Friday, 28 June 2013

Team 2ndskin Athlete Profile – Annie Yee Pei Ni

Continuation of our string of Team Athlete profiling, Annie is no stranger to the local running scene. She’s the rose amongst the thorns in the team but she holds her place very well and is widely respected amongst all racers and runners. A frequent fixture on podiums as well as the inaugural Malaysia Women’s Marathon open category Champion, we speak to the girl who runs like the wind, is tough as nails and 100% all girl power!
Bidor 21km. Photo from
1. Hello Annie, you look like you just finished a training run. Tell us about it.
That was a 12km run in Centro, Klang. From my last run, this run was considered as my warm up run for my SCKLM. It was a meaningful run as I have been joining this race since 2009 and skipped last year. So, its like an annual run for me. 

2. When did you first start running, and why? What made you take up a sport that requires you to be out in the sun and rain and harsh weather conditions?
I started running since 2007. I was encouraged by my mother as running is a FOC activity. I used to join yoga classes yet the monthly fees and my tuition fees burdened my parents. So, she suggested me to run in the park. My initial target of running was to slim down and reduce tension. I was under stressful conditions in 2007 as it was the year I sat for my SPM.

3. Can you remember your first ever race? Was it a 10km? Tell us the experience and what you felt at the end of it.
I remembered my first ever race was SCKLM 2009. I participated in a full marathon. I remember I was reading the big advertisement in Sin Chew Jit Poh in my hostel. I was 18 that year. The qualification age for participation of a marathon is 18. I didn't scroll down to see other categories. The women open category was placed second. Without hesitation, I just registered online for that category. I didn't know then how far 42.195km really is.
So, fortunately or unfortunately, after couple months after registration, I found out the date of registration for my university falls on the same date as the race. I told myself, I have to complete it as soon as possible and rush back to Banting and go to Bangi to register before 3pm.
MWM Champion - Open Category
As the date came closer, my mom had actually asked me to give up and concentrate on packing to university. I faced a dilemma. However, I was lucky as my neighbor told me he was going too for a half marathon and he was willing to fetch me along. I remember he was very doubtful about me. He told me that even he had been joining for one/two years racing and still he didn't dare to try a marathon, how could I have done so. I chose to neglect him that time and told myself that I would survive!
So, on that day, 1:30 in the morning I woke up and we departed at 2:15. Upon reaching, I was stunned to see all fully geared runners. Colorful shoes, bottles hanging around the waist and compression wear (I didn't know that was compression then!), caps all around me when I walked past the runners. I felt everyone was looking at my brand new, RM39.90 Power shoes. I kept my head down and waited in the crowd.
Reminiscing, my memory is forever stuck at Sogo area, approximately 36km onwards. I was brisk walking and I told myself I have to reach the finishing line and rushed back to UKM. I felt blisters on my toes and it was excruciating.  I walked, ran and walked for a very long time and I finally reached the finishing line.  I didn't know I completed it in how many hours. What I remembered I got my precious medal and a XXL finishing tee. Then, without wasting time, I found my neighbor.
I only found out my time after the result was announced on the website. A big smile on my face after I knew it was 5 hours 12 minutes. I learnt a lesson. I knew how far 42.195km is finally. LOL.

4. It has not been very long since your first race. How many full marathons have you completed since?
I completed 15 marathons so far

5. Wow! Which of the Marathons did you enjoy best? Which one will you always remember?
Every marathon have different interesting story underneath. However, Tokyo Marathon 2012 is the most interesting one.

6. Hmmm… We would like to know, what is your preferred racing distance? 10km, 21km or 42km? Tell us why.
I prefer 42km yet I dislike it the most. Contradiction. I can "curi tulang" when running a 42km. In my view, I can burn my fats and yet enjoy the scene when running a marathon. These explain the reasons I prefer 42km over 10km and 21km. Yet, I join 10km and 21km occasionally to challenge myself.

7. Would you venture into an ultra distance run in the future?
No, so far I don't plan to run an ultra distance run. I salute those ultra marathoners' spirits. My condition now doesn't allow me to do so.

8.  Being a runner who challenges for podium places, you definitely put in a lot of training. What does your weekly mileage look like and where do you normally train? Do you believe in quality sessions or quantity sessions?
My weekly mileage is 50-70km a week and most of the time I train in stadium. I can't say which is better. But, I would say for beginners, it is better to focus on quantity. It doesn't matter with slow pace as long as you can run in longer duration, I think this helps in building up the base. After some time, it is good to have quality sessions to increase the speed and increase the lactic threshold.

9. Let’s chat a little bit about your personal life. You just finished your studies, what do you do and where do you plan to go from here?
I will start my first job soon. I will be working in an infant formula manufacturing company in the production department. I want to be a trainer in the future. My wish is to raise awareness of the benefits of exercising to youths and women and at the same time I can enjoy my work.

10.  Do you think working life will affect your training regime and racing?
Yes, definitely. But, it is all about the time management. I believe sacrifice and discipline drive me to train harder despite of working.

11.  Does anybody else in your family run or are into sports?
No.  My mom used to join races with me but now she prefers dancing than running.

12.  Before we sign off, what piece of advice would you give to a young runner (in school or college) who wants to take up long distance running?
Always challenge yourself and get a positive motive to run. There is no short cut to accomplish the dreams. Hardwork and passion will pay off.
With that, we conclude our interview with Annie and we wish her all the best in her next race!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Skechers GoBionicRide Review

Skechers recently introduced a variant of GoBionic to complement those that are not fully prepared to go fully "minimalist". Known as the GoBionicRide, they had Tri Stupe and Roy Yeow reviewing it and both has returned good feedback. This superlight "cushioned" shoe (when compared to GoBionic) has been put to the test by Tri Stupe and realibity report will come in as the shoes clock in the mileage. Until then, you might want to read about it for now. 
Skechers GoBionicRide Review
I hope the unboxing entry has pique your interest with this "normal" looking Skechers. Yes, previously, the last few pairs has been very "loud" and has drawn much attention to the shoe instead of the runner. With a "Black Is Back" Skechers GoBionicRide (GBR), it all seems to go back to basic - as how running should be. My previous experience with the minimalist GoBionic was really pleasant. I am given 3-pairs of "sponsored" shoes from Skechers under the 2ndSkin-Skechers collaboration and I am seriously considering to reserve the last pair for another GoBionic.
Speed Weapon
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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Project CARES : Team 2ndSkin Is Running For NASAM

The team once again has committed itself to "give back" to the society by being involved directly with another fund raising. This time, it is for NASAM or National Stroke Association of Malaysia. The team, together with 16 other strong individual will participate in the upcoming Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon in both the 21km (7 Awesome Fundrunners) and 42km (15 Awesome Fundrunners). The aim is to raise awareness and the Fundrunners will be running with a placard "There Is Life After Stroke". The runners together with NASAM are hoping to raise RM10,000.00 to further enhance and support the existing facilities to help with the rehabilation and support of stroke victim and their needs. 

We hold this cause very dearly to us as the designated Team Captain for this run, Roy Yeow, was a two-time stroke victim. He is a picture of inspiration as he has shown with determination and not giving up has driven him to not only succeed in fighting stroke, but to inspire others. Tri Stupe's father was a stroke victim and he (with his wife) too, will be running for this cause.

Click on this link to support via Team 2ndSkin has worked with previously in the "Dignity For Children Foundation". All donations (small or big) is tax deductible. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Stretch Your Runs

By 2ndSkin Principal - Eugene Teoh 

I am currently going through a rehabilitation period. It depresses me that I have to cut back on my running mileage and indulge in more active rest. If you enjoy running and taking part in races, you would understand the feeling of restlessness and despair when you’re injured and need to reduce your running to a minimum whilst you manage your recovery and injury. This post is about what you can do to prolong your running and reduce your “downtime”.

I have a good strong feeling that at the top (or near it) of the wish list of most committed runners is to be able to run injury free and continue running regularly throughout the year. However, for most beginners and in a lot of cases even the regular and experienced runners, they tend to neglect the maintenance segments of running, and focus purely on the run itself. We always hear of training schedules, and doing intervals, LSD, speedwork and hillwork, but there is a % of training time we should all spend on what I would call maintenance work that a lot of us sorely neglect (including myself) and to dire consequences.

So what is it that we need to incorporate into our running routine that is as important as building the mileage itself? The answer is stretching and self-massage. Lots of people who find enjoyment in running, are those who find the surge of endorphins from a workout satisfying, which means they are the type of people who enjoy high capacity sports where you get your heart racing and your sweat glands into overdrive. And this is also the reason why they find the flexibility and stretching exercises to be an activity that is “not-exciting and too slow” and they do not spend enough time and effort on it. For a complete training program, flexibility exercises and stretching routines should be incorporated into a runner’s program and adequate percentage of time should be devoted to these activities.

Let me share with you my real life example. If we understand the mechanics of running, we know that whenever we run and kick our heels out behind us, our hamstring muscles contract and every time we land on our foot and push off, our calf muscles contract. Taking into account that the calf muscles are connected to the hamstrings and further up to the lumbar region, any aggravation to any of these muscle groups may and will affect the other muscle groups. Imagine running at a 60rpm cycle for 1 hour. That essentially means that your hamstring contracts 60 times a minute (once for every push off) and continues for one hour, which is equivalent to 360 times muscle contraction. Muscle contraction tightens and shortens the said muscle, so to balance the muscle usage; we should stretch and elongate the muscle group after running. This is where stretching movements come in. 

To compound that effect, if you are like me, being an office worker who essentially sits at the desk 80% of the time between 9 to 6, it gets even worse. In a sitting position, with your calves at a 90 degree angle to your hamstrings, you are putting your hamstrings in a semi-contractual position. So imagine the scenario: You run in the mornings before work 4 – 5 times a week, then go to office and sit down throughout the day, your hamstring muscles are virtually in contracting, and in a tight and shortened state most of the time. That is where stretching and self massaging exercises come into play and become an important feature that all runners need to incorporate into their routine.

I feel the need to share this information as I am currently experiencing the effects of not incorporating flexibility and stretching routines into my running program. My hamstrings are very tight, strung like a bow and that in turn has affected my lumbar region, giving me pain in my lower back and restricting my mobility. Therefore, instead of being able to run more and more, I am currently off my running shoes and having to loosen my hamstrings via painful stretching routines and self massage. One of my running friend calls the foam roller a “runner’s best friend”. I have to concur in that as I also understand now the importance of that inconspicuous piece of equipment to a runner. Rolling with a foam roller helps to loosen tight muscles, and releases scar tissue buildup as well as hitting your deep muscle tissues. Rolling can be a painful experience, but it is definitely a necessity.

There are many variations of stretching routines and foam roller exercises to target the different muscle groups. Just Google using relevant keywords like “hamstring stretch, foam roller exercises, ITB rehabroutine” and you will not be short of hits. So go on and incorporate this very important piece of routine into your running program. It will not only help prevent injury, but also make you a stronger runner and prolong your running life.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Android Apps for Garmin 910XT

It has been busy weeks for the team and we are now back recovering (for now). Apologies for the minimal updates and there are a few good postings (and cross-postings) that we will publish within the next week for sharing. For today, we want to highlight Jun Shen's review of an Android Apps that "talks" to the Garmin 910XT. So, if you are a user of Garmin GPS watch and has an Android phone or device, perhaps, this might add on to your arsenal of monitoring devices for more meaningful datas and interpretation! Read on!
Android Apps for Garmin Connect

I've been using this apps called "SportyPal" downloaded from Google Play since I bought my very first smart phone HTC Legend. I fought with snatch thieves when the phone was 2 weeks old, the back of the phone was scratched VERY badly. After trying many apps in Android, I find SportyPal is the best for me, so almost every week I'll track my running and cycling with it. The phone survived for 2.5 years going through thick and thin with me, all I can say is HTC makes super robust "military spec" phones.

Garmin Connect (GC) vs Viewer for Garmin Connect (VGC).
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