Saturday, 23 March 2013

TriStupe : Watch Your Hydration

Sorry for the long silence. It has been pretty hectic for the team with the coming weekend (Easter weekend) preparation for Tristupe's Sabah Adventure Challenge, and Eugene and Roy's preparation for Singapore Twilight Challenge. With the races coming up and hydration being an essential part of it, Tristupe recently wrote a blog entry documenting the condition he was in when he "overhydrate".
Well, yes, there is SUCH thing as drinking (water) too much apparently. Infact, doing (overhydration) could be fatal!
Electrolyte Imbalance Causing Woozy Feeling
I just got back from Manila a day ago. I was there for two nights. Flew in Monday evening and left Wednesday afternoon. Pretty standard travelling arrangement for business meeting and limited due to numbers of flights and carrier moving in and out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. If you think this post is about me running in Manila - you got it half correct. Indeed the best way to see a country (foreign) is to run the street like how i did in Ottawa. However, I was advised against running in Manila. So, i did the next best thing - visiting the hotel treadmill and clocking a fast 5km run.
Read More Here

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Skechers: GoRun2 vs GoRun Review

Skechers is the official performance shoe collaborator for Team 2ndSkin. Eugene has experience using the Skechers GoRun series and he has cycled through GoRun, GoRun(m) and now the GoRun2. This is his review.
Skechers: GoRun2 vs GoRun Review
I have been running in a pair of Skechers GoRun since April of 2012, way before Skechers performance Malaysia came into the picture with Team 2ndskin. I must say that I am a running shoe fanatic, and that at any one time, I have more than 5 pairs of “active” running shoes at my disposal. Throughout 6 years of running, I have tried most of not all of the major brands of running shoes; from Nike to Adidas to Newton and K-Swiss, a few pairs of Brooks and New Balance and even Inov8 flown in from the US. Honestly speaking, Skechers was never on my radar of running shoes to try, as I had always had this image of them associated with lifestyle shoes, bright and colourful lifestyle shoes. All that changed when I read on the internet that Meb Keflezighi was on Skechers’ sponsorship cards. So I did some googling. And I did some more googling. Turned out that every piece of article I read about the Skechers GoRun had nothing but positive reviews, so I had to sample it for myself. Stepping into Skechers’ outlet at 1-Utama (for the very first time in my life J ), I picked up a yellow pair of GoRun, fondled it, twisted it, twisted it again, bent it in all sorts of contortions, slipped on a pair of US10 and I have been sold ever since.
Fast forward 12 months, and I have just picked up my 4th pair of Skechers last week; the GoRun2. For the record, my 3rd pair (the awesome offroad GoTrail which I logged 60kms at MR25 and 40kms at Gunung Nuang) and this pair of GoRun2 are sponsored by Skechers Malaysia, in collaboration with Team 2ndskin for 2013. You may have read numerous reviews of the GoRun2 on the internet, but here, let me give you a personal opinion on the comparison of the GoRun2 (GR2) with the GoRun (GR). Note that I have run in 2 pairs of GoRun(s) totaling >1,200km and have practically worn them to the core. Another important thing of note is that I am no expert shoe reviewer, so I will leave the technical mumbo-jumbo to those who are well-heeled in this matter, so to speak. My review below is more of a personal experience and how I feel running in these shoes.
The Similarities
Can’t wait to hit the road with these
First up, the GR2 is just as flexible as the GR in that its independent foot pods and GoImpulse sensors allow for the shoe to be flexed, bent and contorted in ways that you never thought possible with traditional running shoes. Retaining the 4mm heel drop similar to the GR allows traditional running shoe wearers to transition to a more minimalist experience without the immediate “culture shock”. Personally, I prefer 4mm drop minimalist shoes compared to the 0mm drop ones as although I am a mid-foot / forefoot striker, I feel more comfortable with a little bit more cushioning than having too much road feel from the zero drop shoes. The GR2 tagline reads: Designed for speed. That automatically tells you that this shoe is lightweight, very lightweight. My bare open Teva sandals pales in comparison in the weight department compared to the featherweight GR2. There have been many comments and reviews that the GR midfoot “bump” is too obvious and there is difficulty walking in them. Personally I never had this complaint, and I have walked many miles in the GR without having that conscious feeling of having a “bump” at the midfoot area. The GR2 seems to have addressed this “issue” as the midfoot is less conspicuous now compared to the GR, but it still maintains the rocker-like structure.
I personally love shoes with the tongue stitched to the upper. Fast transition.
The tongue is stitched to the upper like the GR and I really love shoes that have this feature as it makes slipping them on a breeze.
The New and the Improved
The above is where I feel the similarities end. Don’t get me wrong, the GR2 doesn’t feel like a totally new shoe compared to the GR, but I feel there are quite a number of improvements to justify it being not just an updated version.
 New GR2 has GoImpulse Sensors spread out
The GoImpulse Sensors are now more spread out away from the midfoot, to allow for more distribution of pressure and contact. This I feel will help those who tend to land further upfront towards the forefoot, instead of directly on the midfoot. The cutaway of the heel structure will still ensure that the wearer doesn’t heel strike and will tend to land on mid/forefoot.
 Get stuck no more
Another gripe from the GR was that the deep outsole pods tend to attract small pebbles and muck to get stuck in between the pods. GR2 has addressed that by making the pods shallower and the construction should prevent (or at least reduce the likelihood of) any foreign objects from sticking to your outsole for a free ride down the road.
Flat-lock stitching in contrast colour.
The GR2 is flat-lock stitched (just like our Team 2ndSkin shirts … LOL) to reduce chafing and abrasions. This is important if you like to run sockless as it reduces the rough surface contact between shoe and skin.
With or without. Your choice.
One of the major improvements to the GR2 over the GR is that the insole is now removable for a more customized fit. This is extremely important I can tell you as the first time I slipped into the GR2, my feet felt a bit constricted. I have wide feet I must say and the same sized GR2 felt a tad tighter than the GR that I have been running in. Upon removing the insole, I felt comfortable once again and my feet could splay out and stretch with enough room within. One thing of note is though, the toebox / forefoot of the GR2 does feel a tad narrower compared to the original GR.
4-way stretch upper mesh above the toes
Allowing for more forefoot play, and giving the toes more room to splay out upon contact with the ground are the hallmark characteristics of good minimalist running shoes. The GR2 has incorporated this characteristic into the upper mesh above the toes at the forefoot area by using what they call a 4-way stretch mesh. By comparing this to the GR, I can say that it is indeed more stretchy, but the drawback is that it feels more like a lycra mesh and is not as well ventilated as the GR. I have not worn the GR2 for a midday run or under hot weather as yet, but I feel that they could be a tad warmer to the feet as compared to the GR’s.
 Reflective highlights built into the front and rear of the shoe.
Finally, for early morning runners like me, who are sometimes out the door at obscene hours; the GR2 comes with some reflective accents at the front and rear of the shoes. Nothing too fancy, but serve their purpose nonetheless. However, I would advise early morning runners to not just depend on the reflective highlights on your shoes, but to also incorporate some additional reflective materials to your wear when you go out in the wee hours. I generally wear bright coloured clothing and always throw on a reflective ankle strip in the form of my Road ID.
GR looks a bit curvier with a more prominent midfoot bump
I have mentioned at the start of this blog post that I am a running shoe freak. What that also essentially means is that I like to try new shoes. And throughout history, I have always bought a different brand or model of shoes when my current pair wears out. Inherently, I like to try new things. On top of that, I have never felt so at home in any pair of shoes that I have run in, to the extent that I bought the same pair again.
Until the Skechers GoRun came along, that is. After the first yellow pair I had hit 800kms, I spent my hard earned money on ANOTHER pair of green GR’s. And I paid the full price for it. No discounts.  No sponsorship. That itself tells you how highly I rate the GR.
Next is to see if the GR2 lives up to my expectations. At the moment of writing, I have just logged an 8km and another 10km in them. So far so good. Skechers is here to stay.

Monday, 11 March 2013

TriStupe : Xterra Offroad Triathlon Sharing

Our team mate, Tri Stupe has signed up for Xterra Malaysia 2013 and will be racing among the world best Xterra Triathletes. He was involved in the previous edition in 2010 as the organiser and would not give up the chance to race it as a competitor this time around. True to his sharing spirit and in line with Team 2ndSkin motto of Passion, Motivation and Inspiration, this is his sharing to help you become Passionate in triathlon, Motivate to train and Inspire you with his story and sharing. Stupe has written two instalment for Xterra/Offroad Triathlon. You can read about preparing for your first one Here : Racing Your First Offroad Triathlon and he followed up awesomely with More Tips For Offroad Xterra Triathlon.

Here are excerpts from the writing, and as usual, don't be shy to ask us anything.
Racing Your First Offroad Triathlon
This is a very specific post for the upcoming offroad triathlon aka Xterra Malaysia. I am sharing some tips based on my ONE time helping to organise Xterra Malaysia in 2009 and my years of amateur novice triathlete. One reason why I love triathlon is because the mixture in training and races. It is harder to get bored (for those of you with short attention span). However, triathlon too, can be a bore if all you do is Swim Bike and Run on the road. So, how do you get out from the rut?

More Tips For Offroad Xterra Triathlon
This is a follow up from my write up previously on Racing Your First Offroad Triathlon. I promised some more tips that can be used in the race - which probably apply to many other races (multisports) as well. This is based on my own limited experience racing and things I have improved over the years. Do ask me if you have more questions or if my explanation below is less than clear.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

TriStupe : Vaporlite Reviewed

Tristupe has this "Faster Than A Jamaican" T-shirt before we engaged him as one of the team member. He used to wear L size (as he order online), then it became M. The last we passed the sponsored T-shirts to him, he is now on S. However, this is NOT about how he has shrunked over the months, rather his candid outlook/review of the Vaporlite material. We were told that he ran with his wife using the Skechers GoTrail (which he is currently reviewing) to run on the road. Had a camera, had an opportunity and did not have an extra change of dry clothes - which made him squeeze the sweat out from this t-shirt. Yes he is topless and he claimed that he tried to stay out of the frame. Yeah, right. 
2ndSkin : Faster Than A Jamaican

I bought this T-shirt before i was made one of the Team 2ndSkin athlete. Back then, i fit M-size. So, the photos you see below has the t-shirt draping over me like me wearing a curtain. Read More

Monday, 4 March 2013

Roy : Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013 Race Report

Our Teammate Roy Yeow recently took a gamble and flew to Hong Kong. You see, Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon or SCHKM is a popular race. He wants to see if he is lucky enough to  get a slot (last minute registration from those that did not show up/collect race bib). It turned out that he managed to get a slot for the 42km race. He had a mishap halfway through the run, but his never give up spirit brought him home in a very decent time. This, is his race report. 

Roy had his run tracked by Garmin Fenix and fuelled by Hammer Nutrition. Of course he was wearing the team t-shirt. Thank you sponsors!

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013

It was a last minute decision to participate in this race - 10 days before the race to be exact. The main reason to join this race is to evaluate my fitness currently. This will hopefully allow me time to
tweak my training for my main race coming up soon.

With the last minute decision, I have to arrive in HK on Friday early morning to rush to the Race Pack Collections site to register as late entry participants for overseas runner only, you just need to show your passport and ensure you have not stay in HK for the last 14 days or so.

The rest of the Friday and Saturday was free and easy, mainly to visit some sport shops, and also to go around to find HK food.

Fast forward to race day, since I was staying in Causeway Bay, walking distance from the finishing line, at 5.30AM, took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui. The train as expected is full of runners, each of them in their own deep thoughts - probably thinking about their race strategy.

Arriving at TST, immediately search for the baggage deposit. SCHKM baggage deposit process is one of the best I have seen. A special bag with a readily tag of the lorry number and your unique id. The lorry will immediate drive the baggage to the finishing point once the race starts.

Wearing 2ndskin team tee with 
Garmin Fenix on my wrist, 3 Hammer Gels and tablets of Endurolytes, the plan is to run at a slower comfortable pace in the first 2-3KM as the start is pretty congested. The first 4KM pace was: 6:27, 6:19, 6:22, 6:02.

Once we hit the highway and space open up, I up the pace to around 5:45. Temperature on the Fenix average around 18-19C. First 10KM was done pretty slow at about 1:08 hrs. The plan at that
time was trying to complete the race within 4:30 hrs. At around 12KM, I took my first hammer gel Montana Huckleberry and that gave me the boost I needed on the famous HK bridges. In between water stations, I popped in the Endurolytes according to my plan of 2 tablets per hour.

The increased pace ensure I had a faster second 10KM, completed 21KM within 2:10 hrs.

Since the route will took the runners through 3 different tunnels, obviously the GPS watch will lose the connection. This is where a footpod would come in handy.

Nevertheless, Garmin Fenix worked as perfect as possible and it immediately locked onto the GPS signal back once I am out from the tunnels.

Having taken my 2nd gel, I continued to increase my pace and was running around 5:30 from 20KM onwards before disaster hit. It was just before the merging of the 21KM u- turn with the 42KM runners. Worried
about the traffic forming in front, I lost focus and kicked the road reflector. I flew at least 2 meters away, landing on my knee and shoulder. However I was immediately up and running again with the help of a fellow runner. As I continue on, I started scanning to see if there is any injury. I saw my right knee was bloody while my shoulder and face just beside my right eye feel a burning sensation. My left hand palm has small bruise with blood on it. Although I was still recovering from the shock of the fall, I decided to continue on while on the lookout for medic and to feel my leg. After additional 4KM of running at a slower pace of over 6:00 minutes/km, I saw a medic tent and ran straight in to get help.

Had a good 15 minutes rest while the medical officers help to attend to the wounds. One by one, they clean up the wounds and wrapped up my knee. With about 10KM to go, timing was the least of my concern now, just want to complete it so I can get myself clean up and attend to the wounds. Since it was hard to run with the bandage on my knee, it was all run and walk from here on, savoring the experience of running in cool weather through the streets of HK.

I have the courtesy of the companion from Malcolm in the last few km before he pulled away at the street of Causeway Bay. Well done to him for doing his personal best!

Completed the race in 4:31 and immediately get a good rest and clean up myself. Luckily the injury was not all that bad and I was soon on the way to the airport. The most important lesson to remember - lookout for those dreaded reflectors, focus on your own movement and stop day dreaming while running.