Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Cyclists and Punctures - Jun Shen

Racing is extreme condition has pushed the tyre manufacturers to keep improving a tyre’s puncture resistance, weight, aerodynamic, rolling resistance and so on. However, there is no tyre company that can guarantee cyclists a 100% puncture proof tyre. Generally tyres are divided into two types which are the clincher and the tubular. Both clinchers and tubulars have different method for fixing flat tyres. Let me share with you some of my experience training for multisports. I’ve had many punctures during training rides over so many years as a triathlete, I’d carry whole set of puncture fixing kit with me every time I ride on the road. A spare tube, hand pump and lever all will be secured under my saddle.  One fine day I went cycling with my team mates, some brought their tube and some don’t. We had 3 tubes in a group of 9 cyclists, never did I expect all of our tubes would be used. When the 4th puncture occurred, we had nothing to fix the flat. I was lucky to find a grocery shop in “no man’s land” at Bangi area, bought super glue and picked up a piece of plastic and trying to patch it. I managed to patch it after 5 attempts, it was really messy with the glue hardened on my fingers. How I wished I had a patch kit with me at that time!
Tube vs Patch Kit (Writer's own investment)
Moral of the story, during training rides, no one could forecast how many punctures you’ll be getting. Tips for the blog readers, always carry a patch kit. I’ll always try to patch the tube unless the puncture occus at the valve area because I might get another puncture before I got home. The cost of an inner tube ranges from RM15 to the high end RM60 whereas a patch kit costs less than RM15, normally consists of at least 6 adhesive patches,  a buffer and intructions sheet depending on the brand. The glueless patches are the easiest option compared to those with patches need to be glued. 6 adhesive patches will definitely be your lifesaver in case of multiple puncture in training rides.  Everything is wrapped up nicely in a mini plastic envelope. In addition, patching tube is more economical than discarding the whole tube. However, once you got home, remember to replace the tube with a new one as some of the patches would degrade over time.

Shared by Team2ndSkin Athlete,

Chan Jun Shen

Friday, 11 April 2014

What it is like to be in Team 2ndSkin - Annie Yee

Being in member of 2ndskin family not only grows me up in running, I have grown up in my life. I know a guy named Chan Jun Shen who was very popular (yet still very famous now). A wrong click “accept” in Facebook brought this friendship extended to joining into 2ndskin.
In this family, we have variety of sport-men ranging from runner to ultra-man and ironman.  Let’s talk about the most competent leader, Eugene Teoh. In 2ndskin, he is like a big tree who gives shades to us, protecting us from harm and guiding us. Reminiscing back to the past, his genuine guidance and advices made me move on in my life when I was in dilemma. It is hard to find someone who is supportive of you and you can feel comfortable to talk to when you have secrets. Apart from this, he is the man who finds sponsorships for supporting our team, BRAVO TO HIM!!!
Every member in 2ndskin plays unique roles whom you will be surprised when you know how determined, diligent and how much of effort and commitment they put in sports and family as well, especially Eugene and Tri-Stupe. They have always played the roles to be a caring husband, good daddy, hardworking workers and competitive sportmen. Tell me, how many people are able to balance it? Time management and to differentiate the priority are the values we need to learn from these two guys.
Being in this family, I feel warmed and contented. Last year, year 2013 in Women International Marathon, my team planned from the beginning, where is the best distance to support the runners/ when is the best time/quantity of Hammer Nutrition/location of set up the booth etc. Just because I was going to join this race, they have decided to give a hand to other participants and supported the event be merrier. We whatsapp days and nights to discuss this. J It was a sweet memory for me in this race. Their presence enlightened me and I achieved a remarkable result
Then, last year I had my first time birthday celebrating with my team members. We had a small party in Eugene’s house and everyone gathered there. I was touched when I knew Jun Shen purposely spent time with us and right after that he had to drive back to Lumut in the middle of night. The commitment he gave to this family taught me to be better person. The responsibility he holds as a sport-man and a military officer has never disappointed anyone.
December babies
Recently, we gathered together to have photo shoot. We had to try and re-try till our professional photographer, Mr funny Jason to nod his head saying okay! From the early morning till the sun shone brightly in the sky, we did each single shot again and again. Nobody complaint about the scorching sun, about the irritating mosquitoes’ bites, about the grumbling of the stomach. If I were the 3 years back Annie, I would probably be the one who threw tantrum to our Jason, complaining about the situation we experienced and most probably my face would have looked like the L for whole day. Instead, we made fun and laughed non-stop. Sometimes, all of us focused in the small lenses. It was cute to see this.
Who is that girl in the photo?
Fortunately, god blesses me and brings me into this team with these wonderful members. Not only to meet these good people, I am lucky to get sponsored by Skechers Malaysia, Hammer Nutrition, Kraftfit compression wear, Garmin, Spyder Phillipines, GetActive, Bike Elementz and 2ndskin!
Run Like Never Before
We are not the top runners or top in the list, but the spirit of we have in the team moves us, be a brighter and achieving the dreams which of us looking for. Being in this team, I do really changed from a pessimistic person to a better person.
Team! Thank you!!!
Ed - we wish Annie a lot of luck and good tidings as she moves out of the comfort of her home to a new location for a brand new career north of Malaysia. Now we have another reason to head north for races and gathering. 
ps -  yes, we noticed you shedding some tears as we ended the photo session last weekend. This is not goodbye and we will see you again. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Garmin Forerunner 620 Unboxing - Roy Yeow

Thanks to Garmin Malaysia, the team received an unit of Forerunner 620 for sharing and review. First off the block will be Roy as he bring us through the Unboxing review so we will know what is inside the packaging. We received the "blue" unit and this will help chase away the blues when we run! Over to you Roy.
Garmin Forerunner 620 Unboxing - Roy Yeow
With the collaboration of 2ndskin and Garmin, the team get their hand on one of the latest watch from Garmin. The Forerunner 620 is a direct replacement for the previous model 610 and the watch packs a new range of latest features. Before we look into the functionality of the watch, we have got to get it unboxed. 
The toy
The watch comes neatly packed in a 14cmx 8.8cm x 10.5cm box, with the watch being displayed through the top transparent window, protected by the outer shell. Slid the lid up to remove the cover, the watch is securely fasten to the upper layers while other stuffs are nicely hidden below it. 

On the left we have the manuals with the HRM-Run pod, follow by the heart rate strap and the power cable.
 With the plastic and box out of the way, you can see the manual comes in many languages.

Unlike the predecessor, the power cable is much smaller and it fits to the base of the watch nicely. The cable is not required for upload to Garmin Connect. 620 synced through Wifi networks, no need for a USB cable or dongle. 

The heart rate strap and HRM-Run pod plays an important part of the functionality within Garmin 620. Apart from measuring heart rate, the HRM-Run pod has features like accelerometer that allows for new metric. Note the running man icon that signify the difference of the HRM-Run pod from the traditional HRM pod.  

The watch itself is surprisingly lightweight and small compared to the 620. It has one additional button (total 4) compare to the 610 while the touch screen menu has been moved around. The screen area is pretty much the same 

Cropped! Tall Like Me!

Straps that can be replaced ;-)
 Here is a look of the watch compare to 910xt. As you can see, the 910xt is much more bigger in every aspect, making the 620 a pretty good day to day watch as well if you are not working out. 

BIG brother and "younger" brother (or sisters also can)
Lastly remove the protective sticker from the watch to start using the watch by pressing the on button (upper left). The watch will ask for basic information such as: language, gender, height, weight, and other details. You are now ready to use the watch. 

The fitting of the watch is great. The first time I wore the watch, I do not feel the watch on my wrist and it felt like it is never there. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Kraftit Compression Wear - Review by Deo Azrul

I’ve worn compression attire ever since the build up to my first ever full marathon race in April 2011. Back then, I was just following the trend without knowing much the benefits of wearing compression attire in trainings and races. Nevertheless, I’ve reaped the benefits of compression attire judging from my performance in races as well as the post-race physical recovery rate. Over the years, I’ve started to understand the benefits of compression attire ‘scientifically’ but in laymen terms, I acknowledge that wearing compression attire would help to accelerate blood flow throughout your body. This result in increased oxygen delivery to muscle groups and the improved circulation will help the body to reduce the build-up of lactic acid which means, reducing the possibility of having cramps. This also means it will allow you to work at a higher rate for longer periods.  In terms of recovery, the improved circulation of oxygen and blood help the muscles to experience less fatigue and speed up recovery rate (recovery rate works better if you use recovery compression wear, which I don’t).
Personally, I’ve always known to be a loyalist to a particular brand especially when the brand gives certain level of benefits and satisfaction to me. It has always been the Australian brand of 2XU as my choice for compression attire before this. Despite its relatively expensive price tag, the brand name and reputation were the main factors. The benefits of wearing compression wear, from my observation on other running friends and hearing their testimonials, are pretty much the same (as mentioned above) regardless of the brand. Similar to running shoes, it took a very solid reason to choose from my preferred brand to another. And with the partnership between Team 2ndSkin and Kraftfit, I was made to forge a new allegiance.

Prior to this, I heard very little about Kraftfit, only saw them being sold at one of the running stores in Klang Valley. I also hardly see runners wearing the brand in the local running scene which is being dominated by a handful brands with the likes of 2XU, CWX, Skins and BV Sport. As skeptical I was to Skechers, it was the same feeling I had to Kraftfit. However, as I mentioned earlier, there were not much differences in performance of compression wear regardless of brand, it was not too difficult to switch over to another brand, in my case from 2XU to Kraftfit. But the question then was, would Kraftfit gives the same level of benefits or even more than what I had enjoyed with 2XU?
First time in Kraftfit compression wear and it was all love at first sight
I was called up for a fitting session at the Kraftfit HQ not long after my inclusion into Team 2ndSkin in January this year and a week before my marathon race in Hong Kong. The moment I unbox the compression top (short sleeve) and bottom (long), I felt that they appear smaller than 2XU although the sizing are the same. I thought of taking one size bigger but as I put them on, they fit just nicely.

Three early impressions I had on Kraftfit compression:

1. The cutting.

I love the cutting of both top and bottom (as for me, I fit into S- size for top and XS-size for bottom). For top, the shoulder length just matches my actual shoulder length. It makes the arm-to-body seam of the top placed neatly where it belongs. The underarm is neither too lose that I feel saggy nor too tight that it restricts my arm swing. The length of the sleeve (I took the short sleeve) was also perfect to my eyes. They are just long enough (about half inch above my elbow) that it covers my biceps. The abdomen area  was not too crampy that it still allows my belly to breathe unlike my 2XU top that hug my potbelly really tight (and makes me look pretty ugly too! with the bulging fats). I think the cutting on the belly part is quite important as not many of us, the casual runners, have lean abdomen (don’t talk about 6-pack) so, when you manage to hide the bulging belly wherever possible, that will be great!  Overall, the sizing is just perfect for the top.     
For the bottom, the length is just to my liking. The Kraftfit compression bottom rolls down to about two inches above my ankle. It is just nice as when I put on my socks, the socks would not roll over the compression (unlike my 2XU) that makes me to look like wearing ‘footed leotards’.

2. The material.

The material of Kraftfit compression is pretty much the same as 2XU, that they feel ‘gummy’ and elastic, making them stretchable and expandable. But three significant differences between the two brands: (a) Kraftfit’s material is more cooling and breathable that I did not sweat much while wearing them in the room temperature of the fitting room, (b) it is lighter than 2XU as it is thinner that makes me feel like running without anything on (literally), and (c) it is more slick that I could put them on and off easier.

3. The design

Kraftfit top and bottom come in the typical color of most compression wear – black. And the white, diamond-shape of its logo on the chest and back (for top) and on the hip (for bottom) makes it really stands out. The typeface of the brand in white and red font also stands out and makes the design simple but classy. Although I don’t really pay much attention to the powerband technology, I like the powerband design crawling around your muscle groups, similar to adidas techfit powerweb design. The powerband technology is said to “provide additional support for key muscle groups, preventing pain and injury caused by over exertion.”

So, Kraftfit passed my first impression test. But I was left with just few days to test them out before my marathon in Hong Kong. I managed to do just two short runs in the compression bottom to test out. Although they were just short runs and could not really simulate an experience of running a marathon, the compression bottom performed well that it didn’t restrict my movement, it is light which I thought would help me when I feel tired deep into a race, it retained the sweat and somehow ‘recycle’ them that helped to keep the body cool and since I did not encounter major problems like chaffing; I decided to use the compression bottom for my marathon in Hong Kong.
It keeps me warm in cold weather... @ China Coast Marathon, Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, it was a cold morning (around 15-degree Celcius) on the race day. Although Kraftfit is thinner than 2XU, it kept the legs warmed before the race and kept the body temperature checked throughout the race. The rolling route (near 600m in total elevation gain, doubled than KL Marathon) which normally would put my leg muscles under tremendous stress and eventually cramped out, was not a problem this time. I can’t fully testify if it was due to Kraftfit compression bottom or other factors, but I would like to believe that the compression wear played a role although minimal. As a result, I finished the marathon within four hours and I could still hop on and off Hong Kong’s public transport, walk around the city before flying back home the same day and got back to work the next day. That explains how much the compression had helped my muscles from suffering excessive level of fatigue during the race which eventually shortened the recovery period.
...keeps me cool in very hot weather... @ The North Face 100km, Thailand
While Hong Kong was a cold race, The North Face 100 Thailand in February was on the opposite end. The high temperature shot up to the high 30s of degree Celcius while the total elevation gain was more than 2000 meters. I wore Kraftfit compression bottom throughout the 15-hour 100km race. At the end of the race, I didn’t suffer from cramps while the material and its thin-ness also kept the legs breathing and cool throughout the hot race. In laymen terms, I feel as if the compression ‘circulated’ the sweat to the body to provide a greater cooling rate and allow longer exposure time under the hot sun. Ironically, I don’t fell stuffy, sticky or even stinky throughout the 15-hour race.

Besides wearing them in races, I’ve also worn the compression bottom throughout the night prior to a race and it somehow conditioned and prepared the legs for the race.  What amazes me is that, normally with 2XU, I would wake up in the middle of the night as I felt uneasy and uncomfortable wearing the compression and would take them off. But I didn’t feel odd with Kraftfit, maybe due to the cooling and light material. So, I reckon that Kraftfit should also work well as base layer garments to be worn day and night in cold temperature conditions which I have yet to try.
...and keeps it fun everywhere else. @ The Music Run, Kuala Lumpur
For the top, although I rarely use it, I believe it can be worn for multi-purpose activities. You can use it during runs, during your workout in gym or even when cycling or maybe swimming. A case with cycling, while I was still looking for nice cycling jerseys to wear during my rides, I used Kraftfit short sleeve compression top for my 100km ride along Guthrie and LATAR Highway as my temporary solution. It was a really hot day but just like the compression bottom, it is made of material that keeps your body cool throughout the hot day.    

Good as cycling top too!
Many people are still debating whether compression wear would improve performance? Is it a myth or fact, it is subject to anyone’s different judgment. But for me, I’ve benefited from a compression wear since my first marathon and over the 25 marathons and 15 ultra-marathons done so far, of which I’ve worn compression bottom in almost all these races. I can also testify the benefits by looking at my results and in most cases, I was back in office or walking around the city on the next day after the marathon – just to stress on the post-recovery rate. If you’re still not convinced, why don’t give it a try and trust me, Kraftfit compression wear would not burn a hole in your pocket as they retailed at a price much lower than the established, international brands.

You can purchase your Kraftfit from here. Protect. Enhance. Perform.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Penang Internation Triathlon and Duathlon - Roy Yeow

Team Athlete Roy participated in the Penang Internation Triathlon and Duathlon last weekend. Here's his take about the race and the experience.

Doing an olympic distance triathlon a week after coming back from one of the toughest 100KM trail race in Hong Kong that took me more than 30 hours to complete, is insane. But since I needed the triathlon experience badly, I decided to just go ahead with the race, the least to experience the swimming leg and call it off.
Ever since coming back from Hong Kong, the plan is to recover from the ultra with minimal training and maximum food loading. I thought I added 2KG at least to my weight, something you would not think is possible after a 100KM race. 

Anyway, moving on to the race day morning, around 5:15AM, we decided to cycle about 5KM to the race start. That was probably a good move as it was a good warm up. Once arrived, look for my transition spot and start laying all my stuff as neatly as possible. When we strolled down to the beach side, to my horror, the wave was nasty that morning. It was nothing like the sea of 2013 in the Penang Tri official video. Deep down, I was feeling great and yet worried. Great that I will get to try out the roughest sea swim soon, and worried how I would fare with my not so great swimming technique.
With CM Lim
In no time, the Duathlons race was flagged off and we moved back to the beach side awaiting the start. Decided to jump into the sea to get the feel of the waves. By the time I got back onto the beach, YB Lim was already at the beach wishing the participants all the best. Managed to get our photo taken with him, maybe a good luck souvenir for us? Met my schoolmates that I have not met for years, brought back memories of us making the round the island trip on our motorbikes.

Back to the race, once the race started, we just proceeded to jump into the sea and never look back. Months of swimming training would now shows if I have done it right or wasted all my effort. Started swimming as calmly as possible while trying to avoid the crowds. One good feeling this round is I keep bumping onto the swimmer in front, instead of being bumped. This could only means that I am faster this time around. Ignoring the waves, I keep focusing on my strokes to try to move as fast forward as possible. By the time I completed the first lap, it was 13:42, that's fast for me. Later on, I noticed a photo of me on fb just behind my idol Bryan Lee. Ahem, I can swim almost as fast as him!!!! The second lap was tougher as I was stuck in a jam towards the first bouy. Too many swimmers were trying to take the shortest path through and causing human jam there. Feeling much more confidence this round, flexed a bit of muscles to force my way through the queue and continue to swim on. Completed the swim leg in 27:22. Well, based on the timing, that's a 16 minutes improvement from my last triathlon, I have to thanks my swimming coaches for this improvement that has gave me confidence to jump into the sea anytime.
Flying Mount
T1 was as normal as possible, the only thing I wish I can do the flying mount to save time from running with clip shoe on. As my bike was at the far end, I have the priviledge to run the most with my clip shoe on, something that you do not really wish to do that much. I make sure I took a pack of Hammer Gel to keep me strong for the hills. Putting on the Spyder helmet, I realised I forget to put on my Spyder sunglass 1km in. Climbs after climbs we have to face as we cycled our way up to the dam and then continue on to Balik Pulau. I tried to pace with a season triathlete Wong as I haven't been cycling that much and worry that I would cramped. I was glad that my quads were not giving me sign to slow down as I gradually make my way up the hills. Once we hit the town area, traffic was a bit congested as no road closure around the villages. Grabbing water from the support station and cooling myself down, I awaited another gruelling climb back to the dam.
This is when Andrew of Velocipede Works overtook me effortlessly going up the hill. Looking at him going up put me in awe. I was like struggling to keep going and there he goes, like an elevator up the hill. Continue on up the hills slowly, I was able to slowly pass many of the slower duathletes. Once reaching the top of hill, it was smooth to just steer down the slopes now. However, the roads are winding and as the traffic are building ups with runners and cyclists on both side, safety is my priority. While going down towards Teluk Bahang from the dam, I spotted my team mate, Chan Jun Shen, on his way back to the finishing to complete his duathlon race. He managed to podium with 3rd placing in the Men's Open. Back in Teluk Bahang, again traffic was bad as road closure is not possible there. We cyclist had to stop and dismount as lorries and cars were blocking the road. I decided to carry my bike up the side walk and just walk pass the jam to move forward. Completed the bike leg is 1:30:21, not great timing but nothing more than I can expect of considering the lack of cycling time.
Going into the running leg, I thought I would want to take it slowly to ensure my ITB and ankles are ok. With the Skechers GoBionic, I did not feel any disturbance to any parts and decided to keep going as fast as I could. Down another Hammer Gel to give me the last push, I am ready to run in the hot sun. At the climbs toward the dam, I decided to save my leg by walking a bit and suddenly, my running idol from Penang, Francis overtook me and just flew off. Once reaching the top decided to try to maintain my pace again and upon the uturn, try to speed up trying to hit a sub 3 hours race. It was not meant to be as I completed the run in 57:02, missing the sub 3 by 2 minutes.

Glad that the Ultra + Triathlon back to back is over and I managed to place 55 out of the 245 finisher in Men's Open with the timing of 3:02:11. It was one triathlon that is fun and great. Swim was rough, Bike was challenging, Run was hot. Recommended race to get the feel of triathlon! Thanks to the sponsors - 2ndskins, Hammers, Skechers, Spyder and Get Active. I do believe my ability to perform in this race a week after an ultra is due to the strengthening and conditioning from Get Active. Now, is time to focus on the biggie in April.
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