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: Gold Coast Australia

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!


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

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!

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!

It’ll Be Worth It

It’s under 50 days to GCAM15. Just about the time when doubts start to creep in. Even after 28 marathons, each time another race draws nearer, I can’t help but have this nagging feeling if I’m ever going to be ready.

Have I adopted a way too aggressive goal? Will the missed days come back to haunt me? Since these unproductive thoughts can’t be avoided at least for me, it’s a matter of managing them or somehow turning them into positive affirmations, if that’s possible! One thing I know for sure is that I’m looking forward to the day when I can sleep in over the weekends .

There are no certainties in a marathon no matter how well one’s training went. And I’ve had some frustrating weeks to be sure. There’s no point in dwelling on those but keep forging forward for the remaining crucial weeks. That said, I’ve been running better than ever – greater consistency the last 2 weeks are reasons for a little optimism. I’m monitoring the body and recovery closely while going through the race strategies based on 3 goal times. It’s all these and playing the correct mind games in the pursuit of running better that makes the marathon such an intriguing prospect.


Gold Coast Airport Marathon Finisher Medals

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) have seen a year-on-year improvement, from the race organization to the quality of the field assembled. It helps that legendary Australian marathoners like Rob De Castella, Steve Moneghetti and Lee Troop have supported the event and that the number of participants are kept manageable such that everyone has a great time out on the scenic course. I say that with certainty because I’ve ran it since 2011! You could say that I’m on a streak!

It helps that the Gold Coast won its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and is currently upgrading its infrastructure, most notably the rail services that run through the major spots along the city and last year’s marathon was an IAAF Gold Label event, the first one accorded to a race Down Under.

The finisher medals and t-shirts are awesome too, and if last year’s are anything to go by, I’m looking forward to a memorable run and post-race celebrations. Meanwhile, feast your eyes on these.

2011. The first time will always be special. Solid block of metal.

2012. Better than 2011’s.

2013. Dropped down to the Half. Crowd was bigger and more competitive!

2014. Finally the barrier was broken with a well-executed race plan. And the medal is, well, WOW! Reflective of the IAAF Gold Label award.

The only medal and t-shirt to have eluded me are those of the Southern Cross 10K which will kick off on Saturday, the eve of the main event. This year will be year I finally get my hands on them to complete my collection as I’ll be toeing the line to run that as a shake-out run before Sunday’s marathon. It’ll be a fun, photo-laden outing with the group of friends to stretch out the legs. There’s still time to register for GCAM15, although the early bird fees have ended. Take advantage of the many airline offers available today, and head on to to lock down your key race of the year.

The team from Malaysia is already knee deep in training and we’d love to have you join us in our weekend sessions or in Gold Coast itself. To read my previous years’ race reports, just head on to the Race Report link in the top menu bar.

Urgent Last Minute Travel Deals For GCAM15!

I’ve just received word that the local tour operator Holiday Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd (HTT) has managed to secure another 10 travel packages on board Air Asia X to the Gold Coast. The package retains the same 5-days/3-nights pricing of RM2288, same price as when it was launched months ago!

So if you thought you’ve missed the great fares to run the marathon, be quick and call the HTT [website] folks up at 603-62866000.

Again, there are only 10 seats left at the same price and the early bird fees for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon expires April 30th. So, do hurry!

GCAM15 Training Update: Trackwork Is Hard, But Fun!

It’s mid-March and the GCAMers have now accomplished 2 sessions of trackwork at the MPSJ sports complex. The workouts are always kept simple and have been relatively short thus far. Due to the intensity of these sessions, I was careful to limit these to the more experienced runners. The last thing I want to see are runners injuring themselves.

1st session: 2K warm up jog > Dynamic stretching > 12x400m with 400m recovery > 1K cool down jog
2nd session: 2K warm up jog > Dynamic stretching > 8x600m with 400m recovery > 1K cool down jog

While I’ve my own timing to hit on each rep, those who weren’t sure of theirs based their workouts on their 10K pace/effort. The sessions turned out great although the first few reps were a little off as everyone was working to lock down their paces. It’s so easy to go too fast or too slow.

The range of the intervals will be increased with each passing week. This will eventually include ladder intervals before progressing into long intervals in June.

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