikut serta. The keyword is to get hold of the group and cangkuk all the way. Lagi sekali kami menguji tahap treshold untuk laluan flat ke PICC. Puas hati tahap gaban.

Another regroup tapi kali ni Nik terpaksa akur dengan kekuatan tarikan graviti. Nasib dia landing kat Deti instead of atas jalan. Kalau tidak semakin lebam ler tapak tangan dia hasil dari jatuhan practice dia kat rumah. Ada la sikit iklan di tengah ke-pongeh-an menembak tadi. Kayuhan agak sopan dari situ ke arah persimpangan MEX highway tapi aku dapat saksikan muka masing-masing yang menyimpan seribu hasrat untuk menguji tahap kelajuan halilintar.

Sebaik aje lepas persimpangan MEX, all hell broke loose. Tepat sangkaan aku, sebab aku pun turut sama terjebak. The usual suspects : Azmar, Deti, Nizam, Bahri, Zakuan, Doc Taufik & aku. 8km flat all the way towards the KLIA toll plaza and we managed to tingled around the 38kph mark. Sesekali ada jugak aku tembak 40kph tapi takde la lama - saja test water.

Lepas U-turn and regroup kat tol, kayuhan kembali sopan semula ke arah Putrajaya. Tapi idak ler lama sangat sopan budak-budak ni. Deti tak habis lambung aku untuk up kan pace. Ye lah, aku jugak yang kena jadi budak jahat. Layan. Nik, Tony and Fairul dah start kayuh awal lepas regrouping tadi, so they have the 1km advantage. Sorang tukang lambung, sorang jadi kambing hitam & yang lain follow aje.

Dah puas layan flat route, the remaining 10km ada la sikit-sikit bukit. Basically bukan bukit pun, cuma flyover and interchange di sekitar Putrajaya. Kat sini la aksi tembak menembak diteruskan untuk menguji ketahanan kaki & jantung mengejar gelaran Raja Bukit. Cukup la kot. Kayuhan kembali ke PoJ melalui Alamanda & rumah PM kami kayuh slow & dapat habis sekitar waktu yang sama macam minggu lepas.

Aku tidak bercadang untuk tambah kelengitan dan terpaksa untuk tidak berlari & join sesi teh tarik dengan rakan-rakan. Ada geng RBU yang menunggu kat Double Trouble & geng yang lain ke mamak yang biasa. Aku, Nizam, Deti & Doc Taufik selaku orang sekampung decided untuk have a quick bite kat kedai area kampung je since masing-masing kena berehat awal untuk esok hari yang penuh dengan komitmen lain.

Since ni kayuhan terakhir untuk Ramadhan tahun ni, aku rasa group ride berjaya especially geng beginners dapat join & attendance boleh tahan mantap. Apa kan daya aku tak mampu untuk kayuh sehari & berlari sehari dengan RBU. Maklum la aku bukan segagah mana pun. Tapi dengan kehadiran kawan-kawan pada setiap Jumaat malam, cukup untuk kita kembali semangat mengejar title Weekend Warrior. Hopefully sesi letihan dan latihan sebaik lepas raya akan lebih tegar.

Dengan kesempatan yang masih ada ni, aku juga ingin sangat mengucapkan Salam Aidil Fitri pada semua sahabat handai yang sudi membuang masa ber-gebang kat sini. Aku pohon ampun dan maaf di atas apa jua salah & silap di dalam pertuturan bahasa sewaktu menulis & memberi komen di sini mahupun di blog-blog lain. Ampun kan ye. Semoga semua sahabat dapat bersama-sama menyambut hari yang istimewa ini dengan orang yang tersayang & sekaligus mengeratkan lagi ikatan silaturrahim di antara kita.