Wednesday, August 11, 2010

RAT RACE 2010 - PART 2

3 August 2010


Good to back at the Rat Race again. Ran for Tricor for the 1st time. Had a great time with the cheerleading team b4 the race. Gave all I had in the race and collapsed at the finish line.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the pre & post race actvities with former and current colleagues from Bursa & Tricor respectively.
Started from the 3rd or 4th row, right behind those strong RHB runners. Very hot & humid compared to previous years. Was stuffy & hot and waited for almost 20 -30 minutes in the starting crowd for the preceding CEO race to commence & finish before we could get on with the main event of the day. Glad I had a bottle of water with me while waiting for the starting gun. Sipped and washed face in order to stay cool and hydrated before the gun went off.

I think Dato' Yusli (Bursa CEO) saw me among the crowd. He was standing on a platform with the Tun Chairman of Bursa to start the race. I waved at Dato' Yusli & he waved back and I thot that was cool.

Sprinted the 1st 100m or so after the gun went off to get away from the slower starters . In a short 4.5 km race, every second counts. My PB at the Rat Race is 20:23 in 2006. In training for this year's run, I clock 20:56 but that was done in a cool Saturday morning condition. But my previous experience thot me that I would usually go faster on race day (despite the hotter condition) mainly due to adrenaline rush from race crowd. Fresh from a good run in the PD Triathlon, I was actually aiming to dip 20 minutes.

As usual, I found myself amongst the 1st or 2nd chase group after we came off the ramp onto Jln Raja Chulan and settled into my target race pace. I remember seeing the RHB & CIMB runners pulling away fast. They were of a different class, so I made no attempt to follow their pace.
Approaching Wisma Genting, Mohamad Ali & Mathi from Bursa overtook me. Mathi is my old team mate during my Bursa days. He has improved tremendously & quit smoking. As per the results he finished 8th overall in 20:01 and I am very happy for him. Mohd Ali is the new kid at Bursa. Only 25 and has been clocking 18 minutes or so in training & last year's race. He finished 3rd overall in 18:45 this year.

Muhamad Ali

I lost sight of the leading pack soon after Wisma Genting. I remember being overtaken by quite a number of CIMB, Maybank & OCBC runners. They were easy to recognise with their blue, yellow & red shirts respectively. Found myself running along side Vasu from RHB. I opted to keep pace with him because I came close behind him many times in previous races and i believed we were in the same league. He is one of those guys I wanted to beat that day.

Vasu - RHB
Glad I grab a bottle of water at the water station near Public Bank junction. Was so hot and humid. Fume from cars stuck in the jam due to the race didn't help. My throat was dried and I thirst. Had a quick sip (and disposed of the bottle), which I must have helped in the later part of the race.
Then, Jessica Tang (CIMB & regular runner) came up to me some where near Lai Ming school. She was matching my every stride and I was kind of worried she might beat me. Jessica finished 32nd overall but came out 1st in the women category. Kenan from SGX caught up as well. He beat me every year during my Bursa days. He is another whom I was dying to beat that day.

Jessica - CIMB

Kenan - SGX
My race plan was to push hard after Shangri-La. The hill after Shangri-La and approaching The Weld is a good place to attack. My observation from previous races proved right when I saw many racers (some in blue, yellow and red shirts) reduced to walking. I made up some positions there. I must have dropped Vasu, Jessica & Kenan at the hill as I did not see them until after the race. Pushed harder after The Weld. By then, it was only some 500 meters to the end. The toughest part of the race was behind me and the last 500m was a gentle down hill.
There was a bunch of 5-6 runners some 100m ahead of me. They seemed to be running at a constant pace, as if conserving energy for the final dash up Bukit Kewangan (the short hill outside Bursa bulding). I found myself gaining on them rapidly, which made me more determined to catch them.

I caught them at the traffic lights just before Bukit Kewangan. I was almost spent by then. Told myself to hang in there for a few more seconds. I attacked hard up Bkt Kewangan, screaming out loud and overtook the whole bunch of them.

Girl in the background saw what I was up to
The Catch Is On - Too Bad This Bloke ended a second a head of me

Bad move, I reckoned. In a way, I think my scream made them more eager to catch me back. I remember yellow shirt and a red shirt caught be back at the finish line. A check at the results showed that I finished 3 seconds behind a Maybank guy by the name Azwan Nordin and 1 second behind an OCBC bloke by the name Jefferey Choong.

I gave everything I had and collapsed at the finish line. Stayed on the ground for a few seconds. The race officials picked me up and asked if I was OK. Got up with their help, thanked them and walked away by myself.

Nothing Spared

I finished in 21:13 (gun time & 21:09 net time) and ranked 20th overall (out of 705 starters). Am very pleased with my results despite missing out on my target by more than 1 minute. Very pleased with myself for not giving up at the base of Bkt Kewangan, and more importantly to finally beat Vasu (RHB) and Kenan (SGX)!!

Age have really caught up with me. Took me quite a while to recover. Had a couple of cans of 100Plus + some water and sat on the ground for more than 15 minutes feeling dizzy . Missed out on the cheerleading performance by Tricor's team ad I was still in a daze when their turn came. But I could hear the MC announcing the team and heard the screams from the guys watching their performance.
I was not the only one who collapsed that day. Arumugum from Maybank required assistance to finish in the top 10 & collapsed on the finish line.

Fellow triathlete friend - Nik Raiha, CIMB
Mak, former team mate, Bursa
Tricor team mate, Chee Whay

Tricor team mate, Goon

Tricor team mate, Jamal
Tricor team mate, Kuan Yee

Thursday, August 05, 2010

RAT RACE 2010 - PART 1

3 August 2010
(Photos by Tey.)

My Cheerleaders From TRICOR
Can't get better than this!!!
Fooling Around


24 July 2010

Good to be back at PD.
My main worry for the race was my lack of training on the bike. Last rode a mere 30km (OAH-Sempah-OAH) on 20/6/10. Looking further back was a 42km + 6km bike/ run on 22/5/10 and the last long ride was a 94km + 3km bike/ run on 9/5/10. Had a few Flying Wheel sessions at Celebrity Fitness in between. Focused was on running in last few months in preparation for the Std Chart Marathon.
Woke up at 5 a.m. on race day at PD. Had 2 self-made Ham & Lettuce sandwiches, canned Mocha Nescafe & 500ml plain water for breakfast. Had 1/2 PowerBar at the transition area, while setting up my bike.
Again, wave start. Was in the 3rd wave. For the first time, I was confident to start the swim in the 2nd or 3rd row, instead of being at the back of the pack. Swam hard in 1st 50-100m and didn't get kicked & punched by other swimmer. Settled into a steady pace, found the 1st bouy in a breeze and u-turn bouy didn't seem to too far away. Felt a little longer getting back to the start/ finish line of the swim leg & got out of water in circa 35 minutes, which by then the faster swimmers from the 4th wave already caught up. Remember running thru T1 with Don Khor, who started some 5 minutes after I did.
Out of Water
Wet Suit.. Isn't This Illegal???
That's Better!!
Had a smooth & quick transition at T1. Found myself charging for my bike & simply ran thru' the showers without slowing down to clean up a little. Put on my race belt, helmet & sunglasses, grabbed my bike and hopped onto it at the exit of T1. The 1st km was rather technical where I had to I slip into my (already clipped on) bike shoes while negotiating a couple of sharp turns with a bunch of other cyclists riding close to me.
Hiding behind a small pack
Opted for my Trek road bike as this was a draft legal race. Have not riden in a group for quite some time. All those solo rides in training on my time trial (TT) bike worried me as I was kind of rusty with drafting. My choice for Trek was for the ease to respond to attacks with my gear shifters on the handle bars (as opposed to those thumb shifters attached to the aerobars of my TT bike).
To my relief, the choice was proven right when the 1st of the relay cyclist passed me a couple of kms into the ride. I was drafting behind a small bunch of 3-4 riders, when the relay guy overtook us. I shifted gear quickly, jumped off my saddle and tucked myself right behind his wheels. A few others tacked along. We picked up a few other strong riders along the way and the rode together until the u-turn. I was determined to ride smart that day i.e. declining to go to the front of the group and instead, stayed some where in the middle of the pack thru' out. I regained some positions lost in the swim & was very pleased with myself when I passed those younger racers who started in the earlier waves. But it wasn't easy. As usual, the pace seemed to quicken every time we come to an incline. Typical pack behaviour (as I have learned over the years). The idea was to shake off the weaker riders. Hence, if you couldn't keep up, you would be left behind (mean fellows!!!).
Some scary moments awaited us shortly after the u-turn. A herd of bulls and cows crossed the road. It was dejavu for me as I had similar experience in 2007, while training for the KUL - JB rides with my Chin Woo gang. The herd got the race to a standstill (well at least to those of us on both side of the rode who were there at that time). Some brave riders took the risk and rode thru the stampede. Others, including myself stopped. Was very scary, those beasts were frightened and were charging like "mad cows". They charged acrossed the road, some in front of me and some behind me. God must have sent his guardian angels to look after us that day as it was a miracle that none of us got hurt.
I was the 1st to resume the ride (on my side of the road). To my dismay, the stronger riders whom I drafted with b4 the u-turn were among those brave ones who got away. With due respect to those who rode with me on the return leg, it wasn't quite the pace/speed as b4 the u-turn. Got to the front of the pack and did some pulling. But, stuck to my strategy of riding smart for most part of the return leg by dropping behind quickly.
Caught up with my friend, Sofian in the last few km of the ride. Sofian started in a later wave but was until then in front of me. Wasn't too puzzled as I knew him as a strong swimmer. A check at the results later revealed that he swam 28 minutes. Finished my bike leg in 1:07:42 (as per results)
Drafting - cycling made easy (notice my smile)
T2 was not as swift as T1. Lost some time fumbling with my shoe laces. Should have used those little gadget I have for a speedy lace-up (can't remember what you called them).
Must be the cool & cloudy conditions and the right strategy on the bike that kept my running legs fresh. Pushed hard right from the start. The high mileage in prep for Std Chart Marathon was most helpful here. A 10km seemed like a walk in the park. Pushed harder after the 5km u-turn. Pushed so hard that I was probably the loudest on the run course. Later, after the finish, Simon Lau asked why was I moaning so loud during the run. Lost some positions to stronger runners but regain some at the same time.
A competitor in my same age group made a last minute dash to the finish line. I didn't respond. I was contended with what I have done for the day. He was sporting enough to turn back and gave me a hug at the finish line, which I took as a sign of respect for a fellow triathlete after a hard day's work.
Am very pleased with my 45:30 run split as per my watch (altho' the official result showed a 47:01, which must have included time in T2). Overall time 2:32:11.
Finished 29/129 in my age group of 40-49 and 136/636 overall.
Very happy that I kept my record of not missing out on PD Tri since 2003. More pleased with myself for finishing in low 2:30's, something which I have been struggling to do in the last few years (2009 - 2:49:50/ 2008 - 2:43:48).
Hot Winners On The Podium


27 June 2010 : Sub-4 Material (Part 2)
Went bed at 12.00 a.m. & woke up at 2.30 a.m. Didn't really sleep but was not too worried about it because I slept well the 2 nights b4. Had usual breakfast of toasted pita bread with garlic spread, ham (2 slices) & lettuce. Left home at 3.30 a.m. Got to Bkt Aman car park at around 4 a.m.
This is my 2nd marathon after PutraJ Nite in Jan 2010. Wasn't sure of target time to aim for but decided to be ambitious & followed the 4hr Pacers. Started to rain quite heavily b4 start of race.
Ran in the rain during 1st 10km. Followed pacer Hin Tong in 1st 10km. Then, another 4 hr pacer by the name Lau ran pass & I decided to follow him & ditched Hin Tong.
Then, found Lau a little too fast & was dropped. For almost 5-7k (i think), without a pacer & didn't fall back to Hin Tong. Then, found myself closing the gap with pacer Lau. Caught him at around the B. Bintang area (I think) and ran with him for at least 15km. Was comfortable with his pace & felt strong.
Also, bumped into Azwar in front of Pavillion (21km mark - 1:56:something). He wasn't in the run. Heard him shouting out my name from fall. Was very happy to see him. High fived & I think he was happy to see me too.
Was confident at that point to dip below 4hr when I got to the 30km mark (split 2:45:02). Still with Lau & were like pacing each other.
But things fell apart at 32km when my left calf started to pull. Had to let Lau go, cramps got worse & both calves were pulling. Dug deep & kept telling myself that I been thru' worse. My experience in running with cramps from races like Powerman & Desaru half IM was most helpful. The knowledge that if I kept going, the cramps would subside. The weather condition was also great - cool morning after an early shower, so unlike the hot sun at Putrajaya/ Lumut Powerman or Desaru.
The cramps subsided but I lost my running form and last 10km split was reduced to 1:02:03. At the 40km mark, my split was 3:47:05.
Was required to run at least 6 mins pace for a very tight sub-4 finishing. Pushed hard but couldn't really move any faster. The big crowd in last 1.5m (Jln R Laut/ Jln TAR) didn't help.
Didn't look at my watch in the last 2km & only realised I was to miss the sub-4 mark by mere seconds when I approached the finishing line. With about 50meters to go, I saw the timer at the finishing line ticked away (fast) at 3:59:40 something.
Crossed the line at 4:00:19 feeling dizzy (official time 4:00:10).
I gave everything I had in the last 10km & was near bonking. Felt better after drinking some 100Plus. Am happy with run - shaved 30 minutes off PutaJ Nite marathon (when I had better mileage while training for IM2010). With a little more experience & mileage in training, I am quite sure I am a sub-4 material.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

New Balance 15KM

16 May 2010

Pushed For Those Precious Seconds
Official time 1:15:17 but timing on my stop watch was 1:17:17. Finished 24th out of 214 in Junior Veteran Category (40-50) & 75th out of >1500.