Monday 5 December 2016

Langkawi Ironman 2016 Race Report - Team Athlete Chan Jun Shen

First and foremost, the race report delay was due to my heavy workload. Work is my priority and responsibility as an Air Engineering Officer is not easy peasy. I wrote this bit by bit during midnight to compile my 6th Ironman journey, finally I am done with it. So here is my race report :

2016 has been wonderful to me, so many goals achieved and plenty of success in my career. I feel really blessed to have supportive people around, life is good. As I had just kick started my career in Royal Malaysian Navy Air Wing, all my effort and attention goes to my career to make sure I pass all the boards. My working hours start from 0730 to around 1830, sometimes need to do weekend duty and so on. Very busy but satisfying in the sense that I learn lots of new things everyday. Career is priority but I just cannot live without doing sports. Just like a shark swims to breathe and stay alive, I breathe Triathlon. There was a period during my training that I suffered serious depression because I did not have time to do sports. I need to keep doing triathlon. This year's Ironman will be my 6th Ironman title, I never had any doubt with my ability to finish. Last year with only 2 weeks of training I could finish it, nothing gonna stand in my way.
Passed my Air Engineer's Certificate of Competency Board.
I do my own bike service at night. I learned bike servicing skills, gonna be useful when shit happens and save some money. No point spending so much money on upgrades. Upgrade the legs first!
Financially, it is a burden for me to squeeze RM2800 for the registration. My tasking was never certain so I did the late bird registration to stay on the safer side. The registration was done a week before I passed my Certificate of Competency to become an Air Engineer. My juniors contacted me and invited me to stay with them, all of them are Ironman virgin from UPNM. I drove to Kuala Kedah Jetty on Wednesday, bought myself the earliest ferry to Langkawi. Why Kuala Kedah? Kuala Kedah is less favored by people because of the longer travelling time at sea, most of the athletes will go by Kuala Perlis to avoid seasick so I can have more space in the ferry. My bike was the only bike on the ferry, and I only wrapped the frame with Insuflex. I paid RM 23 for the ferry ticket and RM 18 for my bike. Car park was charged RM 15 per day, missing ticket pay RM 50.

The kids molested my dear bike =p 
Wednesday and Thursday spent by driving around buying souvenirs, chocolates and cigarettes for friends. Post race shopping will be very tough to do, do it early. The race expo was better than before, Ironman merchandise super expensive as usual. I bought a pair of 2XU compression socks, selling at RM87. Race kit collected, we went home and rest. Everyday I will spend around 4 hours of sharing sessions with the UPNM Ironman virgin. As I always tell them, my "secret recipes" are used on race day for competitive advantage. We eat at cheaper restaurant to cut cost, and we lived in a homestay facing Gunung Raya. This year is my very first time using the Special Need bags, I put in Hammer Perpetuem Powder in my Run Special Need bag. Got everything packed and I dozed off.

Photo courtesy IM OP Kam. The only thing I bought from the expo was the compression socks. 

I bought Uncle Yee's book at RM40, he is still a naughty old man. In 2008 I was barely 18 years old, I was the youngest Malaysian Ironman while he was the oldest. He said to me "What the hell are u doing here? You are so young, should stay home and masturbate". This time around, he told me to do more Philipines and Thailand Half Ironmans, because girls are pretty and beers are cheap. Hahaha. What an old man. He is a multiple World Ironman Championship Kona finisher, and all of my Ironman finish combined is not even half of all his Ironman finish. 
Race Morning
Woke up at 0300 and left the house at 0400, reached race start at 0430. I did not have sleeping problem this time, the pre race jitters seems manageable. We were stopped from entering the transition, because transition open 45 mins later. Pumped up my tyres to my "race tyre pressure", training tyre pressure is slightly lower for more resistance and comfort. Filled up my aero bottle with Hammer Endurolytes Fizz, back bottle is mainly plain water for me to rinse my mouth after the 3.8km swim. Just before I passed the technical official for inspection before entering swim start, I was stopped! "Please take off your compression calves guard". People wear long compression was allowed, but calves guard are not? I don't see the logic. I turned back and took off my calves guard, ran into transition to put it inside my Blue Bike Bag. "Sorry Sir, the transition area is closed". Pardon me for all the cursing early in the morning =p OP IM Ramzul offered to keep it for me but I needed it after my swim. So I rolled them up like tiny swiss roll and tuck it inside my compression wear underneath my swim skin. I am gonna swim with it. The swim start was like washing machine, everyone was so aggressive despite the self seeding rolling start! The first loop was nothing less like underwater rugby, so much of punching and kicking just like any triathlon races. But hey, this is 3.8km swim, why swim so fast!? Some people are fish, born to swim fast. By the time I turned back to the beach to complete my 2 loops swim, I was bitten by sea lice uncountable times. My upper lip, my armpit, my quads felt the sting. Not a big deal, just keep swimming. 
3.8km Swim Time : 1 Hour 26 Mins

Picture Courtesy Mr Tey. He was at the swim start much earlier than anybody else. I was wearing the calves guard before the technical official told me to remove it. 

Double loop swim.

Picture courtesy Mr Tey. My first time racing in swim skin, thanks Doc Aktar for the gift. 

180km Bike 
I had a lot of information about this bike course. I knew the wind, I knew the surface pressure and humidity, I knew almost everything. I intend to PB this Ironman so my homework was really detail. The weather report is closely related to my job anyway. My training ground commonly reads 1012 surface pressure, very similar to Langkawi. Weather was never a problem for me. I got stuck in the transition area because of the compression calves guard! 5 minutes wasted. Once I got out of the transition area with my bike, I rinsed those seawater off my mouth. How many people peed or pooped during the swim, I don't know. Haha. At this time, I wasn't aware of my swim time. I went out with a goal to hammer the pedal around 120watt. First 20km we were challenged with the climb at Datai, nothing too hard because Datai is expected to be long and rolling. It is all about the mind. After completing the 3 peaks and made the turn, I made good use of the gravity to cruise maximum achievable speed, tucked myself tight and aero to score 70km/h. On my way out of Datai, there will be slight resistance due to the incoming headwind which I calculated the night before race. Not gonna fight the wind, just ride steady. Along Jalan Teluk Yu, I saw a bunch of riders around 30m ahead, I kept the power steady although I was so tempted to immediately overtake them. Stay safe, play safe. After the roundabout at Ayer Hangat, I had overtaken around 20 riders.
I love my road bike.

Thanks to the the less aero position on my bike, I could climb over those little hills in aero position. I got slight tail wind at Gunung Raya Golf Club, I still maintained 120 watts no matter what. Then we head back to the town to climb the LISRAM highway, many people start to push their bikes. Yahoo I love my road bike! Road bikes climb better! Managed to overtake those RM 30k TT Bikes, what a confident boost =p It is all about the legs! I gently pressed the pedal, made about 180 watts. Many spectators cheering for us along the climb, suffering faces make the best pics ya! Pedal stroke after pedal stroke, I dragged myself up to the first peak and slowly rode closer to the right lane. Took one last look to make sure no one is behind me before I hammer the pedal going downhill. I went down so fast that I dare not look back to check the rider behind me whom I believed crashed during downhill. Putting 100% trust on my bike handling skills. Thanks to Irene Chong who gave me some tips on going downhill. Twist and turn here and there, reached the 82 kilometer marker at Jalan Ulu Melaka, my legs were very fresh. Nutrition plan had to be changed because this time around, every aid stations offer us Power Gels instead of Power Bar. Huzaifah and Asyraf overtook me, they looked great and steady. This year we were blessed with cooler weather, I did not feel any burn on my back. I learned to ride with my head down for more aerodynamic, I have been riding head down in the naval base all the time. The risk of banging pot holes is very high, so I only do it when the road is straight and smooth. Tuck my head between my arms allow me to stretch my neck a little. I carried two tubes and two CO2 canisters just in case I puncture my tyres. I even had tools on my bike, so basically I have no good excuse to quit if I ever face technical problems.
Picture courtesy Mr Tey.
Long climb ahead.

2nd climb at Datai was surprisingly easy, my body was still okay. Some friends tracking me online said that I ride slower than expected, actually that was my game plan. No more than 120 watts! 2 weeks before Ironman, I swapped my 53T big ring to 50T pussy ring. Rides call the 50T pussy because it shows that the rider cannot hammer a 53T, I never cared because I don't wanna carry a ring which I could not hammer. With 50T, I was riding with big ring most of the time without burning my legs too much. Heart rate below zone 4 most of the time, no digestion problem. I showered at every aid station to keep the heart rate low. My liquid consumption at every aid station was way lower than all my previous Ironman thanks to the cooler weather. I could survive with one aero bottle till the next aid station.
Lonely ride. Picture courtesy Navy PR Team from HQ COMNAV3.

Kilometer 160 till transition was really lonely, no rider ahead nor at the back. I took off my shoes to prepare for fly dismount when I saw MIEC in the vicinity. Crossed my left leg over the top tube, glide and hop off! The technical officials shouted "Excellent dismount! Right on the line" =p There you go, I completed my longest ride of this year, my maiden 180km. I did not suffer at all. Having a super busy schedule and always on call in the weekend make it tough for me to do long rides. I could only cycle round the base again and again to achieve 100km just in case anyone call me back to squadron, I could get back in time. Serving the helicopter unit of our Navy puts my life in alert mode all the time. Any emergencies, helicopters are the first choice of asset to be deployed. Screw those excuses, I am still gonna finish Ironman. I spent only 1 mins 31 secs in Transition area, no hanky panky and no messing around, I PB my transition and ranked no2 fastest. Haha! Put on the Skechers GoSpeed 3 and off me go. 
180km Bike : 6 Hours 28 Mins 44 Secs
42.2km Marathon 
I mixed Hammer Perpetuem Powder while running out of the transition. The more triathlon I do, more and more funny skills I learn. Some are really disgusting ones =p Having my heart rate monitor chest strap on, the heart rate data was directly sent to my Garmin Forerunner 920xt. First 10km was a breeze, I ran around 5.30-6.00mins/km pace. Sometimes I accidentally ran 5.00mins/km. The marathon plan was to run 30mins slower than my marathon personal best. Every 2km I will sip my Hammer Perpetuem, all went well for the first 10km. I have told many people that I never liked this marathon course, so many turns and give me many false hope when I thought that it is the turning to go for the last loop. Haha. In the midst of my enjoyment, my stomach called for immediate pit stop! Gosh I could not find the mobile toilet! Ran faster to reach aid station, too bad no toilet! Next aid station was 2km away. I am sorry, I ran off the course and I did what I had to do. I discharged all the Marathon Baker's bar, then I ran faster after that.
Picture courtesy Navy PR team from HQ COMNAV3.

Kilometer 15, I took my very first cup of Lucozade and I peed immediately! From there on wards, I felt the pace went down due to my weaken body. I slow jogged and peed while running, yea this is one of this disgusting skills I learned from triathlon. Time is precious so don't stop for toilet =p Not long later, I walked. I was overtaken and lost my lead. The enemy from within is the biggest enemy. I wasn't suffering as bad as I had experienced in all my previous Ironman, but why didn't I run then??? What was I thinking??? Coming back for the 2nd loop, I mixed another bottle of Hammer Perpetuem Powder and also Hammer HEED into another bottle. Both bottles were stored at the back of my compression top. I saw Abang Puzi the ultramarathon legend cheered for me, "Chan just keep moving okey! Keep moving!". He knew I could do better than this, I am less hungry for PB this year. Talk is cheap, said wanna PB but not willing to dig deep.

The walk that I will always remember. Picture Courtesy Mr Tey.
In my previous Ironman I could do with numb hands and scalp, body shiver so badly and even bonked could not stop me from slow jogging. Slowly walked with Fazzreen the UPNM junior, he told me he had nothing in his tank. We came across Ruth and Belut, both were moving. I have faith that they will pull their ass to the finishing line, but Ruth's face was really worrying. She never had any Half Ironman experience, and a day before the race she had menses! We went to pharmacy to get contraceptive pills hoping to regulate it, she asked me "Sir would u want to come along". I went in with her, suddenly clicked in my mind "Going into a pharmacy with a girl to buy contraceptive pills???? The pharmacist surely think that this is another unwanted pregnancy!" Hahaha what a sacrifice of my water face! =p Thunderstorm rain came pouring, some parts of the course was soaked with water ankle deep, feels like doing Off Road Ironman! I saw the lightning, heard the thunder and felt the smacking rain. Nothing new to me. This is the same feeling as last year when I ran with Ironman Henry Wong. Tadonamo set up a tent somewhere near the Go Kart circuit, the supporters shouted "Hey mai la makan". Hahaha! People are suffering out there and they just enjoy the show.
Picture Courtesy OP IM Kam. Once the mind gave way, the body follows. I will come back!
We walked and walked... saw many friends cheering for us, saw Mr Tey and Orange taking photos. He shouted "Don't walk! You are my Idol, youngest Malaysia Ironman don't walk!". I just shut my brain and walked. I find all the aid stations are well prepared, never ran out of supplies. As the night fell, the organizers queued so many cars along the race course to illuminate the running course. This amazing idea gets a huge thumbs up from me! The long stretch of cars looks life traffic jam. Turned into MIEC for one last time, I had lost count on how many times I peed in my shorts. Whatever I take in, it goes straight out in less than 2 minutes. No cramps, no pain, just mental block. I had given up half way during the marathon to score my PB once I calculated that I could not do below 12 Hours. The last kilometer, Fazzreen and I ran slowly to finish hand in hand. 
42.2km Marathon : 5 Hours 57 Mins 54 Secs

Total time : 14 Hours 00 Mins 14 Secs

Crossing the finish line together with my UPNM junior Fazzreen. 

3.8km Swim - 180km Bike - 42.2km Marathon

I rested at the medical tent, asked for IV drips and laid my body flat. I was very well attended by the medical team. It helps to speed up recovery. Then race director CG Lim came in to check. Abang Sherul Tadonamo was there too, he saw me threw up all the fluids in my stomach while laughing. Hahaha. When you have done enough Ironman to understand the challenge, you can laugh about the misery. I don't remember taking so much of fluid during the run.  After 30 Mins, I felt much better and I went out to enjoy the meal served. I had a lot of thoughts in my mind at that time. Definitely I did not dig deep enough, I did not overcome the mental block. Finishing an Ironman is almost a certainty given that no technical problem occur, I can only discover my real ability if I dig deep enough which I did not. Some participants showed the dark side of their character, pushing someone to their very limit will discover their true character. Some people are werewolves hiding under a bear bear costume. Hahaha. Mission unaccomplished, I would come back for avenge! This kinda timing is not good enough. Coming here just to finish a race is not the kind of goal I pursue.

My 6th Ironman Medal for my collection.

On the up side, I believe everything happened for a reason. I told Rebecca that if I ever score below 12 hours to break my PB, this might be my very last Ironman so that I can do shorter distance races. So now I cannot stop doing Ironman yet! I drove back to Lumut one day after Ironman because I need to report to work on Monday! The more Ironman I do, the better my body cope with the stress. I resumed my routine, not much soreness. Till today, I regret for not kicking another gear for faster pace.
The UPNM Ironman Team 2016. After so many years, I am the only one who is still doing Ironman. The rest chose to be Fatman. 
From Left : Syafiq technical team,IM Fazzreen, Myself, IM Ruth Ting, IM Syafiq Belut, Anas Technical Team, Staff Amri. Thank you so much and big congratulations to all of u. I have done my part to make more Ironmans for UPNM, I hope to see all of u continue racing. Special note to IM Ruth, you are now the Youngest Malaysian Ironman (Female) at 20 years of age. Sorry, I did it at 18 years old so my record stands =p

Thanks to my family and friends for tracking my progress. Thanks to TriClubs IM OP Triathlon & Tadonamo & UPNM. Thank you Sponsors 2ndskin, Garmin, Hammer Nutrition, LifelineID, Skechers. Thanks to Royal Malaysian Navy for paying me monthly for my hectic job, this is one interesting job. Thanks to Rebecca for those airtime sacrificed for my training, you are the sweetest. Thanks to the organizer for such an awesome event, it gets better every year and I hope Ironman Langkawi will not just stop here. Hey many people just started Ironman la! I wanna race many many more Ironman Malaysia. Thanks to all the volunteers, it is not easy to stand so long under the sun. You guys are just as hardcore as the Ironmans! Thank you to all Police, Technical Officials and Marshals, we raced safe because of you. Thank you to the people of Langkawi for sharing your land with us to race. Thank you to all Ironman supporters, hope we put up a great show for u! In Ironman, everyone goes through the same distance but finish with all sorts of interesting stories. Lastly, congratulations to all first timers and old timers. Life will never be the same once you joined the Ironman club. Most importantly...


Tuesday 16 August 2016

Standard Chartered KL Marathon Race Report - Team Athlete Chan Jun Shen

Team2ndskin Athlete Chan Jun Shen and Deo AH broke their personal best in Standard Chartered KL Marathon! Checkout Chan Jun Shen's race report and his tips to get faster on race day!

2016 is a big year for me to chew ever since I set up my goals to be achieved. The main goal is to pass my Air Engineer’s board followed by all the sporting achievement goals include breaking all my personal best by end of the year. My main goal took up a lot of my time, I come back to my room really late at times. Hardly get an 8 hours working routine because I need to learn as much as I can in the Air Wing. Not complaining, I enjoy learning new things. 7th of August became my big day to break my long overdue personal best for Marathon Distance. The last time I seriously ran a 42.195km was in 2010 when I finished 3 hours 38 minutes with lots of walking at the last 10km, poor pace management. I knew I have the potential to do much better than this but I had some other commitments, so I put this goal on a rain check. Standard Chartered KL Marathon is my best chance to break my PB. 
Based on my race records, I consistently clock average 4.19-4.25mins/km in all my Half Marathon distance. So I worked out my pace from there. I was a fat 58kg athlete 4 months before SCKLM, the goal was to shed 4kg before the race week, consistently carboload after training, stay injury free by stretching every day and gradually increase the training mileage. I bought a digital weighing scale, every day after training I will strip off naked for weighing before I key in my weight data in Garmin Connect. As I slowly increase my mileage, I notice my ankle couldn’t take the stress. I went back to Garmin Connect and check my Running Dynamics to confirm my running gait. True enough, I have very minor imbalance in Ground Contact Time. The left foot kick off faster than the right foot, taking up more stress compared to the right foot. I did some correction drills but not much improvement seen, the left foot is still kicking harder than the right. I came to the last resort, working on my cadence. If I can up my average cadence from 180 to 182, I can greatly reduce the ground impact and also improve my vertical oscillation. I set the metronome in Garmin Forerunner 920xt every time I do cadence drills. It helps to keep my tempo without overstriding. Roughly one week leading to race day, my resting heart rate went down to 49 beats per min. I was very well rested.
Utilizing Garmin Connect to correct my running gait.

Pre Race Day
I weighed 55kg before I drove back to KL from Lumut with my squad Lt Quek, he will be losing his marathon virginity in SCKLM. =p I got my race pack delivered to my house but he didn’t, so we still had to drop by the race expo to pick up. I didn’t check the race pack collection area so we both went to Dataran Underground instead of Kenanga Wholesale City Mall, rookie’s mistake! Then we walked to KWC Mall, brisk walk passed all the booth saying hi and wishing each other good luck for tomorrow then got back home by noon. Quek and I had super heavy Nasi Goreng Kambing, my way of getting a good sleep. I love to sleep after heavy meal. 7pm we were already on the bed. At 10pm, I was awaken 2 times by Azan, then I couldn’t get back to sleep anymore. I watched youtube, checked the race route, had a look at my race gears, then laid on my bed again. I just try to let the body lay flat and rest despite not able to sleep. The pre race jitters got really serious, I was listening to my own heart beat middle of the night. 
Race Day
Train ride to race start.   

Had my breakfasts, 4 breads and kaya, 2 bananas and a hard boiled egg made by my mum before she slept. The complementary train ride was a big thumbs up from me. This shows how much of attention to details given by the organizer to make everything easy for all runners. Baggage check in was a bit far from race start, but I believe it was a smart move to prevent congestion at the starting line. 30 minutes before gun goes off, I was inside Pen2 doing my warm up. I had a lot of thoughts lingering in my mind. GPS signal locked, metronome set, virtual partner good to go and all alerts are working in my Garmin Forerunner 920xt. I am very sure Skechers GoMeb Speed 3 is perfect for me, the only thing I modified was the traditional laces replaced with lock laces. Annie said she wanna run with me but I told her that I am willing to screw up this race holding at high pace, so if I fumble this time please proceed with her podium goal. I will try to hold 4.45mins/km as long as my body could take it. 10 seconds before the race kick off, I took a few deep breath and wet my body with the mineral water I carried too cool my body down. I wore my 2ndskin Vapor Lite running vest, so the evaporation mechanism helps to cool my body off.
First 3 kilometer I was doing like 4.15mins/km without realizing. I slowed down a few times just to stick to my 4.45mins/km plan. Deo and I were running side by side but we didn’t talk, both wanna PB so we save the nonsense after the race. =p Many runners formed their pack but I never bother to follow, I have my virtual partner in my watch already. I took a caffeinated energy gel at Jalan Jelatek Fire Station kilometer 10, one capsule of Hammer Endurolytes and Hammer Anti Fatigue. Up till kilometer 21 as I entered Duke Highway, my rhythm was awesome as I felt fresh, super fresh. Average pace was holding at 4.30mins/km. There were a few rolling hills around kilometer 22, all of a sudden I felt a little sluggish. My watch’s alerts never stopped beeping to warn me that I am slower than 5.05mins/km! Weh panjat bukit la for sure la slower! I picked up my coke given by OP Azrul X Game, he paced me a bit with his new bike. Didn’t get a chance to have a glimpse at his new race machine. Maintaining a caffeine free diet gave me the advantage of kicking the pace higher once I get my caffeine boost. Soon, I was back to 4.30mins/km pace. My parents were on the highway cheering for me in the wee hour because Duke Highway is just next to my neighborhood.
I had to consume more gels from kilometer 24 onward. I started to starve a little, pace was dropping to 4.40mins/km also. My simplest rule, eat energy gels when hungry. Every 5km I took in one gel. The change was a dramatic one, from super fresh at kilometer 21 come to slight hunger at kilometer 24. This is not good. I am aware of the major climbs at kilometer 33 onward, so I needed to refuel at every single water stations. The drum beats along the highway kept my tempo going, and the volunteers were really helpful in assisting us. I snatched one cup of isotonic, and two cups of plain water. My Skechers GoMeb Speed 3 was not soaked with water despite some of the cups I missed, the ventilation was superb!
Kilometer 30, I was a struggling to keep my 4.45mins/km pace, my face tells everything. I still can finish this within my PB time because I am more than 20 minutes ahead of my PB time! Hydration and refueling went as per planned, till around kilometer 34 I snatched a Caffeinated Hammer Energy Gel given by my team mate Tri Stupe. I stuck the tempo set by my metronome, keep up with the 180 beat per minute. The slow pace alerts really discouraged me, I can’t dig anymore deeper in my reserves! Kilometer 35 onwards, I barely survive the hilly winding roads of Langgak Tungku at 5.00mins/km pace. Although I am lacked in LSD mileage, I have nothing to regret because every single day I am racing against time to finish up my work! The mental battle starts now. Legs feeling the tingling cramping sensation. 
Kilometer 35 took a long time to reach, I saw my 2ndskin team mate Jason. Took another coke, drank as much as I could to get the caffeine boost. Yuan Yu Fang local women champ overtook me at this time. Then I saw my UPNM batchmate Aiman, he escorted me with my 5.00mins/km pregnant tortoise pace. Still ahead of time, possibly hit a 3 hours 21 minutes finishing time! 
I was about to tell him that if I ever collapse please wake me up, I have 20 minutes nap to spare for my PB =p Hope he knows that I wear my LifelineID Companion. I cannot wait to settle this and go home to sleep! 
Smoked a Half marathoner=p
Kilometer 40, I up the pace to finish off whatever I left in my tank. Tried to take one more Hammer Anti Fatigue and end up dropping it. Huge disappointment! Till now, I had sucked in 11 gels in total! Surely my urine will be the same colour as the energy gel later. Haha. The legs start to cramp, my jaw and fingers cramped also. If any shorter distance runner bang me, definitely my weak body cannot take the hit already. I just need to survive 9 more minutes and I can collapse after that. 
 Sufferfest! =)
Just keep going!!! 500m before the finishing arch, my parents, Edan were cheering so excitedly. Aiman left me here to let me conclude my mission. Come on!!! I pumped my hands and kick as hard as I could to score the very final phase of my Marathon at pace 4.10mins/km. Once crossed the finishing arch at time 3 Hours 22 Minutes 40 Secs, beat my personal best by 16 minutes! That’s around 3 kilometers ahead! Hoorah!
 3 Hours 22 Minutes. New Personal Best by 16 minutes! =)
My body hurt so badly, once I received my medal and finisher tee, I laid down on the floor and nap. Aiman is a true friend sitting next to me ever ready to give me assistance, then my parents came. I had massage, didn’t have to queue because I finished the race early. Haha. One thing for sure, I was not in disbelief because I could have done this long time ago if I put an effort to break it. In the meantime, I use the apps made by organizer for us to checkout on our friends. Quek and Annie were still out there. Deo already finished a few minutes behind me, he scored his PB as well! I was so glad for the race went smoothly and uneventful. I will be taking one week of break from running, let my two toenail peel off first before I come back to training. I am done with my marathon dream this year, next will be Ironman!
Let me sleep first =p 
 With my parents=)
 Lt Aiman the Great

My Thank You wish =)
Thanks to my parents for waking up so early made hard boiled egg for my breakfast and stood by the road cheering for me. Thanks to my friend OP Azrul X Game for offering me the bottle of coke that revived me from a sluggish 5.00mins/km pace to 4.30mins/km at those critical kilometer marks. Thanks to my team2ndskin fellas, it is always a fruitful discussion prior to race day. Thanks @jasoncolour and Tri Stupe for the coke and gel at the Langgak Tungku ever ending hills, I was brought alive from dead. Thanks to @alphot for escorting me starting from kilometer 35 when I was really struggling and bonked so badly, it meant a lot to me. Thanks to all family and friends for tracking me and all the midnight good luck wishes. Thanks to @becca_jori for being so understanding throughout my busy days working and training, you're the best girlfriend ever! ;-) Thanks to @2ndskinasia @hammernutrition @skechersmalaysia @garminmalaysia @lifelineID and most importantly Royal Malaysian Navy for all sorts of support including providing gears and fuels for this race. Thanks to Tadonamo and Old Putera gang for keeping track. Congratulations to my buddy virgin marathoner Lt Quek for the strong finish.
3 hours 22 minutes, my new Personal Best for marathon distance 42.195km specially dedicated to everyone who supported this mission of mine.
‪#‎team2ndskin‬ ‪#‎teamNavy‬ ‪#‎teamOP‬ ‪#‎garminmalaysia‬ ‪#‎hammernutrition‬‪#‎2ndskin‬ ‪#‎skechers‬

  Finisher Certificate. Ranked 39 Overall. =)

4 Days after SCKLM, I sat for my Air Engineer’s board with my boss and I managed to pass it smoothly. Next target is to pass the Chief Engineer’s board for me to slash the biggest goal of this year! Nobody understood the pain I had in my body underneath my uniform, I never complain or give any excuse to skip my work for the sake of racing. All age groupers face the same challenge, just like me. Right now, my motivation is high and strong. Hopefully 2016 will be a fruitful year for me!

Friday 12 August 2016

Skechers GoTrail Ultra3 Review : TriStupe

It has been months since my last blog entry and i apologize for not being "up to date" with my postings. In fact, for the money I spent to host my URL (, I am not getting the Return of Investment (ROIs) - posting wise. Rest assured I am still very much into blogging and the reason for missing out were because of my work and travelling commitment. 

My last review of Skechers were back in March this year where the GRR5 which was a total revamp of the previous GRR series - or to put it bluntly, a total change to how Skechers approach their products. When I received the news that I will be receiving the GoTrail Ultra3 way ahead of time, I can't wait. It was also the week that Skechers Warehouse in Malaysia caught fire, and burnt all stocks (current and yet to be launched model) up in smoke. Somehow, the pair meant for me and Deo was saved as it was sent in advance to our regular pick up point - I call it lucky!

Skechers has went on a journey of Minimalist to fully cushioned shoes. The Resalyte material continue to lend the cushioning at the midsole while the material upgrades were evident from model to model. With the Skechers GoTrail Ultra3, the game changed in terms of cushioning and stability, and down to the sole durability. Compare this to the first generation GoTrail I reviewed 3-years ago.

Back To Basic?
I was initially less than excited about the new model, as it seems Skechers is taking a step back from producing lightweight minimalist shoes that I grew very fond off. Shoes that are suitable for all foot type and are very forgiving as it doesn't restrict of forces you to change your running gait. Having used the Skechers Ultra and UltraR (or Ultra Road), I grew to like the additional cushioning it may provide especially when I run everyday, sometimes twice a day. This happen during my travels - and i truly enjoyed the stability and additional cushioning. However, the two biggest complains I have with the Ultra and UltraR are the usually softer landing, that the shoes felt sluggish, and that the soles shows wearing out pattern fast. I also learnt that despite it shows wearing out fast, it's still very much good up till 500km with no compromise on the grip (Ultra) or the cushioning (for both). Obviously, with the new GoTrail Ultra3, my expectation were somewhat "calibrated" towards lesser expectation. And I was so wrong.
GoTrail Ultra3 : Red
The color of choice this time around was Red, as the shoe before this, the GRR5 was blue. The other available color in Malaysia is Blue and Grey. My first impression as I held it in my hand was how impressively light the shoe felt despite the bulk. It sort of accentuate the Hoka series in terms of cushioning. The rated US9 size comes in at 11oz, which is similar to the UltraR. This Ultra3 seemed to carry over some feature of UltraR and improvised on a few key items. The most obvious was the outsole where it was a complete overhaul and do not have the GoImpulse Pods. The sole was harder than usual and felt very convincing for the trails in terms of grip-abilities and having large  drain/channel that will help in dispersing any mud, dirt or soil that get stuck in the trail. These deep channel also helps in providing great flexibility and potentially good transition when running. Experience tells me that these feature are important. I have written about Trail Shoes feature this in 2012, when the Brooks Cascadia5 was my all time favourite. For the record, I still have the Cascadia5, though it's super underutilized after I found the joy of Skechers.  
upclose with the Ultra 3 soles
The Ultra3 is made/designed for Ultra runs, meaning the shoe is designed for longer distance running with the cushioning and comfort via  the Ultra-class midsole design and next generation Resalyte cushioning mid-sole. One thing I noticed too, is that the shoe looked like it has a wider footprint when look from the top. The sole sort of extend outside of the shoe shape, so to say.
Tall shoe. Heel is 36mm stack. Notice the up-curve and how it extent outside of the heel cup. Evidence of wider footprint.
How does this add to the usability of the shoe? With wider footprint, it should lend more stability. This were visible when looking from the rear towards the heel cup as well. Despite the height, the Ultra3 is  4mm drop shoe. Stack height is 32-36 forefoot-heel. 
32-36 Fore-Heel stack. 4mm drop. Neutral feel.
The toebox of the Ultra3 was the next thing I noticed. it's wide. Skechers however note it as "medium" in their website. It's by far the widest I've experienced and for an Ultra and trail shoe, that is important. I was told that the Hoka may have tighter front and restrictive mid-foot wrap (anyone to verify, Hoka owner?) where else the Ultra3 felt like a welcome change. 
Wide with Reinforced toe. Notice the silver detailing which is the reflective finish
As expected, the MStrike remains standard where the Skechers Performance encourages Midfoot strike instead of heel striking. Again, the ability to run forefoot/midfoot landing has very much to do with how you are able to correct your running posture. 
What Are Those Holes On The Side?
I was looking at the side of the sole and noticed two holes on both inner and outer side of the sole. Logic tells me that it will, or should allow water to get out - and in. The position of these holes were mid of the mid-sole, and one may ask is there or how will the water logged inside can get out? 
Holes at mid of midsole. Why?
A little checking revealed that under the insole were 4-channels that will drive water out from the side.
Covered in mesh, in case sands gets in from bottom
Even the innersole or liner has holes to help express water out. The engineers at Skechers has thought of it in totality.
8 chevrons to allow water out
The upper part of the shoe is a combination of both synthetic and mesh material which lend to both durability and reduced weight. At this bulk, material engineering plays a big influence to the overall weight. 3D printed overlay lends structure and support to the shoe, giving a good fit to the foot.
Close up of the mesh
3D overlay adds to the structure
A welcomed change is the replacement of the Quick-Fit loop at the heel cup with a proper loop, which really helps pulling the shoe back up without unlacing. The tongue is about the same padded as the UltraR, which is essential for comfort in a long run or race. These small changes (loop) and consistency (tongue) is what adds to the final 10% of what gives the satisfaction to the users in my opinion. The details, it matters.
With reflective detail at back logo and loop. Nice
Use Review
The Ultra3 surprises me with the responsiveness when compared to the previous bulkier GoRun Ultra series. Everything from the toe box space, to how it fits the midfoot section, and the heel cup provide the stability. How it gives the assurance to the run both on and offroad, the flexibility and usability in all condition makes me use this for all runs since receiving this about 6-weeks ago. I've clocked close to 250km since, mostly clocked in my run when I travelled.
Street of Prague
Cobblestones of Europe with the GoRun Ultra
In the trails of Petrin Hill, Czech
And cobblestones of Prague Castle
Unfortunately, I did not manage to test this in the street of Bangalore and Manila - but they felt as good on the treadmill performing speedwork and Interval training. Not forgetting the two Running Clinics the team conducted during the period of testing. The Ultra3 has been extensively tested by Deo for his Nuang training, that he too, are convinced that this may just be "the" ultra trail shoe he will be using for his upcoming A race.
Confidence on the trail as on the road at fast switchbacks
The Ultra3 gets two thumbs up from me, and this has influenced the decision for wifey to buy one as well to replace her aging GoRun Ultra and GoRunRide4.
Last pair of US7 Grey left
Customised with laces from GoRun2 and GoRun UltraR
Note: This pair of Skechers GoTrail Ultra 3 is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair is available, but limited sizing for now. Retailing at RM499 for men (Semenanjung). RM10-20 more for East Malaysia.