Friday, February 24, 2012

Why I Run

It’s a question I get a lot since I started running last year. When someone asked me again recently, I replied: “Untuk kesihatan badan” (For health).  The answer, however, was rejected outright. I was referred to the film “Sepi” where one of the protagonists ran for a much deeper reason. It is therefore thought that there’s something more philosophical to my running as well.

I can understand that sentiment, especially now where I’m busy promoting my own community running project, Larian 40 Taman 100 Kilometer. Surely there must be a bigger objective than merely for better health?

Well, it all began when I was invited to promote and participate in the ntv7 Feel Good Run last year. I said yes, even though I barely clocked any sort of meaningful kilometres. I was trying to lose weight then just to look better on screen for MHI, but the treadmill and exercise bike that I bought were mainly used to hang my clothes rather than for what they were meant for.
But once I said yes to the Feel Good Run, I knew I had to take the commitment seriously. For one, I didn’t want to look like a fool, panting and struggling, or God forbid, passing out on event day (although that would have guaranteed me instant press). So I knew I had to hit the parks and see how far I could go.

The first step was of course to buy a pair of new shoes. I bought the adidas cross-trainers, but they sat in the box for a good few weeks before I finally took them out, and wore them to the nearby park.

I was a total novice, of course. The shoes weren’t really suitable for running, and I had no gadgets whatsoever to track my runs. But I did started running. In cotton tees and track bottoms, no less.

I remember the first few times, I felt like dying after about 500 metres. I ran out of breath easily, my shins were really aching and I got re-acquainted with that sharp pain around the abdominals felt during “merentas desa” all those years ago.

I realised how unfit I had become at that point in time and I hated it. I mean, once upon a time I was a jock for crying out loud, hitting the courts for some bball action almost every day during my uni days, and I did weights on and off as well.

But work commitments these past few years had taken me to a different path. Free time’s usually filled with good food and “quality” time on the sofa; a combination that led to a degree of happiness, but a lot to worry about. 

And the biggest worry of all was; would I be healthy enough in years to come to look after my loved ones? That question popped up more often than not, especially with constant news of people that I knew who were struggling with one health complication or the other.

I realised how irresponsible it was of me to also burden them with the task of taking care of me should my health fail big time. And the thing was; I was in a position to do something about it.

That being the major motivating factor, I overcame the first hurdle of simply not giving up. I made it fun to run, by first and foremost, buying cool new gear. Haha. The Nike Vomero shoes with Nike + chip, proper (and fancy) running tops and pants etc.

It was then all down to pure determination and will power. The aching shins, the shortness-of-breath were all still there, but I continued to run. And run. And run.

Soon enough, my mind and body adjusted to the shock of the new me, and I started feeling good. And as all other runners might also say, I started to fall in love with it.

I also started to lose weight and generally felt healthier than I’ve ever been. Taking things further, I started entering running events. It started with the 5km, then the Feel Food Run arrived and I ran the 7km instead of the 3km “celebrity category”.

Still, at that point in time, I felt like the 10km was a challenge too big for me, but I finished my first 10km a few months after the Feel Good Run. What a moment that was. I felt like I had conquered the impossible. All the hard work was more than worth it.

Of course I couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and family (they know who they are). NOT doing something is always easier, but having good support all around us would make the hard part even easier. 

So here I am now, running regularly and as mentioned, taking the cause to the community. I run wherever I go and I still get a rush every time I cross the Finish line. It also feels great when people come up to me at events and tell me that they took up running because they saw me doing it on TV. 

I’ll never be the fastest runner around, and I don’t know if I’ll ever complete a full marathon in my lifetime. But running has really changed my life. I’m in my 4-series now and I face it with a degree of confidence.

I also have many running goals to fulfill now, but none is more important than staying fit and healthy: for myself, and for my loved ones.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Larian 40 Taman: Taman Subang Ria

Another good run it was at Taman Subang Ria in Subang Jaya, the sixth in the series of Larian 40 Taman 100 Kilometer. It started a bit late though as some runners couldn't find the entry point that was proposed. In fact, I myself got it wrong when I waited for the rest outside the entrance. Luckily one of the (new) runners spotted me and suggested that we drove inside and look for the car park.

By the time we got in, some runners were already waiting, while others were communicating with me, trying to find their way there. This was in fact my first time at the Taman. Strange, considering that I used to stay in the area during my matriculation days. Maybe I've been here before, but not for running though, hehe.

Anyway, it was great to see some new faces making it for this run. And of course, it's always fantastic to see the "hardcore" runners as well. Will write about them soon enough.

I gave away some T-Shirts and we started the run after a short warm-up session.

The jogging track's rather flat with a short incline at the end (if you're running anti-clockwise).

But things got a lot more interesting after one lap when it started to drizzle. We continued to run though, and although it stopped drizzling for a while, those who continued with a third round (or more), had to negotiate with an even heavier drizzle!

And with that, history was made, as it was the first time that runners of Larian 40 Taman had to run in the rain! Haha.

But again, it was a really enjoyable run. I finished three loops, which was the average, while there were those who went on for five rounds. Bravo!

For full report, click HERE

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Article in the New Straits Times: Marking A Milestone

Check it out: the article in today's New Straits Times on my personal running journey and Larian 40 Taman. Click on the photo for the link, or better yet, get the hard copy now! NST itself marks a milestone today by becoming the first "talking newspaper" and you could actually get this article read to you! How cool is that?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

MHI @ Tambun Tulang, Perlis

The last time I was in Perlis, it was probably when boybands ruled in the 90s. So I was pretty excited to head up north for a special broadcast of MHI in Arau.

Took a Firefly flight up to Alor Setar on Thursday and then it was a 40-minute taxi ride to Arau. Pakcik teksi took a shortcut through some kampungs instead of the highway, so it was a pretty scenic ride throughout. I must say I had my mouth gaping wide most of the time, admiring the peaceful surroundings of paddy fields and picture-perfect hills. Orang bandor lah katakan. Haha.

Our hotel was the Soo Guan Villa Hotel, an establishment that's been around for ages, I was told. It's a pretty decent place too lah, the room was rather spacious with a decent bed, hot water and TV with only terrestrial channels.

Best part though was the fact that it was right next to a paddy field. So this was my view from the balcony...

Cool huh? After a much-needed nap, it was time for some food-hunting. And of course the first order of business was the famous laksa Perlis aka laksa kola. Co-host Nurul Syuhada used to live here, so after a couple of phone calls, we were off looking for this particular place near her old primary school. We were shooting it for a VT story as well, so I assumed driving duties and less than half an hour later, we found it!

We ordered some "laksa special" and man oh man, it was indeed pretty special. The kuah was simply perfect and with the right combination of condiments, we were slurping up the good stuff like there was no tomorrow!

But although the laksa story was completed, I was not done yet and managed to convince Nurul, the producer and cameraman to eat some more. Haha. And off we went to Kuala Perlis in search of good seafood.

We picked a random stall and ordered some kerang, sotong, ketam and this thing called manterang. Didn't know what to expect but the manterang bakar turned out to be rather yummy...

With our stomachs all filled up, we went back to the hotel for some shuteye. Woke up the next morning around 4.30am and got to the location at Kampung Tambun Tulang around 5.15am.

Nurul, Ally and myself hosted the show and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable broadcasts ever for me. We had the Aman Kampus participants as well as the Kampung folks all around us, so it was very meriah and colourful. And the main "set" was a cool gazebo!

Probably the best part was the kayak race between Team M.Zul and Team Ally. We knew nuts about kayaking, but hey, it was all in the name of putting up a good show!

We got into the kayaks with baju Melayu and all and led our respective teams in a speed kayaking contest. I lost to Ally, but the final team score was 4-4. Phew! But I'm confident if I had a bit of time to practice, I could have smoked Ally. Or turn over into the water. Haha!

But again, it was a truly enjoyable TX with plenty of good memories to take home. Thank you Tambun Tulang!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The British 10k London Run: I'm In!

Yes, indeed! Just minutes ago, I registered for the 12th British 10k London Run via online. GBP50 got me a confirmed place for the event on July 8th and I have no doubt it'll be awesome! Now to work out those tiny issues of flight ticket and accommodation : )

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tribute To Tuan Senang Besar (TSB)

Dearest friends,

An event that pays tribute to arwah Kharis (aka TSB) will be held this Saturday at Las Vacas Kelana Jaya, 3-5pm. This hi-tea is organised for friends and family to remember arwah as well as to contribute whatever we can to arwah's wife and daughter. For more details, please refer below:

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Larian 40 Taman: Taman KLCC

Another good run it was at Taman KLCC this past Saturday, the fifth in the series of Larian 40 Taman 100 Kilometer. In fact, it was a very beautiful morning and I myself was more than looking forward to running there for the very first time.

I got there slightly after 7am, and already a few of the Larian 40 Taman regulars were waiting for me. These guys totally rock, I tell ya. And as promised, I gave out the exclusive T-shirts to the first 10 earlybirds as well.

Also present was a photographer from the New Straits Times. I had done a phone interview a couple of days earlier, and the photog was there to snap a few portrait and group shots. Hopefully the story will come out by next week the latest. It would certainly boost the profile of this small effort of mine!

After the obligatory warm up session, we began our run. The target was to run two rounds, one loop being approximately 1.3km.

I've read so many blogs that raved about the jogging track here and I could see why. It's well maintained, easy to run on and the views are just spectacular.

We did a total distance of 2.64km and everyone was in good spirits at the end of the run. After some photo-taking (but of course), we then adjourned to Pelita nearby for breakfast.

What's great about this event as well is how people are simply making new and meaningful acquantainces. Some have seen each other at running events before but had never said hello to each other till now. And that's just lovely, in my mind : )

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Video Larian 40 Taman @ Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya

Larian 40 Taman: Taman Bukit Jalil

The fourth run in the Larian 40 Taman series was held at Taman Bukit Jalil this past Saturday. Now, this is a park that I'm quite familiar with, being just a stone throw's away from where I live.

I was quite astounded by what I saw the first time I visited Taman Bukit Jalil. It covers a huge area and has something for everyone. It's got a jungly area with an already laid-out trail for those into jungles (or climbing up hills), wide open spaces for picnicking and family-friendly games, a good jogging track, ponds with actual fish in them, etc. On Sundays especially, you'll also see various groups doing chi qong. It's really a place teeming with all sorts of healthy activities!

Anyway, it was a pretty cool and cloudy day when we gathered for the run on Saturday. And it was great to see some returning faces from the first run! Putting myself aside, there are now quite a few people who have joined at kleast two out of the four runs so far. Will make sure to keep records after this. Also present were some folks from the office, including Malaysia Hari Ini boss and GM of magazine and documentary Primeworks Studios, AKZ.

Again, it was a pretty relaxing run around the park. And everyone was really supportive of some newbies, waiting for them to catch up after the first round.

I must confess to doing something pretty deceiving though. As usual, I told everyone that the run would be around 2.5km in distance, but we ended up doing 3.53km. A record for Larian 40 Taman! No matter that a couple of the runners actually said, "Patutlah rasa macam jauh je". Haha. But hey, it's for everyone's good, right? : )

 For the full report, click HERE


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