Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hulu Langat Trail Run 2017 Race Notes

1) Kind of looking forward to this race to gauge current fitness level and see how I fare with other runners. Woke up race day and it was raining. Was a bit chilled with how I did things that morning. Did the usual, breakfast and stuff. While on my way out, the kids woke up and resumed sleeping in my room. So everybody was all nice and cozy tucked inside a warm blanket. For a while, I felt to do the same.

2) I was suppose to go out at 6 am knowing the race would start at 7:30 am which means I have an hour and a half to get to the venue. So I was quite relaxed and liked how that feel the last time I raced. But I finally got out at around 6:30. Waze showed I'd arrive at 7:15 which was ok. Then a few minutes later it revised its projection to 7:30 and about 10km to race venue it said 7:50. The traffic was pretty bad so I decided to park 1.5km away as a warm up and continue onto the course.

3) The goal was to race and I was pretty much ready to do so. But first, had to pee. So I got that done near some bushes (one of the advantages of trail running). I was carrying a bottle of gatorade, a gel and 3 salt pills for nutrition. So I went in and ran it like a race. But there wasn't any motivation to keep the intensity high. I just ran as hard as I could and was constantly stopped by bottlenecks formed around steep technical sections. Data showed I completely stopped for around 5 minutes at one section. On other sections I had to slow down but I probably needed a breather anyway.

4) When I finally finished, I got some water and went running another 1.5km to the car. Didn't wait around since I don't want to get stiff. Cheered some runners still on the course and even gave out my gatorade. Went home and everything started to hurt and sore. As expected.

5) As for the race, it was raining so it was a bit cool and helped with the run a bit. I didn't use any gel or salt, just on course nutrition (fruit & 100 plus) and my gatorade. Course was runnable and on some hills I didn't stop. So that was good. As for the course, it was muddy, so I was a bit slow/careful but on tarmac section I tried to make up the time. All in all, it was a good race and I think I ran quite ok.

6) I also learned the importance of getting logistical matters right and I'm glad I've booked a hotel for SCKLM to prevent stuff like this from happening again. Official result showed I'm about a good 20-30mins off the top 10 placings.

7) KOKK next and it's happening 2 weeks before SCKLM so probably gonna have to be wise about how I'd run that one to not compromise SCKLM.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Gunung Nuang Ultra 2017 Race Notes

1) I was somewhat prepared for the race doing some climbs and had consistently ran. The furthest run was half marathon distance on roads and trails. So I know I could some how get to 20 - 30k, hike the rest of the way and still finish it. Nutrition wise, I have had experiences during long runs and most of the time I don't bonk or hit the wall that bad. By my standard, "bad" means vomitting, pulsating/painful cramps or anything that forces me to stop for a long time. My real concern actually was more on those pesky cramps. Those were usually the limiting factors in races and on long training days. But still, cramps aside, I never went more than 20+km so I knew It's gonna be tough after 30km but the primary goal was to just finish, enjoy the day/trail and learn as much as I can. It is afterall my 1st ultra so I don't have anything to aim for. If I finish, it's definitely gonna be a PB.

2) Race morning and I woke up at 4 and did a 1 km shakeout run, breakfast, poop and went to Nuang. The best thing about a run race is that there's not much gear to prepare unlike a triathlon with all the bikes and stuff. Found a parking spot and went rushing to the toilet to relieve myself only to find that there was a long que forming. So I decided to put my nutrition at the aid station first. It was dark, I needed to piss badly and the race was starting in 5 minutes. I didn't give much thought about the start. I know it was gonna be a long day and the trail was gonna be packed with people. I didn't plan to run going up so it was a really relaxed start to the race. In fact, the race started while I was taking a piss. I wasn't nervous at all and looking back, it was a pretty great start to a race since some time.

3) So as planned, I hiked up until it was runnable. About 1/3 of the 5km going up was runnable. Then on the descent, ran a bit but on steep descents I slowed down to save the quads. At the 10km or start/finish line aid station, I was looking for gels when I realized my car key was not in the race bag I was carrying. I thought maybe it was in the nutrition bags. I kind of had a bad feeling about the whole thing. I tried to ignore it, so I got some food and went for the 2nd loop. Applied the same strategy for the 2nd loop. After 2 loops (20km) I went searching for the keys. I've probably spent about 10 minutes looking for my car keys while at the same time, taking care of nutrition. Still couldn't find them and thought it might be stuck some where in the bag. It has happened before. On the 3rd loop, I took out my poles and ran/hike with them so I was concentrating on the poles and less on the missing keys. It was my first time using poles. I did use a makeshift poles from a couple of sticks at G. Angsi once and found them to be quite helpful in maintaing good form during climbs.

4) By the end of the 4th loop, I properly took out all of the content in search of my car keys and by then I knew I was fucked. I have lost my keys. I was like "what the fuck am I going to do now"? I had 10km to go. I can quit and go look for my keys or finish the damn thing and look for it afterwards. I decided to finish the race and was going to deal with it afterwards. So, I didn't get much nutrition because I was getting lazy and was worried sick about my keys. Spent the whole time going up thinking about where I placed them and how I was going to explain all of the mess to my wife.

5) On the final loop, after hiking up a bit and upon reaching the runnable section, my quads started to cramp. Then it became worse and I had to stop and stretch it out. I knew I'm at borderline here. Tried running and it just won't go away. So I walked the rest of the way (which was probably about 6km +) and finished the race. The first thing I did was went looking for my keys at the aid station and then at the surau. Then I walked to the car worried that it might get stolen (paranoid much?). Finally went back to the organizer and asked them if anyone found a car key. The organizer said "was it a honda?" I was like "yeah" and was so relieved and thank the guy who found them. Turned out, I accidently left them at the aid station. I must have accidently put my keys along with all my nutrition. It was dark and I was rushing to the toilet. Talk about lesson learned.

6) As for the race, I'm sure there are more interesting reports about the race out there, so I'm not gonna go into details. Just that, at 40km ,I lost my focus and didn't eat well. I had several chances to rectify my nutrtion during the 5th loop since I had some food with me. But I was lazy to do so and it was too late by the time I finally did manage to get some nutrition in. Mentally, I went on with the narrative I had in my head even before the race started which was to walk if I had to after 30km, so it was kind of like a self fulfilling prophecy in a way.

7) All in all it was nice event. Food was good, simple and I like the fact that I felt relaxed going into it. I manage to complete it in 7h 35 min. Don't know if that was good or bad. It doesn't matter. I finished it. My 1st ultra. In retrospect, I could've probably do better at 40k but the car key incident just totally threw me off. I then got really lazy/super tired and didn't execute my nutrition well and in a race lasting more than 2 hours, the smallest mistakes can have enormous consequences. It's like the most frequent advice you'd read on ultras articles and I've experienced it 1st hand. At least I didn't compound that by actually losing my car key.

8) To be fair, I arrived at the start line not totally fresh. Only taper for a day after running about 70+km that week. So I wasn't in an ideal condition to race but knowing I can consistently run day in and out, and having no major issue after such a long run is comforting.

9) Went back, sore and stiff. Got some food and rested. Wake up the next day to catch a flight to Bangkok. Upon arriving, rested for a day and did some easy run on Tuesday to let the legs know who's boss. They only obey by Thursday.

10) Did trans nuang to signal an end to the base phase as I shift my focus to running on roads mid March, April and May. Going to cap running at +-60k per week and compliment easy run days with quality workouts for the Sub 4 attempt in May. But before the attempt, I sneaked in some trail race: Hulu Langat Trail Run 18k and King of Kg. Kemensah 50k.

More on that later.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Logs and plans

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So logging starts. Monthly updates, hopefully. Likewise in Ironman training, I scheduled some races leading up to SCKLM 17. Considering I plan to do an ultra race (have to get some LSD anyways), I decided put in some challenging trail days to get some elevation in and to get the body ready. I guess for 2017, that epic race is TMBT 100k.



1) Nuang Ultra
2) Hulu Langat Trail Run
3) King Of Kampung Kemensah



And I've planned some trail run/hike to get some elevation with the elevation increased progressively.

1) G. Datuk
2) G. Angsi via Ulu Bendul
3) G. Datuk + G. Gagak + G. Rembau
4) G. Nuang
5) G. Berembun + G. Telapak Buruk
6) G. Angsi via Ulu Bendul + B. Putus
7) Trans Nuang

So far, I'm only left with trans nuang. I'm waiting for my Salomon Skin Pro 10 to arrive and also get some additional gears before attempting it. These trails are about (or less) than an hour from home (or my parent's) so the convenient factor + the nice elevation was the main reason all these courses were chosen. So far I think the best would be G. Berembun since it has everything and runnable. Would love to do Broga but there are probably too many people on weekends, but we'll see.

The 1st half of 2017 training is mainly to set a PB at SCKLM. At the same time, the 1st half base phase is also a time to explore new trails to train for the 2nd half of the year. Volume will peak mid march with a total mileage of around 80km. I don'k know if it's possible, but that's what I'm aiming for. Focus on endurance and speed for the last 2 months before SCKLM.

A months break for Ramadhan and training continue in the mountains again. This time probably more specific/threshold stuff.

The 2nd half training is mainly focused on finishing TMBT. So it's gonna be a lot of long runs and climbs.    

1H2017 Stats:
Start/Ends: 27 November 2016/21 May 2017
Planned Number of Training Weeks:
Goal Average Distance Per Week: 60km+-
Goal Average Elevation Per Week: min 1,000m+-

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Judging by the Ironman training, I've made an error in judgement by skipping base training. Base is the most difficult and most important phase. During base you have to go slow and its counter intuitive to go slow since naturally you want to go fast. Patience and faith is needed in base training. Most of my reading lead me to believe the base portion is the main phase of a training plan and hopefully I can perform them right. I also think the base phase is the right time to train to gauge speed and effort without garmin. I can also listen to music and explore new routes since I'm not tied up to any specific workout. It's simply just ... run.

Plan is to periodize to peak for SCKLM (planning for a sub 4 or a PB) in May and complete some ultras and one last big race nearing end of 2017. Most ultras especially those sought after races occur after syawal so it's also something I have to look into. Went for a standard 4 week macro cycle. 1 peak, 2 level and a recovery week. Will take it easy in June during Ramadhan and sort of re-start again after.

Decided to focus on a base of maybe around 3 months of easy runs, some elevation and strength training. I try not to be too fancy about it. If I can stay consistent running with an average of +-60km per week with +-1000 m of elevation, I'm set. Increase by 10% per week every 3rd week. Won't care about speed. Also rest/recovery every 4th week and if needed. Try not to push things too much. Also a marker workout to track fitness progress every recovery week.

Basically, at a micro level, a week in base is a combo of long run (trail/road), a medium run and the rest just easy runs. Week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturdays. This is so I can get the long run out of the way early and just fill the rest of the week with a recovery, strength, speed and threshold workout when those phases arrives. I learned that I usually had to skip my long runs due to a missed weekend. This way, I can re arrange my long runs to the next weekend and the mileage will still be considered in the same training week. Have to see how that'll turn out and adjust.

Then of course I have to balance mileage and speed/threshold workouts as SCKLM gets closer. A good taper and finally race.

I came to realize that its not that complicated, but it can be. The ironman training certainly provided some indication of what personally works and doesn't. This time I just want to be a bit flexible but have a plan to guide so that I have something to aim for every week.

Few rules:

1) Staying consistent by excecuting safe run combos. No hard day followed by another hard day. Hard means long or tough sessions.
2) Recovery: 1 day per week (no running/cross training), 1 week per month (go easy and reduce mileage to 70% from previous)
3) Be Specific: Go long, go vert, go on trails, go long on vert trails.
4) Stop/cross train when injured
5) Minimum 1 strength /core session
6) Do drills and strides on easy days
7) Split long days if needed

I'm also not going to update progress every week like I did during Ironman 2016. Maybe a monthly summary would suffice. We'll see.

Here we go.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 run

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This year is gonna be all about running. Few issues I have with running are that, the longer I go, the more it hurts. The faster I go, the more it hurts. Combine the two, running can be quite painful. Since I signed up for a 50k trail run/ultra race, I sort of have to run far and somewhat fast. So, these issues require attention or I'll be in trouble even before the race starts in February. I also signed up for a marathon and executing them well is also one of 2017 goal. So a proper training plan is required.

Since I'll be running trail, I need to run on trail. Finding one is a challenge by itself. There's plenty, but in terms of logistics it's quite inconvenient to get to. I love the fact that I can just go out the door and run straight away. But for trail running, it seems like I have no choice but to drive to get to a trail. Especially trails with a pretty decent elevation. So places/courses to train that don't take much time to get too is required as well.

Trail running usually involves few hikes/walks due to the sheer amount of ascent one have to do. So pace would be significantly slow and more often than not, I'll probably be spending a lot of time on the trail. There are no shops selling 100 plus or snickers bars which means I have to carry my own nutrition and water. The weather could also turn and I might end up running in the rain, muddy with leeches etc. Getting lost/injured is a real possibility too.

So good gears, nutrition and carrying important items are essential.

More on these later.