Join Me for Next Training

New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Everybody wants to win, but some want to win everything.

I've been following the bits and pieces of the things that politicians do in the run-up to the General Elections.

While it is perfectly alright to have the gusto to win in any challenge, I find it rather disturbing that some are blinded by the limelight and somewhat neglecting the actual issues on the ground.

Sometimes it is not about winning the seat/constituency/GRC. Rather, shouldn't it be winning the hearts of the people and ACTUALLY delivering the goods?

I mean, I'm sure the incumbent ruling party will still be in control of the government, but I - together with most 'educated' citizens - sincerely feel that it is unhealthy for our country if 'they' win it all.

Let the citizens decide who the best person for the job is.

What good is it for the nation as a whole if electoral boundaries are enlarged everytime there's an impending GE?



Here's an ode to the 30-something singles out there. It's so apt since most of us 30-somethings grew up listening to this song in our teens. We used to think this was THE song for our schoolday crushes and radio dedications to our secret admirees.

But it is perhaps now that some of us are in search of that someone in life - that particular somebody - when the crunch time comes to seriously consider what exactly we're looking for in life, that this song seems more appropriate.

To all who are searching for their Somebody.....

I want somebody to share
Share the rest of my life
Share my innermost thoughts
Know my intimate details
Someone who’ll stand by my side
And give me support
And in return
She’ll get my support
She will listen to me
When I want to speak
About the world we live in
And life in general
Though my views may be wrong
They may even be perverted
She’ll hear me out
And won’t easily be converted
To my way of thinking
In fact she’ll often disagree
But at the end of it all
She will understand me

I want somebody who cares
For me passionately
With every thought and
With every breath
Someone who’ll help me see things
In a different light
All the things I detest
I will almost like
I don’t want to be tied
To anyone’s strings
I’m carefully trying to steer clear of
Those things
But when I’m asleep
I want somebody
Who will put their arms around me
And kiss me tenderly
Though things like this
Make me sick
In a case like this
I’ll get away with it

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another one of those boring-bus-ride-kinda random thought

And so I'm on my daily TIBS 980 pilgrimage to the office and I have those out-of-the-blue random thoughts... (we all have them... right? or am I the only one with wild random thoughts?)

The bus was passing by the LTA Hampshire office and somehow my thoughts drifted to the Istana (nearby Farrer Park mah..). Then I thought of our country's Presidents.

Our only surviving president is the current head of state, President Nathan.

Then I think of the pronunciation of Nathan.

Is it Nathan as in "Nah-dern", or Nathan as in "Nay-thern".

So funny to call our head of state President "Nay-Thern".... sounds too angmo-fied.

Yet it's so damn UNIQUELY SINGAPOREAN to call him President "Nah-dern".

Must be culturally sensitive lah. "Nah-dern" is more authentic in this part of the world.

Then another random thought...

What if our current Prez is IT-savvy... what would his name be? Ever thought of that?

Too bad. Israel already coined that name liao.... for their own leader - Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Don't hit me. It's only my wild random thoughts.... ;)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Abridged Version of KLIM + Official Results

The weather conditions were awesome to run a marathon (or half mara in my case), except that the urban settings contributed to lots of gradual up-ramps and road banking (in the physics sense, not the finance bit). The middle part of the route had absolutely no shade at all since it was mostly highway. The last 2km was deceiving because we had to loop the finishing point (it gets quite demoralising when you have that almost-there-but-not-there-yet feeling). Road conditions probably contributed to my ITB acting up on my left leg. ITB is the pain one gets on the outer side of the knees when running. You'll know it's ITB when it's excruciating to do downhills or walk down stairs. It's not the bone or anything major. It's just a !@#$%% painful thing to have on a long distance run and it's very different from cramps.

It happened around the 10km mark and then I had to manage the pain by engaging on a run-stretch-walk strategy just to complete the run. Fortunately I had my Polar to monitor my speed and pace. When I was walking, I could maintain my pace at about 7.4kmph speed. When I felt like I could do a run, I'd compensate lost time and gain mileage by going beyond 10-12kmph. In all, my average speed was 8.4kmph, so by the law of averages, I was hovering at brisk walking speed for most of the time. Oops.. i meant hobbling and limping. There were times when I had to search for a lamppost just so that I could lean my body weight on it to stretch my ITB but it only gave temporary relief. At the aid stations, there were red crescent medics with muscle ointment. I knew it wouldn't help because the ITB is technically not a muscle (or is it?), I just needed temporary relief in whatever means available. I also made it a conscious effort to only allow my left hand to massage my ITB with the ointment while allowing my right hand for other duties like wiping sweat and taking water and gels. There were many times when I walked faster than some runners. hee hee....

Finally completed the run at self-timed 2hr 33min 54sec. My stanchart timing last Dec was 2hr 33min 36sec! (must buy some more 4D!)

Post race massage was the worst! I thought I could alleviate the ITB pain but I was screaming bloody murder at the poor masseuse when he massaged my left leg. Interestingly, I have absolutely no idea why I was screaming in bahasa melayu when it was so damn painful! "Adoi! Adoi!!!!" I mean, I could have just screamed OUCH or ARRGHHH!!! I just dunno why I could garner enough vocal energy to scream a foreign language which has 2 syllabi in a word that describes excruciating pain! I swore that the pain was so bad I would have preferred running another 21km if I had a choice.

Well, that was my somewhat brief report. The pain is NOT going to stop me from taking part in more endurance races. No pain, No gain. :)

But of course, in moderation, progression and within my sanity limits.

Overall Men's Half Marathon Result:
Gun Time - 2:35:30
Chip Time - 2:33:50
10km Time - 1:05:57
Category Position - 446/594
Overall Position - 862/1139

What if YOU were given the status of 'Internally Displaced Person'?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Kuala Lumpur International Marathon

Konsortium Bas Ekspres

Somehow you’d know that there would be some sort of kok up when the speling of a kompani is speled as konsortium bas ekspres. For the uninitiated, it is actually the bahasa melayu translation for the Consortium Bus Express. Anyway this blog entry is being written on CW’s mac laptop on the way home from KL because my ‘on-board personal entertainment system’ is not working and I’m nursing a very bad case of ITB (which I’ll talk about later)

Karbo-Loading & Race Kit Kollection

CW, SK, JP, RO and I arrived in Kuala Lumpur the day before the race. Yes, we took the Konsortium Bas Ekspres from Singapore to KL. They stayed at the Mandarin Oriental while I stayed with FT (who came on an earlier coach) at the Swiss Garden Hotel.

I slept about 80% of the way from Singapore to KL as I had very little sleep the night before leaving for Malaysia. I had intended to sleep the moment I checked into the hotel but went against the idea, as I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I had taken an extended afternoon nap.

Most of the Trifam contingent met up during the race kit collection at Wisma OCM. I think it’s meant to be an indoor sports hall with sparse seating and 3 or 4 badminton courts. Whatever it is, it was a huge contrast to what Singapore had in last year’s marathon expo. Race kit collection at the OCM reminded me of my secondary school days when we sat for our language aural examinations. Anyway I found out that the sgrunners had already collected my race bib and T-shirt (which wasn’t impressive). We later went out for a ‘carbo-loading’ dinner at the KLCC. I had a serving of fettucini carbonara, shared a fish & chips with CW, and a blended fruit juice as dessert.

I managed to sleep at midnight for a 0445hr wake-up call.

Dataran Merdeka + Urban Setting + Roadkill: The Race

FT and I were doing the half marathon (that’s 21.1km) so we got up at 0445 hrs to prep up. Breakfast was basically pastry from Breadtalk, tea, and lots of hydration between waiting for each other to use the toilet (read: shit). We walked to the race site at the Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square). It’s a beautiful and historic venue to hold any large-scale event. I must say that I was very intrigued with the architecture and the atmosphere of the place. Semangat. Spirit. Somehow I felt it…… until a booming voice came over the PA system, “Okay half marathon runners, you all must get ready in the holding area… blah blah blah” Basically it reminded me of (again) my secondary school morning assemblies.

I had my last minute pre-race bladder release routine and the race began at 0630hrs. With drums giving the upbeat rhythm of pace, the crowd of half marathons ran into the break of dawn.

Some parts of the course were very dark – no streetlights, but only traces of luminescence from runners’ reflective shoes and vests. The course had plenty of ascends up highway ramps and cambering at the banks of highway entrances and exits. As a traffic engineer, I must say that KL roads are designed to satisfactory standards (I say designed, not planned). Even the road tapers and side gradients are okay. You see, I’m quite lucky to be a traffic engineer who is able to appreciate such details of roads and streets. It really does take out the boredom of a long and arduous run. Then again, not many people actually run or enjoy the wonderful art of road design… J

I tried my best to keep to the asphalt instead of concreted roads so that impact is reduced on the knees. I also tried to keep to the top of slope so that the effects of cambering are minimal. But it’s really not too easy to do that in the case of KL highways, and I shan’t go into design details here.

It was mostly highway for about the first 15 km of the race. The remainder was on city streets – most were tarred but some stretches were flat-cobbled. We had to pass through some traffic junctions with errant drivers and impatient motorcyclists. Some didn’t take the traffic warden’s heed to yield to marathoners.

The final 2km was looping deceivingly around a portion of the city that was near to the Dataran (end-point). A peek of the end point teased the runners, as they had to loop around another 1.5km to finish the race. Along the loop, I counted 3 roadkills of rats. Eeks. And to think that there were crazy barefoot marathoners who were running in this race as well. Fresh roadkill, and I thought I saw a stretch of mature trees nearing the Dataran which had birdshit all over the road.

How to Overcome ITB Pains During a Race

At the 10km mark, I sensed the impending ITB problem on the outer side of my left knee. I slowed down and decided to engage the run-stretch-walk strategy to complete the race. 7kmph was the slowest I could afford to walk. Time was on my side as far as I was concerned. Overall I maintained an average of 8.4kmph from the run-walk combination.

The pains got worse as I moved on and I had to psyche myself that I could manage the ITB. I’ll share with you how I distracted myself:

1. I looked for targets to run to before alternating to the walking routine. I looked for wayfinding signages, posters, bus-stops, trees, etc,
2. I looked at my Polar 625X constantly to ensure I was maintaining minimum speed and pace, and
3. I tried VERY hard to remember what the heck ITB stands for! Illytobby Band, Italy Band, Illoytobias Band…… see, I still cannot remember the actual spelling and pronunciation for the ITB acronym. It irks me no end. I even thought of it as the Irritating & Terrible Bane, and Irksome, Trying & Bothersome.

With perserverence and pure grit, I ground my teeth and limped my way to the finishing line in an astonishing (unofficial) time of 2hrs 33min! It’s astonishing because this was exactly my same timing at last December’s Singapore Marathon!

When in Rome, Do What the Romans Do

At the finishing point, I was met by FT who came in about 15 minutes ahead of me. He suggested that I go for a post race massage.

I went to the tent that provided sports massage.

I was attended to by a male masseuse and he worked on my lower left limb first. 2 minutes into the massage and I was already screaming murder because of the excruciating pain on the left ITB. Only I screamed in bahasa “Adoi! Adoi!” I have no idea what took control of me but at emergency situations like these where reflexes usually take control of the being, I actually screamed in bahasa melayu!

If Malaysia boleh, Munnster lagi boleh!

It is quite daunting and somewhat demoralizing when cramps (like I experienced in last week’s duathlon) and ITB sets in. I fight with myself throughout the race and question my sanity. I ask myself if I should carry on. At times, I urge myself to give up. Sometimes I even console myself that the elites have DNFed just because they didn’t ‘feel’ the race accordingly. Alas, giving up has never been an option for me so far. As with life’s challenges and adversities, every one tells a unique story. Every single downside makes me understand myself better. Lessons can be learned from a simple thing such as managing pain or a cramp. There will be harder lessons to learn in life. Never give up – a simple but powerful mantra. The other mantra I live on is Luke 1:37 "Nothing is impossible with God".
Having said that, the only way I would give up a challenge is when the pain becomes life threatening. By this I mean physical threats (abnormal breathing difficulties) or even emotional threats (I would quit a race if a fellow athlete is in trouble - there will be emotional bearing if I don't assist a fallen comrade).
In summary, I will not give up a race if I can deal with it. Visions of quitting will not sway me unless conscience steps in. Race smart.

Adversity will give us another day to live. Overcoming adversity gives us another day to be proud of ourselves.