Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Standard Chartered KL Marathon Race Report - Team Athlete Chan Jun Shen

Team2ndskin Athlete Chan Jun Shen and Deo AH broke their personal best in Standard Chartered KL Marathon! Checkout Chan Jun Shen's race report and his tips to get faster on race day!

2016 is a big year for me to chew ever since I set up my goals to be achieved. The main goal is to pass my Air Engineer’s board followed by all the sporting achievement goals include breaking all my personal best by end of the year. My main goal took up a lot of my time, I come back to my room really late at times. Hardly get an 8 hours working routine because I need to learn as much as I can in the Air Wing. Not complaining, I enjoy learning new things. 7th of August became my big day to break my long overdue personal best for Marathon Distance. The last time I seriously ran a 42.195km was in 2010 when I finished 3 hours 38 minutes with lots of walking at the last 10km, poor pace management. I knew I have the potential to do much better than this but I had some other commitments, so I put this goal on a rain check. Standard Chartered KL Marathon is my best chance to break my PB. 
Based on my race records, I consistently clock average 4.19-4.25mins/km in all my Half Marathon distance. So I worked out my pace from there. I was a fat 58kg athlete 4 months before SCKLM, the goal was to shed 4kg before the race week, consistently carboload after training, stay injury free by stretching every day and gradually increase the training mileage. I bought a digital weighing scale, every day after training I will strip off naked for weighing before I key in my weight data in Garmin Connect. As I slowly increase my mileage, I notice my ankle couldn’t take the stress. I went back to Garmin Connect and check my Running Dynamics to confirm my running gait. True enough, I have very minor imbalance in Ground Contact Time. The left foot kick off faster than the right foot, taking up more stress compared to the right foot. I did some correction drills but not much improvement seen, the left foot is still kicking harder than the right. I came to the last resort, working on my cadence. If I can up my average cadence from 180 to 182, I can greatly reduce the ground impact and also improve my vertical oscillation. I set the metronome in Garmin Forerunner 920xt every time I do cadence drills. It helps to keep my tempo without overstriding. Roughly one week leading to race day, my resting heart rate went down to 49 beats per min. I was very well rested.
Utilizing Garmin Connect to correct my running gait.

Pre Race Day
I weighed 55kg before I drove back to KL from Lumut with my squad Lt Quek, he will be losing his marathon virginity in SCKLM. =p I got my race pack delivered to my house but he didn’t, so we still had to drop by the race expo to pick up. I didn’t check the race pack collection area so we both went to Dataran Underground instead of Kenanga Wholesale City Mall, rookie’s mistake! Then we walked to KWC Mall, brisk walk passed all the booth saying hi and wishing each other good luck for tomorrow then got back home by noon. Quek and I had super heavy Nasi Goreng Kambing, my way of getting a good sleep. I love to sleep after heavy meal. 7pm we were already on the bed. At 10pm, I was awaken 2 times by Azan, then I couldn’t get back to sleep anymore. I watched youtube, checked the race route, had a look at my race gears, then laid on my bed again. I just try to let the body lay flat and rest despite not able to sleep. The pre race jitters got really serious, I was listening to my own heart beat middle of the night. 
Race Day
Train ride to race start.   

Had my breakfasts, 4 breads and kaya, 2 bananas and a hard boiled egg made by my mum before she slept. The complementary train ride was a big thumbs up from me. This shows how much of attention to details given by the organizer to make everything easy for all runners. Baggage check in was a bit far from race start, but I believe it was a smart move to prevent congestion at the starting line. 30 minutes before gun goes off, I was inside Pen2 doing my warm up. I had a lot of thoughts lingering in my mind. GPS signal locked, metronome set, virtual partner good to go and all alerts are working in my Garmin Forerunner 920xt. I am very sure Skechers GoMeb Speed 3 is perfect for me, the only thing I modified was the traditional laces replaced with lock laces. Annie said she wanna run with me but I told her that I am willing to screw up this race holding at high pace, so if I fumble this time please proceed with her podium goal. I will try to hold 4.45mins/km as long as my body could take it. 10 seconds before the race kick off, I took a few deep breath and wet my body with the mineral water I carried too cool my body down. I wore my 2ndskin Vapor Lite running vest, so the evaporation mechanism helps to cool my body off.
First 3 kilometer I was doing like 4.15mins/km without realizing. I slowed down a few times just to stick to my 4.45mins/km plan. Deo and I were running side by side but we didn’t talk, both wanna PB so we save the nonsense after the race. =p Many runners formed their pack but I never bother to follow, I have my virtual partner in my watch already. I took a caffeinated energy gel at Jalan Jelatek Fire Station kilometer 10, one capsule of Hammer Endurolytes and Hammer Anti Fatigue. Up till kilometer 21 as I entered Duke Highway, my rhythm was awesome as I felt fresh, super fresh. Average pace was holding at 4.30mins/km. There were a few rolling hills around kilometer 22, all of a sudden I felt a little sluggish. My watch’s alerts never stopped beeping to warn me that I am slower than 5.05mins/km! Weh panjat bukit la for sure la slower! I picked up my coke given by OP Azrul X Game, he paced me a bit with his new bike. Didn’t get a chance to have a glimpse at his new race machine. Maintaining a caffeine free diet gave me the advantage of kicking the pace higher once I get my caffeine boost. Soon, I was back to 4.30mins/km pace. My parents were on the highway cheering for me in the wee hour because Duke Highway is just next to my neighborhood.
I had to consume more gels from kilometer 24 onward. I started to starve a little, pace was dropping to 4.40mins/km also. My simplest rule, eat energy gels when hungry. Every 5km I took in one gel. The change was a dramatic one, from super fresh at kilometer 21 come to slight hunger at kilometer 24. This is not good. I am aware of the major climbs at kilometer 33 onward, so I needed to refuel at every single water stations. The drum beats along the highway kept my tempo going, and the volunteers were really helpful in assisting us. I snatched one cup of isotonic, and two cups of plain water. My Skechers GoMeb Speed 3 was not soaked with water despite some of the cups I missed, the ventilation was superb!
Kilometer 30, I was a struggling to keep my 4.45mins/km pace, my face tells everything. I still can finish this within my PB time because I am more than 20 minutes ahead of my PB time! Hydration and refueling went as per planned, till around kilometer 34 I snatched a Caffeinated Hammer Energy Gel given by my team mate Tri Stupe. I stuck the tempo set by my metronome, keep up with the 180 beat per minute. The slow pace alerts really discouraged me, I can’t dig anymore deeper in my reserves! Kilometer 35 onwards, I barely survive the hilly winding roads of Langgak Tungku at 5.00mins/km pace. Although I am lacked in LSD mileage, I have nothing to regret because every single day I am racing against time to finish up my work! The mental battle starts now. Legs feeling the tingling cramping sensation. 
Kilometer 35 took a long time to reach, I saw my 2ndskin team mate Jason. Took another coke, drank as much as I could to get the caffeine boost. Yuan Yu Fang local women champ overtook me at this time. Then I saw my UPNM batchmate Aiman, he escorted me with my 5.00mins/km pregnant tortoise pace. Still ahead of time, possibly hit a 3 hours 21 minutes finishing time! 
I was about to tell him that if I ever collapse please wake me up, I have 20 minutes nap to spare for my PB =p Hope he knows that I wear my LifelineID Companion. I cannot wait to settle this and go home to sleep! 
Smoked a Half marathoner=p
Kilometer 40, I up the pace to finish off whatever I left in my tank. Tried to take one more Hammer Anti Fatigue and end up dropping it. Huge disappointment! Till now, I had sucked in 11 gels in total! Surely my urine will be the same colour as the energy gel later. Haha. The legs start to cramp, my jaw and fingers cramped also. If any shorter distance runner bang me, definitely my weak body cannot take the hit already. I just need to survive 9 more minutes and I can collapse after that. 
 Sufferfest! =)
Just keep going!!! 500m before the finishing arch, my parents, Edan were cheering so excitedly. Aiman left me here to let me conclude my mission. Come on!!! I pumped my hands and kick as hard as I could to score the very final phase of my Marathon at pace 4.10mins/km. Once crossed the finishing arch at time 3 Hours 22 Minutes 40 Secs, beat my personal best by 16 minutes! That’s around 3 kilometers ahead! Hoorah!
 3 Hours 22 Minutes. New Personal Best by 16 minutes! =)
My body hurt so badly, once I received my medal and finisher tee, I laid down on the floor and nap. Aiman is a true friend sitting next to me ever ready to give me assistance, then my parents came. I had massage, didn’t have to queue because I finished the race early. Haha. One thing for sure, I was not in disbelief because I could have done this long time ago if I put an effort to break it. In the meantime, I use the apps made by organizer for us to checkout on our friends. Quek and Annie were still out there. Deo already finished a few minutes behind me, he scored his PB as well! I was so glad for the race went smoothly and uneventful. I will be taking one week of break from running, let my two toenail peel off first before I come back to training. I am done with my marathon dream this year, next will be Ironman!
Let me sleep first =p 
 With my parents=)
 Lt Aiman the Great

My Thank You wish =)
Thanks to my parents for waking up so early made hard boiled egg for my breakfast and stood by the road cheering for me. Thanks to my friend OP Azrul X Game for offering me the bottle of coke that revived me from a sluggish 5.00mins/km pace to 4.30mins/km at those critical kilometer marks. Thanks to my team2ndskin fellas, it is always a fruitful discussion prior to race day. Thanks @jasoncolour and Tri Stupe for the coke and gel at the Langgak Tungku ever ending hills, I was brought alive from dead. Thanks to @alphot for escorting me starting from kilometer 35 when I was really struggling and bonked so badly, it meant a lot to me. Thanks to all family and friends for tracking me and all the midnight good luck wishes. Thanks to @becca_jori for being so understanding throughout my busy days working and training, you're the best girlfriend ever! ;-) Thanks to @2ndskinasia @hammernutrition @skechersmalaysia @garminmalaysia @lifelineID and most importantly Royal Malaysian Navy for all sorts of support including providing gears and fuels for this race. Thanks to Tadonamo and Old Putera gang for keeping track. Congratulations to my buddy virgin marathoner Lt Quek for the strong finish.
3 hours 22 minutes, my new Personal Best for marathon distance 42.195km specially dedicated to everyone who supported this mission of mine.
‪#‎team2ndskin‬ ‪#‎teamNavy‬ ‪#‎teamOP‬ ‪#‎garminmalaysia‬ ‪#‎hammernutrition‬‪#‎2ndskin‬ ‪#‎skechers‬

  Finisher Certificate. Ranked 39 Overall. =)

4 Days after SCKLM, I sat for my Air Engineer’s board with my boss and I managed to pass it smoothly. Next target is to pass the Chief Engineer’s board for me to slash the biggest goal of this year! Nobody understood the pain I had in my body underneath my uniform, I never complain or give any excuse to skip my work for the sake of racing. All age groupers face the same challenge, just like me. Right now, my motivation is high and strong. Hopefully 2016 will be a fruitful year for me!

Friday, 12 August 2016

Skechers GoTrail Ultra3 Review : TriStupe

It has been months since my last blog entry and i apologize for not being "up to date" with my postings. In fact, for the money I spent to host my URL (www.tristupe.com), I am not getting the Return of Investment (ROIs) - posting wise. Rest assured I am still very much into blogging and the reason for missing out were because of my work and travelling commitment. 

My last review of Skechers were back in March this year where the GRR5 which was a total revamp of the previous GRR series - or to put it bluntly, a total change to how Skechers approach their products. When I received the news that I will be receiving the GoTrail Ultra3 way ahead of time, I can't wait. It was also the week that Skechers Warehouse in Malaysia caught fire, and burnt all stocks (current and yet to be launched model) up in smoke. Somehow, the pair meant for me and Deo was saved as it was sent in advance to our regular pick up point - I call it lucky!

Skechers has went on a journey of Minimalist to fully cushioned shoes. The Resalyte material continue to lend the cushioning at the midsole while the material upgrades were evident from model to model. With the Skechers GoTrail Ultra3, the game changed in terms of cushioning and stability, and down to the sole durability. Compare this to the first generation GoTrail I reviewed 3-years ago.

Back To Basic?
I was initially less than excited about the new model, as it seems Skechers is taking a step back from producing lightweight minimalist shoes that I grew very fond off. Shoes that are suitable for all foot type and are very forgiving as it doesn't restrict of forces you to change your running gait. Having used the Skechers Ultra and UltraR (or Ultra Road), I grew to like the additional cushioning it may provide especially when I run everyday, sometimes twice a day. This happen during my travels - and i truly enjoyed the stability and additional cushioning. However, the two biggest complains I have with the Ultra and UltraR are the usually softer landing, that the shoes felt sluggish, and that the soles shows wearing out pattern fast. I also learnt that despite it shows wearing out fast, it's still very much good up till 500km with no compromise on the grip (Ultra) or the cushioning (for both). Obviously, with the new GoTrail Ultra3, my expectation were somewhat "calibrated" towards lesser expectation. And I was so wrong.
GoTrail Ultra3 : Red
The color of choice this time around was Red, as the shoe before this, the GRR5 was blue. The other available color in Malaysia is Blue and Grey. My first impression as I held it in my hand was how impressively light the shoe felt despite the bulk. It sort of accentuate the Hoka series in terms of cushioning. The rated US9 size comes in at 11oz, which is similar to the UltraR. This Ultra3 seemed to carry over some feature of UltraR and improvised on a few key items. The most obvious was the outsole where it was a complete overhaul and do not have the GoImpulse Pods. The sole was harder than usual and felt very convincing for the trails in terms of grip-abilities and having large  drain/channel that will help in dispersing any mud, dirt or soil that get stuck in the trail. These deep channel also helps in providing great flexibility and potentially good transition when running. Experience tells me that these feature are important. I have written about Trail Shoes feature this in 2012, when the Brooks Cascadia5 was my all time favourite. For the record, I still have the Cascadia5, though it's super underutilized after I found the joy of Skechers.  
upclose with the Ultra 3 soles
The Ultra3 is made/designed for Ultra runs, meaning the shoe is designed for longer distance running with the cushioning and comfort via  the Ultra-class midsole design and next generation Resalyte cushioning mid-sole. One thing I noticed too, is that the shoe looked like it has a wider footprint when look from the top. The sole sort of extend outside of the shoe shape, so to say.
Tall shoe. Heel is 36mm stack. Notice the up-curve and how it extent outside of the heel cup. Evidence of wider footprint.
How does this add to the usability of the shoe? With wider footprint, it should lend more stability. This were visible when looking from the rear towards the heel cup as well. Despite the height, the Ultra3 is  4mm drop shoe. Stack height is 32-36 forefoot-heel. 
32-36 Fore-Heel stack. 4mm drop. Neutral feel.
The toebox of the Ultra3 was the next thing I noticed. it's wide. Skechers however note it as "medium" in their website. It's by far the widest I've experienced and for an Ultra and trail shoe, that is important. I was told that the Hoka may have tighter front and restrictive mid-foot wrap (anyone to verify, Hoka owner?) where else the Ultra3 felt like a welcome change. 
Wide with Reinforced toe. Notice the silver detailing which is the reflective finish
As expected, the MStrike remains standard where the Skechers Performance encourages Midfoot strike instead of heel striking. Again, the ability to run forefoot/midfoot landing has very much to do with how you are able to correct your running posture. 
What Are Those Holes On The Side?
I was looking at the side of the sole and noticed two holes on both inner and outer side of the sole. Logic tells me that it will, or should allow water to get out - and in. The position of these holes were mid of the mid-sole, and one may ask is there or how will the water logged inside can get out? 
Holes at mid of midsole. Why?
A little checking revealed that under the insole were 4-channels that will drive water out from the side.
Covered in mesh, in case sands gets in from bottom
Even the innersole or liner has holes to help express water out. The engineers at Skechers has thought of it in totality.
8 chevrons to allow water out
The upper part of the shoe is a combination of both synthetic and mesh material which lend to both durability and reduced weight. At this bulk, material engineering plays a big influence to the overall weight. 3D printed overlay lends structure and support to the shoe, giving a good fit to the foot.
Close up of the mesh
3D overlay adds to the structure
A welcomed change is the replacement of the Quick-Fit loop at the heel cup with a proper loop, which really helps pulling the shoe back up without unlacing. The tongue is about the same padded as the UltraR, which is essential for comfort in a long run or race. These small changes (loop) and consistency (tongue) is what adds to the final 10% of what gives the satisfaction to the users in my opinion. The details, it matters.
With reflective detail at back logo and loop. Nice
Use Review
The Ultra3 surprises me with the responsiveness when compared to the previous bulkier GoRun Ultra series. Everything from the toe box space, to how it fits the midfoot section, and the heel cup provide the stability. How it gives the assurance to the run both on and offroad, the flexibility and usability in all condition makes me use this for all runs since receiving this about 6-weeks ago. I've clocked close to 250km since, mostly clocked in my run when I travelled.
Street of Prague
Cobblestones of Europe with the GoRun Ultra
In the trails of Petrin Hill, Czech
And cobblestones of Prague Castle
Unfortunately, I did not manage to test this in the street of Bangalore and Manila - but they felt as good on the treadmill performing speedwork and Interval training. Not forgetting the two Running Clinics the team conducted during the period of testing. The Ultra3 has been extensively tested by Deo for his Nuang training, that he too, are convinced that this may just be "the" ultra trail shoe he will be using for his upcoming A race.
Confidence on the trail as on the road at fast switchbacks
The Ultra3 gets two thumbs up from me, and this has influenced the decision for wifey to buy one as well to replace her aging GoRun Ultra and GoRunRide4.
Last pair of US7 Grey left
Customised with laces from GoRun2 and GoRun UltraR
Note: This pair of Skechers GoTrail Ultra 3 is sponsored by Skechers Malaysia via collaboration with 2ndSkin Asia Athletes program. Thank you Skechers Malaysia and 2ndSkin! This pair is available, but limited sizing for now. Retailing at RM499 for men (Semenanjung). RM10-20 more for East Malaysia.