Sunday, 18 January 2015

5 days to Dubai Marathon 2015

Done with my last interval session for Dubai Marathon 2015. Now it's time to take it easy and keeping my feet up with 5 days to go. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Ooredoo Half Marathon 2015

9 January 2015

It is a new year, and traditionally Ooredoo Marathon will be the first race on our calendar, Doha folks (well at least for the past 3 years), and as usual, I ran the half marathon as a training run for Dubai Marathon which will happen in two weeks.

This year I ran the half marathon for my employer ORYX GTL. They are really serious in promoting healthy lifestyle among their employees and we had about 40 runners running in the blue ORYX GTL's shirt. Not only they paid for our registration fees and spoilt us with a nice race pack which was better than the one from Ooredoo, they also provided training sessions led by our team captain, Derek Harding and a running talk/clinic by the former Olympian and world champion Liz Mc Colgan.

ORYX GTL PelariStyloYo runners with the legendary Liz McColgan after the talk.
Race pack by ORYX GTL. It's an added motivation when your employer is fully supportive of your interest. 

With some of the ORYX GTL Diesel Turbo runners

My pacer for the race was Joost Venne, who was running the full marathon. That was unusual considering he is a 1:25 type half marathon runner, but he was not planning to race it for PB. The plan was to run the half marathon at my targeted marathon pace in Dubai. We agreed to run the first 10.5 km at 5:00/km and a little faster on the way back for 1:45ish finish. We ended up a running a little faster on the way out since we had a nice tail wind and struggling against the wind on the way back. I was really pleased with the course. It started from Katara Cultural Village, passing through the skyscrapers of Westbay and along the beautiful Corniche road all the way to Museum of Islamic Art before we turn around and head back to Katara. Simply beautiful. The out and back course allowed you to catch the glimpse of the elite runners and support all your friends on the other side of the road. Running with Joost and Marios, I was able to maintain my pace and we chatted the whole way. I was happy with the 1:44 finish with average pace 4:53/km, but it was not as easy as It should. Clearly I still need to work on my fitness for Dubai.

Happy days. My wife did well in her 10K race as well. She did a new PB and came 6th in her Age Group. Well done dear.

It was a nice race. I had a chance to catch up with a lot of friends from Doha Bay Running Club (DBRC) which I have not seen for a while including Karl and Anna who flew from Muscat just for this. There were a lot of improvements in this year's race. It has more international race feeling with the elites field, big prize money, nice course which was completely sealed off from the traffic and the biggest most beautiful and heaviest finisher medal ever. Much of these improvements were attributed to the race director Sarah Whittington (my coach) who worked against all odds to put on the race for us to enjoy. There were small number of volunteers but they were top quality (many of them were DBRC members). It was enough to make it up for it. I believe with a right organising team, this race can be grow and be one of THE races in the Middle East.   

With the founders of DBRC, Karl and Anna. And Lucy my triathlon buddy
Happy faces everywhere. PelariStyloYo had another great day with many of us achieved our PBs. Special mention to Ila who ran her first half marathon and Nordiba who completed her first 5km race.

The bling. You cant complain when the finisher medal was this awesome. Thank you Ooredoo.

Race Statistics
Position Overall: 66/374
Position Gender: 58
Position Age Group: 9
Gun Time: 1:44:24
Nett Time: 1:44:18

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Dukhan Triathlon 2014 (Team Relay)

24 October 2014

The Dukhan Triathlon 2014 marks the start of the new race season of 2014/15here in Qatar after a long summer break. Being the first on the race calendar, it attracted a big number of local participants. Almost every triathletes I knew, were there.  I was contemplated to enter the solo category but considering I am already tapering for New York Marathon next week, I decided to register in the team with my KBT (Kona Bound Triathletes) mates.

It was a windy day. The sea was choppy and poor Alan had to battle the waves, the currents and the kicks and punches in the entire 400m swim leg. He was clearly exhausted when he finished the swim and run from the beach all the way up to the transition in 11'19" where Davy was waiting to start his bike leg.

The choppy sea in swim leg

We were lucky to have Davy in our team at the very last minute. We were desperately looking for cyclist when our original rider, Najib had to pull out two days before the race because of some chest infection.

The weather was nice and cool in the morning, but too bad the race started a bit late at 9.00 am and it gets hot when I did my run.I really hate the wait to start my run. The runners were lining up the transition area while waiting for their cyclists. I was second to start the run in the team event after Davy did an awesome job on the bike completing the 20km in 36'50". 

Davy flying off to start the bike

The runner for the eventual winner in the team event was really good. She was 200m ahead of me from start to finish. I tried to close the gap but she did not slowed down and maintained the pace. I stop chasing and just maintained my pace. I am just happy to come second and secured the podium finish for my team.

Podium Again

We won portable DVD and TV receiver. Happy days

Well done team KBT

Time: 1:09:27 (400m Swim, 20km Bike, 4km run)
Position Team: 2nd
Position overall: 16th

Friday, 29 August 2014

Edinburgh Marathon 2014

25 May 2014

I registered for Edinburgh Marathon while I was sulking for not getting into the London Marathon through international ballot yet again. The race was promoted as the UK's flattest and fastest, since I have never been to Scotland, I took it as a travel opportunity while hoping for a PB race.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city, probably one of the prettiest I have been so far. I really enjoyed the sightseeing, museums, culture, history and the hospitality of its citizen. So one of the objectives checked. Now for the main objective. I woke to a heavy torrential rain. I was already drenched and cold by the time I lined up in the assigned corral. It was windy too.

Gear check

Nice running tracks around Hollyrood Parks and Arthur's Seat

The race started from London road in the centre of Edinburgh and heading down towards the forth. It was all downhill until we reach the coastal road along Forth of Firth. The course then turned undulating the whole way. I got carried away running downhill this early in the race and ran faster than my target pace. At that point running at 180 bpm heart rate felt easy. Then I started day dreaming. I thought, wow this is it, today is my day and I am going to finish this race in 3:18. I ran in zone 4 all the way to the half  while the HR alert kept on beeping. The hell with the beeps, I was feeling good. I was a fool. That was the biggest mistake I made, ignoring the high heart rate alert from my watch.  

I started to feel tired right after halfway. This was not a good indication. My pace gradually dropped from 4:40s to 5:30s when I got to KM 31. Then the disaster struck. Not only I was tired, but my left knees was killing me. It was my Runners Knee/ ITB problem again. It was so painful, even running the beautiful course along the coast and the woods in Scotland were not enough to provide some relief. I was literally running with one leg. The course was undulating the whole way and it was more painful to run down then up the incline. I thought I have sorted this problem. I have not had this problem since Munich last October. Then I realised my second biggest mistake. My shoe! I thought, since I have been doing a lot of core strength training and perfected my running form, I can run in  minimalist racing flats like the pros, BUT it was a big mistake. I ran in Asics Gel Excel 33 in Dubai and felt light and great. So I thought I'd step up by wearing an even lighter shoe, the Saucony Kinvara 4. I had no problem running in them during trainings. I did all of my long runs in them. I think the different was the slippery road and the undulation course. After 30K, I felt the Saucony provides no cushioning at all. The feeling was like the two bones on my knee joint hitting each other at every step. My race was over. I ran walked the remaining of the race in pain and feeling angry to myself.

Edinburgh Marathon, a test of perseverance

Thank You Edinburgh for the lessons learnt

Like my previous 'failed' races, I took it as yet another learning experience and let it go.

Edinburgh Marathon Pros and Cons:

1. Just right size
2. Beautiful course along the coast of Forth of Firth
3. Nice crowd support especially around Musselburgh
4. Great support from volunteers

1. Uneventful Race pack collection
2. No expo only a small tent from a local running shop
3. Insufficient porta porties at the start
4. Long walk to the shuttle buses after from Finish line marathon village
5. Results unpublished to public (later rectified by the organiser)

Race Statistics

Full Time: 03:56:32
10k split: 00:47:46
Half marathon: 01:43:13
30k split: 02:32:49
Overall finish position: 2993 of 8620
Category: Male 35-39
Category finish position: 477 of 967

Monday, 25 August 2014

New York 2014: D -168 New York Im coming

I have secured the ballot to run in the New York City Marathon in 2012 but have deferred it twice, but this time it is for real, New York Im coming. My upcoming trip to New York will be sponsored by my employer, Oryx GTL.

I just signed the sponsorship agreement yesterday and already bought the flight ticket to New York JFK. I am so thankful for this opportunity and will do my best to inspire and promote a healthy lifestyle to my collegues.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Qatar Cycling Federation Al-Shamal Road Race

9 May 2014

I have been cycling twice a week as cross training since last December when I bought my road bike. I have since then fell in love with cycling and enjoyed it even more than running. My speed and form is getting better and my results in the GMC Tri Series were the evidence.

Eager to see where I stand amongst the pure cyclists, I decided to participate in a road race that took part 9th May 2014 in Al-Shamal. There were an Elite 71 km and Weekend Warrior 36km categories. Yes I took part in the later. I have never rode more than 40 km so far, so I would not gamble and risk of coming last in my first cycling race.

Al-Shamal is located about 70 km north of Doha. Not familiar with the place, I joined a convoy departed from Ikea at 5:30 am. The drive to Al-Shamal was interesting and somewhat a nervy experience as we were driving in thick fog all the way. The fog was so thick the visibility was reduced to just a few metres. But we made it to Al-Shamal just in time for the registration.

There were many female national cyclists in the 36 km race. I cant help worrying losing to these girls. The course for the race is one loop out on Shamal highway and back to the town via Al-Gharya Road. I started the race cautiously and kept it steady at around 30 km/h. Some of the more experienced guys went off  way too fast for me to tag along. I quickly positioned myself at the back of the big chaser group among the national ladies. The weather was hot and windy making it really hard for a novice like me.

I made a steady gain and overtaking others one by one until I broke away from the peloton by 10th km. In front of me was the top Qatari female cyclist. She had her coach and asst. coach driving along by her side. I managed to catch her but she stayed on and drafting on me. Well I don't know how much saving she got drafting on my back but she stayed for 6-7 km refusing to share the work load. Her coach and her assistant kept shouting and giving instructions to her in Arabic. It was rather annoying. I managed to break up from her at the flyover exiting the highway into Al-Ghariya road back to Al-Shamal.

The inbound was a lot harder as we had to fight a strong head wind all the way, plus I was cycling alone. From here the lead group had dispersed and spread out individually. I managed to overtake 5 or 6 more and continued to press on despite my HR stayed at high 179/180 bpm. My speed was reduced from the 30s to just 25ish kmh. I was closing in with 3 more cyclists in front of me as I sprinted to the finish line. I completed the 36km race in 1:13:24 for 8th place. It was a great feeling to finish in the top 10 in my first race considering I was still new in this sport.

I believe I should focus more on cycling and utilise my thunder thighs to a good use.

At the start

I was pressing hard to catch the guy at 7th place

Friday, 25 April 2014

GMC TriSeries Race 4

5 April 2014

Alhamdullilah, I got my first podium finish in a solo triathlon event in the last GMC Triseries race. I only competed in the Super Sprint race (400m Swim, 10km Bike, 3.3km run) because I was not ready to swim anything longer than 500m in a race yet, and I was really tired from the 5km Night Run race on Thursday night and the 25km long run yesterday. I also made a right decision strategically as most of the established triathletes in Doha were competing in the Sprint distance. Happy Days. 

I thought my swim was good, at least I wasn't so spent when I dragged myself out of the pool into T1. The bike section was great. I felt comfortable with my bike and just hammered it through the rugged surface of the technically challenging bike course. Apart from running which is still my strongest, I have improved considerably on the bike too as I managed to pass many people who overtook me during the swim. Right then I knew that I would made it to the podium. It was also good to see my wife and kids at the transition area as I went into T2. Off to the run, I felt very tired and cant seem to push myself harder. I  was so relieved that this will over soon so I just maintain the effort until the finish line.

My time overall timing was 49:54, which placed me second. Only 9 seconds behind the gold medallist, but I take it. It was then I realised that this could be my sport. I only need to work extra hard on my swim and spend more time on the saddle. The run will take care of itself.

Race Statistics:
Rank: 2
Swim: 10:00 (Ranked 8/28)
T1: 00:46
Bike: 22:53 (Rank 2/28)
T2: 00:46
Run: 15:27 (Rank 2/28)
Total: 49:54

From Johor to Boston

I took up running in July 2011 after my BMI rating shows Pre Obese. I was 10kg overweight. My doctor advised me to excercise for 30 min every day, quit smoking and eat healthy.I cannot even run a full 1km without taking walk breaks when I first started. But I can proudly call myself a marathon runner a year after. I joined Doha Bay Running Club in January 2012 and I am glad to be surrounded with like minded people around me. My goal is now to qualify for Boston Marathon.