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

Syafei's 0:34 h Pool swimming Move #SuuntoSwim

Syafei's 0:34 h Pool swimming Move #SuuntoSwim

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.