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

Happening At Harbour Town, Gold Coast!

Photo courtesy of Harbour Town, Gold Coast

Ready, Set, Go! Race in for Sportswear Savings at Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre, Gold Coast, Australia

With the famous Gold Coast Airport Marathon fast approaching, Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre is the place to get race-ready with over 20 sportswear brands at well below retail prices.

Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre, Harbour Town on the Gold Coast is home to more than 220 stores, offering a minimum of 30% off the original retail price on outlet stock, as well as specialty retailers, entertainment and dining.

Photo courtesy of Harbour Town, Gold Coast

Photo courtesy of Harbour Town, Gold Coast

There’s no shortage of fashion for fitness fanatics with big name brands including Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Puma and Asics to suit all running styles. You’ll also find popular Australian brands Lorna Jane and Rockwear with women’s activewear that can be worn even after you’ve crossed the finish line. Put your best foot forward and embrace the sports luxe trend for less with discounted Stella McCartney for Adidas available in store now!

Other leisure brands include Converse, Fila, Lonsdale and Skechers, and if swimming is part of your training regime you’ll love the savings at Speedo, C60 Surf (Billabong), Karma Surf (Quicksilver), City Beach Australia, Rusty and Rip Curl. Whether you’re male or female, young or old, advanced or beginner you can update your sportswear wardrobe for a fraction of the cost at Harbour Town.

Photo courtesy of Harbour Town, Gold Coast

When race is over, you can refuel at the new Yum Cha Cuisine restaurant serving up traditional Chinese dishes including steamed pork and shrimp dumplings, chicken feet with black bean sauce, and deep fried crispy beancurd. There are over 25 alfresco restaurants and cafés in total with other new arrivals from Mexican taqueria Guzman Y Gomez and healthy burger joint Grill’d.

After all of the retail and restaurant therapy, you can put your feet up and enjoy a new release movie at Readings Cinemas with special Gold Class screenings from just $20 per person.

Harbour Town is also home to the Gold Coast’s only shopping centre Tourism Lounge offering a host of complimentary services and facilities for visitors including a relaxation area, tea and coffee, free WiFi, secure luggage and parcel minding, and more.

Tourism Lounge. Photo courtesy of Harbour Town, Gold Coast

 

Most importantly, if you make the Tourism Lounge your first stop before you shop, you will receive a FREE Tourism Club Card for additional discounts in many stores.

At any time during your Gold Coast Airport Marathon visit you can stock up on life’s conveniences with a wide range of specialty stores for all your fresh food, banking, currency exchange, health, hair and beauty needs.

Harbour Town is located between beautiful beaches and popular theme parks, just 15 minutes north of all of the action of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon race precinct at the Broadwater Parklands in Southport. There’s over 2,800 complimentary car spaces and the Centre is easily accessible via public transport.

So set a personal best and race into Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre where you’ll find big brands and even bigger savings every day of the week!

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More information about Harbour Town, Gold Coast (photos below from my 2011 visit)

Getting there is easiest by catching the G:Link from any one of the 16 tram stations to either the Southport or Gold Coast University Hospital station. You can then transfer to bus 704 (Southport) and 709 (Gold Coast University Hospital) to continue along to Harbour Town.

Bus Information:

  • 704- Sea World/Main Beach to Helensvale via Harbour Town
  • 709 – Uni/Hospital to Helensvale via Harbour Town
  • 712- Coombabah to Southport via Harbour Town
  • 713- Paradise Point to Southport via Harbour Town
  • 719- Paradise Point to Southport via Uni/Hospital

The Tourism Lounge offers visitors:

  • Complimentary refreshments
  • Free Tourism Club Card
  • Comfortable and modern environment
  • Complimentary taxi phone service
  • Luggage and parcel minding
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Free stroller loan
  • Free wheelchair loan
  • Prayer room
  • Free Wi-Fi access

Opening Hours:

  • Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat – 9am-5:30pm
  • Thu – 9-7pm
  • Sun 10-5pm

Shoe Review: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

I can’t imagine how long I’ve put off this review. Now, before that statement made you think that NB served up a lemon in the form of the Zante (pronounced “Zantay”), let me assure that it’s not the case. It’s been one of my firm favorites in the last 2 months of my GCAM15 training. I liked it so much that I wanted it to be my marathon race shoe but it wasn’t to be. It’s evident from the photos below how much I’ve put the shoes to use.

Named after a gorgeous island in Greece, the Zante was one of two shoes launched by NB early 2015 (the other being the Boracay, another famous island destination in the Philippines) that saw a departure from the confusing nomenclature used by NB.

If the term Fresh Foam (not related to a certain golden hop/malt based beverage) sounded familiar, you’d be right. The midsole material was first used on the NB 980. I’ve not worn the 980 and although reviews were generally OK, it was widely panned for wrong marketing – it was neither as plush nor soft as the marketers made it out to be. The Boracay, with a retweaked midsole, has since replaced the 980, while the Zante is an entirely new shoe marketed as a go-fast option.

Link to the Irish eBay site.

M625. Be very afraid of the asking price!

It’s been ages since I last owned a pair of NB. I was a fan of the venerable brand back in the days (my favorite was the M625 you see above, a lightweight performance trainer). NBs were still made in the USA then and had a classy boutique in the KL Plaza. And they were the Volvo of running shoes – built like a tank.

Fast forward 23 years later, my idea of fun shoes are those made with simplicity in mind. Keep the upper design and construction simple, avoid excessive overlays, do away with plastic inserts here and there, and I’m generally good. Which is why I reach out to the GOrun 4, Boston Boost 5, Kinvara 5, Ultra Boost (for recovery runs) the most often. The Zante joins this list of favorites.

The Zante is a really simple shoe. Very simple breathable upper that fit like sock, single density foam, full contact outsole. Herein lies the mystery. Despite the simple take on the construction, the shoe weighs in at 8.25oz for US10, which is around the Kinvara 5’s. 8.25 is still light but if you’ve ran in the Zante, you’d have thought it was a sub 8oz shoe.

The front mesh is  very breathable while the dark section has a tighter weave.

There’s only a sliver of reflective element resides on the lateral side of the toebox in the form of a two-pronged fork. The upper is stretchy and never once did my toes felt cramped. I like how the tongue padding is kept just nice to prevent any pressure from the thin laces on top of the foot. The tongue is connected to an inner sleeve which means no sliding around – no stopping to readjust the tongue which means the wearer can just enjoy the running experience.

Tongue is integrated with the inner sleeve.

 

The internal heel counter is soft compared to the monstrous types seen on the Kayano 21, for example. There’s no rubbing whatsoever, and the best thing is the absence of unnecessary weight. The collar isn’t notched, and the padding not overboard. Heel lock down is fantastic as it is.

The removable insole is soft and perforated, and feels like that of the DS Racer.

The Zante has stack heights of 23mm and 17mm (heel/toe) for a 6mm drop, not too low to turn off traditionalists. The midsole foam has a honeycombed pattern – concave on the lateral side, convex on the medial.

As mentioned earlier, the outsole is a full contact one, made up of hexagonal lugs. The lugs aren’t that deep nor are they of the hard-wearing variety. They have a nice grippy feel on all the surfaces (wet or dry)  I’ve run on, from synthetic track, sandy road shoulders, hard tiles to tarmac. After 190KM logged, you can see that it wears better than Skechers’ foam but inferior to the Continental rubber used by adidas in the higher end models. I reckon I could push the mileage to 400KM before the forefoot lugs are sheared down to the base.

Forefoot wear is obvious but quite even.

 

Wear signs on the outer heel of the left shoe.

 

With the full contact outsole and a substantial toe spring, which you can see from the photo below, the Zante treats the wearer to a fast and smooth ride. The Zante feels more balanced shoe than the heel-heavy Boston Boost 5, more responsive than the Kinvara 5 and fits better than the GOrun 4. There’s not a stitch on the Zante that’s wrongly put together and it’s easy to see why that even at the beginning of the year, Competitor.com awarded it their Road Shoe Of The Year. I’ve ran my 10K PR and have enjoyed nearly every run from track workouts to 23K in them.

It’s unfortunate then that I’m unable to wear them for the marathon owing to its firmer forefoot cushioning. While ideal for races up to the half marathon, I’ve experienced some forefoot soreness after 21K. Faster and more efficient runners may be able to take it further than I could. If you belong in that category, you’re going to really enjoy the Zante for all its worth.

The New Balance Zante retails at RM439.00 (going rate for shoes these days!) and is already available at all NB and Marathonshop outlets.

Packing For Your Overseas Races

Packing for your first overseas race? Here are some tips for you, as the day draws nearer.

1. Stow your race gear in your cabin luggage.
If your checked-in luggage goes missing, at least you’ll still have your race gear that you’ve trained in. The rest can be replaced in the worst case scenario but don’t let months of training go down the drain because of wardrobe issues.

The stuff I’d have in my backpack would be my racing shoes and socks on top of the racing apparels. My travel itinerary and hotel booking receipts would be in a thin clear folder. I’ve always found compression socks to be a big help when flying, so that’s a given. Other mandatory items are my tablet and iPod as with sound-isolating earbuds. My supplements and gels will go into my check-in.

Compression socks are my friend.

2. Stay informed
It’s always wise to check and read up if your destination country has any special restrictions or regulations. Australian regulations are strict. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s (ACBPS) Guide for Travelers can be found here.  The list of prohibited and restricted imports can be found here, while the detailed downloadable copy here.

I pack my sports gels and energy bars in clear ziploc bags and declare them on entry. The custom officers will verify your declaration, of course, and I’ve never had issues.

3. It gets easier
As you get more seasoned, you’ll be able to fine-tune your packing needs without having to load up a container. Since I’m from the tropics, I find packing for a warm climate easier. That said, my race travel budget is nearly always allocated for a
cooler/colder destination. Afterall I already get to do plenty of running in this country’s muggy weather :D .

Finally, don’t forget to bring your passport and other travel documents!

Giveaway Results – Jabra Sport Rox Wireless

Wow, the response to the giveaway was simply fantastic! And the winners of a Sport Rox Wireless each are…


Jabra Malaysia will be in touch with you on the prize delivery. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the great sounding buds pretty soon.

Thank you to everyone who participated. Please continue to follow the blog for gear reviews, running related posts and future giveaways.

Finally, huge thanks to Jabra Malaysia for sponsoring the 2 units of the Sport Rox Wireless!

Reach Out Run Race Report

All, except for 2 elevation addicts, are Gold Coast-bound in a couple of weeks’ time!

This event wasn’t in the plans but since Sony Malaysia was one of the sponsors and the GC team was part of the Smart B-Trainer (SBT) trialling group, the 8 of us found ourselves at Putrajaya early Sunday morning. We had planned for a 9K pre-run before the 7:30am start but had to call it off due to the photo session with the Sony team.

The weather was wonderful with a strong breeze which kept things cool and there were signs of rain. It eventually drizzled though conditions never got as rough as during the Shape Run. Since I’d started my taper, this short run was to be a workout based on my marathon pace, and not an all out 10K race. Having entered the desired pace into the SBT and sync over 150 songs to it, I was raring to give the device a good runout. Prior to the start we had a group photo with the Sony team.

With the Sony Malaysia team. Photo credit: Diane Cheah

The turnout was poor. Heavy rain in most parts of the Klang Valley no doubt confined many to their beds. The first K was a frustrating affair having to weave my way through the slow runners/walkers. I’d thought that since I wasn’t racing, I’d start from the middle of the crowd and go with the slower pace. As it turned out, there was no etiquette to be found here and the front was littered with run-walkers.  Regardless, by the 2nd K, I was clear and running according to the planned pace. The SBT read out the data accurately when compared to my watch. The Sony’s voice guidance worked very well and kept me informed of the fluctuations in my pace which I held for all of the splits except for the last 2Ks when I dropped them to under 4:40 for a sub 50-minute finish. The weather was fantastic, and route was way better than the TM Fan Run’s. I kept pace discipline, running form was good and the final kick was fun. So despite running sockless which ended with skin rubbed raw near the left big toe, I crossed the line with a smile.

Thanks to Sony Malaysia for the complimentary entries to the run. Looking to put the Smart B-Trainer to more use before posting up a review. For now, I can say that the device is a legit entry to the running accessory market.

Note: Followers of my blog will know that I’m an advocate for safe usage of music devices when out running. Always exercise commonsense and caution. Maintaining situational awareness at all times is paramount to one’s safety.

Taper Begins!

In terms of consistency and volume, training for GCAM15 has been one heck of a ride. An 18-week program is a lengthy one. Compared to last year, racing has been kept to an absolute minimum. No ultras (last year I completed Titi and Nuang) nor marathons (did Nagano then) and the handful of races were short and quick ones (Shape, CXP, TM Fan Run) where they would function as speedwork or a “sandwich day” (pre-race/race/recovery).

I felt that by keeping these “fun” long runs aside, I would be able to focus on GCAM training without the protracted recovery days and risks of injuries brought about by the ultras. Over the weeks and months, the body has responded pretty well to the change of base pace. Other than the usual niggles, there’s been no injuries. A mild flu floored me in the early weeks but I’ve been healthy for much of the training period.

With that many hours invested in running and its related activities, maintaining the motivation has been a challenge. Pushing a weekly goal mileage is one motivation (that’s where logging your workouts come in), and relying occasionally on music to keep me moving is the other. Music is only a factor when I’m on the treadmill (I relinquished the gym membership at the onset of GST implementation), or when doing my loops around the housing area or park. For safety reasons, I never plug in while running on the roads. On double workout days, music would feature prominently in my sessions. Music, made the miles go by easier :D . The GC team has been fantastic in training together and so were Comrades veterans Frank and Zijill who provided the extra incentives to pick the hilly routes. If you followed me or the training team on Facebook, you’d have seen how much fun we’ve had.

If there’s a common trait that was observed throughout the months, it would be consistency. Rarely did we skip our organized weekend runs. As a result, the momentum carried over the weekdays as well. That said, I do take unscheduled off-days if I was just too tired. Several good habits were picked up along the way – from spending much less time on social media (all that running meant I’ve only time left for the truly crucial matters), even not turning on my home laptop for a couple of days, and earlier nights. Waking up for the morning runs became progressively easier.

Shoes worn – Kinvara 5 (regular and Runshield versions), Zante, Breakthru, GRU, GB2, GR4, GS3, Boston Boost, adiZero Ace 6, Ultra Boost, Flyknit Lunar 2, Hitogami, and X-Scream 3D. Gear tested included the Mio Fuse, Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless, Sony Smart B-Trainer.

Now that taper has started, the mileage will of course be reduced but I think I’ll be enjoying those shorter and quicker workouts while sleeping in a little more over the weekends.

Since there’s no such thing as certainty when it comes down to the outcome of a marathon or indeed Life, I’m as ready as I could’ve been. The most important thing is to relax, have fun and finish happy come July 5th. I’m already looking forward to breathing in the crisp and clean air in the Gold Coast again!

Giveaways: Jabra Sport Rox Wireless

Last month I reviewed the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless which you can read up here. I’ve also posted the Jabra Sport Rox Wireless here, and you can also head on to the product site to find out more about it.

Here are the specs of the Sport Rox, which is essentially the Pulse without the Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). Click on the image below to enlarge.

Now comes the exciting bit – Jabra Malaysia will be giving away not one but 2 units of the Sport Rox Wireless earbuds. Each unit retails at RM549! The raffle opens June 1st 2015 12am (Malaysian time) and ends June 15th 12am (Malaysian time). As always, the draw will be randomly determined via Rafflecopter. Here’s how it works:

  1. To enter, simply leave a comment in this post (it can be a simple “I want the Rox!” or a sonnet but no extra beanie points for creativity though :D ). Be sure to leave your email, otherwise there’s no way Jabra Malaysia can get in touch with you if you win.
  2. You must also like the Jabra Malaysia Facebook Page.
  3. Be sure to enter your valid email.
  4. Opens: 12:00AM Kuala Lumpur Time (GMT+08:00), June 1st 2015.
  5. Closes: 12:00AM Kuala Lumpur Time (GMT+08:00), June 15th 2015.
  6. The 2 winners will be randomly drawn by Rafflecopter.
  7. Announcement will be made on this blog by 6:00PM Kuala Lumpur Time (GMT+08:00), June 17th 2015
  8. Giveaway is only for those residing in Malaysia.
  9. All the best!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I receive no payment nor commission for the running of this giveaway.

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