Thursday, 31 March 2016

Skechers GoRunRide5 review - Tri Stupe

Apologies for the long silence as I've been busy with work and travel. Currently trying to recover from a recent +2GMT trip, returned back to +8GMT and now at GMT. Lost many weekends of solid training and many more races that I've wanted to sign up and race. 

I now consider myself to be in semi-sabbatical when it comes to racing - BUT, training continues; because it's an active lifestyle I've committed and very much ingrained with the family. The lapse of blog entry also meant my writing skills are getting bad. Pardon the lesser than usual details. 

This time, a long overdue review of the Skechers GoRunRide5 (GRR5) which was given to me around Christmas last year and never seen the light until mid-January. Since then, this pair which precedes GRR4 (duh!) has been my mainstay running shoe as I work the miles (or KM if you are SI-inclined). No less than 150miles on these babies since January and here is the report.
GoRunRide5 Profile
The GRR5 was a total change from GRR4 both outsole and upper. To start with the upper, the new diamond mesh provide both medial and lateral support. Coupled with a 3D printed overlay it provides support to toe box. here is a closer look of the overlay and the diamond mesh. Note the silver thingy is the reflector and the blue crash pad has been made bigger/higher when compared to GRR4. 

The 3D synthetic overlay runs around the shoe providing support to critical part. This include the heel and the mid portion where it provides very good and secured fit.

As mentioned, the outsole has been revamped. Evidence of the differences between GRR4 and GRR5 is seen in the photo below. You can see that the GoImpulse pods has been moved to be more centric around the forefoot and the mid-sole received larger area to counter wear and tear for mid-foot strikers. The GoImpulse pods at the back of GRR5 has been moved slightly further downwards nearer to the heel-strike area. This may (when I received the GRR5) help manage premature wear of the GoSeries and it was convincing (now, after 150miles) that Skechers does some change to ensure wear and tear is lesser of a worry for runners. (Scroll to the bottom to see condition of the GoImpulse pods after approx 150miles)
Outsole differences between GRR5 (left) and GRR4
From the photo above you may noticed that the pods has been re-designed as well to resemble a 5-petal shaped instead of the chevron(<<) style in GRR4.

No changes to the midsole as it is made with the same lightweight flexible proprietary Resaltyte® injection molded compound for impact protection and response. However, you may noticed that the thickness has been increased as shown in the photo below. Despite this, GRR5 is very much a 4mm drop shoe (without the removable insole). Stack height is 16-20 Fore-Rear configuration.
Obviously taller, by a fraction
Increase to the Resalyte® compound made the outsole look a lot bulkier than its predecessor. What surprises me was that the GRR5 is a much firmer feel shoe compared to GRR4, and surprisingly more responsive as well. Those of you running on the GRR (original) to GRR3 will know the shoe to be less than responsive. The previous GoRunRide series main purpose was to offer better cushioning compared to the GoRun series. 
Thicker Resalyte. A 16 mm front and 20mm rear gives a 4mm drop 
I may not be the only one that say this, the GRR5 gave me the feel of the GoRun series (in this case, GR4). The firmness and responsiveness was very GR4 feel. Makes me wonder if it was the same shoe sometimes.

Continuing on the review is the presence of the Quick Fit loop at the back that functions to allow you to wear the shoe a bit faster without unlacing. I find it to be useful after doubting the function in the GRR4. While it caused the rear part to be higher than usual, some user does complain (of the GRR4) to cause some chaffing when they run at the Achilles area. Lucky for me, it's not an issue.
One nice touch I noticed on the GRR5 is that this same area where the Quick Fit loop were has a new material treatment that potentially may reduce your chances of chaffing at the heel area. It was microfiber like when compared to GRR4. As you all may know,l I run sockless and has no issues with Skechers running sockless. 
If you noticed from the photo above, the GRR5 has a very breathable upper. Those of you worry about hot shoe when running in mid-afternoon will be happy to note I've not had that feeling when running. But when wearing socks (in-flight, during travel transit) does heat up a little. When compared to GRR4, the tongue of the GRR5 is slightly thinner (not noticeable in photo, but it's obvious when you feel the material in real life)
GRR4 on left vs GRR5 tongue thickness
No changes were the lace type that is flat (not-round). A second pair (white) was included with the GRR5 with the blue-black as standard to match this pair of GRR5. Weight wise, the GRR5 comes in not anymore heavier than the GRR4 despite the additional cushioning material. 240grams or roughly 8.5oz for US11. No issues as it is still light compared to many traditional trainers.
On the run, the shoe did not disappoint as it provide quick response and good grip in various weather. I've so far ran the GRR5 in typical Asia weather (rain or shine, and hot), cooler Johannesburg with loose sand/gravel conditions and colder London where it can get wet and slippery when you least expected it. it has been holding well and my mainstay for this quarter. 
Skechers for Work and Leisure

After 150miles, the condition of the outsole/pods is per what you can see below. Pretty impressive I would say with even wear all around. Skechers could had gotten the formula right this time around with good balance of everything a runner would want - support, weight, durable and nice color ;-)
Noticable more wear on the heel portion - a reality check that I am not mid-fore striking as much as I should be. 

Note: This pair of Skechers GoRunRide5 is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkinThe Skechers GOrun Ride 5 retails at RM439 for the men's and RM399 for the women's. It is available in store (Malaysia) now. Last checked, not launched in Manila until May 2016.

Opinion in this write up is my own and not influenced by Skechers Malaysia 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Seoul International Marathon Race Report - Annie Yee

Team2ndskin athlete Annie Yee broke her personal best by well over 10 minutes in her recent Full Marathon! Nothing comes easy and she definitely reaps what she sow. All the hard training and support from the team made her 3.15 marathon dream come true! Read up her race report. 


The moment of registered Seoul Marathon after trying recklessly few weeks of communication with the Seoul Marathon authority, I knew there was no plenty time left and I must at least do my proper trainings with wholeheartedly and my LSD as well.

So,2 months plus of training->moody sessions->one week of no training during Chinese New Year->tapering-> Seoul marathon trip.
Two months,it seems like few weeks for preparation of this marathon.
(Moody sessions for every month=pre menstrual syndrome. The syndrome wasn’t obvious in few years back but it became significant to me now. How to cure? Don’t run for one/two days and totally let the body to relax.)
Upon reaching Seoul after 7 hours flight, we took trains to Jamsil Stadium for race bib collection. I knew tomorrow would be a freaking cold morning for me to run. However, I tried deleted all negative thoughts. Sightseeing was not my priority though. Snapping some photos outside the stadium, we went back to apartment after the race collection.

Awaken by the scary nightmare. A gigantic snake was chasing after me behind grandpa’s yard and I was shouting out of my lung. Mama came and thought I was talking to the phone early in the morning. I was in relief that I woke up from the nightmare. Mama assumed that I was too pressure and burdened myself. She was true somehow. In retrospect, I have always had nightmares during examinations. This marathon must be a big test for me.

Having a cup of black coffee and Massimo bun, we jogged with tremendous shiver to the starting point which was 100metres from our staying place. Once opened the glass sliding door, the chill wind blew to our direction and I was trembling with cold. Many runners were warming up and deposited their bag into the indicated trunks. We warmed up almost for 45mins and I tailed Mr Ant to corral A despite of I was given in corral B.

We started 5mins after all of the elites took off. I held the hot pack throughout the route. I was stunned with 4:20 mins/km for first kilometre. I decided not to follow the watch and ran as my pace. But,I couldn’t control from glancing my watch once a while. I needed to aware of human saliva on floor and human traffic. Guys passed by me and pushed me. Feeling irritated, I quickened my steps frequency and kept my momentum. One hand with hot pack, another hand to rub my nose. It was uncomfortable to have mucous non-stop flowing.

I neither saw any lady nor there was no lady to pass by me. I was like, “takkan I am the only one? (hahaha) We came to the famous Qing-Xi stream and elites ahead me were opposite of me. I glanced over and noticed Mr Ant wasn’t running in pack.  It was almost 10km. The feeling was great and tireless. Bottom of my heart, anxiety filled me. “Am I going to walk? Like in Penang Bridge?” When you had bad experience, it haunted you and unstabilized you.

My pace was considered stable and it fluctuated between 4:10~4:20. I just kept rubbing my nose and one and after a water station, I sipped as many water as I could and to pour it over my head. It was freezing! Doubtfully, those runner were wearing singlet and sweating. Unlike me, I was wearing a thermal base from Universal Traveller and a compression, yet I was shivering. It gets worsen with the strong chilly breeze.

We ran into the city whereby the supporters provided drinks filled in plastic which I first thought was Chinese traditional oiiment. Only I found out when I poured it on my knee!! My right leg was!O!M!G! Sejuk giler!!! My pace dropped to 5:00 after this small incident at 25km~30km. I just grabbed Cola from the high spirited supporters after that. Of course I knew it was Cola as there were bottles of Coca-cola on desks, hahah!

It had never been easy after 25km. I meditated myself, I suffered from hard trainings, got harsh criticisms and I mustn't just let it just because of my weak mental. I MUST BE STRONG. After countless muttering, I felt slightly motivated and just kept on going. My pace dropped slightly but I maintained it in between 4:30~4:40 based on my Garmin 920xt. From 30 km onwards, I grabbed every Cola. If the supporters weren’t there, I must have stopped and walked. First time drinking Cola during the marathon. The body craved for the glucose. I personally think that it worked very well for my body.
Talking about the scenes. I couldn’t distinguish the road I was running even though I read the map precisely before coming to Seoul. So, run-sightseeing wasn’t my style. I back-kicked occasionally to feel my leg. Just in sudden, the feel of the blister of my left toe. “Don’t ever let the pain to slow you down, keep on moving Annie..”. Up to the highway bridge, around 35km, I got another twist on my right toe. Oh God! I gulped down the water, walked for 10seconds, feeling shameful, and continued again. If you have blister pain, then you definitely know what am I saying. Regardless of the pain, I kept on moving. We turned into right junction and came to main street again. People cheering and I mustered my smile. It has always been useful to forget the mental tiredness temporarily. At this moment, it was only the battle between devil and angel. The scenes of training in stadium, in Bukit Dumbar loops, the LSD I did, how they quietly jerk behind me all flashed through my mind. I increased my strides frequency and I knew it left a few kilometres to go. I was quite strong, I knew it! Coach’s saying, “You are strong just your mental is not strong” came into my mind. My watch showed 2:50 around 37km. I motivated a guy and he replied, “Japan? China? Taiwan?” Telling him I am from Malaysia with loud, it had no more time to waste.Go go go…

I saw the big shape of Jamsil stadium. It left less than 1km to go. I pushed harder and shouted.
Passed with 3:20(official time) and I glanced my watch to show 3:15:32! It was satisfying for me from a 5:12 hours runner to now a 3:15 hours!

It is actually considered a brand new marathon for me for being trained properly and did my preparation. All the while, I have always followed my strict eating routine and restricted myself from indulging in poultry, fats and rice.
Possibilities appeared in my mind. Will I be a sub3 runner? Will I be faster if only I were slimmer? It is a wild dream. I do not dare to think of it and only God knows the best. A good timing is a big bonus for me. Yet, this is not the proudest moment. To bring my parents here by my own saving is a big achievement. Due to unavoidable circumference, so I sponsored my parents here, just like how they brought me to overseas when I was young. It was like a dream-come-true. I am not bragging how filial piety am I as a daughter, it’s just simply overwhelmed! Thanks to the full support from sponsors, team mates, family and friends. I will keep striving for better result in my future marathon. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Powerman Malaysia Duathlon - Deo's race report

We've heard it that the recently concluded Powerman Asia Duathlon Championship - Malaysia has closed with a bang, not only it was properly organized, it has also made its way into the Malaysia Book of Records for being the 'Largest Participation of Duathlon Championships' in Malaysia, with 2,645 participants of 39 nationalities. Out team athlete Deo was lucky to be part of the record by taking part in the Classic category (10km run, 60km bike, 10km run). It was his first ever Powerman race and third duathlon appearance. Deo, who is more known as a runner shared how he managed to capitalise his strength in running to overcome his cycling leg.

Read on how the race went for Deo...


Powerman Malaysia made a return after 2-year hiatus. It was last held in 2013 and was not held on the year I got my bike and learn how to cycle and hoping to do a duathlon race. With Powerman not held in the last two years, I had my share of duathlon racing just from Port Dickson International Duathlon, which I can say I did quite awesomely, finishing under 4 hours in both years. So when it was announced back in August last year that Powerman Malaysia will make a come back to Putrajaya, every duathlete or the duathlete-wannabe got really excited, myself included. Registration was done early but training was hard to come by. I last cycled in August last year after PD Duathlon until I picked up my bike again two weeks before Powerman to get back into the rhythm. Only one brick session was done prior to the race day and even that, the bike leg was just over 30km as we called it a day after I had my tire punctured and spent a good 30 minutes on a very hot day replacing the tube. The only good thing I took home from the brick session was that the second leg run started at 12pm on a very hot day, which gave a good simulation to the hot Powerman Malaysia.

Unlike PD Duathlon, Powerman Malaysia's route is a bout loop. The two 10km run legs were done along a 5km route while the 60km bike loop was done over a 30km route. So for sprint category, they just do one loop each for run 1, bike then run 2. Came the race day, I thought I was quite ready for it. I am all confident with my running, except that I was worried I may go too fast in the first run leg leaving me with tired legs for the second run leg. For bike leg, I got my bike tires replaced to a new pair, this was long due. I was just hoping that I was spared from any mechanical problem. Even a puncture scared me so much. And as my weakness will be the bike leg, suffice if I could maintain a 30km/h average speed for the 60km ride. Gears wise, I was hoping to minimize the time spent in transition zone and it worked well for me during the race. I managed to carry/uncarry whatever things as planned although there were still some snacks and Coke in my transition basket that I didn't touch at all. The race pack and kit collection was on Saturday, which was also the day when we have to check-in our bike. But everyone was worried to leave their bikes exposed under the hot sun. So, it was allowed to check-in our bikes in the morning before the race.

Race day came. I was up early. Went to the race site early and was among the first ones to check-in the bike. Couldn't spot much people that I know, just a handful of them. Changed well wishes. Had the much needed toilet break before I got really sleepy. Dozed off for a while on a bench nearby and about 6.30am, I made my way to the start pen. As it was a record participation for Powerman Malaysia, I guessed it was better to get in early and get a spot as closer to the start line as possible. I managed to get a spot some 50 meters behind the start line. I looked behind and couldn't see the tail of the pack. There were so many people, and came from many countries too. Next to me was a group from Sri Lanka, and we have the elites from all over the world. That includes Emma Pooley, former Olympics silver medalist in time trial, who eventually won the women's category.

Race started at 7am and I had a great run. I ran like it was a standalone 10km race in the first few kilometers but later as the route went a little uphill along the back route after Petronas, I reminded to slow down a bit, afraid that I may lose out of steam for the bike and second run leg later. But by that time, I was quite at the front and I didn't encountered much human traffic jam. When I got back to the start line, the sprint category hasn't been flagged off yet. So there were loud cheers from them as I passed them by and I heard my name was being called many times, here and there. That lifted my spirit a bit as I moved past the start line and transition zone more swiftly for the second loop and the first running leg. Same story in the second loop but when I was around Petronas, I was already strategizing things to do in the transition zone. What's first to do, second, next, and so on before exiting the transition zone for the bike leg.

Got back to T-zone in an official time of 0:44:37, which I think was fast and no wonder there were not that many in front of me. I was recorded as 71st runner overall. The good things about being early into the T-zone is that it wasn't crowded and the aisle that takes you to the exit of the T-zone was clear for you to run with your bike. The T-zone itself was a little small and crowded where the space in between one bike to another is too close apart and there wasn't much room for you to lay your butt on the aisle. And of course, you get lots of photos too by being quite at the front pack. I got everything I need for the bike leg, took of the running t-shirt and leaving with just tri-suit, put on cleats, gloves, helmet, sunglass, chucked Hammer gels and electrolytes into the back pockets as well as the hand pump; and I was ready to go. I was timed at 0:03:40 in the T-zone and the bike leg adventure began.

Starting the bike leg, fuelled by Hammer Gel #howIHammer
[photo by Soon Chung Lim]

Not long from the start of bike leg and going into the highway stretch along Lebuh Wadi Ehsan, I was overtaken by many cyclists, thin, fat, young, old, like a thousand of them. Some were just on normal bike but mostly on TT bikes where they lay their arm lazily while cruising past me with the loud sound of their bicycle crank. At times I got quite annoyed that I couldn't match their speed but I couldn't do much. I could just ensure that my average speed will not go down to below 30km/h as planned. As much as I wanted to hook on any peloton, Powerman rules don't allow you to draft. I asked one of the marshals earlier what is considered drafting? and he answered, to ride in no less that two-bike space in between you and the rider in front. Officially, you have to ensure the gap is 10 meters apart. But with only one lane on the highway that is closed from public for the bike leg, there was no way that you could be draft-free, especially during the uphill sections. I can consider myself lucky as it was still not as crowded from the position I was riding so it was a smooth ride. After a while riding along the highway, I was back to start/line area for another loop of the bike leg. At that point of time, I really wished that I had signed up for the sprint category. Nevertheless I still have to continue for the second loop. This time there were less people overtaking me, maybe they are also losing steam. Same story as in the first loop, very lucky not to encounter any issue until I got back to the T-zone for the final run leg. My bike leg was timed at 1:53:46 and placed 455th place overall. So actually, there were only about 380 people overtook me, not a thousand lah *phewww...

Cooling it off during the second running leg...
[photo by Nik Fahusnaza]

Entered the t-zone, rest my bike, change shoes, and off I went for the run leg. It was almost 10am. It was not as hot as during the Sunday when I did my brick training. But it was still really humid. There was a water station right after the T-zone exit and I poured a cup of water on my head while sipping another cup. Then I moved for my run leg. My legs felt strong. Although I felt cramps were coming on the calves during the bike leg (which was quite strange), I felt good with the legs this time around. I was running at 5:00 pace in the first km until cramps came attacking both calves. I had no other options than to slow down and jog at pedestrian's pace. When I felt the cramps had eased, I picked up my pace again. Had to stop few more times before the cramps went away for good. I told to myself that the cramps may not be due to the heat or dehydration but more for the transition from cycling to running and the muscles were adjusting themselves, I thought so... They went away with 7km to go in the race and I could run again, all the way, only stopping at water stations for cups of drinks and iced sponge. By this time, I overtook a lot of runners, and entering into the second loop for my last 5km run, I also overtook many of those who were still in their first loop. By this time, many runners were seen walking on the side pavement, instead of on the road, to shed themselves from the sun. Somehow, I feel the loop route is better than one big loop as in PD Duathlon, as you get to bump into many others, encourage them or being encouraged by them.

Nearing the Ministry of Finance building, I knew the end is near. I got even stronger and swiftly run to the finish line. Completed my run leg in 0:52:01, for overall finishing time of 3:37:31, which I am really happy with. That puts me in 118th place overall (out of 1,316) and 16th out of 283 in Male's 35-39 age category. The timing also puts me as 49th Malaysian. Not that bad, as I managed to recover from my slow bike leg and overtook many of those overtaken me in the bike leg during the final run leg. I remember a friend mentioned to me before the race, "Don't worry, you'll be fine. Duathlon is more about running than cycling..." and she's true!

My 1st Powerman Duathlon result.

For my race details on Garmin Connect, click here.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Skechers GoRun Ride 5 Review

Skechers GoRun Ride 5 Review by Team Principal Eugene Teoh.


I must admit that I am a very big fan of the Skechers GoRun4. It is practically my go-to shoe for every distance, from the 5k to the Marathon. Of course, with the association with Skechers Malaysia, I've had the opportunity to try out practically their entire range of performance offerings, from the stiff and fast GoSpeed (GoMeb) to the FitKnit Bolt and bouncy GoRun Ultra. Some of these models have a permanent place in my (overflowing!) shoe cabinet, like the GoSpeed (that I use for fast workouts and up to 10k's) and GoRun4's. The Ultra though is a tad too high in profile and soft for my liking, so I was wondering how the Ride5 would suit me.

To be honest, I had no inclination of how the Ride5 would feel like, as although the Ride series is already into the 5th iteration, I have not tried any of the preceding Ride series of shoes. High level understanding tells me that the Ride5 should be more cushy, heavier and more structured than the GoRun4. Do these initial assumptions prove true? We'll find out.

I will skip all the technical mumbo-jumbo of the Ride5 and give you a personal real feel impression of the shoes, as I'm pretty sure if you google "Skechers Ride5 review" you will be inundated with a load of sites/blogs giving you the lowdown on the weight of the shoe, the overlays of the mesh, the repositioned pods on the outsole, etc.

I've put about 50-odd kms in the Ride5 to date, and done run sessions in different conditions; tired legs, fresh legs, midday heat, road, concrete pavements, gravel bits, grass and the below are my thoughts.

The Ride5 definitely feels heavier on the run, compared to the GR4, but not by much. If compared to the GR-Ultra, the Ride5 would feel like a nimble Mercedes C250 to the GR-Ultra's Landrover Discovery-like tank. I've been so used to the GR4, that if I put on a heavier pair of shoes, I notice the weight gain immediately. A quick weigh-in confirms my notion, the Ride5 is 10% heavier than the GR4.

One good thing about Skechers Performance shoes is the relatively wide toebox which suits me very well. There are major shoe brands where the shoes have a narrower toebox and I'd have to upsize to fit the front of the shoes, but then the gap front and back becomes too loose for me. The Ride5 fit at the toebox is pretty similar to the GR4, which is great for me and a tad wider than the GoSpeed (GoMeb) series. The one thing that bugs me a little though is the inner foot arch support of the Ride5 feels a lot more prominent than the GR4. Whilst wearing the GR4, my midfoot is allowed to flex (flatten out) when I land, which is more in tune with my natural biomechanics, however, the Ride5 has a stiffer arch support, which limits the flex of my arch. Do note that I remove the insoles from ALL my Skechers shoes as I prefer more ground feel and (on a more personal note) the fit feels more comfortable to me without the insoles. I've got a whole stack of brand new never worn size US 10 insoles if anyone needs any!!

One major difference between the Ride5 and GR4 though, is the construction of the tongue. The GR4 and GoSpeed3 have thin construction with visible net stitching around the edges. The Ride5 is more of a traditional spongy tongue, which feels softer but adds to the weight of the shoe. I can't say which is better as they both have pros and cons in my experience. I had one pair of GR4's where the stitching of the tongue was a bit rough and it would brush against the front of my ankle area as I ran, if I wore no-show socks. I'd then have a red patch of skin blister due to the rubbing if my run was a long one. Best option would be if they could have the tongue as thin as possible without the exposed stitching, that I think would be the best of both worlds.

In terms of breathability of the shoe, I don't feel much difference between the GR4 and Ride5. The upper mesh is a one piece construction with additional reinforcement at the foot flex areas and front toebox, where the likelihood of wear and tear is higher. I've had the opportunity to run in the shoes on a bright sunny 33-34 degree dry summer afternoon and I didn't come out of that run feeling like i needed internal cooling systems in the shoe. Of course, the mesh is nowhere near the breathability of the GR-Ultra which will drain water as soon as you flush the shoe.

So, all in all, what's my personal verdict on the Ride5? Does it have a permanent place in my shoe cabinet? Would I get another pair of Ride5 once I wear out the current one?
Well, the answer is not as straightforward as I would like to make it to be. The GR4 still sits at the top of my list, undisputed and firmly anchored as the firm favorite. The GoSpeed2 & 3 remains my pick for speed work and fast 10k's due to the weight and stiffness of the shoe. So what then, of the Ride5? Would I take them out for my long runs? Yes, I would; to save the mileage and life I have in the GR4 for races and tempo runs. Would I use the Ride5 for my recovery days? Yes, I would. Would I bring them to a 21k or 42k race? No, I'd still fallback on my GR4 for races.

But that's not to say the Ride5 doesn't make the cut. If I wasn't as obsessed with the GR4 (as I am!), I'd say the Ride5 was the all-rounder, you know; the high-school jock who would be amongst the top 3 in grades, played football competitively, could sing at the school choir, write poetry and be the pick of the ladies for prom.
If your requirements are a pair of shoes that can do all distances, structured and cushy enough that you don't kill your legs, but stiff enough that you give your calves a good workout, lightweight enough that you don't feel like tying bricks to your feet, and a toebox wide enough that each of your toes get some time away from each other; then the Ride5 should be heavily considered.

Go on, head over to the nearest Skechers store and slip a pair on. You might just be sold.