Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Botanical Garden X-Country

Its 0645hrs on a Sunday morning at the Botanical Gardens, Taman Tasik Perdana, Kuala Lumpur, and the weather is cool and breezy, perfect for snoozing off and curling up at home under the warmth of a cosy blanket.

My first ever Cross Country distance running since school days. A mixture of road and terrain circuit covering a total distance of 8-kilometres (as stated in the registration form).

Registrations were still open till about 0750hrs on raceday, and people were flocking to register to the event. As a result, the initial start at 0730hrs was delayed by another 30-minutes. My running buddy arrived with his wife and kid. They were a great team.

All the participants were very excited and anxious at the starting line. Most of the runners were well ready mentally and physically. But somehow or rather, they were shocked when the organiser announced that the circuit is quite slippery and to be extra careful when running the trail course.

Most of the runners were with proper running shoes. As for me, I was really contemplating whether or not to consider wearing my usual running shoes, or to opt for my x-trail running shoes by Solomon.

It is a cross country, so, I should consider running with a pair of shoes that can suit both conditions; road and terrain.

The initial trail started just after I had clocked 2-kilometres on the GPS by Nike+, running uphill towards the National Planetarium. The challenge uphill was pure energy and strength. Not much of balance required, but minimal grip was definitely required as the hill was steep and quite slippery.

It shows that the right pair of shoes is an important role. Runners with not so proper shoes were struggling to endure the course. Slippery and sometimes losing their balance uphill and mostly downhill.

The real challenge throughout the course was the trail between the 6th kilometre mark till about the 8th kilometre. It started just off Persiaran Salahuddin into the jungle and hilly area running uphill and downhill towards the National Monument and ASEAN Sculpture Garden.

This is where runners were put to the test. The trail was definitely slippery and the downhill was really steep. It was really a great choice to put on those X-Trail Solomon Running shoes. This was the part where my pace was pretty fast, even faster than my road running.

I was confident running in the trail without worrying slipping due to lack of grip. The shoes was a right fit for the circuit. Although, it would have been better if I were on running shoes when on road surface.

My body was still aching from the sporting event the previous day, but the determination to push further brought me to the finishing line. I never thought that I could have endured it. Mental fitness played a role definitely! A total distance of 10.67 kilometres as clocked by my wonderful running companion Nike+ GPS on iOS with a total time of 1 hour 31 minutes and 31 seconds at an average pace of 8 minutes 34 seconds per kilometre. And it was my personal best 10-kilometre with a time of 1 hour 15 minutes and 52 seconds.

Route info, check it out at Nike+.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Heat is On

The Malaysian GP kicks off with the practice sessions at the Sepang International Circuit on Friday as McLaren's Lewis Hamilton tops the timing sheets in both the sessions ending the day with the fastest lap of 1 minute 38.127 seconds in the second practice session, off by just 0.151s slower than his lap time in the first session.

7 time World Formula One Champion, Michael Schumacher emerged second fastest at the end of Practice 2, with a time of 1 minute 38.533 seconds with Jenson Button trailing behind closing the gap of 0.363 seconds from the leader; completing the top three on the time sheets.

Kimi Raikkonen making a come back to the Formula One Championship managed to get a good timing in the first practice session for the day, clocking it in at 1 minute 39.128 seconds, hence was off to a slower close to Practice 2 when he only managed to cling onto 15nth placing coming in slower at 1 minute 39.696 seconds.

The Red Bull Racing-Renault team did not perform well at the end of the day, managing with 7th and 10th placing by Webber and Vettel respectively. Fernando Alonso, of team Ferrari on the other hand, found the edge of a good setting to the car, managed to finish 6th fastest at the end of Practice 2.

Daniel Ricciardo from team STR-Ferrari is looking to repeat his good streak after a good race finishing 9th overall at the recent Australian Grand Prix, by improving his time in Practice 2 at Sepang International Circuit, finishing 5th fastest with a time of 1 minute 38.853 seconds, just 0.681 seconds off from the leader.

Practice 3 will start tomorrow, 24th March 2012 at 1300hrs Malaysian Local Time before the racers go head on for the Qualifying Sessions at 1600hrs Malaysian Local Time.

Can Red Bull Racing turn up the heat for McLaren? Sunday's race is expected to flag-off at 1600hrs Malaysian Local Time. The race will run over a gruelling 56-laps of the 5.543-kilometre Sepang International Circuit with an expected rainy weather conditions of a high 32 degrees Celsius.

For those who are still wanting to get their hands on those tickets to the hottest race happening this weekend, you can head on to the Dengkil R&R E6 highway (southbound) between 0900-1800hrs. For more info, log on to

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Born On The 'Ring

The Nurburgring-Nordschleife, nicknamed "the Green Hell" by most racing drivers, is notorious for being motoring's most feared and revered track. This motorsports complex is situated around the village of Nurburg, Germany.

The 'Ring is the most ultimate acid test of a car's overall balance and handling prowess as it stretches over a distance of 20.81-kilometres covering 154 turns with a combination of Asphalt and Concrete surfaces. The latest track layout can be found here.

Legendary begins with M. BMW Motorsport was formed in 1972 with a handful of passionate engineers to race and build a perfect car. The letter 'M', comes from the short for Maestro, which means "master" in Italian. Legends like the 3.0 CSL, M1 and the E30 M3 are amongst the winning heritage of BMW Motorsport.

BMW Motorsport continues its success as the new BMW M3 DTM is being evolved and developed. Built on aggression with a purpose, the new DTM is being developed starting with the road-going BMW M3. Its aerodynamically-tuned bodywork harness every last ounce of downforce available, with a wider track and wheel arches to enhance grip and stability through corners.

The new BMW M3 DTM is built with a strong heart. With its 4.0-litres of naturally-aspirated pure BMW M power, BMW Motorsport has further enhanced and revised the original road-going M3 powerplant to consistently handle and endure the punishment synonymous with racing. The refined heart of the BMW M3 DTM produces in excess of 480-HP.

With the new development of the DTM, BMW Motorsport heralds a new era returning to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) after an absence of 18-years. The latest race-bred addition to the BMW Motorsport is finely crafted to dominate the gruelling conditions of the pinnacle of German touring car racing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Merentas Desa Taman Botanical Tasik Perdana 2012

For those interested in gaining your distance, building up your stamina, keeping a healthy lifestyle or even for the fun of it with your friends and family, there's this next running event, Merentas Desa, what we used to call it during our school days, running a mixture of terrain and road.

There's a few distance categories to be enrolled in; 8-km, 6-km and 2.3-km. Details of the run:

Where: Start/Finish next to Boat House, Taman Tasik Perdana
Date: Sunday, 25 March 2012
Flag-off Time: 0800hrs
Closing Date: Saturday 24 March 2012

Registration? Get the downloadable PDF from here

Monday, March 19, 2012

Training for my 1st Half Marathon

Its going be my first ever half marathon. Its been a year now having running as a way to keep up with a healthy lifestyle.

Been going through a lot of reading on the web and resources from peers about training for my first half marathon. Its going to be quite tough to achieve, but it is just another milestone to achieve.

So, what does it take to be prepared for your first long distance running, may it be a 5-km run, or a half-marathon or even doing a full 42-km marathon?

As for myself, the benchmark is to complete a 1/2 marathon; a full 21.1 kilometre distance within the time limit of 3.0 hours. Is this achievable?

As a start, I went on to the Nike+ site, being having the Nike+ App on my mobile device. There's this "Train Like a Pro" application that allows us to select the appropriate training programme that you are training for. In my case, its to be prepared for a half marathon in 13 weeks.

Phew? 13 weeks? Man, that's a leap to get into the groove of running. Why am I running by the way? To me, running is still the best way to keep fit and living a healthy lifestyle yet maintaining a low maintenance and investment. The one and only investment is to get yourself a pair of proper and suitable running shoes. The right pair of shoes is crucial as it can hurt you and thus demotivate you from running once you are injured due to mismatch and shoes that do not fit.

The Nike+ site dashboard is quite useful to help you figure out the right training for your first long distance run. Its not only running consistently and frequently, but it also advices you to train you muscles which includes a little strength training as well as mixing up your running style; 5 x 2 minutes tempo effort with 1-3 minutes intervals; if I know whatever that means? But basically, its just increasing your running effort after a 1-2 miles easy run.

Another good site that helps you DIY your training is to head on to the Adidas MiCoach Programme. That is also another site that helps beginners set their goals, and to customise a proper training in order for you to be prepared for your run.

The main thing about your training is: "Discipline". It is most needed. Try and alternate your runs and trainings by getting a running partner. Your running partner can be a "mood" booster at times, and it keeps running fun. Rotate your training times. Some in the morning, and some in the late afternoon. This helps me getting it going. Your style, you've got to determine it.

Running for fitness and exercise is a great way to keep yourself fit. So I will always remind myself to keep it simple and it has got to remain fun. I find ways to keep my runs fun by exploring new routes when running outdoors, running with friends, set new targets and beat them, mixing up the tunes and finding new songs that keeps me in the mood and many more.

My mission, to complete a half marathon this year. Why enter a half-marathon event? Is it for gold? My answer is NO. Its not for the gold, although I would wish to get it. The reason for me entering such events is to be able to gauge my ability to achieve my distance against time.

Having said all that, I hope that the training is going to be well paid-off! If it does not, well, its not going to stop me from running. Running is fun! And most importantly, it is a way of keeping a healthy lifestyle.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First run for the year 2012

Its 0500hrs and time to get up and get ready for my first run for the year; the Multi-Purpose Insurans Run 2012; which was held at Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur. The distance, 12-kilometre run covering hilly circuit of Bukit Tunku.

The laziness to get up early this time is really bugging my head. Should I get up and go ahead with the run? Or should I just get back to the early Sunday morning breeze, under the blanket, sleeping through the morning.

Well, what the heck, I've signed up this and come this far, and its not a good start to break the chain of attendance. Get ready and gear up, Multi- Purpose Insurans Run 2012, here I come!

Drove all the way to Padang Merbok situated in Kuala Lumpur. Parked the car nearby the starting point (directly opposite BNM), and walked over to the Grid. It was packed with many unrecognised faces at the starting point. I did saw one or two familiar faces, but didn't had the chance to say hi.

Out of the blue, a group of "fancy" dressed runners was running to the starting line. Spider-man, hula dancer, cowboy, and there's this guy who's also dressed in the traditional "Sarong" with a white plain t-shirt but with proper running shoes.

I tried to make way to the front to get a head start, but, to no avail, it was just packed with runners. All getting ready for gun time. I just had to settle in the last pack of runners.

At the click of the gun, the runners dashed out to the start of the 12-kilometre run out from Padang Merbok to the hilly circuit of Bukit Tunku. I was still stunned with the turn up, and didn't even noticed the gunfire.

By the time passed the starting line, marking my start with the non-stop beeping sounds from the D-Tag Sensor plates, I started the run. Running uphill passing by Lanai KIjang. Then out left head straight for Bukit Tunku. At the third kilometre mark, I can see this Spidey fella is running ahead of me. It looked entertaining. Man, he was fit. He is still running, and ahead of me!

The first water station at the 3-kilometre mark was just packed with runners. Well, did not stop or reached out for water, as it was still early for a quench for thirst. The complete circuit had 3 water stations; 3rd, 6th and 9th kilometre markers.

I continued running the circuit, and its already pass 40-minutes in when I just passed the 5-kilometre mark. Damn. My legs are already hurting, and I have another 7-kilometres to endure to the finish line. Well, take it slowly, and I should be able to finish this without stopping. Taking every leap at my own pace.

I just had to get a taste of that 100 Plus thirst quencher at the 9th kilometre mark (I said to myself). Upon reaching it, while still running, though it was a slow pace, this soft voice over my shoulder said, "You can do it bro. See you at the finish line. Here's a cuppa 100 Plus for you."

I didn't notice I had passed the water station. Must be really tired and concentrating on the run. 9+ kilometres, and I have not stopped! That's a good sign. Thank God, this good old chap, handed me the cup and it was just enough to get that dry throat some fluids to cool it off. He was quite an old chap. Thanks to him, I was still running and managed to get a quench for thirst. Didn't get his name, didn't see his bib number. White haired guy, in the mid-50's and still running. His pace was getting faster!

I needed that boost. The run for the final 2.5-kilometres, just pacing up gradually to the finish line. By then, I think I was already doing about 8.5kph (if its on the treadmill). It should be fine. Upon reaching the last 500-metres, the crowd started cheering. The marching band playing an upbeat music. The emcee was announcing arrivals at the finish line. I was motivated to up the pace. Its just a few leaps away, a few turns and into the final stretch.

Can I make it with a finisher's medal? Alhamdulillah, I crossed the finish line at 1:28:32.5 (gun time) as published in the website. It was a good finish. I am happy with the results. Just continued the walk down after the finish line, started collecting stuff; goodie bag; and most importantly, when this marshal puts the medal around my neck! Oh, what a great feeling.

It was a good run. It was satisfying. All the effort and training is getting me there. It was a good feeling to know that I was able to finish the run without even stopping to cool off those aching calves and hamstrings. Another finisher's medal in the bag. Next runs, hopefully my dear friend who dragged me into this, will not miss a race together. Till the next race. Ciao!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In search of a healthy "LIFESTYLE"... Running?

Healthy lifestyle. What does this mean? Balanced diet? Exercise? Mental fitness?

Hey there readers, you must be wondering where was I for the past months away from this blog. Nothing has been updated on the sports arena. Where am I? Well, to tell you the truth, I have just shelved my photography as a hobby somewhere, and been away from the auto-sporting arena for almost a year now.

Reason being, change of working career; leading me to be more focused on my current working career.

I used to work and sweat myself out at work due to the heavy lifting of goods and stuff, assuming that it was OK not to exercise as I say to myself, "hey, I've already shed sweat during my work time, and that's enough right?".

The very first day I step into the new working environment, I was approached by my newly acquainted colleague, who happens to jog after office hours at the nearby public park when its clear skies in the afternoon, else, running up and down the 16-floor steps to shed sweat. He said to me, "You know what? We need to keep a healthy lifestyle. Do you exercise?"

At first, it never occurred to me that the question he asked me the very first day would have brought me this far. Definitely, I did tell him that, once in a while, YES, I did shed sweat, but not more than once a month, I think.

Day in, day out. My normal routine will be coming to the office, sitting in front of the computer screen for more than 6-hours, straining my back, my eyes, my brain, everything that my body and soul would offer to the slavery of WORK and computers. After a few weeks, I find that I am losing weight. Is this a good sign? Without exercising, I am actually losing weight!

Then one fine day, I took the opportunity to buy myself a pair of shoes, and without any pre-training, without any preparation, signed up for a 10-kilometre run organised in celebration of "International Firefighters' Day". I stood up to the challenge of my office mate, Hisham, that I am able to do the 10-kilometre run without stopping for breath.

Fair enough, I had to make 4-stops to complete the run on that day. Where has all my fitness gone to? I could have run a 21-kilometre run without shedding a single sweat back then, without stopping to catch a breath.

It then struck me, yes, I did shed sweat during my daily routine in my previous work. Yes, I did lift some weights at home to shed some sweat off of me. But, was it enough? Question answered; NO!

I then started Google-ing up, "maintaining a healthy lifestyle". A healthy lifestyle by right, is choosing the right food, maintaining a balanced diet, keeping fit by exercising, NOT SMOKING, having a healthy mind and many more. Its just doing what best maintains your health and life. Its all about BALANCE.

After the 10-kilometre run incident, I then took the challenge by my dear friend, Hisham, to follow him and continue running, taking it easy and progressing the distance as we go along. It started with a leg-crunching, heart-exhaustion and mental-disablement, keeping up with the first few runs round the ~2.4-kilometre circuit once every two days. That's just ONE ROUND in every two days. That too, my heart was pumping really hard, and my bones were aching, and the lungs were just working its every muscle to catch every breath to supply sufficient 02 to the heart. Will I succeed?

In two months, with constant running, I have managed to increase my pace and distance to 2-full rounds round the 2.4-kilometre track. That's like 4.8-kilometres! In total, I was already doing 14.4-kilometres a week or 57+ kilometres a month! Was it good enough?

Well, lets try and put it to my body figures. Well, I did not lose much weight; just 4kg. Waist? Still at 34". But will I be able to finish a 10-kilometre run? Indeed I did! In just 2-months running, I managed to run the next 10-kilometre run at a constant single pace finishing in 1 hour 20 minutes. No doubt, it was like 3-times slower than any other marathon runner, but, it was an achievement to myself.

But why continue running? What does it mean "A healthy Lifestyle" for myself? Well, 9-months has passed, and I have endured many short marathon runs, the farthest I've done is a 12.4-kilometre run. All completed without any muscle break, without any hard effort during the runs. All it needs was a constant discipline to keep fit, running, at least twice a week. Did it cost much? NO! The only investment I've ever splurged on is on the shoes. Finding the right shoe is important. But, that's it! Just a pair of shoes, and you're on! I'm still not at the "Healthy Lifestyle" point.

The main thing is, that, we are straining ourselves, sitting at our desk, day in, day out, staring at the computer screen, attending meetings, straining your fingers at the keyboard and mouse, breaking your brains thinking of what to type in your reports; yet, we are not moving our muscles enough. We may be eating right, but the heart is not being trained well to keep fit. We are watching our weight, but not doing it right. Starving is not the solution. Starvation does not mean you are fit! That definitely is not a "Healthy Lifestyle".

Running. I would recommend to anyone. Everyone. All you need, is a pair of shoes. What good is it to us? Well, I find it to be:
  1. A way to relieve stress
  2. Keeping fit at a very minimal cost
  3. Losing weight (not for me really, but it think if I eat right, I'll shed more weight off)
  4. Increase stamina
  5. FUN
  6. Believing in oneself
My target, is to run a half-marathon by end of 2012. Is it achievable? Well, I've come this far, and there is no stopping me. Its just the joy of running. The satisfaction when you cross that line. It is just not describable, but you need to experience it yourself. Well, many thanks to Hisham, my running buddy, always there to guide me and push me, reminding me to keep it going. Till then, happy running!