Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Annie Yee : Medibank Melbourne Marathon 2013 Race Report

Today is Our Team Athlete Annie Yee's Graduation Day. What better way than to commemorate her graduation with her recent Personal Best Marathon timing set in Melbourne Marathon?

We wish Annie all the best in her future races (and career). This is one inspirational woman. This is her road to a 3:34:51 Marathon. Awesome.
Annie and her friend on their Graduation. Photo from Annie's Facebook
Annie Yee : My Marvelous Melbourne Marathon 

Medibank Melbourne Marathon 2013 with a slogan of Anything is Possible.
For a 23 years old girl who has just stepped into working world less than 2 months, running a marathon in Australia is definitely “Something is Impossible”. Running a marathon in MELBOURNE is like my dream comes true!!!

By the time I arrived at Melbourne, it was 1145am. My friends and I headed to the Expo to retrieve our bib numbers. It was a big expo where there a lot of popular partners were taking part. I was proud to see the Malaysia Women Marathon booth was there as well.

Everyone was excited yet looking forward for the marathon. After having my favourite dinner, Lasagne and a plateful of salad, we walked back to our hotel nearby and prepared to rest. A set Kraftfit compression wear, 2ndskin team tee, a pair of Skechers GoSpeed, two Hammer gels and a pair of gloves lay on my bed. Having looking at them, I felt excited and nervous.

Alarm rang at 4.00 in the morning. A muffin and a cup white coffee as usual my breakfast, seven of us set off to the destination. I drank a bottle of Perpetuem in the mini van while on the way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground( MCG ) where the marathon starting line. Upon reaching the MCG, it was crowded with Caucasians and only few Asian looks. It was very different from Tokyo marathon which I joined last night. Runners here wore very simple, a vest and a short. Most of them were wearing long sleeve vest. My friends and I asked for direction to the starting line and we past through a pedestrian bridge. There were quite a number of vans. Only I realized that the vans were actually the mobile toilets!! Amazing that it was very clean!
We chit-chatted and warmed up to make ourselves to be warm. I was freezing cold. I was jumping up and down to make myself warm. Gradually, runners flood the starting area. I bumped into one Penang runner and another KL runner at opposite side. Runners greeted each other and sent good luck to each other. Supporters were as many as the runners. My heart was pumping and praying that I could make my personal best without any injury. I tried not to think of my pain on my right leg.

3...2....1......Here we were, I ran along with other runners. I was very excited once heard the pistol bang as we were running in a gang. Unlike Malaysia marathons, here, there were crowd of runners. I tried not to look at my watch and followed the 3:20 pacers. As usual, I loved seeing people back, leg, how their movements so that to distract myself. Without knowing that, my Garmin 910 buzzed to show 5km.

By the time I ran past Lakeside Drive, the sun was raising but the breeze made me goose bumps. There were footsteps as the horses coming from behind. Just in few second, a pacer with a flag stated 3:20 with a herd of “horses” past by me. They were chit-chatting while running. It was just too fast and too furious. I was curious why runners in front of you pointed to a direction. Before knowing what the reason is, I realized there was a bump. Runners ahead were trying to hint the runners behind them to be cautious.
I was looking for Malaysian runners who ran opposite direction of me to distract myself from thinking of coldness but I couldn’t spot any of them. We ran along the Bay street where the river was just besides us. I checked my Garmin and surprised to see my pace at this 13-20km was around 4:50mins/km. It was faster than I expected. At 25km, we ran into a bush and made a U-turn to housing areas. Residents and spectators were very supportive and some of them were standing there just to pass us the sugars and sweets.

Upon reaching 30.0km, I knew my laziness attacked me again. I ate my first Hammer Chocolate gel before a water station. My pace gradually became slower to 5:02mins/km. Struggling to finish line, I kept on telling myself, must be strong despite of the calf pain. We ran along the walking path of St Kilda Road where the road had been closed exclusive for participants. Yet, the spectators were very supportive. I felt motivated by their yells and shouting.

I jogged a while and started to run starting from 34km. I lost to the devil again. My pace dropped to 5:35mins/km when ran along the Domain Road. Left 8km, gambateh Annie!!!I was talking to myself at that moment. It was too hard for me, for someone who did not have LSD. I tried to focus and kept on telling myself the goal I needed to achieve in this marathon. There was one Asian guy walked in front of me. He was the second runner I saw in this marathon who walked.  Rain drizzled around 38km with chill breeze freshened my mind. Though my pace had dropped to 5:35 mins/km, I gained my last energy to finish my 42.2km. Finally, I reached the stadium. We had to pass by a 400m lane to the finishing line. The digital time showed 3:33:XX. I sprinted……….and 3:34:51!!

I was over excited to know that I can run a sub335! A unique medal, Gatorade drinks and an apple were provided for every runner. Pouring rain made the weather even chiller. I was shivering and trembling. After 20mins of waiting, I met my friends eventually. We talked in the mini van while waiting others to finish. I enjoyed my Hammer Recoverite while sharing the experiences.

I was grateful that my calf was ‘obedient’. It was a minor pain in this 42.2km journey yet I survived. My aim to be sub330 has to be on hold.  I will be to run harder, smarter and be determined! 
Lessons to be learnt.
1. It is essential to train ourselves LSD before running a marathon. It was suffering physically and mentally as lack of preparation.

2. Equip ourselves to adapt different weather in order to obtain the best timing.

3. Sleep well, rest adequately.

4. Don’t think too much. Be confident of yourself!

In my point of view, for a beginner who want to try 42.2km, the points I did mention is what I am still doing it.
3:34:51. Legit.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Skechers Nite Owl Review by TriStupe

Skechers has been kind enough to provide Team 2ndSkin Athletes with the Performance shoes under the "Go" banner. From time to time, a pre-launch model will land in the office and will then be shared with the team. Latest among the range is the Skechers Nite Owl. Ee-Van, or TriStupe as he is known in social media, were the lucky person to get his feet (and hand) on this new glowing model. The Nite Owl is essentially a shoe that "glows in the dark". Slotted to be launched end of October (Gasp! This week!) or early November, the Nite Owl provided were based on the new GoRunRide2 platform that offers better "grounded" feel. To know what it is all about, TriStupe has written a review in his blog, and we are replicating the entry here for sharing. 

The Unboxing Review
"A shoe that glow in the dark". When I first heard it from another shoe manufacturer, I was excited. You see, I have fascination for things that emit lights - be it reflective, battery or, well, absorb and glow like photo-luminescence stuff. Then, right after I received the Skechers GoBionic Trail, I was informed that a surprise will be coming my way "in a few weeks". Little did I know until last week when I was told to "collect the Nite Owl from Skechers 1Utama". Read The Full Unboxing Here
The complete review
"I took the Nite Owl for an early morning race that is the Adidas King Of The Road at New Pantai Expressway (NPE). The run is a 16.8km distance over undulating highway road and smooth pavement was the route of the day. The shoe performed as it should in this long distance race with the cushioning absorbing every single strike the feet landed. "

Read the Full Review Here

Friday, 25 October 2013

Run for NASAM 2013 : Project CARES

Last Sunday (20th Oct 2013) marked the closure of Run for NASAM campaign with the cheque presentation from the fund raising to the National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM) during the NASAM Walk for Hope Event held at Tasik Titiwangsa.

Team 2ndskin was represented by Roy at the ceremony, who is himself a 2-times stroke survivor and our team leader for this campaign.

With an initial expectation of RM10,000 to be raised from the campaign, the Run for NASAM project was a resounding success with RM15,236.00 raised as the final amount. Team 2ndskin is very proud to be given the opportunity to be a part of this noble event and it was indeed an excellent effort by the other runners who were part of Run for NASAM campaign.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank PeopleGiving organization for being the enablers for the campaign, NASAM for their full support throughout the project, the runners who made this campaign possible and most of all, to all the kind-hearted donors and contributors for the RM15,236.00, whereby without you, this would never have been possible. Give yourself a big pat on the back, it is very deserving!
RM15,236 thanks to all of you!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


The latest athlete to join Team 2ndskin is a young, energetic lady who is fully committed to her sport. Say hello to Irene Chong.
Irene in Team 2ndSkin Kit

Irene is a member of the national elite triathlon team and top female triathlete in the ITU category in Malaysia. She trains hard, swims like a dolphin and rides a road bike like a train. We get into her head to get some tips on how to be a top triathlete and what keeps her motivated in her choice of sport.

1. First up Irene, let us start with you telling us about yourself. Where are you from and what do you do now? Maybe you can also share some family background?

I'm from a Siew Bao town- Seremban. Currently I'm studying at University Malaya. In my family, I'm the only one crazy in sports. I have 3 younger sisters and 3 of them are all crazy in studies and I have 1 younger brother.

2. Which of your triathlon disciplines did you first start with – swimming, cycling or running? Tell us about it.

I ventured into my 1st triathlon at A'Famosa triathlon in 2007 as a relay swimmer. Then slowly I started to race in sprint category for 2 years before I started my first Olympic distance triathlon at PD international triathlon. I started swimming at 5 years old and my first swimming competition was when I was 7 years old. So since I was young I was already a mermaid!

3. Wow! You have been swimming since you were very young. Do you enjoy swimming? Some people find the sport boring in that you swim laps over and over again. How do you manage that?

I enjoy swimming very much. As I said I'm a mermaid since I was young, I like to be in the swimming pool. I feel the freedom when I swim, I can play around in the pool without fear that I will injury myself compared with other sports. I feel peaceful when I swim and i can clam my mind from the stress. Sometimes I will feel bored in swimming laps over and over again. When I have this feeling, I will find some swimming kaki (partner) to swim together or otherwise I will join my university swimming team for training together. I have team training 4 days a week and that will help me from getting bored too.

4. We hear that you represented Malaysia in synchronized swimming? Tell us about it.

Haha....about synchronized swimming!! I represented Malaysia in synchronized swimming in 2004. I went to the Doha Asian Games and World Cup in Japan in 2006. Synchronized swimming is not very popular in Malaysia and there are not much opportunity for competition in Malaysia. If want to go overseas for competition, we have to train really hard to fight for a place because normally the national association will only send 8 swimmers for team event while during that time we had 16 swimmers in the team. That simply means you must be really very good only you will get to go for competition.  I stopped indulging in this sport in 2007 and picked up triathlon in the same year.
Irene In Action. Photo belongs to Irene
5. And now, you’re a national triathlete with Malaysia’s elite triathlon team. Do you feel pressure every time you represent the country?

I love to enjoy the race and I like to finish. I always try to race with a big smile, so I wouldn't race with pressure (I don't want too). I don't care what people think about me but I will try my very best to race hard.

6. Tell us how a weekly training program for you looks like. Do you train every day? Which discipline do you focus on the most?

I have training everyday even on Sunday. I will focus more on swimming and running. Swimming is my stronger discipline but I still need to improve so that I can easily keep up with world ranked triathletes. Running is very important too as the running can make me win or lose the race, because running is the last discipline and most of the ITU triathletes run very fast.
Making Malaysia Proud. Photo from Irene
7. How do you keep yourself motivated in training day in day out? What keeps you going when training gets tough?

In my life, I met a very good mental teacher who taught me not to give up easily and hold on until the very last. I always remember this when I have hard time during my training. He told me that we will always experience hardship during the process but after finishing the process, I will get double or more reward from my hard work. That thought, is what keeps me going everytime.

8. If someone wants to take up the sport of triathlon, do you think a swimmer, cyclist or runner will have the most advantage in terms of improving at triathlon? Why?

In my opinion, a swimmer will have a little more advantage. This is because it is not easy to improve swimming if the technique is not right and is not easy to learn swimming, compared with running and cycling. But personally, as a swimmer, I have to work hard to improve my running ability.
IJM 10km. Irene first podium for Team 2ndSkin
9. What is your personal goal or target for 2014? What do you hope to achieve?
My personal goals for 2014 are:
1) Wellington World University Games, New Zealand in March
2) Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Great Britain in July
3) 17th Incheon Asian Games, Korea in September
I don't target any podium positions yet but all those "big" games are very important for me to get more experience and to learn more from the top ranked athletes to aid me in getting ready for 2015 Sea Games in Singapore.

10. If someone who has been doing triathlon for a while, comes up to you and says that he/she wants to improve his/her Olympic distance timing, what sort of advice would you give?

First, I think he/she has to improve their swim timing, try to come out from the swim with the lead group so that they have a group for him/her to cycle with, and work together on the bike. He/she has to improve on the running timing too as the running is the last discipline that can make a lot difference on the timing. Proper swimming techniques are important as swimming is all about resistance in water. Speed-work and interval running are also very good training techniques to improve speed.

11. Lastly, before we wrap things up, tell us a little bit about being the new girl on the block with Team 2ndskin. How are the other athletes and what are are your thoughts about the team?

I love and am very proud to be in the team. All the team members are so cool. We are ever willing to share our experience, motivate each other and also cheer for each other. Thanks a lot to our team sponsors - Skechers, Hammer Nutrition, Garmin, Kraftfit and 2ndskin for making us such a good team. I would like to stay on with the Team 2ndskin for 2014 and make the team proud, make the team's name rise and shine!!

With that, we come to a close and we wish Irene all the best in her next race which is the Asian Cup in Hong Kong.

Stay tuned for more Team 2ndskin updates.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Jun Shen : Tour Of Duty Is No Hindrance To Training

Some of you may not know that we have a serving Second Lieutenant in the team. Chan Jun Shen serves in the Royal Malaysian Navy and currently on a Tour of Duty at Jervis Bay for the Sydney Internatioal Fleet Review. At 24, he has sailed 7-seas and not many can claim to have done that. This is his update, and the challenges of staying fit on-board a floating vessel known as KD Jebat, A Lekiu-class Frigate with guided missiles. He is preparing for Penang Brigde International Marathon while sailing. We salute you.
Photo from Jun Shen's Album. Sydney Harbour Bridge in the backgroun
Sydney International Fleet Review Diary
My decision to pursue my training on board KD JEBAT was a tough call for me. It is hard to describe the pride of every men serving on board the best ship in Malaysia, all of us just strive so hard to keep up with the Commanding Officer’s demand.  I did my Midshipmen training here before I was commissioned, the routine was so hectic that my training hours plunged down, and so does my fitness. I will be missing so many races during the voyage with JEBAT to Sydney International Fleet Review, but I guess it is worth the experience. If a footballer’s biggest dream is to participate in World Cup, a sailor’s dream will be representing the nation for International Fleet Review. To date, I have earned myself the Crossing Equator’s certificate, endured the rough weather and raging sea before I can call myself a 7 seas sailor at the age of 24. Although nowadays we don’t really practice the privileges given to the 7 seas sailors, but it is a lifetime achievement to be told to the younger generation in times to come.

Basically, Royal Malaysian Navy patrols and defends the Exclusive Economic Zone of Malaysia. To ensure our readiness, everyone has to play their part in achieving the mission of a warship which is TO FLOAT, TO MOVE, and TO FIGHT. Generally all the crews are segregated into 3 main branches which are the Seamen who manoeuvres and man the combat system, the Engineers who ensures the ship’s propulsion and weaponry is functional, and the Supplies who takes care of the stores and galley. I being a young engineer serving under the marine engineering department am very lucky to have a Head of Department who is an avid cyclist.

Every evening, all the crews who are not on duty will do their evening sports on the helicopter deck, or play ping pong inside the helicopter hangar. We also have a treadmill and cross trainer, if the sea condition permits, most likely both machines will be occupied. Keeping fit on board the ship is a tough challenge. There’re so many uncertainties that can cancel your plan, the only option I have is to maximize my time on the cross trainer or treadmill every time I get to use it. When JEBAT sails in Malaysia’s territorial water, I can only do 5km on a treadmill. The hangar becomes like an oven, 5 minutes of not doing anything can make me sweat.
In The Oven
Now that my ship is in Australia, the chilly weather helps a lot in making me last longer. I’ll put on my Kraftfit compression shorts and 2ndSkin shirt with Skechers GoMeb, then start my work out session. I’ll try to maintain in the targeted HeartRate with the help of Garmin 910xt, but this is all subjected to the people queuing for the treadmill. If the queue gets long, I will increase the resistance and finish off the workout within 20 minutes. Everyone is given a very limited personal space, and I do not have the luxury of bringing my racing bike with a trainer to be carried aboard. I have Hammer Endurolytes and Perpetuem Solid with me, 2 most compact forms of supplements to save my space. I would have brought the Hammer Gels and Recoverite if I have more space. When the ship alongside Darwin, all ship crews went jogging along the Esplanade till Aquascene which hits total distance of 8km, we did the morning run for 3 days before departed for Cairns. That week alone, we hit 24km excluding our walking mileage in Darwin.

The sea was unforgiving along our way to Jervis Bay, many crews including the army doctor got seasick. The grumbling sound of our 1 tonne AC14 anchor when it gets hit by waves indicates how powerful the waves were. No one can escape from it, not even the ship’s captain. At that time, my cross trainer workout was more like balancing myself instead of overcoming the resistance=p Sailors has no biological clock, we can turn nocturnal when we have to, and we can adapt to any time zone, insomnia is never in our dictionary. Currently we have changed 3 different time zones, nobody complaints about it. After all, we don’t see the sun when we work inside the ship, who cares if it is day or night. 
Every opportunity for firm ground are used for speedwork
When I feel dizzy working out in rough sea condition, I will just play a few movies to keep me distracted from the annoying motion sickness. Either I do an hour of cross trainer with resistance 15 or treadmill at speed 12-14. Enjoying the awesome sunset is what I normally do while cooling myself down, sometimes it gets more exciting seeing dolphins jump out right next to our ship. After the sun sets, I do not have much time to linger around; I will have to rush to the bathroom before they shut the water supply. Hell yeah, the water supply need to be controlled to lengthen our ship’s endurance, freshwater supply for the galley is primary, shower was never the priority. Sometimes before I rinse my body, the water supply gets cut off =p hahaha. One thing for sure, I will definitely shower. I keep bottles of freshwater in my luggage just in case of “emergency”. So please don’t have the impression that sailors don’t shower=p
On board the ship watching sunset after working out
I have to wear base layers to keep me warm, just so you know my body has only 4% of fat, I cannot stand even 20 degrees. I have brought all of the compression wears to be worn underneath my uniform! Thanks to Kraftfit for providing me the compression wear, and also to keep me warm=p Furthermore, I get to change my clothes quicker without have to worry exposing too much of skins when the ship conducts simulations for firefighting, flooding, chemical attack and so on=p
We, in the team are envious that the GoMeb went to Aussie
My International Fleet Review is just half way through; I hope I can maintain the discipline of working out despite all the challenges of keeping fit at sea. By the time I come back to home port Lumut, I have only 5 days left before Penang Bridge International Marathon. Haha. Let see how it goes. I have no high expectation; I just wanna finish the race with the best timing I can possibly hit, no more than 4 hours though.
Men in Uniform. KD Jebat represented

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Review : Skechers GoMeb aka GoSpeed by Eugene Teoh

Really A “Go” Like Never Before
By Eugene Teoh

I have just completed the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) last weekend and I feel this is a good time to give my 2 cents with regards to the shoes I have used for the last 2 marathons. I got my hands on the GoSpeed (aka GoMeb) about a month or so before the River Jungle Marathon (RJM) that was held at Hulu Langat on the 1st of Sept. All in, my mileage for this pair of shoes thus far has been approximately 20km in training and 2 x 42km races.

Just a little personal story before we get to the shoes. I was rehabilitating a bad back just before RJM, and was going for sessions with an osteopath who recommended I cut out my running mileage and focus on cross training to give my back a recovery period. Taking that advice, my running sessions dipped and I did more weight training and swimming. Being hunched over my Boardman wasn’t exactly optimal, so I skipped the cycling sessions as well. When I got my hands on the shoes, I was thinking, oh I need to give these babies a review, at least to share my thoughts on a pair of shoes that Meb had a hand in designing and racing in. But with lack of mileage in training (and these being racing shoes, more of that later), I decided to keep my review to at least after a couple of races. Fast forward to now.

The GoSpeed (GoMeb)
 With customized shoe laces
The first thing you realize about the shoe when you see it on the shelves is the built. It’s what you would call fuss-free. Sharp-looking and not built like a tank, it definitely looked like a shoe that was designed to go fast; obviously with the right legs in them (LOL!) Upon lifting them off the shelves, the weight (or lack of it) hits you. This is light! I mean, I’ve got the original GoRun, the Gorun2 and the GoBionic Ride, and they are not exactly heavyweights in the ounces department, but this takes the cake. Specifications and reviews have the shoe at a shade under 7 oz for a men’s size US9, which is not exactly the lightest shoe in the market, but definitely in the lightweight category.

Personal Thoughts
There are many reviews out there by now, with regards to the Skechers GoSpeed. My teammate Ee-Van has previously reviewed the shoes here as well. I’ll skip the technological speak and get to where I feel it matters, a personal feel of the shoes.             
Breathability at its best
The second thing that struck me before I took it out for a run was the mesh upper on the shoes. They looked really breathable with more ventilation mesh than all the previous Go models. Right before getting my hands on the GoSpeed, my LSD shoes were the GoRun2. I felt they were a bit stuffy and warm, especially on a long run in our weather and most times after a long run, my socks would be wet and moist. Everybody knows that moist/wet socks are a predecessor to blisters forming, so that was a pain point in the earlier pair of GoRun2 (for me). After 2 marathons with both races having me at least 2 hours under the scorching sun, I must say the GoSpeed is indeed the most breathable pair of Skechers so far. Not a single blister found after 2 full marathons, which for me was something quite new. My teammate Annie had the same thoughts as well, running in the GoRun Ride and GoRun2 previously and having to face blister issues. She excitedly texted me after SCKLM and said, “Yeeaaayy! No blisters! This is awesome!” By the way, Annie came in 5th in the Malaysian Women category for the Full Marathon, so congratulatory notes are in order!!

The other observation I had, was that this pair of GoSpeed was much stiffer than the other models. I am comparing between similar 4mm drop models (excluding the GoBionic which I did not test) like the original GoRun, GoRun2 and GoBionic Ride. The stiffness is obvious and the structure feels less cushy compared to the rest. I vouched for that as I do certain things like go for a training run, and swap shoes midway through the run. There is a distinct difference in that the GoSpeed does not absorb as much of the impact as the others. You get a better calves workout for the weekend warriors and for the elites, better push-off with lesser energy loss. There is a carbon stability plate inserted at the midsole for that added stiffness to the shoe. 
Minimal construction in the pods at the sole
This shoe was designed with one thing in mind. SPEED. With that objective, the design characteristics have made what I would call it, Skechers first racing shoe. In conventional terms, runners still categorize running shoes for training and racing. Trainers generally have more structure, slightly heavier and more durable in construction to take the hours and hundreds of miles of running. Racers (racing shoes) though are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Minimal construction, in GoSpeed’s case, even the circular footpods at the soles are thinner, lesser bulk around the shoe collar and tongue and larger mesh ventilation on the shoe upper. With the thinner sole and pods, this shoe is not designed to pound the pavement in training as the wear out rate would be faster than other models like the GoRun2 and GoRun. For me, this is currently my shoe of choice for races up to a marathon distance (still unsure of whether to use the GoRun or GoSpeed for this weekend’s 12 hour Back to Endurance – probably both!), so sparing use is the order of the day.

Doubly fast!
In terms of features that are tried and tested with all of Skechers Performance series models, the M-Strike Technology is still present and the individual circular pods provide some degree of cushioning and flexibility. One of the things that I took liberty to note when reading reviews and before getting my hands on the shoes was that some quarters found the toebox and forefoot to be narrow. That had me worrying a little as I have pretty wide feet. Actual wearing of the shoes and running in them, I didn’t feel that the forefoot area was neither constrictive nor tight. However, I must say that the GoBionic Ride has a forefoot room like the size of an Airbus! ;)  

There’s one thing though from my experience to share with others. Due to my vanity, or just my preference for socks that are short (no-show socks), I experienced some chafing from the tip of the tongue of the shoe with the top of my foot near the front of the ankle (above the socks) during both marathons (RJM and SCKLM). It happened after about 30km of running and there were some minor abrasions/friction with my skin. May not happen to others or those with longer socks, but this is just something for me to share so that others can take necessary precautions.

Endorsed by Meb himself
Lightweight, fast (for those who can) and being endorsed by Meb makes this shoe a winner in my opinion. The one shoe in Skechers line-up that I would categorize as a race shoe for now, it is also my choice of wear for runs of up to 42km distance.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Roy's Super September

Being a runner, we are often ridicule by those non-runners as being crazy, with the latest being a person writing to theStar to tell us runners to stop having marathons and causing inconvenience to his weekend.

Well, unknown to these uninterested non-runners, there are also another breed of runners. Some call them ultraman, superman, ironman. Whatever you call them, their mind is set up to run as much as possible. This has make the Ultra-marathon scene more popular with more races catering for these "man" blooming. This post is about the personal journey through the ultra month of September - a race every weekend.
It all started with River Jungle Marathon in Hulu Langat on September 1, 2013. Being a boutique marathon, it is a perfect start to kick of a series of mega distances races. Starting from Choon Hwa school at Pekan Batu 18, this year took us through a modified route due to the landslides on the original route. A pretty hilly route makes for a good training and tested nutrition in preparation for subsequent races.

A week later, it was the Men's Health Night Run. Being a Skechers sponsored event, this is a must do event for us. Only 12KM in distance, this race is to be a warm up and since I was pacing Jason for his come back race, this was to be my interval training. With the weather drizzling, it was a good training in wet condition. Also an opportunity to test out the Kraftfit compression that I picked up a day earlier.

From road racing, the following week was to the jungle of Sabah for The Most Beautiful Thing race. Opting for the 50KM category, this was a race that has almost everything. The race organizer decided to spice things up by making the route tougher than a year before, and topping it up with the biggest rainstorm in recent years there, the race became an adventure of a lifetime. Overflowing rivers, diversion of route, leeches, over 60% DNF - it is just a relieve to see the finishing line and to top it up, completing it based on the original planned route was a real satisfaction.

Before getting much rest, another adventure begun down south at Singapore with the Craze Ultra. This was to be my first 100 miles adventure and with me missing the last year edition due to medical condition, nothing is going to stop me from attempting this race. Having pick up a pain on my right metatarsal bone during TMBT, there was concern of even starting this race, but all that was forgotten with a bit of taping and friendly surrounding during the start of the race. Tackling 160KM is a different ball game. It is all about soldiering on checkpoint by checkpoint slowly and with the supports of pacers, team mates, runners, volunteers, it makes the journey a little tad simpler.

The organizer of SCKLM made September much more challenging by changing the original date from June to 29 Sept. I always suspect it is not due to haze but just to torture me. Having committed to run for NASAM - Yes to life after stroke campaign, it was a race I cannot miss. Arriving at Dataran Merdeka with Eugene, soon all tiredness from weeks of racing was forgotten. Intended to run real slow as a recovery race, I started chasing the pacers from behind. I was looking for the 4.30 pacers when all the races this month took its toll and I had to start walking. Ended the race over 5 hours but I was glad to close off over 300KM of races in September with Malaysia premier marathon race.

Getting through all these races may sound crazy but it is possible with a few right criteria in place. For those looking at venturing into ultramarathon, do ensure that you look into nutrition, mental training, race details, clothes/tools apart from your regular training. These are the preparation that often makes the difference when things get tough.

For nutrition, I go with Hammer Nutrition as it works real good for me. Heed, Fizz, Gels, Solid Perpetuem, Bar, Endurolytes and Anti-fatigue pills combined makes my nutrition completes apart from the solid food that I consumed during ultra long distance. There is a fine line between little and over consumption, it is a matter of getting the right balance.
Mental training is very individual. When the going gets tough and you are down, the only person you can rely on is yourself. Train in all conditions to prepare for the worst. Ultra is a lonely sport, it is a survival adventure. Prepare for ultra not just to complete, but prepare to survive on all eventuality possible.
Studying the race details - elevation, weather, rest time, route, is a must. Unlike marathon where the route is pretty clear and there are a lot of runners near you, ultra can be very lonely and you may be alone for a long time at an unknown place without clear marker in the worst weather you have seen, so make sure you prepare well on this area.
Clothes/tools preparation comes from months of trial and error. With each race, there is a different requirement, so make sure you try out a nd figure out what you need way ahead before the race.

Ultra running is huge topic by itself, it is not possible to write/share everything here, so if anyone is interested to explore further on this topic, drop us a note at Ask Expert (http://team2ndskin.blogspot.com/p/ask-expert.html).

And to make things a bit more interesting. there is still another 50KM of race at the TNF Singapore the following week before I get the weekend off, and that is just the beginning of more to come.

Till the next race, signing off for another survival adventure.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Introducing Irene Chong for Team 2ndSkin

Team 2ndskin is proud to announce the latest member and team athlete under Team 2ndskin 2013 umbrella, Irene Chong!

Irene is an established triathlete and has represented Malaysia in numerous ITU sanctioned races around the region, most recently last weekend in Singapore where she came in the top ten in the elite category. She is also the FHL Sports Sentul Race Series race leader for the women's category and a well-known speedster on 2 wheels.

Irene specializes in the Olympic Distance in triathlon and is an accomplished swimmer. We will reveal more about her sporting prowess in her upcoming athlete profiling interview. :)

For now, lets welcome her into the fold and we wish her all the best in her upcoming races for the rest of this year!