Friday, November 19, 2010

Back and forth

Almost a week now after Powerman. Things are pretty much back into the groove now. I was tired from the race and also from the road trip. Took me almost 3 days to apprehend myself back. That particular 3 days were full of eat and sleep. Yawn and hungry most of the time. Monday lunch, Det and me had 2 plates each of fried kuew teow and sizzling steak. We got stares from the next table and smiles from the waitress for the feeding frenzy. I supposed they saw Hantu Raya kot. Lol.

I had to ditch raya trip back to JB so as not to add more stress to the recovering body. Felt a tingling of flu bug flying around but I must stay strong because the weekend is just around the corner for warriors' stuff. And I like to log this in as well - I gained 3 kilos after Powerman, perhaps due to the appetite and something that I left behind for good. I'll keep that to myself but it's gonna be a fight for a better me.

The stuff that brought me across
safe & sound
I supposed the race was magnificent for me and for the rest. On top of the merciful weather, my strategy to start slow and take it easy as the tempo rises, worked. With only a handful of training logs, using weekend races and race smartly, pretty much pushed me for a safe and injury free Powerman. KOM Cameron, Mizuno Wave Run and Genting Trailblazer were the only platforms for me to attest that I was ready for the big one. Despite the not-so-hebat preps, I was also down with plantar fasciitis on both feet and the old left knee pain. I went easy on rides and runs, shoved in Glucosamines a week prior and many thanks to Rayzeef for the spectacular Rocktape that I used on race day.

In two weeks time, my first marathon in Temasek. Nothing much to target for since logging milage was never near to what I did in KL Marathon. I was hoping Powerman helped me with the endurance. The plan is stay running and enjoy the scenes with running peeps Det and Ziff. Since the organiser promised a spectacular marathon route, I'll pop in my camera as well. With two weekends remaining, I will just stick to the LSD milage schedule and taper as it goes.

So many races sprouting approaching 2011 - am I early to talk about this? Organisers have been aware that a well scheduled race attracts more crowd which on top of that allow each party to plan and prepare well. Take Borneo Marathon and Sundown Marathon for example. Both races have been lambung-ed in blogs and facebook for awhile now. Fellow enthusiasts have been struck with the mental kacau illness. Adding salt to the future pain, Sundown raised the 84km to 100km for the ultra category. Can you really beat the sunrise? I'm afraid, both these events are not in my initial plan for the moment.

A recent gift from my dearest wifey prior to Powerman pretty much reflected her continuous support to me as a husband-father-wannabe-athlete. Top notch appreciattion I must say. Now I'm back to my oldself flipping book pages, just like a moth to a light bulb, just like her (lepas ni azam gosok baju siang malam tanpa kenal penat! Lol). Does that mean it will fall under Project 2011? I dunno. We'll see how it progresses. It's a layout plan, see. I'll just choose and pick when the time comes.

On top of that, I'm eyeing to return back to the old dirt stuff. With my mountainbike sold, I look forward for dirt on foot come 2011. Recently was being lambung-ed by Zairin for the Kinabalu Climbathon. Seems doable enough. With that in the 2011 pipeline, the N9 Mountain Circuit is a must to qualify my confidence as  Luke Skywalker. Hehe.

Thats about it I guess. I rarely do midweek post but these itchy fingers can't say no to the ideas. To all you bridge runners, may the force be with you. Perhaps I'll join you guys next year when Powerman is not as near as this year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Seri Manjung...revisited

Returning to Seri Manjung was like years back when I kept on returning to Penang for the Mountainbike Jamboree. I think I frequent Penang for 5 years in a row to scale up Penang Hill on two wheels and descending the gorgeous singletracks with insanity. Now the path took a detour which started in 2007 when I first signed up for the Sprint Duathlon. The name was a deception. It was meant for the shorter distance duathlon for newbies and not a fast duathlon. I skipped 2008 which I don't remember why. Returned for the individual long distance in 2009 and got severely koyak-ed and burnt. For the last two days, I was with the bestest peeps for my second individual age category race.

I only managed to capture photos before and after for camarederie part. No photos in action and hoping for photos of me from fellow friends :)

Meet up point at R&R Sg Buloh.
L-R: Rahim, Azmar, Panjang, Det, Hancik, Bahri, Syeikh Jamil
We planned for an easy drive through the coastal way, so we met up early. Easily access from Sungai Buloh, the route took us through the gorgeous padi fields of Kuala Selangor - Tanjung Karang - Sekinchan - Sungai Besar - Sabak Bernam before entering Perak State. Too bad I was behind the steering wheel, or else I could've captured those awesome vastness of greens. Lunch at the Setiawan - Teluk Intan juncture with delicious ikan keli sambal all around the table. Was that coincidence or should we call it syncronization? Lol.

Shuk and Ziff focusing to the race briefing in calmness
Arrived safely at Seri Manjung for Ziff's bib collection and timing chip deposit. Weather was pretty much the Seri Manjung way. We need to get to our lodging and cool off for the noon. Thanks to CK and Jaja for hosting us with the magnificent shelter. It was splendid! We met the Snap-Attack team staying there as well and laze around before returning to Seri Manjung for the briefing. I was told that the biggest turn out this year reaching 950 participants!

Listening to Yusran's lambung about 2011 Berlin Marathon
From previous visits, the ikan gerut masak halia offered by M.I.B. just near to Outward Bounders School was simply irresistable for a post race dinner. And I think it was the safest menu before a race yet totally yummilicious! With sotong goreng tepung thrown in and sayur campur, everybody dug in with hands across the table sampai terbelit!

Peeps in starving mode. Last year same spot & time with slightly different faces.
Saiful, Nizam & Alwin replaced with Shuk, Ziff & Det.

Kumpulan Ekamatra, Teluk Batek Chapter

Main carboloading dish, ikan gerut masak halia (belum dihidang)

Men In Black (Medan Ikan Bakar daaa...)
When it comes to multisport, preparations were a bit tedious for a newbie like me - once a year only what. So the checklist was gone through a few times. The whole house was busy and of course lambung sessions were intertwined in between the havoc. Once in awhile, shouts from the Manchester United vs Aston Villa's game forced us to run down the stairs to join the suspense. Helmet, cycle shoes, run shoes, vest, short, shades, hydrations, gels, Vaseline, Banana Boat, Nuun, Camelbak, Rocktape, Spibelt, racebelt. You name it. We have almost everything from the triathlon shops.

Due to the hectic hour, we ended up hungry again. Thanks to me from a gentle lambung, everybody joined for a plate of maggi goreng and teh tarik at Lumut town for supper. We hit the sack almost mid night. It started to drizzle and stretched away till morning. Blessing for a perfect weather on race day? Aku terima se-ada nya.
Our lovely mysterious shelter *Twilight zone song playing
However, the night was not quite simple for me. Yes, Shazly did told us about a few mysterious happenings at night. I didn't expect that it happened on our welcoming night! Six of us in a room. Shuk slept alone downstairs since he didn't know about it. Hahaha! Well, those Twilight Zone thing happened from the minute I lay down until 4.00 a.m. Darn it! I missed my precious sleep. 4.30 a.m. alarm went off. With only 30 minutes of eyes shut, I have to obliged.

Drizzling was at the same intensity for the last few hours. I sensed a perfect race day and perhaps a PB for everyone. We stocked up our gears into/onto the cars and left for the Seri Manjung Stadium at 6.00 a.m. It was still dark and drizzling. Two toilet visits, no chance for warm up but sempat lagi cam whoring, suddenly I realised we were flagged off! Something different about this year's race, I have no jitters. Perhaps I don't expect too much. Perhaps I eased myself and relax for not wanting to repeat the same mistake. My plan was to easy peazy for the first 11km run, subtle effort on the bike and whack on the second 10km run. That's about doable kan? Hope so.

I started way back. Back behind Bahri. Behind CK. Laif and Adeline were also on the easy pace. Without much running lately prior to the race, I just stayed with the jog pace. It was still cold and pretty much a great moment to enjoy the run, while I still can. Considering breathing and pace were syncronized in perfect melody, I push the pace, slightly, at the second loop of the 5km lap - Gel 1 was swigged. An hour to complete was perhaps pushing my luck, so I decided to settle with 1:03.

T1 was a bit jumble up. Deciding to wear the Oakley or not took me 10 seconds already. Aiya! Because the weather was still overcast and no sun yet. Anyway, the best place was just to put it on considering other jumbles might come anytime into the race later. It took me awhile to get the right cadence and adjust the position but all was good as I sailed away towards the U-turn. Only a few meters after the the turn, I did my only mistake. I shifted to lighter gears, thinking not to weigh my legs. Cramp struck at the slightest chance of a window. Zap! I slowed down and held out my secret Nuun tablet. Popped it up and sipped all the way back for the second 30km lap. Targetting to average out half an hour for every stretch to and fro, and popping gels on each attempt, the cycling leg was improved. Much better, I felt great! 5 gels downed.

The moment of truth came as Det and me arrived at T2 together. I stretched the calves and back on the bike prior to reaching T2 (last minute tips from Youtube). Det left early only to find he forgot the mp3 player. Hehe. I on the other hand saved it to plug in those precious songs I've selected just for the 10km run. Again, I took it easy to accustom the legs. Voila! I can run! And slowly increasing the pace while tuning in to AC/DC, Blind Pilot, The Cardigans, Stepphenwolf and CCR. My Favourite Game by The Cardigans really pushed the pace for a perfect first loop. With generous water stations at every 2km or so, I stopped for a sip and cold bath. Ziff was safely snugged beside the running track at the stadium, after finishing his race. Thanks for the shot of support and picture bro!

I saw comrades suffered cramps and overheating. Those were bad memories which I don't wish to go down again. I pity them but I don't have Nuun anymore with me. I tried to provide pacing for Zairin and Fadil but they simply don't have the response. Shoot to Thrill tuned in perfectly in time as I reached the last corner and headed straight back to the stadium. There was nothing more describable than to finish strong with good running gait. I was surprised they held up the finishing tape for me. It was an awesome welcoming gesture. Heads up to watch the clock and smile for photos - kalau ada la. Lol. It was 4:20.

I was simply lazy to get my camera in the car and just stood around enjoying juicy watermelons, oranges and tau fu fa with friends. Fellow peeps rolled in one after another. Saw Yim at the medal table and shook hands for a great battle. The final finishing was CK. We waited for him at the finishing gantry. He was surely glad that to finish in style at the very last hour of the race just like Kak June's celebration in KL Marathon. Hehe.
The OBS, Teluk Batek Gang.
L-R: Azahari, Shuk, CK, Jaja, Pipi, Hancik, Det, me, Bahri & Ziff
Overall, the race was made perfect with the extra water stations at the run leg. The rest was sweetness, just like previous years. If only they resurface the road for the cycling leg since potholes and puddles were a little bit dangerous for cyclists. Weather was a blessed. I was prepared for the worse actually, but this year, it was a bonus though the streaking hot at the second run was never close to what I felt last year. Fellow comrades were as usual the fun people and easy going. Hope you guys had a blast with the trip as well. So I read that 2011 will be Powerman's 10th edition. Are we talking about X-Powerman?! Sure is. *wink!
Mee rebus Restoran Gulam post mortem. Mostly cerita hantu. Lol

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seri I come (Powerman 2010)

11-Nov: As I was about to get flushed away into the Seri Manjung race jitters this morning, I received a phone call from Jaja about last night's mishap happened to a fellow friend. Esmenn. I don't quite know him but we exchanged smiles and Hi! a few times at races and trainings. He was hit by a taxi at Cyberjaya last night whilst cycling to Putrajaya for brick training with friends. Updates and detail coverage can be found in Facebook walls by fellow friends and Julie's blog as well. I pray for his fast recovery and good health. And to Malaysian motorists, wherever you are and at anytime, please stay alert on the road. You'll never know it might be your love ones that fall prey to careless drivers. For loving cyclists, bring functioning blinkers and road ID.

13-Nov: My thoughts kept on flying here and there about the upcoming task I'll be facing this Sunday. It's not that I've never done it before but a commitment is better be dealt with a fresh plan. The thing is...I don't quite have a firm plan yet! Take it slow or not take it slow. Full throttle or easy on the gas. Those are mind games for an uncomfort mind. Perhaps it's normal. The same feeling last year prior to the race. I think it was worse.

To straighten things out, I shall focus and stay focus. Thinking and planning should ease up the mind:

Source : Malaysian Meteorological Department
Negeri Perak
Ahad, 14/11/2010
Hujan curah/sementara di satu dua tempat
Petang Pagi : Tiada hujan
Petang : Hujan curah/sementara di satu dua tempat
Malam : Tiada hujan

Pulau Pangkor (nearest to Seri Manjung)
Ahad, 14/11/2010
Tiada hujan
Sepanjang Hari Pagi : Tiada hujan
Petang : Tiada hujan
Malam : Tiada hujan
Minimum : 23 °C
Maksimum : 31 °C - an so I was told! Lol!

Subuh : 5.44 a.m.

I shall be in control of myself. Pace, hydration, meal and bike should be within reach. What's beyond control i.e. weather, it's all in the mind. Sejuk! Sejuk! Sejuk! Lol.

Last but not least, a battle is incomplete without a theme. Here goes lads - man, these boys are as all as me?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fun filled Maruku Weekend

No it doesn't relates to any of my involvement with the Deepavali but it was a totally prefect long weekend break for a breather. Kind of pampering myself with sleep, eat and training. What else can I ask?

Short morning considering Friday prayer started early. No rain and sunny sky awaits. Time for a quality short cycle. What was supposed to be a group of seven was cut short to five but substituted with one hell of a strong cyclist - Abu Power. From home, Alwin, Jaja and me cycled to Batu 9 to meet up with Bacin and Zakuan. Abu hooked on at Batu 14. The plan was slightly twitched to accommodate fellow Broga racers come Sunday. It was Bukit Hantu (in reverse from Batu 14) followed by Genting Peres and down back the normal Batu 18 route. My only second time climbing Bukit Hantu in reverse. The first was during my first Langat ride and also first ride. That was torment. Struggling to keep the handle straight and moved the bike an inch at each cranking.

Today, it was awesome. The climb was perfect with fresh legs and blessed sun, just enough to sprinkle sweat on the forehead. Magnificent 4km incline. Regroup at the top and squeking brakes down towards the dam and straight to Peres. Enjoyed every moment of the climb, good enough not to push the heart rate and chit chatting away with the peeps. Of course the VIB (Very Important Bike) of the day was non other than a brand new Specialized Amira Pro proudly owned and strongly cangkuk by Jaja herself. Talking about great machines can do to you. I was mesmerized.

The regrouping was short at the peak and we were cruising down like pros close to each other. As we hit the flat kampung road, all hell broke loose. 45kph was insane! Yes, all blame goes to Abu and of course the rest of us got enough endorphines to be hooked on for a mere 20 minutes killer speed. We were cursed later with roti canai & iced Milo at Batu 18. The ride back home was hot! Hot! Hot! but all was good.

In the evening we participated in the Trikidz Adventure Race at I-City, Shah Alam. Deo and Jaja were there as volunteers. Nothing exciting actually but I strongly feel that they can do WAY much better than that. Kids love medals, it's worth to give them medals to balance up the steep fee we have to fork out. Period.

Lazy bum day.

Revisited LSD. Bukit Aman to Seri Hartamas and back. Never felt better. The crowd just adds to the excitement. Almost look like a race. PACM was there to provide hydrations at two water stations. Thank you. We ran in pack. I missed this. There were closely up to five of us and the group grew bigger on our way back. Very the easy pace with a few tempo slotted in later in the run.

Sunday evening had beautiful weather. Kids were playing football on the street while I took the chance to clean my trusty black steed for Seri Manjung revisit.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Genting Trailblazer 2010 - Boom De Ya Da!

I love the mountains
I love the clear blue skies
I love the sore legs
I love the smell of Perskindol
Boom De Ya Da!

The world we live in, it is simply awesome. It is such a better place when you can share it with fellow friends. My Genting Trailblazer 2010 debut was another chapter of having beautiful great peeps get together in getting mud in our pants.

The morning peeps met up at a morning joint as early as 5.15 a.m. for some morning talks, morning foods, morning chores and morning cam whoring. Weather was pretty much gorgeous unlike the day before when it rained cats and dogs disbanding all training attempts. We carpooled to Genting with Shuk leading the way.

Bulb faces and ready to take the world
Most of us parked at the old cable car station (Ziff told me about it). Ample parking and since we were hyped with secret partners and conspiracies flying around prior to the day, everyone looked a bit secretive that morning whilst prepping up for the race. See what I mean?

Zack : Air apa tu bro? Lain macam je kaler?
Ziff : Uish! Rahsia bro. Ini aku bagi kena embun 7 malam Jumaat ni
Ini komplot sorok Kelas A. Almost kantoi by me

The biggest secret group around. Ni mesti kes seludup budu dalam camelbak

Zack was surprised as I sneak behind him for this pic. Kenapa Zack?
And see that innocent face la konon. Subskin tarak pakai ka bro?

Even the strongest team still have their last minute secret strategy. See?

Lucky we have the most honest person. Det. See that jujur face? Lu OK ke bro?
Mau lari kutub utara ka?
Well, the checking in for the teams and bib pinning session and also special stretching slot by CA went on smoothly at the football field. Now and then some of us were quite annoyed by the voice from the loudspeaker whom kept on reminding the bib numbers should be on the chest and not down at the tummy level. I almost felt like it was school assembly. The stretching and cam whoring was a good mix that morning.

Pelari kutub utara admiring Ijam Superman's pose

Stretch those legs wide enough. The hills will kill ya if you don't
We were also entertained by some creative RBU with their race appearance. These, I present some samples of Boria Bukit Mertajam :)

Team Clown Superman Ijam & Rayzeef with their latest costume

Jaja and Mas cladded in Brooks and Subskins. Shopping bag pun masih ada?
Enough with the smiles and laughters, Men's Open were flagged off first at 8.30 a.m. I noticed not quite a huge crowd behind the starting line. Exiting the football field and straight onto tarmac road winding down and up around Awana resort. The Orange Team Macam Bagus paved the way, strong pace, and some of us attempted to hook on. Rayzeef almost got carried away with the pace until he realised Ijam was not close by.

Approaching the golf course route, the Orange guys left Nik and me. The view was indeed breathtaking but I was a bit occupied when Zairinator came to my side for a short chat before he sped off giving chase for whatever he had in mind. I was however got sucked into the race as well, only to be caught by surprised when there is this mega hill standing right in front.  The steep winding incline reminds me of the Jeep Track of Penang Hill back in the mountainbiking days. The closest resemblance where mere seconds of pushing the pace a bit will only result with disaster. Shoving into lower gear, this diesel engine legs started to switch to smaller steps and higher rev while control breathing. First Orange Guy decided to take it easy half way up while Syah have left the scene. "Aku nak stop minum air kejap, kau go ahead." Nik said to me. I waited for him at the end of it before jumping onto the slippery technical singletracks.

We were fortunate to make it through most of the runners by the time we hit the singletrack. I tried to find the best opportunity to overtake here where it was slippery and deep gorges awaiting for the careless footsteps. It was a downhill trip and when dry leaves cover the trail, the friction was good enough for a fast descending with switchbacks. I noticed a few of us kept on overtaking each other. There were this guy from Safra Runners, a young Malay bloke and a team of strong Chinese guys. The Womens Team came up close from behind at one of the descend, I gave them way sensing they are chasing the podium.

World class dirt slide
The first off road hill welcomed us after the stream. It was massive. Reminds me of Bukit Apek. Only that most of us were in race mode unlike Bukit Apek hike and chat mode. We were on four most of the times. Continuous jerking of the calves will only cause disaster and zapped too many juice. I also used my hands to hurled me upwards keeping a smooth transition in between the steps. It was more like wall climbing rather than a hike up at times. View upwards/ahead only gave butt sights and endless incline. Crazy.

At the second monster climb Dino and Steph hurriedly overtook us. An attempt to cangkuk only lasted for 15 minutes before the monster bit back. Once in a while I can hear Nik self talk but we were quite a distance apart only to have visual contact when the terrain permits. Ronnie caught up with me again after the golf course climb. " laju maaa? Manyak kuat?" and kept on asking me to slow down. Only today I can be infront of him, else he'll be smoking me at KLCC park every Thursday. Lol.

We exited the monster's belly and into the open only to find another 1km. With small strides, I forced myself to run together with Nik who by this time have a second wind. From a top, we could see the football field and there were not many participants finishing yet. Is that a good sign? No idea but cramp symtomps started creeping in. Nope. Not this time dude. The fun just about to start. The obstacles.

Jump across the first pond. Saved. Second one was slighly a feet wider for my attempt and a big splash officially marked my soaking entry. Cold water and muddy bottom shall trigger cramp anytime. I tried to ignore the possibilities. Up and down and splash. The thing repeatedly went on until at one of the mega slide down, Nik's camera sunk to the bottom. OMG! We blindly meraba-raba for it while more people sliding down made it worse. Aiyo! I caught his foot instead when I thought it was the camera. Lol. And a few attempts only gave me old shoe soles. How many shoes lost their battle here? Finally Nik found it. Phew! We continued on with the rest of the obstacles and crossed the finish line at 19th place. Fuh! I almost didn't quite believe it but the effort was justified. Was that 1:48 Nik? My stopwatch clocked 2:40 which included shower and eating time. I forgot. Lol.

The cold shower, cleanups and food and more lambung with fellow RBUS on the field under the beautiful sky was perfect. We waited for Jaja to complete and headed to Ian's place for a warm birthday gathering arranged by RBU for Nik and me - the October guys. Thank you so much for everything guys. You guys are simply awesome.

The food was fantastic.

I always kept an eye on what CA Chief eats. What he eats is always a good one :)

Chin up everyone. Self cam-whoring the easiest way to have me inside the pic :D

Ahmed Lamchanak the Men Open Champion.
We always come across each other lately. Why eh?

Without the Pirate King himself, I am nobody at Trailblazer 2010. Thanks bro!

The Circle of Blue Calves