Nagano Marathon Race Report

A short a trip to Japan but what a trip it was as I caught the Sakura season and there was a marathon too! Read about the race here.

Gear Reviews

All the reviews here...

Trans Nuang 2013

5 runners. 42km. 16 hours. Elevation gain 2,878 meters / 9,442 feet. All here.

Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2014 Race Report

After a long long wait, I finally nailed it. Full story here...

 

Tag Archives: Carboman

Personal Safety App – React Mobile and React Sidekick

The following situation isn’t that hard to imagine in the world we live in today. After finishing with the dishes you walked out to the living room only to find armed assailants with machetes to the necks of your love ones. Or while out running, you become aware of a suspicious looking motorcyclist making his rounds. They’re just a sampling of terrifying yet realistic situations that we may unfortunately find ourselves being confronted with. In fact, it was due to a home invasion incident that had app co-founder Robb Monkman, held at gunpoint, that led to the development of React Mobile.

Wanting to do more for on and off campus safety he created a tool that could be used to silently and discreetly alert a wide network, including the authorities, of an emergency and its location. After testing several beta products in various markets for over a year, the React Mobile safety app was finally launched in March 2013. Recently the app was overhauled, making it much easier to use.

Monkman emailed me and here’s what he says about the app and a little more about the team.

What Is React Mobile™?

React Mobile is a powerful safety app that turns your smartphone into a powerful lifeline. Our app has a “Follow-Me” feature that lets you share your location with friends and family so they can track the your whereabouts in real-time and follow you to safety. Let your trusted contacts know where you’re going, how long you’re going to be gone for and include a personalized message. If the duration of a “Follow-Me” session expires, our app will automatically send out a message to your emergency contacts letting them know that they should check in with you. Perfect for solo runners going jogging after dark or for parents that want to watch over their children this Halloween.

In an emergency, simply slide our app control to the Help Me position to send out a widespread to your emergency contacts letting them know where you are and that you need help. Users can optionally post React alerts to Facebook and Twitter to let a wider network of people know about an emergency. Whenever a React alert is activated our app automatically dials the local authorities.

The React Mobile safety app is available for download on The App Store and Google Play and has been continually evolving for over a year. Learn more about the newest version of our free app at: www.reactmobile.com

React Team

Robb Monkman
CEO and Co-Founder

  • Leads React’s product development, branding initiatives, and sales.
  • Decade+ of marketing and management experience at multiple software start-ups.
  • Served as the Marketing Director for a company specializing in emergency communications software.
  • Experience launching multiple products.


Rob Bangerter
Hardware Product Lead—COO

  • Leads React’s hardware development and company operations.
  • Highly successful track record helping organizations build the operations side of the business into world-class structures to support growth. 25+ years in the consumer products industry from concept to market.
  • Part of team that created world’s first app-enabled game accessory for the iPad.

As with all good apps, a quick setup is necessary before the app can work for the user. That involves adding your trusted contacts into the list. Your enlisted friends can then follow your movements.

Here’s how it works: Before starting your commute, initiate the “Follow Me” to a trusted contact. Enter more details such as the estimated duration of your commute or travel and where you’re heading. These of course are optional but the more information, the better naturally. Do bear in mind that you’re after all sharing these with your trusted contacts. The app will alert the contact who will then be able to follow you on the computer or mobile device. When you arrive at your destination safely, just slide your status over to “I’m Fine”. No prizes for guessing what the little “SOS” button does! The app is even thoughtful enough to remind you to let your friends know once your expected time of arrival (ETA) expires to avoid unnecessary worrying.

You can choose to also have your status posted to Facebook or Twitter. In cases of emergencies, the wider the call for help is broadcasted to your contacts the better. Naturally, you can also choose to have emergency response teams

The mobile app isn’t the only element in the solution because the team has come up with a little device to complement the app. Called the React Sidekick, this little button allows the user to trigger the app in a quicker manner rather than fiddling with the phone. Seconds count, after all. Here’s what the Sidekick is about.

What Is The React Sidekick Safety Device and How Does It Work?

The React Sidekick is a personal safety device that pairs with the React Mobile safety app putting security within reach when it counts. The Sidekick is the fastest way to reach a wide network in an emergency and eliminates the need to find and unlock a smartphone to call for help. Simply click the React Sidekick button to send out a widespread React alert to trusted contacts. The React Sidekick was recently funded on Kickstarter and the first units will be shipping this Winter. Pre-sales of the Sidekick begin in November 2014.

I personally think the React Mobile and React Sidekick are excellent personal safety tools. It’s not hard to think of the many situations where they will come extremely useful. Making use of technology and engaging our trusted circle of friends and family make it more powerful. I’m trying this app out and you should too. Learn more about React Mobile’s team at: www.reactmobile.com/about

Double Trouble: CAPAM Race Report

In my PNM (Half Marathon) race report, I wrote that I was, for once, smart enough NOT to have registered for the marathon distance. Now that I’ve ran the same tough course the second time in two weeks, I guess I’m not that smart after all! However, having done PNM and coming so close to hitting 2 hours despite not starting out with a racing mindset, CAPAM presented an opportunity to right the “wrong”. This time around, I was better prepared. 2 gels and the iPod Shuffle were added to my gear and after some slight rubbing experienced on the little toe, I opted for a pair of thinner asics socks along with the Boston Boost. Finally I adjusted the Virtual Pacer on the Garmin 620 to 5:20.

CAPAM was such a low-key event that having failed to pull in the crowds in an already congested running calendar, the organizers reopened the entry. That was when I signed up along with Nick. We often get ourselves in such situations – you go, I go kind of thing. Except for next year’s Nuang Ultra where he’s on his own! Out of the 5,000 expected entries, the event saw only around 2,000 runners across all categories and distances, which ranged from 22K, 10K and 5K. There were no porta-potties at the start (runners were to use the limited public toilets opened at that time) and along the route. With 25 minutes to the start, the car park was still sparsely filled. By the time we entered the corral, we saw that harboring all hopes of sneaking a 10th position (RM200 purse) would be stupid because there were at least 20 Africans amongst the bunch of runners. I won’t go into the controversy involving phantom runners and cheats among this group of runners but from recent investigations by other runners, something definitely smells fishy.

Due to the small number of participants in the 22K category, Nick and I found ourselves only 5 rows from the start line. The gun went off sharp 6:30am and by the first left, we were already running at 5-min pace. That would be normal for race starts and pace correction will set in quickly enough. However we found it hard to keep the pace down. Through constant monitoring, we managed to keep things manageable. The first walk break came at the 12K mark. This was where runners encounter the short but sharp incline section just after the Precinct 20 cemetary. I’d taken my first gel at 8K so it was more of self-preservation rather than hitting the wall that I chose to walk up. The Putrajaya route is a tricky one and one simply has to run (or walk) smart.

Until that point, the going had been slightly easier than what I went through during PNM last weekend. The morning weather was cooler, there were more visual distractions, I had music pumped into my ears and gels pumped into my system! On the other hand, the visual cues also made me more impatient as I found myself questioning how far it was to the next landmark! Ironically, the visual sensory deprivation associated with night racing that PNM was made focusing easier.

The second power-walking episode happened at the sharp climb up to PICC (14K @ 6:06) but I quickly cut back on the deficit with 5:10 and 5:09 splits over the next 2Ks. It was still too early into the race to be surging, so I quickly pulled back to a more manageable pace thereafter. I constantly kept Nick, who was about 50-80 meters ahead, in my radar just so that I don’t fall back too far. I popped my 2nd gel at the 16K aid station. Just before the 18K mark, hordes of runners from the 5K category merged into the route and we had to execute a few dodging maneuvers.

Photo credit: Calvin Toh

The pace over the next 2K was like a roller coaster as I was tiring. A peep at the watch revealed the sub-2 goal to be in danger. It was already 1:41 at the 19K mark and this course exceeded 22K. I would have to run low 5s the rest of the way to be able to nail it. The final bridge proved to be a minor irritant which slowed me down to a 5:35. That must have got me into a panic mode because I didn’t realize I ran the remaining distance at 5:16, 5:04 and 4:33! My mouth was as large as a feeding whale shark’s as I gasped for air like crazy. It wasn’t a pretty sight. The finishing photos also confirmed my suspicion that I’ve to correct my hip weakness if I’m to run more efficiently. Right now, I’m just not pushing off strongly enough. Too much wasted energy.

Photo credit: Tey ET

Photo credit: Mrs Cap’n

 

Anyways, I did get that sub-2 with a 1:57.57 for the 22.3K course. The 21K split was 1:52 which wasn’t a personal best – the most recent being 1:50 in Gold Coast 2 years ago – but it was certainly my best in dreaded Putrajaya. Until the official timing is published, I don’t know where I placed. It doesn’t matter much as there was just too many controversies surrounding this event. I got the timing I wanted, averaged 5:19 against my goal pace of 5:20 and was able to dedicate another race to a friend. That’s all that matters. #FTT!

Aside: Tey, you asked about my max HR recorded during the race. It was 191!

Samsung Galaxy S5 & Gear Fit: HRM, Distance Tracking and Coaching Functions

Note: I posted my first impression of the Samsung Gear Fit and Galaxy S5 here, so that could be your starting point.

I’ve since spent a week with the duo and gotten more at home using either gadget. The GF pretty much stayed on my wrist throughout the day, silently recording my steps, exercises and sleep. The function I use most often is the Heart Rate (HR) sensor as well as the Pedometer. The rest, not so much other than poking around. Prior to this head-to-head test, I wasn’t too impressed by the HR readings of the GF. The readings ranged from low to mid-50s (waking up), 70s (middle of the day), stressful meeting with the boss (70s) and while working at the desk (60s). Since the only time I ever monitor my HR is when I run, I found these readings strangely low. There’s only one way to find out – a throw down! In the mix, the Garmin 620.

I strapped on the Garmin HRM chest strap, stood in place and started the watch and GF. The following photos show the recording. Photo was taken by a bemused colleague.

The first take was a primer. I felt that it was still too low and I wasn’t quite convinced. But there wasn’t that much difference between them. So I hopped around some and got these readings.
The gap widens the second time around. I chilled out for a few minutes before jumping around like a madman in my cubicle (I had warned my colleagues beforehand) trying to get the HR up. Here’s the final take.

Pretty impressive don’t you think? It totally dispelled my doubts about wrist-worn HRMs.
Distance Tracking
The results of this test is a forgone conclusion. There’s no way a non-GPS device will outdo one which is considered the brand of choice for GPS. The numbers speak for itself even though I started the GF early while stationary waiting for the start of the recent PNM Half Marathon. Here’s I need to point out that I wore the GF without tethering it to the S5 mainly because I don’t run carrying a phone. I’m quite certain that the S5 will do a better job measuring distances than a standalone wrist band.

If I had the GF and S5 paired over the duration of the race, there would’ve been more data captured.

If you’re one who has no problems carrying a phone, you should instead use the phone’s exercise tracker instead. The features available are nothing extraordinary as any bona fide smartphone will have a functions such as the one you see below. There is no difference between Running, Walking and Hiking beyond workout classification because you won’t be able to measure cadence or elevation. In its defense, neither could any phone in the market today.
Once you’ve wrapped up your workout, you could flood your achievement in a multitude of platforms. But not Twitter?
As you can see, the fitness logging features the GF and S5 combo provide a decent combo for enthusiasts but let’s be realistic here. They will never outperform other sports brands’ products. Polar, Garmin and even Nike+ are in a different league of their own due to their years of experience and product integration. Having no online logging is a downer for Samsung in my opinion. Relatively new, Samsung’s activity tracking are pretty much confined to what you can view and track on the phone as you can see from the following screen shots. The storage may be local on the phone but the graphing and presentation are not too shabby. Below are some screen samples.
If you decide on making more changes to your lifestyle the S-Health functions can actually provide you with a touch more help in the form of a “Coach”. This is designed to provide motivation and guidance by recommending workouts or exercises that commensurate with your current level of fitness/well-being. It does that by putting you through a series of questions and assigning you a score.
Once you know where you stand, the next step is to set goals and work towards meeting them. I didn’t find the features intuitive enough and following the questionnaire I felt a little overwhelmed on what affirmative actions I need to take. As it is, I need to poke around a bit to set each goals. If the goal setting can be presented in a single screen (or multiples by swiping) it’ll make the set up process easier. Presently it feels a little disjointed. A bit of refinement is all it needs.
I’ll wrap up my thoughts in my next post on the GF and S5, so be sure to check back.

BSN Putrajaya Night Marathon Race Report

If you can run strong and well in Putrajaya, you can race strong anywhere. The soulless spot in the country has everything – lack of shade, super humid environment, hard pavements, long undulating roads, steep ramps that take away your pace. It’s as much mental and physical doing a race here. Yet I found myself toeing the start line on a hazy night yesterday. The predicted thunderstorm didn’t happen and the thick haze that enveloped the central region had only lifted a little. But the running group had committed to support a friend and a word’s a word. As the marathoners were flagged off, I told Nick that the decision to run the half was probably one of the wisest decisions we’ve made the whole year!

The week leading to the race were horrendous. Everything was just wrong – 3pm and 4pm lunches, 5-hour sleep, uncertainty at work. Looking back at my Garmin log, the last I covered 20K was way back in July 28th! It was therefore a futile attempt to try hitting a PR race, not when the elevation of the revamped route looked like this.

Treating the event as a way to get back into the groove meant taking things easy. I didn’t even have an early dinner, opting for just a Clif Bar an hour before the start. I also did away with compression gear and carried only 1 gel. The race was flagged off exactly on time to fireworks. Nick and I had covered most of the route before and we knew what was in store, thus the plan was to conserve. Somehow with a few recent short races under the belt, the 5:09 opening click felt so easy. I pulled back immediately and from there the pace lingered between 5:15 to 5:20-ish. Due to the elevation changes, it was hard maintaining even pace. It was more running at even effort than pace.

Traffic coordination was good and we had the wide roads to ourselves for much of the race. Nevertheless the long climbs will eventually get to the minds and muscle fibres those running in Putrajaya. By 10K (53:03), I was already dousing water on my head as if trying to wash off the humidity and stale air. I cracked open the only gel at the 11K water station located just after the cemetery and continued doggedly along the increasingly mind numbing route. 1:20 at 15K was OK but the next 7K would be a slog.

The short and steep climb up towards the PICC was to be my first of 2 walk breaks. Followed by a pee break behind the bushes :D . The downhill from the top of PICC allowed me to get back to decent pace which I held for the next 3Ks. More dousing and more drinking at the 18K (worst split) ensured that I would be running in squeaky shoes for the remaining part of the race. Recent days at work had pummelled me, the course was punishing but I had to push for my friend. The difficulty was nothing compared to what he was going through. I had to finish strong but I needed a goal. A peep at the watch showed that I could still nick under 2 hours and started pressing. With a K to go, I needed to run a sub-5 minute final K to get that but all hope wasn’t lost as I could still rely on my 10K race pace. I rounded the final corner and started pushing even harder. The legs were stiff, like I’d just ran 40K. But no one was passing me. I started reeling in those around me and even those ahead of me.

A few more strides to the line. Photo credit: Victor

Photo credit: Vivien Tay

Unfortunately the race didn’t end at 22K. It was 22.3K. My final 4:51/K wasn’t enough and I had to settle for a 2:01 instead. It was a little disappointing at that time. Since that moment, I’ve had a little time to think about my performance. I weighed the splits against my training log and I think now that I might’ve been a little too harsh on myself. Each performance have to be reviewed in the context of training and other factors. Other than the 2 walk breaks which obviously messed up the overall timing, the splits weren’t that bad. In terms of effort alone, last night’s results rank as one of the better ones I’ve put in. The race was 1.3K longer on a course that only those with consistent training will do well. Putting everything into perspective, I should be satisfied with the outcome. If we’d given it all, there’s nothing to be sad about. Life is and should be about giving it a go and never giving up. It’s appropriate that finishing last night’s race gave me a good reminder of the perspective we need to maintain.

So fight on, bro. Fight on!

 

Press Release: AirAsia X’s Flights for Winners at INOV-8 PACESETTERS 3030 RUN 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kuala Lumpur, 7 October 2014 – The Pacesetters Athletic Club announced AirAsia X as the Platinum Sponsor and Official Airline of the INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014. AirAsia X will be giving away 12 free return flights to 12 destinations in Asia and Australia with a total value of RM35,760.00. The free flights are prizes for eight (8) categories winner, four (4) lucky draw winners and two (2) online contest winners. The free flights for categories winner will enable them to compete in the international level by participating in the marathon events held at AirAsia X’s destinations.

Wan Yew Leong, president of Pacesetters Athletic Club said that “The participation of AirAsia X is timely and will benefit our club since participating in overseas runs is part of the club’s promoted activity. We look forward to working with AirAsia X in overseas run where AirAsia X flies to.”

PAC’s vision and aspiration is to be the leading running club in the country and region. To achieve this, we will organise three events that aim to be “best in class” in the region. The INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014 is the first of these three events. 2014 is the 30th anniversary of the founding of the club and having a 30km run to celebrate this special occasion would be really memorable. There are 10 marathons and several more half marathons in Malaysia, but there are no 30km events. This is a boutique event and provides an opportunity for those wanting to test their readiness for the full marathon. For seasoned marathon runners, this is a long run that is essential for their marathon preparation.”

INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014 is to be flagged off at Padang Merbok. Runners will get to experience some of the finest run routes in Kuala Lumpur, running through leafy Kenny Hills and Sri Hartamas. They will be well catered to, with 13, 8 and 3 drink stations on the 30km, 20km and 10km routes respectively.

“Our club’s tagline, ‘Setting the Pace Together’ will be printed on the finisher’s shirts. The INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run originated from a 30km training run organized by runners for runners many years ago. We hope this event will inspire other running clubs in the country to have their own events in their towns. We have a vision of a circuit of runs organized by runners for runners across the country. PAC will provide the lead in co-ordinating a series of runs by running clubs in 2015.” concluded Wan.

Pacesetters President, Wan, with representative from Air Asia X at the press conference.

AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer, Azran Osman-Rani said, “Sports sponsorship has always been essential to AirAsia X as it brings communities together and we are X-cited to be part of this event that encourages Malaysian to recognize their potential in sports and run for a healthier life. It is also our privilege to realize the dreams of deserving winners of this run to go further and compete in other international running events happening in AirAsia X’s destinations with the sponsored return flights.”

This is our sixth 30km event and it is made possible by title sponsor INOV-8 in partnership with event owner and organiser, Pacesetters Athletic Club. Garmin is the official fitness watch, Running Malaysia is the media partner and Nelson Franchise as bronze sponsor of the event.

With all 8 categories opened for registration since 16 July 2014, the event has garnered good response from runners. The organisers targeted to get 3,000 runners over the 3 distances – 30km, 20km and 10km. The registration will close on 20 October 2014 or on reaching 3,000 entries.

For immediate registration, go to www.myraceonline.com and for more information, please visit www.pacesettersmalaysia.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/groups/1507084776194776/

- END-

For further information, please contact: Wan Yew Leong at 019-3569031, wanyewleong@gmail.com

About the INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014
The INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014 is scheduled to take place on 2 November 2014. The event aims to get 3,000 runners, ranging from elite professionals to first-time amateurs. A truly ‘best in class’ event, the INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014 boasts participants from all over Malaysia and neighboring countries. The INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014 continues as Malaysia’s boutique running event catering to the running fraternity with different capabilities. Registration is opened since 16 July 2014 at www.myraceonline.com

For more information on the INOV-8 Pacesetters 3030 Run 2014, please refer to: www.pacesettersmalaysia.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/groups/1507084776194776/

About Inov-8
Established in 2003, Inov-8 is the leading fitness equipment manufacturer with the dedication to celebrate the grit and glory of the committed athlete. Inov-8 operates at the extremes of sports. As a brand, Inov-8 does not settle or stop ever. In the pursuit of excellence, there is no finish line, only continued development, hard work and sweat. Driven by a team of elite athletes, having competed in and coming from various

About Key Power International
Founded in 2006 by avid runners and triathletes, Key Power is the leading distributor and retailer for performance sporting goods. With a deep focus and understanding on the needs of the markets, Key Power International has delivered the promise in providing the best performance gears. Today, through Key Power International’s extensive distribution network and a footprint in 4 key regional markets, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, Key Power International has provided the experience and opportunities to consumers in their pursuit of active lifestyles.

About Key Power Malaysia
Key Power Malaysia is the subsidiary company of Key Power International (Asia) Pte Ltd. Founded in July 2011, Key Power Malaysia has been active in the sporting industry with a focus on providing the best performance sporting goods for consumers. With 3 key outlets in Malaysia and many other exclusive dealers, Key Power Malaysia has achieved a strong presence in Malaysia’s sporting industry. Apart from that, Key Power Malaysia has also participated actively in sporting events to bring forth opportunities for consumers to pursue active lifestyles and disciplines all over the world, which includes mountain running, road running, triathlon and Cross Fit, Inov-8 is bent on providing the best fitness equipment.

About AirAsia X Bhd
AirAsia X is the long-haul, low-cost affiliate carrier of the AirAsia Group that currently flies to destinations in China, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Nepal and the Middle East. The airline currently serves 21 destinations across Asia (Nagoya, Haneda, Narita, Osaka, Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Xian, Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Chongqing, Colombo and Kathmandu), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Gold Coast) and the Middle East (Jeddah). AirAsia X currently operates a fleet of 20 Airbus A330-300s, each with a seat configuration of 12 Business Class seats and 365 Economy seats. The airline has carried over 12 million guests since it commenced long-haul in 2007. AirAsia X was awarded the World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Seat and the World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Cabin titles for two consecutive years at the 2014 Skytrax World Airline Awards. Our vision is to further solidify our position as the global leader in low-cost, long-haul aviation and create the first global multi-hub low-cost carrier network along with other carriers of the AirAsia Group.

First Impression: Samsung Galaxy S5 & Gear Fit

Being a geek, it’s an anomaly that until last weekend, I’ve not owned nor had the opportunity to use any Android devices. So it was an opportunity not to pass up when a chance to get to know two of the latest offerings from Samsung came along. Although I’ve worn the Nike Sportband some years ago (review page), living and sleeping with not only one but two devices. Talk about two-timing!

The two in question are of course the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Gear Fit. I need to preempt the reader that I’m not setting out to review the S5 in the manner of the experts at GSM Arena, Techradar and Trusted Reviews. If you’re curious as to what lies under the hood of the phone, you’d best click on each of the link I provided. Instead my goal is to give a fair take on what amounts to the tech giant’s first take on wearable fitness devices. You may ask why first when the smartwatch the first version of the Gear has been around for more than a year. That’s a valid question which has a simple answer. The Gear is quite simply an extension of the phone whereas the Gear Fit goes beyond the functionality of complementing the phone by incorporating much more features devoted to keeping an active lifestyle.

The Gear Fit strap is available in several colors. Shown here are the black and lime green options.

With that let’s get some of the (very) basic features out of the way:

  1. Both the S5 and Gear Fit are weather resistant.
  2. Both are very light despite their weather sealing.
  3. Both are equipped with heart rate sensors.
  4. Both allows for external cosmetic customization which means you can change the colors of the S5 backcover and Gear Fit straps.

The way geeks work when confronted with an entirely new gear, is to do away with any reading material or online reference. Very gung-ho, I might add! Just figure things out on our own because, you know, reading is such a waste of time! Better dig into the gear, right? After all, not reading the manuals beforehand would be akin to put the gear through a usability test. Unless, of course, we run into a wall. Common sense dictates that both devices need charging before the test drive. So both were plugged into the USB adaptor and left to charge overnight. To charge the S5, one has to peel away the weather-sealed flap of the port before plugging it into a power source while the Gear Fit (GF) snaps onto a clip. It’s a little tricky in getting a secure hold between the GF and the clip. I found that I had to press on a little firmer to achieve a good latch. Otherwise you’d find that the device wasn’t charged a single bit the next morning, as I’d found out to my detriment!

Once the devices were charged, the first thing I saw on the GF when I powered it up was the message to update its firmware, so I promptly got that done. The updates were installed speedily enough on the S5 and eventually transferred to the GF via Bluetooth. There were enough screen prompts to move me along the way.  If you’re a Mac user like I am, there’s an added component you should be downloading – Android File Transfer (AFT). While not having any implication to the usage of the GF, the AFT app will facilitate the transfer of files such as photos, videos and documents between the S5 and Mac. You can download the AFT app from this link.

Installing the AFT on the Mac.

By this stage I was really, and I mean really, eager to start using the gear. But before that there were just a bit more to do. The GF allows for a wide range of customization when it comes to the interface from the wallpaper, vertical/horizontal orientation, page order, types of alerts to flash and more. The following screen shots give you a teaser of what you could do.

Freaky sounding Baby Crying Detector detected!

With the setup and some major poking around done, I was ready to give the gear a run out – or rather a sleep-in – because it was already late into the night! To engage the Sleep tracker function, just scroll along and hit the Sleep option and off you journey into Dreamland. Below was how I fared, when I checked the stats. Not too bad.

Ready for the Zzzzz’s

By the time I checked the S5, the stats were already transferred to the phone in a seamless fashion. I also wore the GF during the Larian Hijau but I bungled the tracking – instead of selecting Exercise>Running, I accidentally triggered the Pedometer function, which resulted in some pretty darn impressive numbers! The GF has no ambient light sensor (hence the screen brightness control isn’t automatic), you can manually toggle the brightness settings on the device.

On weekdays, with the GF on my wrist, I was more conscious of taking walk breaks away from the desk. I’ve observed that on several occasions there were lag times of several seconds (even if I’ve started moving) from the moment the pedometer function was started till the counting of the steps actually commenced. Otherwise the counter worked in tune with each step I took.

There are several ways to view the logs, hourly (if you’re one who micro-manages your life), daily or monthly. It would be better served if the “Hour” option be replaced with “Week”. IMHO, hourly tracking is only useful if the device is able to provide hourly alerts to, well, get off the seat and take a walk.

That’s it for now, my first experience with the S5 and Gear Fit. In my next post, I shall try to compare the accuracy of the HR recording and distance tracking of the S5-GF combo against the Garmin FR620 besides exploring the guided coaching features.

Larian Hijau SJ 10K 2014 Race Report

A 10K with “neighborhood” vibes, RM35 entry fee, short drive from home, new route away from the same-old same-old, what’s not to like? There was a little apprehension about the climbs though as I remembered Putra Heights are littered with ups and downs. A few days before the race, a certain someone who, at the point of writing this report is happily Skyrunning in the Highlands, confidently told me that the route is flat and the podium is a possibility. Because he’s driven it before. Right. Luckily I had the foresight to check the route out by plotting it in MapMyRun. Let’s just say that it’s NOT flat!

The new flat.

Anyways, this being a “cheap” run with like I said, “neighborhood” vibes, the plan was to run it as a tempo workout. Watch the pace and keep an eye on the climbs. The pre-race briefing was akin to an ultra race briefing. The race director stood atop a platform and basically gave a verbal run-down of the entire route (there were several distances) and at one point I’d expected someone to fish out and started marking their map from a ziploc bag!

I was a few feet from the gantry which was constructed wrongly because the Start and Finish were facing the wrong directions. That contributed to some confusion as well. Anyways, I broke free after the first bend coming out of the One City Mall compound. The roads were wide enough that I could run without being obstructed. Not even a K into the race, we had to start huffing up. Right then until the finish I was mentally grumbling at that certain someone happily enjoying his scones and tea LOL!

If I was trying to enjoy the run, another chap from the same category whom I’d passed at the early stage of the race started pushing his pace and caught up with me. That would be fine as it’ll keep the pace interesting which is what racing is all about. But he started getting too close as if he wanted to snuggle up. Even when the road is so bloody wide. My left elbow kept brushing into him and I’m not one to have a wild arm swing. A few minutes later I couldn’t take it anymore and said to him if I happened to elbow him, that would be unintentional. He sheepishly replied, “Oh that’s OK”. I was working the hills too hard to have realized that he just gave me permission to elbow him! No chance to test the theory out as he immediately dropped pace.

When it got to 7K, it was clear that the distance would be longer than 10K. I’d worked myself up the Category C (Junior Veteran) pack and picked the fellow Cs one by one. By now there were more runners along the roads, including the always inspirational ones on wheelchairs (not those racing 3-wheelers, mind you). Huge props to them for socking it back to whatever challenges they face. I then refocused to tracking a fellow C who had traded leads with me. Wanted to make sure that the next time I passed him it was for good. With 1K to go, I slowly drew nearer and nearer and saw that he wasn’t speeding up. 700m to go, I drew alongside and I held on by his side just to feel if he would respond. None. So I pulled away and finished some distance ahead of him. Distance was 11.69K and my timing was a very average 57:21 (4:54 pace).

I was handed a #9 card which meant I’d secured the Top 20 medal. There were some initial confusion whether there were special prizes or a spot on the podium for Top 10s but there was none. Regardless, I was quite pleased with the pace and effort. It wasn’t a podium ending but I thought some of the short racing nous are beginning to return.

I was a little peeved that the organizers could’ve extended the distance a bit more to a 12K instead of 10. That way, I’d also record a better timing than my disastrous outing at BHP. Even funnier was when a battle-hardened racer like Vincent said that I must’ve improved due to all the speedwork I’ve put in. After several attempts of denying that I’d done nothing of that sort, and him not believing anything I said, I was chuckling so hard inside. Then another seasoned vet asked my age and gave me a several thumbs up and said that I looked like an ostrich (yes, he used the comparison!) – good form and all! If I’d been anything they’d said, my pace would’ve been around 4:30 and I’d be on that podium!

#FTT!

Hard earned. Only 20 on offer.

After the race, I hung around for a bit distributing flyers for January’s MPIB Run (If you’ve not done so, please sign up soon!). Bumped into many familiar faces including Zijil and Meng Yong. Also spotted many others who live around the Subang and Puchong townships. The run is dedicated to a friend facing a far different battle. I’m sure he knows now that the team is with him all the way.

Like an ostrich!

Oh yes, I was still laughing at those comments as I drove away from One City!

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