Sunday, June 28, 2009

KL Marathon 2009

When 2009 came, I wasn't too sure I will continue running anymore, after all the pain and injuries I went through.

But after some googling around, I decided that my shoes could be the culprit. So, shortly after Chinese New Year I got myself another pair of spanking new Nike shoes. Nike Air Structure Triax 11 maybe quite a mouthful, but it brought the joy back to my running again. According to the sales guy, you are supposed to buy one size bigger than your actual size, as your feet will expand as you run.

Thanks to a good friend who also took up running recently, I slowly got back into training again.

When the Standard Chartered KL Marathon was announced, I quickly registered for the full marathon, which I immediately regretted! But since commitment is made, I decided to try my best to train for it.

The hardest part of the training was waking up early on weekends to do the long runs - if you don't start by 5 am or 6 am, the sun will make the runs unbearable.

By the time the marathon came around, I had logged almost 300 km in 3 months, including 4 races.

Before the race, the question constantly eating on my mind was - will I be able to finish the race? The furthest I had ever done in training is 25 km, but according to marathon training theory, anything between 25 km to 32 km in training should be enough to guarantee that one can finish the full 42 km.

Then there's also the weather - the race starts at 5 am, meaning amateurs like me will finish in the hot sun between 10 am to 11 am. And last but not least, there's the feared "hitting the wall" phenomenon, the moment when your leg muscles finally run out of fuel.

The race started in drizzling rain, which I was very thankful to God for, as it meant that the first 30 km was very pleasant - the rain was later replaced with an overcast sky and a gentle breeze.

After running through Petaling Street (km 32) and up Jalan Istana (km 34), I finally found the fabled wall. I had imagined it was going to be fatigue, but it was not - it was sheer pain! Both my legs felt like they were going to fall apart. I managed to alleviate some of the pain by doing squats and rubbing Counterpain. From km 34 to km 40, I was alternating between running 1 km and walking 1 km. Km 40 to 42 was mostly walking, with short runs of 300 m in between. It was agony, but I also knew the finishing line was near!

My good friend who was running the half had stayed back to cheer me on in the last 200 m. Thanks, Liu! I owe you one :)

I finished in 5 hours 6 minutes, above my target time but I was just glad that I finished :)

I ran 42 km and all I got was this finisher medal :) (plus a finisher t-shirt)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dating Blind

There was an article in The Star recently about where ladies could supposedly hang out to meet guys. They include the usual suspects like the local Starbucks, to the weekend flea market.

For the Chinese in Malaysia there is the MCA Cupid Club to look forward to. Judging by the number of weddings they had, I would that say it is more successful than trying to snag a guy while pretending to browse through some old antiques :)

Anyway, from the early 80's until 2003, the British had a tv show called Blind Date that supposedly did the job. It was hosted by the irrepressible Cilla Black, who always ended the show with "ta ra then!".

The show basically had a guy choosing between three ladies who he can hear but can't see, and vice versa, after which the show sponsors them on a blind date at a usually exotic location.

The fun comes in four parts - in the answers to the questions that the chooser asks (most participants try to give as suggestive as possible answers to even the most innocent questions), in the fact the guy who gave the most charming answers was usually a fat bloke who you usually won't even give a second look, in the speculation of whether they tried anything with each other during the trip, and finally, in the behind the scenes post mortem of the date by both sides.

While the show was great to watch, as far as making real matches was concerned it was quite miserable, scoring a measly three marriages in its 18 years of existence. The BBC has a great write up about the show here.

The Taiwanese had a much more effective tv show called 非常男女 which was somewhat modelled after traditional Chinese match making. A group of ladies would sit opposite a group of guys, and the hosts then throw up topics for discussion which then helps the participants decide who they like.

The parents of the participants usually come along to give moral support - some of them even point out to their kids who they should choose! As usual, there is the inevitable guy or lady that everyone wanted to date, but for the most part, at least half of them end up with someone by the end of the night. And some of them were so serious they looked they were going to get married on the spot! The show's been discontinued, but you can catch an old episode here.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Tale of Two Car Parks

The other day, a discussion at the office reminded me of a true story that happened at a place I used to work some years ago. No names mentioned, in order to protect the innocent :)

Once upon a time, there was a company that had an open air car park and a covered car park at its office. Only the two top big honchos of the company were allowed to use the covered car park, while the rest of the staff made do with the open air one.

Everyone accepted this arrangement, and all was at peace.

Due to tight project deadlines, some staff came back to the office on their own on Saturdays. There were no OT or extra allowances for doing so, but they were happy to sacrifice their day off. Since the bosses didn't usually turn up on weekends, they parked at the covered car park.

One Saturday, the big boss turned up. He was enraged that his car park was occupied.

The following Monday, his PA sent out the following email to all the staff:

"Please take note that no staff is allowed to park at the covered car park at all times."

From that day onwards, no one came back the office on Saturdays.

The End.

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