Monday, 27 May 2013


After our first athlete profile a few weeks ago, today we have our resident 100km a week mileage runner Roy to share his thoughts.
Roy is one of the most approachable characters in the local running circuit and he is always smiling and having fun with other runners in races. That does not mean he is not a serious runner and he can easily put in a sub-4 FM and sub-2 HM anytime he wants. What is special about this guy is that he is a 2-time stroke survivor, and the 2nd time he was afflicted was less than 12 months ago which left him bedridden. Surprised? He is bound for South Africa for the oldest ultra marathon, the Comrades Ultra in a couple of days time. That’s the attitude and mental strength Roy has that puts a lot of us to shame.

Come back race with Eugene at MR25 Singapore
Pic by Chua MH
1. First up Roy, lets kick this off with you telling us about yourself. What do you do to pay for all those race fees and put food on the table? Maybe also some family background?

Thank you 2ndskin for this opportunity. I am a trained IT security specialist but has since moved on to publication and event management field. This has given me a bit more time to do the things I enjoyed.
With my medical background, life has to be simple now and the focus is on training the body and mind to be healthy. Once you simplify your life, there is really no big deals in this world.

2. Were you active in sports during your younger days? In school or college?
I was pretty much into all kind of sports during schooling days, but only football and martial arts stands out. I had the opportunity to travel outside Malaysia to compete in martial art. However, all that were put aside once my career kicked off and it took me more than 10 years to realize I need to be active again.

3. What made you take up running as a sport?
Having to buy new pants and shirts every few months shocked me to the core. Apart from causing hole in my pocket, the physical change has become unbearable. With a group of friends that has also started casually on sports, it gave me the reason to start loving myself again. Oh yeah, and being in the high risk group with high blood pressure, needless to say any activity that brings my weight down would help.

4. Do you remember the first race you took part in? What was the distance and how did you feel upon crossing the finish line?
11KM Orange Run 2010 starting from the Curve. I think the reason I signed up was because it is free and I heard they served great nasi lemak after the race (Mind you I was still a heavyweight at that time). With the food as the incentive, I slowly crawled to the finishing line and the feeling was just amazing, there is food and drinks everywhere!
Since the first race, I told myself I would sign up at least a race a month to keep myself motivated.

Powered by 2ndskin, Garmin, Skechers and Hammer to 100KM during Twilight Ultra Challenge
Pic by Running Shots by Marcus
5. Guess that felt like a long time ago. How many Ultramarathons and Full Marathons have you accomplished since then?
Well it was really not that long ago, but till date it should be around 16 Full Marathons and 5 Ultra Marathons. It would have been more if I were not bedridden, but that's life, just has to pick up from where you left it.
Most of the races were just to get to know the runners community and see the world but I do get serious in certain races and set my own goal.

6. We know that you have run in various countries. Tell us the “take away experience” from each one.
Let's see,
- Malaysia is always humid and hot, the ugly side of Malaysian are the showcase of races when their convenience are affected. The good side is, runners are friendly and will always be seen helping each others.
- Singapore, much more competitive and sophisticated ($$$) than Malaysian runners but otherwise is the same as running in Malaysia.
- Thailand, a heaven to running, good support , smiles everywhere and they organize race the simple yet efficient way.
- Australia, as an Asian, you will think why we are so much slower than them.... the answer is in their training approach and of course the weather and environment there helps. They can virtually train anytime anywhere whereas we are always worried about our safety here. If you want to run fast, this is one place you can run.
- New Zealand - similar to Australia plus the cold weather always makes it much comfortable to run.

Ice cream during TNF Singapore City Race - balancing racing and having fun in race is an art
Pic by Tan Kim Lai
- Hong Kong - they have great trails and running in the cold here is great. HK has a lot of ultramarathons in a year for such a small country.
- Japan - running is their life. Running is Japan is just amazing. Full marathon equal to 42KM of human support along the roads, and they served you everything from sweet, cakes, miso soup to beer and sakae.
I have yet to run in Europe or North/South America so that would be the next goal hopefully.

7. You are about to embark on one of the most iconic journeys ever, The Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa. Can you tell us about your preparation for the 87km “uphill” journey and your expectations?
Comrades is one race with a long history (since 1921) and tradition. It is considered one of the most challenging road race in this world, so it is kind of hard to put your expectation into perspective. Before I was bedridden, I would think I will challenge the Bill Rowan medal, which is given to finisher below 9 hours. But as of now, hoping for a 11 hours finishing would be my goal.
My training started in December with a 12 hours ultra trail race in Singapore (MR25) and ever since then I tried to work on the strength on my leg to get it to my previous self. By the time I run the race, I would have clocked 1500km, hopefully 1500 of quality mileage.

8. So, you have done some pretty long runs and races. We also know you are signed up for the 160km in Singapore later this year. What else have you planned for or where do you go from here?

Last year, I was supposed to complete that 160KM but I have to DNS due to medical reason so it is only natural that I am going back to try it out again. In terms of race, I have yet to sign up for anything major, but definitely now with the guidance of team 2ndskin, I would want to see my timing in all major categories improving. And probably going back to do the 'down' run of Comrades next year (assuming I complete this one).

Going strong in Bidor Half Marathon
Pic by Cham LK
9. Have you ever entertained the thought of venturing into multi-sports? Most of your Team 2ndskin teammates are triathletes. Have they ever planted that thought into your head?
These guys look great with their bikes, so obviously the poison is strong, very strong. But then again I still hold on to the antidote - there is still so much I want to achieve as a runner so for now, guess I will keep my focus in running and just ride on my old ugly heavy bike when the team is away racing.
10. We’re nearing the end of this interview, but we would like to pick your thoughts on something a bit more personal. Having been afflicted with stroke not once, but twice, what goes on in your head everytime you go out for a run or race? It must be pretty scary to have that shadow of a doubt always lingering nearby. How do you deal with that?

The thought of a third attack is there, but once we accept life as it is, then it matters not whether there is going to be another attack or not. It is how we focus on living our life and what we can do that matters. I would believe what makes it possible for my speedy recovery is just a simple acceptance of whatever circumstances and have the self belief that you can handle any situation.

11. Before we finish this off, what advice would you offer to a runner who wants to take the next step from running half marathons to doing his/her first Full Marathon?
Set realistic goals and be committed to it. Training is the core of everything so train full heartedly and have micro goals to monitor your progress and continue to improve.

With that, we conclude our interview with Roy and we wish him all the best for Comrades.

Stay tuned for more Team 2ndskin updates.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

2ndSkin On BFM89.9

In case you missed the live telecast of the Radio interview with Freda Liu of BFM89.9, here is the link to the Podcast.
Listen to them speak about 2ndSkin and more!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Jun Shen : Sultan Ahmad Shah Tioman Island Eco Challenge 2013 Race Report

What a long name for a race. Lets just call it the SAS Tioman Island Eco Challenge. Wait, that is still long. Perhaps that is a real reason for this - this race is a 30km race. Long by anyone's standard when put into the jungle of an Island and what made this even more interesting is that the cut off time is a crazy 6-hours. How crazy was the race? Enough said that the DNF (Did-Not-Finish) rate were well above 50%! Jun Shen recently went for this race and he finished a strong 12th. A big achievement considering the condition of the race. He informed us he fired up using Hammer Nutrition, wore his Skechers GoTrail and tracked the whole race using the Garmin 910xt. This is his race report.
Sultan Ahmad Shah Tioman Island Eco Challenge 2013 Race Report
Months prior to this race, I've been warned by my team mates about the challenges I'll be facing for my maiden Sultan Ahmad Shah Eco Challenge at Tioman Island. I have a handful of medals for trail running, so I thought it is very normal when people exagerrate about the toughness of the course. Last year one of the Navy guy had to drink urine because he didn't carry enough fluid. I didn't take it very seriously until my 2ndSkin team mates talked about the race in our WhatsApp group. Yip Weng Tak has completed the race, he said this race is a suicidal one. On the website, race course remained "classified". I believe all other "first timers" were confused as well. How I wished I could find any race report to read! The only race report I found was Yip's race report. No clue about the race, how to train? So much of uncertainties, so my training focused on gaining elevation, nutrition and using the right race gear. This post will focus on the race instead of telling my awesome trip to Tioman because I believe my race report will help future racers to get themselves better prepared.
The Elevation Profile

Friday, 10 May 2013

Tri Stupe : The New Vaporlite Reviewed

If you all did not know, the new Vaporlite material is used in the Offroad Triathlon t-shirt. How did it perform compared to the existing Vaporlite? Tri Stupe has put it to the test with a 5km run. 
2ndSkin : Offroad Triathlon in New Vaporlite Material
In conjunction with Xterra Malaysia 2013, My sponsor 2ndSkin Asia came out with a t-shirt design to commemorate the event. It was launched just four days before the race. 2ndSkin has a write up on the new Vaporlite material.
Read about them here. New Vaporlite
I wore this T to the Xterra pre-race conference with the Pro and to pick my race kit up. I know a few were asking which race I entered to get the his "Race T". They were utterly surprised when i told them it is actually on sale at 2ndSkin.Asia website for RM69!
Read more about it here

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


We are kicking off a string of Team 2ndskin Athlete Profiling so as to allow you to get to know our Team Athletes better. The way we will be doing this is to make it like an interview so that the athletes can share their points of view as well as let you know what goes on in their minds.
First up on our athlete profile is Steven Yip. Well known in the local running/cycling/triathlon community as a strong racer and within our team as our ‘sifu’, he has a zen-like demeanour and is calm and composed even under race day duress. Steven is a multi-time Ironman Finisher, Powerman podium winner, Adventure Race champion and he was running ultra-marathons even before they got popular here in Malaysia. Here’s what he has to say.
Champ Relay : Lake Kenyir Triathlon 2013
1. First, lets start with you telling us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living and some background about yourself.
Hi, I am Steven Yip. Basically I've done triathlons, and  have competed in many running, & cycling races. I am a software developer by profession, so all these sports is like a getaway from work stuff.

2. Besides running/cycling/swimming, do you partake in other sports activities? Rock-climbing maybe? :)
Done only twice, not worth mentioning.

3. Between cycling and running, which discipline do you prefer and why?
There's no preference. It depends on the races in schedule, and if there's cycling to be done, I'll hit the roads. But actually these days I am keeping cycling to a minimum, as it takes more time (4-5 hours). Running alone could keep the fitness in.

3. Do you think a cyclist will make a good runner, and vice-versa?
I used to think that cycling will help on the cardio on running. In fact it does for many people. But now I believe runners have higher cardio threshold than cycling, if you do it right. Cyclist got to have the power in the legs, more than cardio, but having more cardio will help on the uphill sections.
If you look at the theory of specialization for sports, actually it's better to focus on one discipline, to get it right. It's very hard to be good at both discipline, all the time. Even harder to maintain that. So the challenge is being able to be good at both, and being able to switch between them, depending on upcoming races, in the least possible training hours put in. Each has its' own movement & culture, that you'll need to train many times to get it right. 
Having said that, it's very hard to find a good cyclist, who can run as fast as the pure runners, and vice versa. Hence, if you could do both, and win races, you're pretty good. Bottom line is, don't get too enamoured in one discipline, until you overtrain, and neglect the other.

4. Do you prefer road running or trail running? Reason?
No preferences actually, but I believe trail running will help to increase the number of styles for running on tarmac. The key thing is building more styles in your running form, so when you race, you have more cards to play on hand.

5. Which part of your training program do you dislike the most?
You can't dislike training. Treat it like a job.

Sabah Adventure Challenge - Champ Men Ultra
6. If you could take part in one particular race anywhere in this world, which would it be and why?
Running trail races in the mountains of Nepal. It's very high altitude, cold, and the scenery is awesome. 
8. Altitude would basically be the biggest factor in whether you can perform well in the mountains of Nepal. If you do go, how would you construct your training plan to cater for the altitude factor, knowing well that Malaysia does not have such conditions to train in?

Most of the races, will require some acclimatization walk for 2 or 3 days. I think that will be sufficient. The highest pass will be around 5500meters, which is doable for majority of trekkers. 
I am doing some trekking up mountains around here, to get the technique right, and the fitness to climb.

7. Which has been the hardest or toughest race you have done so far? Tell us about it.
Running 147km to negeri sembilan and back to kuala lumpur. I did it alone, with no support, and having to run the hills in total darkness.
For cycling, probably it's cycling gohtong, then fraser peak, then up to Cameron Brinchang in 16 hours. That's alot of climbing & distance in one day. It's the perfect combination of distance, and coupled with the hardest climbing routes in peninsular Malaysia, that you can do in a single day.

10. Wow! 147km solo run unassisted to NS and back! What made you embark on such a run? 
I've done 100k before that, so it's a matter of finding enough road to get to higher distance. It's more about curiosity and seeing if I could pulled it off. I set very high and hard goals, sometimes full of doubts.  But it's doing something else, that others might have thought impossible, and attaining it, that makes it the most rewarding feeling.

8. If you could give one piece of advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
Don't buy shoes which are 1 inch thick, with support. Shoes are the only interface with the earth, so it's crucial you can feel the road. I understand there's the barefoot movement, but I kind of disagree with it. If you've got to run, and needing to look where you step, you aren't going to go fast. Yes, there's runners who have won with barefoot, but most races are won with shoes. So get a shoe that is flexible, light, and with some cushioning, but not too thick.
Runners are a consistent bunch. They train, and run the same way, same mileage, same type of training. While it's good that you are running, try to think how to run. Figure out what it needs to be better, in order to run longer, & faster. Don't run for the sake of running. 

With that, we conclude our first Team Athlete Profile interview and we wish Steven all the best in his races for the rest of the year.

Stay tuned for more Team 2ndskin updates.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Tri Stupe : Xterra Malaysia Race Report

It was a good weekend for the team with two of us bagging podium finish at the Bidor Half Marathon. Congrats Annie Yee (Women - 2nd) and Jun Shen (Men - 7th). On the same day, Tri Stupe raced the Xterra Malaysia Offroad Triathlon. It was a 1.5km Swim, followed by a 30km Mountain biking and finished off with a 11km Trail run. Getting dirty is compulsory (like our new design says). He finished the race despite being slowed down with two punctures. It will take more than just mechanical problems to stop this man. This is his race report.

An A-race is a race where an athlete mark it as the race that they will push 100% and perform, a race where all training and preparation will be put to test with a good result expected from the end of it.
Xterra Malaysia is my A-race
Well until the race start, that is.
Race prep the day before. All Ready To Rock And Roll-er!
Click Here to continue reading the report