Friday, November 21, 2014

Running my first marathon.

So for once in my entire lifetime, ive completed a full marathon. A full 42.125 km worth of sweat, agony and pain throughout my body. And the experience is somewhat addicting, although not for the first few days after the race.

The Penang Bridge International Marathon is an annual running event, at the famous Penang bridge, and this year, being the first year of the 2nd bridge, the organizer managed to get their hands on the 2nd bridge and held the run there. All running categories from full marathon, half, 10k and fun run is included and awfully a lot of people are here for the race.

In my 2014 year resolution, i've challanged myself to run a full marathon, alongside couple of half marathon before to prep myself for the this big race. My initial target was to run two 10k races, followed by two half marathon, and finally a full marathon at the end of the year. and after judging some races, i decided to pick PIBM 2014 to be my marathon debut since it is at the end of the year. and also because it is relatively easy(no trails, and deadly hills)

The Big Day.

Preparation is all done and i was very much ready both physically and mentally for the race. I've read and even memorized some of the "first time marathoners mistakes" article on the net and im sure do grateful for that.

After considering well of my fitness level(which is not that good at that time btw) and some considerations on my body (from previous half marathon), i carefully plan my entire run. The plan was to run at an average pace of 7 min per km for the first 30km before stopping by for Subuh prayer and continued with the same pace for the last 10k or so of the race.

When the race began, i carefully and slowly began my pace, not trying to outpace everyone else and maintain that good pace. It all went well until i reached the end of the bridge, at about km20. At this point i knew, ive completed half of the race. So for the next 10k i've struggled to maintain the same pace although it did not really work out. according to my Garmin FR10, i;ve only managed to maintain avg 8-9 min/km pace for the next 10k or so. The pain on my right knees, and lower legs start to affect my performance. At km32 as my watch indicated, i stopped for Subuh prayer at about 6am in the morning, just as i noticed another muslim brother just about to have his prayer. With some water bottle from previous water station, i took my ablution just by the road and uses a towel i carried along with me to cover my head. So for those out there who think about not praying during races, think again. It was not that difficult.

Moving on from there, there is another 10km left according to one of the sign installed. And by this time my Garmin fr10 battery already died on me, so pace was not my concern anymore although i was hoping to complete the race in about 6 hours. At this point, i can barely jog since my thigh and ankle felt so painful and it felt like it can cramp anytime if im not careful. And i hate to not complete this race. So whenever i felt that urge, that jolt of pain, i stopped and walk away.

The last 4km felt like forever as i can no longer jog. Rather than hurting myself and not finishing it, i change the plan to walking until the last few meter before the finish line. and i glad i did that since i managed to run off the finish line with some graceful jog for the photographers to take some pictures of me(hopefully). (edit: es i have a picture, but man, it was so bad, and they even charge me!)

at that time, i was worn out, i did not have much of energy left, my thigh, ankle and my knees is in a deep pain and after a long queue for medal and finisher tee collection, i get on and had my breakfast, which is worth noting to be the best breakfast ive had in months although it is just a cereal. From there it was all fun times with friends before heading back home.

Some summary on the race course, as expected it was fairly easy in term of the track. It was pretty straightforward, tarmac track with little elevation changes. Elevation gain was as little of 18m which very little. During the start, you can see the street lamp all the way until the end of the bridge, and to some this is a great pain in the ass. Must have a strong mental to overcome this until the end. In all it was a great run and im glad i chose this run to be my debut marathon run.

Data my Garmin managed to store before it died.

And thats me, got my ass kicked from the first marathon.

And there you go, my first experience running a marathon. and first though is that i wont race a marathon again. Not after this pain. But after a deep slumber, i can help but wanted to do a better one, one where i can complete in that 7min/km pace throughout. hehe. Maybe next time.

and here are some of my advice on anyone planning on running their first marathon anytime soon


1. Train your legs well - dont just depend on jogging to strengthen your legs, do some weight exercise, go cycling. I knew i need those prior to this run.

2. Fuel properly - Eat drink well before the race. bring along gels if necessary

3. Dont consume gel and run - this might be a personal advice. last race i consumed a gel while jogging and later on my stomach starts to feel funny and i was in very great deal of pain for 5km or so until the next toilet stop.

4. Dont start too fast - unless you are an athelete whos done half marathon, running all the way that is. Start slow and build up from there. dont get to excited and sprint off.

5. Dont consume banana in the race - again, this is personal advice. I knew if i consume a banana will eventually have a visit to the toilet anytime soon. So if you dont want a mid race toilet session, dont.

6. Bring along tigerbalm/ minyak panas/ salonpas spray or anything that can ease up the pain -  because most aids camp wont have those, and have only ice packs which is slow to work with.

7. Hydrate well - Do stop by for drinks at the station. better if you can bring along a water bottle.

8. Listen to song - This helps a bit, especially that last few km to the finish line


Hope these advice helps!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Part 2 - Kelantanese Women.

On 12th September I began my journey to backpacking around Peninsular Malaysia. At first I was planning on travelling on train to my first destination, Kelantan. The idea of sleeping inside the double decker coach, in a 12-hour train ride excites the hell out of me. But since the plan was ad-hoc, there were no more tickets available and I have no choice but to travel by bus to Kelantan. I specifically chose a right time so that I can save time in term of travelling and money in term of accommodation. So I picked up a trusted Transnasional bus estimated to depart from Hentian Putra at 1045 pm Friday night. Since it was the weekend where school holiday begin, the bus station were very crowded with people, wanted to go back to their hometown.  Here I notice something new, how Kelantanese people can talk to each other like they are colleague and family. Sure the first few hours in the bus is a bit noisy but it’s a good experience to have.

Along the way, there were some traffic along the way to Kelantan and the vehicle does crawl from times to time. I arrived at the Kota Bharu Bus station about 0800 am in the morning with a cloudy but promising sunny day. Once arrived, I immediately contact Faiz, a long lost primary school and childhood friend of mine who’s studying Accounting in UiTM Kota Bharu. The natural thing to do in the morning was to get ourselves a good breakfast and knowing im in Kelantan, I know for sure my favourite East-coast breakfast, Nasi Dagang can be obtained easily. People of Kelantan unlike any other state, love to have heavy breakfast. Their breakfast consist of large portion of rice, mutton or fish and their gravy. Much similar to what normal Malaysian had during lunch. Sure, for those trying to follow their habit will end up feeling all tired and sleepy after a heavy breakfast. After some quick session of Nasi dagang and tea tarik, we head back to Faiz Rent house just few minute drives from the city centre. 
On our way.

The tentative for the day was to attend a wedding of my early-UTP friends whom have left UTP after we completed Foundation. The wedding is set at Pasir Mas, about 1 hour (I think) journey from Kota Bharu. After bidding farewell to the newlyweds, we continue our journey to Rantau Panjang. Since we are already close there compared to the city centre. Before that we made a stop at the famous Jubli Perak Al Sultan Ismail Petra Mosque. The architecture resembles of that those old China buidlings. The mosque was well taken care of and they even have a small bazaar selling muslim clothing and medicine outside the premise. The inside was not that big since the mosque was initially built only for small numbers. 

Nice touches in the architecture. They even provide robe for non muslim to cover themself when visiting here.
Gateway to Thailand.

The Baba Ice cream.
Then while chilling out  after sweating from the hot weather and strolling around the mosque taking pictures, Faiz introduce me to this special ice cream, I believe only available here in the area of Rantau Panjang. The ice cream consists of about 6 scoops of ice cream, small bread cubicles, jelly, corn syrup, pulut and some cincau. The ice cream is best eaten while the ice cream not yet melt because once it started to melt, the bread will become soft and I personally prefer it to be crunchy and cold at the same time ;p

KB burger. Yums!
Then we continue to Rantau Panjang. Me being just a lalang-football fans and currently travelling, did not buy anything to conserve my budget and since my backpacks were already at their maximum capacity. There you can find many jersey as well as wedding nicks and knacks at very cheap price. Lets just say I can get a Player-issued jersey of World cup team at a price of just rm15. But since im on a budget, I refrain myself from spending any money on cloths. As the sun set, we head back to Kota Bharu and had Burger Bakar KB as dinner. The price was OK and the burger was served fast enough although some food from the menu has already finished even though it was only 0900 pm. Having the chance to be in Kelantan, I hook up with this friend of mine, last seen on 2012 in one of event that I joined. We went straight to Wakaf Che Yeh after the Burger Bakar session ended and stroll around there for some times. If you can’t get to Rantau Panjang in the day, just head here as it offers much similar items like in Rantau Panjang, although with some price hike (consider the transportation cost and logistics etc.) After that the plan was to go to Pantai Irama but bad weather makes us head back to the city and just have a chat session over some drinks until midnight.

Next morning, we have to leave the house early as faiz have his class early in the morning. Since I don’t want to be a hassle to them, I decided to hop in and start my journey early. It was a bit rainy that morning, and naturally the first thing to do is to find some good spot for breakfast. Me being me, don’t have much issue in the food department. So I decided to walk-by and see the city itself and stop by and restaurant that has many people in it.  That is, the best indicator for a good place to eat. I had my breakfast in a local Mamak just beside the roundabout infront of Limkokwing Branch College in KB. 
Among other museum you can visit in KB!
As expected, mamak here are very fluent with kelantanese dialect, even I got a bit lost when they ask what kind of curry do I want with my roti kosong. Some breakfast and after googling my location, I decided to get into the Kelantan Museum, also just near the roundabout. Nothing much can be seen here because the main exhibition still not open since it quite early (about 0900 am). So I was left to view their largest collection according to Guinness Book of Malaysia for coins and paper money exhibited in one place. Sure, there are many interesting money dated way back before we reach our independence, even way back until the first Kesultanan Melayu Melaka timeframe. Although to many this seems rather boring and lame, but I do recommend a visit here, for this coin and paper money exhibition. You can feel a bit more appreciated of our own history, although not being able to remember everything, at least some of it will stay as a memory. 

Spiraling staircase.

Three very rare rm50 notes before they were cut into individual part.

After that straight away decided to go to the Siti Khadijah Market, a place where only women do their business like selling everything you need to prepare dishes. But it was unfortunate that I did not managed to walk around much here. The walk took a little bit over 45 minutes since I was a little lost (LOL) and a bit distracted by the girls from nearby college. LOL. As I reach the market, I straightaway look for something to quench my thirst and while doing so, looking at the normal routine of KB people. Next stop was the Jahar Palace. An old palace just behind the Siti Khadijah Market. Here, there are more info on Kelantan custom and me being me, I did not pay much attention on the history, although there are some that spike interest in me like the showering place located outside the palace, specially made and used for male/female  bride before their wedding ceremony. 

By the time I finished walk around, it was already noon and Faiz came and fetch me to have Lunch with his colleague. I can’t remember the shop name, but the concept was to take food for group, rather than personal and they will charge everything in large sum. So you need to kawtim with friends on what menu to have on the table. Because in the end, you’ll be paying the same rate. I don’t think I ever did this kind of thing at UTP, or anywhere in Perak. We were having Patin sambal tempoyak with ulam, belacan and budu, also ikan keli goreng and ayam goreng including a jug of sirap bandung to share among us. All that for rm7. Yums. After that since its almost Zohor, I decided  to join them and head back to their house for some rest. End up I slept all the way that evening. LOL. Maybe I was too tired from all the walking, or maybe because of the food.

A good place to hang out. Drinks and cakes are normally priced though.
That evening  I wanted to look for some Akok, a speciality dessert from Kelantan which im in love with. Sadly it was to late in the evening and the weather is not that forgiving. It was raining heavily and after some though we decided to just go to the only Mall in KB, which is none other than KB Mall. Fun fact, utp also has a kb mall, well not really mall, but a mart. KB Mart. Haha. 

Me and faiz stroll around the mall for some time and I guess the mall is quite okay since it have variety in shops for clothing, food and electronic stuff. We have some chit chat over some Caramel Machiato and an Orea Cheesecake at the Arnold Cycling Café. The environment was nice, given the small place and what more enjoying than exchanging stories of the past with people who you rarely meet up.
That night my bus to Butterworth were scheduled at 10 pm and after some round of KueyTiow Tsunami(because there are generous amount of sauce/ soup in the kueytiow), I left Kelantan for another journey that took about 7 hours to my next stop, Butterworth.

 Look it up when  youre in KB. They even have fruit juices that comes in all sizes of cup.

p/s: Oh and about the head title, I forgot to mention, Kelantanese girls, or preferably women, are very beautiful in general, even the ones that selling Nasi lemak near the bus stand is pretty by my standard. Haha. Even from survey of my friends, many agreed that Kelantanese are very beautiful. Haha. But hey, that should not be the criteria that we should be focused on right? Only an added benefit ;)

Total cost spend here is about RM100. That is including bus ticket to Butterworth, which alone cost rm37. The rest were mainly on food. Yep :)

Next stop?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Plan that rise from the ashes.

After a long hiatus on this blog, here I am again. 

Just so you know, I’ve been very busy with final year (yerr rightt) and that would be the main reason for this long hiatus. Secondly I lost that sensation in writing blog again. Nowadays it is easier to just tweet or just write up a status about anything we encounter in life. So I’m done with my degree now and waiting for Convocation on middle of October 2014. My last semester result has come out and all praised to Allah, I managed to get my targeted pointer for this final semester. Having manage to climb up from 2nd class lower to 2nd class upper, man, im more than grateful for all this good news. Enough about this, lets get back to the main topic.

If you did not follow my instagram/ twitter account you might not notice that im on a solo-mission of backpacking around Peninsular Malaysia. By the time I’ve post this online, im sure I already completed my journey and have a good night sleep at home.

I got this thing of traveling throughout the peninsular back before my internship begins but at that time, I planned on going with few of my colleague. Long story short, the plan did not work out. We have too many ideas, to many conflict and in the end, the plan crumbles and disappear into thin air.
So during my final exam week, I had this thought, much similar to any other student, instead of focusing on final exam, we are much more excited to plan on what to do after the exam ends. Some have great travel plan, some have their own bucket list to complete and some, well, some just stay quiet because they are broke. Haha.

So after putting some thought, I decided to go on with the peninsular trip. I began with listing out each and every attraction in each city. Most of the information is retrieved from Google, travel blog, TripAdvisor and friends. At this particular time, budget is still not the main concern because I have saved some money specifically to be used for any travel plan after I finish my study. It wasn’t much but I think I can survive with it.

Once the research is done, next is to contact friends and family of contact in each city for their assistant in traveling in the city. Before the trip begins, I already accept the fact that I will do most of the traveling on foot. Because of that I have listed down only places that are within 10km radius from the city center.  That was the initial plan. But after getting in contact with some close and long lost friend, I managed to ask them to assist me in this journey. Their help is forever will be in my dept. At this time, I was more excited to plan the trip rather than studying for my final exam. Sure there are times where I’m scared of the fact of travelling all by myself and thinking of putting of the plan but in the end I muster up my courage and just let the plan goes.

Here are the stuff that I carried together for the first half of the trip

Deuter Trans Alpine 30L
EASTPAK Out of Office Backpack
Camera Gear
Canon 450D + 17-70mm f/2.8-4 OS USM
China-made 120 degree sportscam + 32 GB micro-SD
1x extra battery for dslr
Cheap tripod
Sunglass + Glasses
Timex Expedition watch
2x collar Tee
2x collar shirt
1x sweater/windbreaker/raincoat
2x roundneck Tee microfiber
1x long sleeve shirt
2x pair of khakis
1x shorts
1x Kain Pelikat
3x boxer
1x pair of socks
1x Bath Towel

Acer aspire one (netbook) + charger
16000 mAh powerbank + cables
3 hardbound books (for fyp submission) – first half journey only
4 text book – ridiculous I know, but I need to sell them for monehhh ;)
1x logbook
1x reading material
1x waterproof case for smartphone
Set of medicine for emergency
1x Powergel for emergency
2x torchlight (one on each bag)
2x Multitool (one on each bag)
1x pair of shoe laces (I don’t know why, probably for emergency case)
1x cellophane tape (misplace inside bag)

And on the night of 12th September, I embark on a self-journey around Peninsular Malaysia. Next post will be all about Kelantan :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Long journey.

This running shoes.

This particular one.

I bought this last May 2011 and now, almost three years since i began pouding the road with it, i have decided to put this little guy at home, where it will most probably be, covered in dust. In the shoe shelf. Only to be used during my breaks at home(so that i dont have to bring shoes all the way from UTP.)

This was my first shoes i decided to buy, when i planning to start taking jogging to another level. Although it was not until last year that i began running for races, i've started long ago, in small2 races (less than 10k). and this shoes is what i have with me during those times. Although, i was kinda stupid back then to start with a lightweight shoes(instead of a trainer/ better cushioned shoes) but looking back, i did not regret purchasing it at a local Al-Ikhsan store in Sunway Pyramid.

Well, i've ran about 600km - 700km in this shoes, if my calculation was right( avg 20km per week multiply by 30 weeks +-). Regardless of the number, it has serve its time with me, with all money well spent.

Sayonara Adizero Mana. Thanks for all this times.