Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The North Face Race Report Part 2 : Deo

Deo Part 2 of his TNF race in Thailand. Admin apologizes for the tardiness. We been busy and has been involved with the Garmin Running Clinic. Intake 1 has been great and we have completed session 2 (of 3). Deo was on site to offer advice and to share his experience with his recent races (this being one of them) and the just completed Tokyo Marathon (report soon). Meanwhile, Enjoy Part 2 of the TNF report.
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Let's continue where I left in the first of two parts of my TNF100 Thailand 2015 story...

I kept running wherever I could in the last 10km before going back to Simalin Resort for the halfway checkpoint break. Along the way since KM25, I had been thinking on how would I run the course again, for the second loop of 50km. Everytime that thought came to mind, I quickly brushed it off not to dwell too much into it. Let's take a kilometer by kilometer and let's think about second loop when I actually doing it later. The single trail section with about 5km to go was my favorite. I am not sure whether it was the same trail as last year because I think that section was a lot easier this time around. I kept moving, quite strongly, never missed a beat until we arrived at the end of trail section where we had to cross a big sort of sandy 'drain', when we have to jump about 3-feet down and get up again on the bank and get on the final stretch of the road section. I was running like I was doing just the 50km race and in the last 5km or so, I passed many 25km and 50km runners. While running back to Simalin Resort, I was expecting to see front 100km runners going out from the resort for their second loop but there wasn't any. So, I thought maybe they've gone earlier or they're taking their time hanging around the CP. After some 2.5km running on the tarmac, the halfway CP was within sight. I was asked to cross the timing chip and quickly I took a seat while the volunteer looked for my dropbag and handed over to me. I arrived at the 50km CP in around 6 hours and 35 minutes, a bit off from my planned 6 hours. Never mind, I told myself. Timing is not so much a factor for me anymore. It was all about finishing it with the best timing I could. 

It was around 11.30am when I arrived at the CP. With the sun was high up since the past one or one and a half hour, the day was getting hotter and the temperature was rising but most importantly, it was close to lunch hour! Luckily I wasn't feeling hungry as I didn't pack any food inside my dropbag. All I had during the halfway point were those served there - watermelon, bananas, drinks and canned Nescafe that I brought along. I wasn't sure how long to go until my stomach will protest of not getting in solid foods but based on previous three TNF100 Thailand races, I would not have problems of hunger. I took my time to change my top, get rid of unnecessary stuffs and just keep them in the dropbag like my camera, my sunnies, Hammer perpetuem solids that I didn't consume at all in the first loop as well as Hammer Endurolyte Fizz as I only used two tablets to refill my water. For the second loop, I would rely on the cold plain water and the energy drink provided at the water stations. While sitting down on a chair, I tried to take off my shoes and socks, and suddenly the cramp attacked me on my calves. I quickly straighten my legs to stretch it and slowly the cramp eased off. It was quite a tough process to take off the socks, afraid cramps would attack again but I had no choice as I had to clean up my foot from all the small stones that got inside the socks. Not long before I left for my second half of the race, Eijoy arrived. I was glad to see him in a still strong condition. I asked him to sit down under the shade to cool down, before I took off. I was hoping to see Ezam on my way out but it didn't happen as I had to detour to get back into the trail section again. 

Taking a break, trying to cool down the body temperature down before heading out for my second loop of 50km.

The same loop all over again. Only that it was bright, sunny day this time around. I could finally see what we went through six to seven hours ago when it was still dark. The early elevation that slowed everyone down at the beginning actually wasn't difficult at all, it was just the darkness that caused everyone to move cautiously, I think so. I ran at a slower pace at the beginning of the second loop but consistently so that I could last as long as I could. Uphills were the place for the legs to rest by walking up. Cramps were kept at bay although at times, they tried to launch their attacks. I brave enough. My pace was decent and consistent until ]I got to the foot of the 'Lord of the Rings Hill'. It was crazy this time, I thought. And I wonder if the Hill got taller, longer and steeper over the hours that it felt forever to reach the top. I was all alone climbing up to the peak this time and as the legs are getting tiring, they've been kicking rocks here and there and whenever a sudden aggressive movement (like kicking a rock) happened, the cramps would attack. Lots of times during the section, I cursed.... to everything, to the extent that I was thinking that this would be my last TNF100 Thailand if it remains in Khao Yai. My pace gone really badly with the LOTR Hill. Descending from the LOTR Hill wasn't easier either. It was dry and slippery and I had to be cautious not to slip anywhere along the section and tumble down the cliff, unattended. No other runners were at sight either in front or at the back. 

After all the curses and the LOTR Hill nightmares, I reached back at the sandy rolling elevation and I wondered if the uphill was actually that steep during the first loop? My hope to continue running consistently was gone up in smoke as I got smoked with the elevation. Then I saw a small shop at the side of the road. At first, I thought that I wanted to buy some cold drinks, maybe a can of Coke but at the same time, I don't want to waste more time, to dig up for the money I brought along way down in my hydration bag and sit down and drink. But at the end, I stopped at the shop, bought myself a can of Coke, sat down at the bench outside the shop, clean up the debris inside my socks, finished off the can of cold Coke slowly and continued my journey after a 10-minute break or so. It was a deserved break, I think. One lady runner from China passed me when I took my break. She was quite elderly but strong! We kept trading places throughout the remaining of the race and she eventually finished four places and eight minutes behind me. I tried to run after the break but suddenly I felt uneasy, I wanted to burp (from the gas of Coke) but I just couldn't burp! I never had this problem before and I thought it was a mistake that I consumed Coke, although I've done it before. After three attempts to burp, I finally managed to get a long burp and really felt relieved. 

I arrive back at CP2 at KM70. The volunteers are still there but less busy now as they did not have to serve large group of runners. But one really good thing about the water stations and checkpoints, they never ran out of cold water and the energy drinks for drinking as well as watermelon and bananas and most importantly they never short of ice supplies. And you could take as much ice as you want, put them in your hydration bladder/bottle, or put them inside your cap or buff (that was what I did), the volunteers never restricted you from not doing that. I checked with Ezam and Eijoy whether ice was still available when they reached respective checkpoints, and they said yes, plenty of them. This is one area I should really credit the organizer! After a brief stop at CP2, I realized that I had another 30km to go. And my watch indicated that I had about 4 hours and 40 minutes from 15 hours finish. That equals to doing an average of one and a half hour for every 10km distance, and that equals to 9:00-minute/km pace. I was holding to that target from that point onwards. Great thing about doing the same loop is that you practically knows what is coming. I broke down the last 30km into three sections of 10km each. And I knew section of KM70-80 would be run-able, followed by the second section of KM80-90 that would be the toughest of all, and the final section of KM90-finish would be hard at the beginning before I could make a home run in the last 5km. With that in mind, I ran/move as fast as I could in the KM70-80 section so that the spare time can be used to cover up the anticipated slower section of KM80-90.

That strategy worked very well for me. Time now has become my main motivator and push factor. I kept monitoring my pace closely so that the average pace would not drop to slower than 9:00 minutes. I was confident enough that I could finish the race within 15 hours and that at times made me smile and pushed me harder. The cramp 'virus' were still around, they never went away. Moving uphill was harder this time, not just because of the elevation but the cramp 'virus' liked to attack when I was going uphill, which was quite strange. Maybe because I tried to save time but taking a longer stride while walking uphill and the 'virus' seems like to attack when I overstride. As expected the KM80-90 section was the slowest of the final 30km but I had enough time saved during the KM70-80 section to cover up this slow section and I knew I can run all out in the final 5km of the race to save even more time. I got back to the main road, the CP4 at KM90 with great relief. There, I took out my headlight as it started to get darker. Last year, I was still doing the loop somewhere in KM85 that I had to pull out my headlight to use. So, I was a little faster this year. With 10km to go, nothing (literally) could stop me from finishing my 9th 100km ultramarathon. I moved confidently and strongly along the short tarmac section before I got back into the trail section. 

Trail section was done in a jiffy as they were not much of uphills, mostly flat trail section. But I had to be careful not to trip or kick on anything as it was pitch dark except for the light from my headlight. I could see the Chinese lady once a while when I slowed down as she was trying to catch up with me. She is another motivator to keep me going strongly too! And while my mind was busy calculating the expected finish time, without realizing it, I arrived back at the road section which means that I have to deal with a short, not-too-hard uphill section right until the temple junction before going into the final trail section of the race. The end was so near, I ran when I could, minimizing my walks. I still took walk breaks in between but they were really short. I ran strong, I think stronger than in the first loop and was quite actually surprised with that. I wasn't sure if I had not used my energy to the fullest earlier and saved them too much for the final push. I wondered if I ran a little faster in the first loop, would my timing be better. But that doesn't matter much as my target at that point onwards were the 15-hour finish. And with all of those playing in mind, I arrived back at my favorite single trail section and ran quite hard inside it. I managed to overtake two other 100km runners who happened to be Foo and another runner from Malaysia. Cross that big 'drain' to cap off the end of trail section and I ran all the way to the finish line like there will be no tomorrow. On the final 2.5km road section, I overtook another runner from New Zealand and we congratulated each other for our soon-to-be crowning of 100km finisher title. I urged him to run with me but asked me to go ahead instead. There were still 50km runner on the course whom I overtook as well. 

the proud moment - crossing the finish line of my 9th 100km ultramarathon
[photo by Refill Marathon]
And the sight of Simalin Resort came into the view of my teary eyes (not!) and the people having their meals and drinks at the stalls along the roadside, were clapping and cheering for me. What and honor! There were some people waiting and congratulated runners as we entered the resort compound for the final 50km run towards the finish line. And as I crossed the timing chip ahead of the finish line, I could hear the announcers announcing my name as another proud finisher of 100km race and both hands raised up in the air! showered with the victory feeling and satisfaction. One of the proudest moment! 14 hours, 35 minutes and 40 seconds was my official finish time. That timing puts me in the 18th place overall and 14th place in the male category, coincide with my bib number 14! I was later promoted to 13th place overall after they organizer made some adjustments to the final results due to complaints and discrepancies. That also puts me as the 2nd finisher among all Malaysian, behind the unknown Yap Chin Choy, who I was told later that he's a Singaporean-based Malaysian. I was handed out the finisher t-shirt and the better-looking finisher medals but those two finisher goodies meant nothing much as compared to the finish and how I've raced this tough TNF100 Thailand! Ezam and Eijoy came back few hours later and I was so glad to see them again after losing them from sight some 10 hours ago or so. And this time, when I saw them, they were already crowned as TNF100 Thailand 100km finisher! Well done to both of you, Ezam and Eijoy!


Eijoy and Ezam at the proudest moment of their running career, I guess, after finishing the grueling race. Well done boys!


That ends my TNF100 Thailand 2015 story. It was still a great feeling to finish another 100km race, no matter whether it was your first one or the zilliont-time finish! Would I return for my 5th TNF100 Thailand? Time will tell...

Detailed splits of my race, according to the official timing chip provider.


For my race details at Garmin Connect, click here.
For official result of the 100km solo category, click here.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The North Face 100 Thailand Race Report Part 1 : Deo

"The North Face 100 Thailand" by Deo. Enough said, where do I sign up? The second part of the report will be ready soon. Meanwhile, enjoy Part Suffering 1.

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The North Face 100 Thailand Race Report Part 1 : Deo

Wow! As much as I was and am excited to write (type) this report, it is quite difficult to put it down so that this report would not be the same like my previous three TNF100 Thailand reports. I will try, will try to make it sounds different than the previous three editions and I will try to make you wanna do and sign up for the race next year!

TNF100 Thailand 2015 was the 4th ever edition of the race, having the first edition in a different place in (Amphawa) before the race was moved to Khao Yai in the second edition until today. It was also my 4th TNF100 Thailand, haven't missed a beat of the race. It was also my 9th 100km ultramarathon since my first one in 2012 which I did in Amphawa. So, TNF100 Thailand is my anniversary 100km ultramarathon, I would like to see it that way. As the unofficial results show and what I have recorded with my Garmin, I finished the race in 14 hours 35 minutes and 40 seconds. It was the best timing I ever had of all the four TNF100 Thailand editions. Although it was not much faster than the 14:36'06" I did in 2013, the 2013 route was a lot easier than this year, one section that was not in the 2013 edition was the hilly climb or I called it 'The Lord of the Rings Hill' that goes up to maximum elevation of almost 600 meters. My timing this year, however, was more than 40 minutes faster than what I did last year on a similar (about 90-95%) route. The marked difference between this year's and last year's race was the weather. It was all hot and bright and dry and energy-sapping, oven-like weather from 9am to 5pm last year (read my report here but this year, the weather was almost perfect - raining the night before the race, temperature in the teens at the start, the sun came out during the normal hours around noon for about 3 hours, and even when the sun was bright up in the sky, it remained windy throughout the race before it got cold again after sunset. I can saya that although I'm hearing some runners complaining about the hot weather in Khao Yai this year, I think they were a lot lucky with the weather this year! Just to recap, the inaugural edition in 2012 remains the easiest of all with relatively flat route all the way.

Actually, I had a slight ambition to run this race under 14 hours. I even told my traveling buddies, Ezam and Eijoy, that I would be really happy if I can do 13:59'59" but it didn't turn out as planned. As early as at around KM10 that I knew it was not achievable as I could not go any faster early on for some reasons. But in ultramarathon, the race is too long to finish that a lot of things can happen during the race that could hamper your plan or goal.
The official race course map for this year's race with minimal changes to last year's. I believe the 'Lord of the Rings Hills will be a mainstay of the race, as long as the race remains in Khao Yai.
 

However easy the race sounds to you, it was not spared from drama, of course...

Preparation-wise. I admit that I didn't prepare as hard as how I prepared for Penang 100. After Osaka Marathon in October last year, my training mileage took a dip, especially in November when I just recorded 170km before I realized that I need to pick it up again for this race. December mileage went up again to 301km despite the holiday and off-season for most runners. I continued with high mileage in January, clocking about 250km heading into the race. While I think the two-month mileage was sufficient for me to finish the race, I failed to do any 50km training run (which I'd always do before any of my 100km race) in the two months. The longest training runs I did was a marathon distance at the Cyberjaya Marathon in December and the two-loop of Padang Merbuk to Hartamas and back that was almost 40km long. And that kept me worried. I got really nervous when Ezam acknowledged my lack of training when he compared to how I trained for Penang 100. In the end, the experience and familiarity of the race, especially the weather and route, had helped me even with the little lack of preparation. I also didn't pack my stuff until the very night before my early morning flight. Without the checklist that I would've normally prepared, I thought I've packed everything I need but at the end, I realized I left the country without perskindol cool/hot spray that helped me to last throughout last year's race or perskindol cool gel that I had used a lot (and helped me a lot, too) during Penang 100. And I didn't bother to look for them in Bangkok, just praying that I would be ok without them.


Waiting for the big tuk-tuk to depart from Pakchong town to our resort in Khao Yai. It was a nervous journey altogether with the daredevil van driver from Bangkok and the slow-mo driver from Pakchong to Khao Yai as we were running late for the race briefing.
[photo by Ezamizudin]
This year, I traveled to Bangkok alone but met a group of runners from Melaka at the airport and we boarded the same flight. I sat next to a newly-found friend, Paul Lee, in the flight and we talked about the race a bit (it was his first time doing TNF100). At one point, he mentioned that he read from a blog about the race, the accommodation, etc. without realizing that I am actually the author of the blog that he read and was quite stunned when I told him that. Ezam and Eijoy, who flew earlier, waited for me at the Don Mueng Airport before we went for some window shopping at the Siam Paragon area, had lunch and went to the Victory Monument to board the public van to Khao Yai. As usual, it was a long drive to Khao Yai, about 200km to the north of Bangkok, on a busy highway. We would not arrive earlier if the van driver was not a daredevil like the one we had, zigzagging around the vehicles on the highway and flying on the fast lane *sigh!* The van stopped at Pakchong town and as this was my first time taking public transport, I didn't know that it would take another almost one hour (including waiting time) via a large tuk-tuk from Pakchong town to Khao Yai. The tuk-tuk stopped in front of the Khao Yai Garden Lodge, where the three of us stayed. We met two other Malaysians, Foo and his lady friend (sorry forgot her name; but both of them finished the 100km race very strongly!) in the tuk-tuk and later traveled to Simalin Resort for the race briefing and race pack collection.
The race briefing that was held outdoor this year.
The briefing was held outdoor this year, which I think is a more suitable, and the sight of the start/finish venue and gantry relived my memories (and the agonies) from last year's race. It was all too familiar and it felt like it was just a day before that I went through the hard time finishing the race and was really relieved to be able to cross the finish line in more than 15 hours but was a little heartbreaking knowing many friends did not finish the race, being victims to the torturous weather. Ezam was the most excited, expressing his disbelief to be able to be at the 'TNF100' race site and to compete in the race the next day. I was happy to have the two chaps together, to see the expression and the anticipation from a fresh perspective. Pictures taken, race pack collected and we arrived back at our resort when it was already dark. Dinner followed suit, then shopping for race essentials at the 7-Eleven next door where I met Emil Soderlund again. The funny part was that I did not remember his name but remembered him as 'the guy who wore the blue UTMB t-shirt last year' and he acknowledged that lol! He finished in fourth place this year. Next, in the room, prep all the gears and attire before lights off. It was a very short deep sleep for me before waking up again around 3am. The resort was kind enough to pack sandwiches for us as breakfast and I just had that before the race.
At the race site while waiting to be called to the start line. I wasn't feeling too excited for the race but more nervous as so many questions were playing in the mind, top up to the drama early in the morning before leaving the resort, all those...
[photo by Ezamizudin]
The drama begun even before we headed to the race site. I left the room confidently and boarded the tuk-tuk to the race venue at Simalin Resort. When we were about to leave the resort, I realized that my hydration bag was without the two water bottles! Damn it I had to rush back to the room and there they were next to the sofa. A good adrenaline rush to kick start my day on a cold morning, I guess. Last year, I forgotten to bring along my cap to the race and raced all the way with just buff to shed my head from the notorious sun. In the tuk-tuk met a group of Singaporean who also happened to read this blog. Luckily it was dark in the tuk-tuk, otherwise everyone could see how blush my face was! Arrived not long after that at Simalin Resort and the venue was still quiet and calm with about one hour to go to the flag-off. Runners started to flock the race site from time to time, as I was sitting at the empty race expo tent quietly looking at all the happenings - people taking photos around, exchanging well wishes, some were doing their stretching and warm-ups and, all too familiar! About 15 minutes from the flag-off, we headed into the start area after checks on our phones and headlights. I stayed at the middle of the pack of the 100km and 50km runners while trying to keep calm. Although it was already my fourth TNF100 Thailand, I still feel nervous, not knowing how the day would turn out to be, whether my training was enough to carry me through the race, whether my body could cooperate with me, all those questions. Some speeches were made, a blessing by the monks, countdown and off we went at 5am sharp. The temperature shown on the race clock was around 17-degree Celcius and it was quite chilling that morning.
We think we're ready so let's go! With Ezam and Eijoy, my traveling buddies this year.
[photo by Pongsak Sarapukdee]
It was a cautious start but after about 50 meters from the start line, before we headed into the sealed road, I tripped on something, and fell on my face, kissing the ground. I was shocked, my head spinning as Ezam tried to get me up on my feet. My palm were covered with sand, I could taste sand on my lips and both my knees hurt. As I heard, some people asking "are you ok?", I asked Ezam whether my lips were bleeding? Luckily it was not but both my knees were quite badly bruised and bleeding while my palms were in pain with some pinhole scars from the contact with the ground. Although I was in shock from the fall, I still managed to ensure that I did not drop any of the mandatory items, the water bottles and the headlight. Ezam was there at my side, kind enough to wait for me, and kept me in check. And I was just lucky that i didn't get stampeded by the charging runners who started behind me. After ensuring that all are in place, I continued running side-by-side with Ezam but I had the thought in my mind about "DNF". I was not sure how the bruises on the knees (and maybe the shaken head) from the fall would affect my race as there will be another 15 hours or so that I had to endure. But I told myself to keep going and see how long I would last in the race. Not long after it got stabilized again, I had to move to the roadside to pee and told Ezam to go ahead and I would try to catch up with him later. It was a long pee, strangely, although I've peed twice since arrived at the race site that morning and many runners overtook me during my pee-stop.
Going downhill as we exited the LOTR Hills. Ezam (in blue t-shirt) was seen here leading me going downhill.
[official photo of TNF100 Thailand]
I continued my run and not long after the pee-stop, we got into the trail section where I could overtake some of the runners again but I could not continue doing so as we moved into a slightly-uphill, single trail section when runners in front of me either slowed down or walked. I had to keep calm and be patience as there will be more opportunities to overtake them later. It was a slightly different route from last year until we got to the CP1 at around KM7 where we had to move into a trail section, do a loop inside and headed out on the same route. I could only catch up with Ezam as we headed into the loop-section and everything seems ok for me by then, although I could still fell the pain from the bruises, I could still run at a decent pace. Ran into the loop with Ezam but lost him somewhere. As we headed out from the loop, we cross-path with oncoming runners but I could hardly recognize anybody as it was dark and the glare from the headlights weren't helping either. Right after CP1, like last year, where we headed into the uphill, single trail section all the way up to the peak of the 'Lord of the Rings Hill'. It was still dark and along the way to the peak, the day started to break. For the first timers here, it was an awesome sight but for me, all I cared was to finish this climb. It was a slow hike up and it was quite congested with runners moving on single file cautiously not to trip or fall off the cliff. The grass there seems to have grown taller, as tall as I am and some were thorny that I got scratches on my arms and calves as souvenirs. At times when those grass slapped my knees and touched the bruises points on my two knees, it felt so painful that I wanted to scream really loud. It was quite a torturous section for me. Moving downhill wasn't easier either as I couldn't set my own pace, afraid of bumping/crashing into runners in front of me who moved a little slowly downhill. By that time, Ezam caught up with me, as we headed into the open brown-sandy (or dusty) route, that surely will change the color of your shoes. It was a rolling section and I lost Ezam and never seen him again until the finish line some 15 hours later.

I was practically alone from there onward, nothing unusual for me, carefully moving myself with a sustainable pace, not to aggressively take on the uphill while going downhill in a defensive run mode (not too fast and not over-striding), taking quick but ample stops at each water stations to drink up one or two cups of iced water and the flavored energy drinks. At the same time and throughout the race, I ensured that I was disciplined enough to consume a pack of Hammer gel, two caps of Hammer electrolytes and two caps of Hammer Anti Fatigue Caps for every 10km. It worked well for me especially with the Hammer gel, when I got a feel of energy boost after every pack consumed that lasted for between 2-4km. However, for the Endurolytes, I wasn't sure why I still got cramp signs coming as early as 40km into the race despite the consumptions and consistent consumption of water throughout the race. After a while after the race, I think the cramps were due to the lack of water intake in the week before the race, especially on Friday the traveling day. On top of that, I was still taking coffee in office (as works are piling up) during the week prior to the race as normally I would quit taking caffeinated drinks a week before a race. Yes, as mentioned I had to deal with the cramps since KM40 of the race. It came attacking behind of my left then right thigh, and then attacking the front, then my calves. And how I dealt with them, to ignore them, stretched once a while, and not to over-stride especially going downhill. The cramps were notorious this time they even attacked when I slowly walking up the uphill sections.
Running alone during an ultramarathon has never been a problem to me, I have been trained in such way since my very first 100km ultramarathon, also in TNF100 Thailand, back in 2012. I believe this photo was taken with less than 10km from the halfway point of KM50 back in Simalin Resort.
[photo by www.shutterrunning.com]

So from the point I lost Ezam, the route went from tarmac into sandy, open trails, bushy, rocky (that I many times accidentally kicked those rocks followed by cramp-pinching moment duh!), forever rolling uphill and downhill sections, that you couldn't afford to get a loooonnggg flat or downhill section to run but instead, once you managed to run at a nice pace, you'll have uphill section to deal with not long after that. KM20 to KM40 was the same like last year, with a minor turns, probably, in one of those trail loops that we need to go through. I caught up with Eijoy around KM30 and it was nice to have someone to talk to again (although most of the times, it was drop dead silence between us). Running with Eijoy was kind of mix between bless and stress. It was stressful when he followed me close from behind that I could hear his foot steps - one of his foot step equals to two (or maybe three) of mine and it was a blessing as it caused me to move on a faster cadence to cope with his long strides (of his long legs). As much as I wished Eijoy could accompany me at least until we were back to Simalin Resort (KM50), I lost him somehow at CP4 (KM40) and I was alone again for the last 10km of the first loop.

This entry has gone too long, I guess. So, let's have the rest of the story in the next one. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Garmin Connect IQ using Mac : Jason

The Garmin 920xt is the first watch that has the Connect IQ function. Think of it as a function that literally change your 920xt into a full wearable - and that includes changing the "watchface". While the setup using PC is a no brainer, those using Mac (you know, they like to be different), has issue making it work for their 920xt. Fear not, as our team mate Jason, managed to "cheat the Mac" and it it running. Disclaimer though, it is with some glitches especially when you try to install more apps (or widgets). In his very few words...here you go
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Garmin Connect IQ using Mac : Jason
Want these?
How to temporary enable Apps Watch Faces & Data Fields on the OSX
1. Plug in your Garmin watch to your Mac and launch Garmin Express (Watch will automatically Sync)
2. If you are trying to apply the App via Garmin Express, an error message will prompt. This menu will not work at the moment.

3. Open up your web browser and launch https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/
4. Select your watch type: Fenix 3 Apps, Vivoactive Apps, Forerunner 920XT Apps, Epix Apps

5. Go through the option of downloading either the Popular Data Fields or Popular Watch Faces
6. Once selected the App click Send to Device
7. Sign In to your Garmin account with your username and password. If you do not have one, there is an option to Create One

8. Once signed in, select your watch model and select Confirm Device


9. Your Garmin Express will now show Sync complete and you will have the New Watch Face / Data Fields that you have selected.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

BSG Property 15km Race 2015 Race Report : Jun Shen

Team Athlete Jun Shen and Annie Yee ran a good race over the weekend at the BSG 15KM run. Annie won the women category (Congrats!) and Jun Shen posted a very good timing. Here is Jun Shen's report. Thank you for sharing sir! (by the way, you very the drama lah)
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BSG Property 15km Race 2015 Race Report

BSG Property 15km Race 2015 is another race which I signed up when I was at 
Pulau Mabul. I could hardly get connections at sea, so at that time I registered 
3 back to back races hoping that when I come back from operations I can race 
during the weekends. On Friday I was on duty as Officer of The Day, it is part of
my routine to conduct silent round when everyone is sleeping so the next day I 
was a little groggy while driving to Butterworth due to deprive of sleep. 
I met Michael, Jasmine and Ethan at Seaview Tower; one of my favourite pit stop 
in Penang. I am pretty close with them; it started way back in 2012 when I 
coached Ethan swimming during my internship in Prai Power Plant. 
I brought along Ethan’s long due birthday present that I bought from internet. 
Never had the chance to celebrate with him because of my packed schedule.

Bought him a 4WD TAMIYA, one of the toy that I adored very much when I was 
boy. However, the price tag made it elusive for me to own one. I only played 
those China made ones. I’m glad that he likes it.

We had dinner at Xiao Fei Yang Steamboat, Penang Island. The food was really 
good, been craving for steamboat in ages. I always have sleeping problem caused 
by pre race anxiety, somehow on Saturday night I dozed off rather fast after 
stuffing my stomach with all sorts of sliced meat. I got up at 3am in the morning, 
pushed off to race site around 4am.

I found a parking lot right next to race site, just couldn’t believe how close it was 
to the starting line. When I was doing a little warm up, my team mate Annie Yee 
approached me and gave me a biggie Hi 5. She just scored her personal best in 
Hong Kong marathon last week, so this week is not likely she is going to score 
another PB. She doesn’t need PB to thrash the field anyway=). We chit chatted 
during the warm up before I introduced her to Hammer Anti Fatigue Capsules. 
I finished my Hammer Perpetuem drink as my pre race food and planned to 
carry one Hammer Gel Apple Cinnamon flavour with me (another gel given 
to Annie).


Flag off was super congested. Penang has plenty of super fast runners, my plan 
was to place myself in the chase pack with 4.00mins/km pace, then slowly drop 
the pace to around 4.30mins/km. Over the years I have learned to run in my 
own stable pace instead of chasing the front pack like a man possessed. 
Garmin Forerunner 920xt will be making its first appearance in racing today. I’ve tested it during training to get familiarized with the functions. I got dropped by a 
lot of runners in the early few kilometres despite my watch says 4.00mins/km. Recently I feel some discomfort in my knees, Patellar Tendonitis maybe? 
Hopefully not. I opt to use Kinesio Tape given by Major Kumar when I did my 
physio with him in Lumut Armed Forces Hospital.

The course was pancake flat, we ran around Gurney Drive then turn back to 
Tanjung Tokong. At kilometre 9, I sucked in my Hammer Gel as I felt I was at 
my 80% effort already. The Kinesio Tape supported my knees till this point 
before it starts peeling off. My pace was gradually dropping to 4.30mins/km 
already. 
I really gritted my teeth and close my eyes every now and then to close up the 
gap with the bunch of runners in front of me. I would say today’s field is really 
strong. I suffered 3km to bridge that 50m gap! That means they are increasing 
their pace at every distance marker! Distance marking along the course is 
very accurate and easily sighted; marshals were way better than the FTKLAA 
Sports Toto Run. The final 3km was a hell for me, my abs was cramping and
my back was getting spasms. My breathing rhythm went one inhale and 
one exhale synchronized with my steps to support my effort, I guess my 
body is not ready for this intensity but the mind just says “shut up legs” 
and keep digging deep! 

Like Kevin Siah said to me during Ironman, “Dig Deep! Dig Deep!”. I don’t know 
how deep could I dig somemore or I’m digging my own grave=p I showered 
myself at all water stations to keep my overheating engine cool, it’s not gonna 
make my race kit heavier as my 2ndskin team tee is made of Vapor Skin 
material, ultralight and breathable; as I always tell my team, “feels naked but 
it got you covered”. After making the final turn, Annie from the opposite site 
yelled my name but I was dead tired to respond. She was first placing in her 
category yet still has time to greet me; she made it look so easy. 
The finishing line was in festive atmosphere with drum beats welcoming the 
finishers to cross the arch.
GPS is always ready, only me not all the time ready. Haha. 

By the time I crossed and stopped my watch, I was about to pass out. I don’t remember when was the last time I pushed myself this hard. With my work commitment yet I’m able to do average pace 4.19mins/km, I’m contented. I 
pressed the start button a bit late so that’s why the distance is short about 
300m.
Team 2ndskin in action. 

Annie told me the Anti Fatigue worked for her, so I gave him my whole bottle. 
Gonna order another bottle for myself soon. She chose to run in the stiffer 
Skechers GoSpeed while I ran with my Skechers GoSpeed2. Annie sounds very 
mature and wiser now, life has toughen her up perhaps. 
Meet Calvin Boon, man behind the Alpha Project. He ran a 55mins 15km, 
did extra distance somemore due to wrong turning at the final U-turn yet doesn't change his champion position. Super fast runner. 
It feels like Chinese New Year already. 

I rushed back to Lumut immediately after race to rest my body before I close up 
duty as Officer of The Day again on Monday. I had a good massage by Annie 
(not Annie Yee), the thai lady that fixes my aching muscles. She is about my 
mum’s age, has abundance of strength pressing those trigger points. As I’m
typing this race report, I feel so much fresher and great. Next race, next 
week's KL City Day Run, see you there. Hopefully I won't get lost again at 
the same course=)

Monday, 26 January 2015

FTKLAA Sport Toto 10km Race Report : Jun Shen

Hello All! Sorry for the long silence, we had a technical glitch that involves one of us not having the full use of internet, one with no PC or laptop, one on duty, one getting married, one busy with work, one busy training and one settling down in his new home. Nevertheless, we are here, always. it was a busy weekend for the team and the first report that came out was from Chan Jun Shen, where he and residednt ultra runner Deo ran the FTKLAA 10km Cross Country race. We have strong reason to believe that Chan has not gotten used to being a "land-lubber" after him protecting the country in the East Coast of Sabah (and not seen the land for a extended period of time), he clocked more than what he paid for in the race. Welcome back Chan, and welcome back dear readers, this is Chan's report.
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I was in the vicinity of Pulau Mabul when I signed up for this race, there’re not many distance option for me to pick in this small scale race organized by FTKLAA and Sports Toto. As usual, checked with my 2ndskin team mates, initially I really thought I have to forgo my favourite Skechers GoSpeed 2 because I thought it’s gonna be a dirty CROSS COUNTRY.  Since Roy told me it’ll be mostly on road, I remained GoSpeed2 as my weapon of choice! It has been two months since I left Lumut for operations, I was floating here and there all over Borneo patrolling islands and shoals that most people wouldn’t know its existence in Malaysia. On completion of washing my ship on Friday, I rushed back to KL to meet my family and get myself ready for this race. My mum helped me to collect my race kit when I was still in Beting Patinggi Ali, it has a dry fit tee in the bag with all the race details.  
10km was never my distance, I seldom incorporate speedwork due to my fear for getting injuries. When I come back from sea after more than a fortnight’s sailing, I can’t be pushing the pace too hard but I still can do some LSD to be on the safer side. Ultimately, the main reason I love long distance running is because I’m a day dreamer, an excellent one. My mind can turn into sleep mode within seconds. I rather run slowly while enjoying the scenery than doing lung bursting speed work. 10km pulls me out of my comfort zone, make me run beyond my economical speed, I don't like it. If you see a fighter jets burning her after burner for speed, she trades off efficiency for speed. This is a similar situation with a 10km run. 10km has no room for mistake, too short for dreaming, it’s all about pushing HARD all the way.

When I arrived at the race site, the FTKLAA technical officials were having briefing for this morning’s race. I paid 30 cents to enter the DBKL public toilet to settle my pee poo business, queued for quite some time. It was my turn after a RELA staff came out, “submarines” floating in the toilet bowl. Early morning get bad luck =p I walked out of the toilet, get myself back to the racing atmosphere. The sound system was good around the tents area, we did some aerobic exercise to pump up our heart rate. However, as we proceed towards the starting line for briefing, I only saw the Race Official’s mouth moving and his super slow voice came from a speaker few hundred meters away. Once the gun goes off, I tried to place myself comfortably in the front pack. Within 2-3km, there’s a clear gap between the front pack, me and the chase pack. My Garmin Forerunner 620 kept beeping, so I took a quick glance, 3.20mins/km!!! I have a virtual partner in the watch, so I’m not running alone =)

Around 3rd kilometre I settled myself with 4.30mins/km pace. The track is amazing, kinda shady and slightly undulated here and there. The course is a little congested once the 6km runners were released, we also shared the course with the BAR Runners at the lake area so 3m course width is a little too narrow. I counted the front pack earlier, they’re 20 over super fast “Sport Toto Race Horse” galloping towards the finishing line, so it is unlikely that I stand a chance to go on podium. Collected ONE fluorescent ribbon, continued running. Then I came to the junction where I was supposed to turn left, I showed the marshal my ribbon, he asked me to keep right and continue to round the lake. I wasn’t sure so I just obeyed, then I came again with TWO ribbons in my hands and SHOWED him, he said keep right again. I obeyed again. Finally when I came with THREE ribbons, I slowed down and showed him all my ribbons, I asked him how many ribbons am I supposed to collect? He told me "ONE ribbon only, how am I suppose to know how you got THREE?". The ribbon, coincidentally same colour as my fluorescent 2ndskin team tee, perhaps he couldn't see it clearly. A little pissed at that time, but I forgive him since his spectacles so thick. Knowing that I’m certainly off the course, I did not stop running. This will be a very good weekend LSD for me! =) Not gonna podium anyway.



When my parents came with me this morning, I told them that if I don’t come back within 1 hour, there’s something wrong with me. Finally, I came to the finishing line marking total distance of 15.3km with the average pace of 4.58mins/km. I guess my parents knew that I went off course. My father was at the finishing arch taking my photo with his Blackberry.
Snapped by my father.
Catch up with Ong Wei Xiang my old time rival. Now he is too fast for me to catch already. =)
See the 3 ribbons in my hands and neck.


Deo handed me my long awaited Garmin Forerunner 920xt, I take it as my reward for running extra distance this morning. I know this course better now, my next race KL City Day Run will be at the same place, hopefully I can do better and run faster for my next race. =)