Thursday, June 28, 2007

The story of Ah Kau

This story was sent to me by a friend and I thot its quite true and would like to share it with everyone that reads my blog.

Ah Kau is a guy who sells newspaper every morning next to your apartment, and you are one of his daily regular customers. Before dashing off to your office every day, you will go to his small stall and buy The Star newspaper. Wearing a newly pressed shirt, a tie, and a pair of Clarks shoes, you grab a copy of The Star, pay RM1.20 and exchange smiles with Ah Kau and greet him.

"Apa macam Ah Kau ini hari? Bisnes ada baik?"

The normal greeting like you do every day. Yes, Ah Kau doesn't speak English. He speaks Chinese and knows a little bit of Malay. He speaks a little bit of Malay but with a very thick Chinese accent.

"Biasa saja! ini bisnes aa, kadang kadang baik, kadang kadang tada untung."

"Biasalah hidup. Kadang kadang ok, kadang kadang tak ok." You give Ah Kau a pat on the back. You smile and walk away and get into your car. You start the engine and start driving to your office, a multinational semiconductor company located in a premier industrial area. You are a young and promising finance executive and the future looks bright for you.

A year goes by and things look pretty good on the track.You decide to marry your fiance and have your new wife moves in to your place. Both of you feel happy because you can save more money as the two of you will be sharing one apartment and can live as one.

Ah Kau is still selling the newspaper as usual. Sometimes in the morning your wife gets the newspaper from Ah Kau instead of you.

A year later a child comes along, and you decide to buy and move into a newly developed condominium just across the street. This place is bigger so it will be perfectly fit for the 3 of you. But since both of you are working, you decide to get a maid to take of the household and your kid.

By this time you're offered a managerial job from another multinational; the remuneration package offered is much better in terms of the pay, contractual bonus, medical benefits, ESOS scheme and a few others which make it impossible for you to decline. So you join this company happily.

You get busier. You realize that you spend less and less time with your family. When your department is busy preparing for the next audit, your working hours become more and more ridiculous. Any internal issues arising in
the office means you'll be stuck in the office until 8 or 9 pm. Sometimes, during the weekend, you'll spend your time in your office, buried under paper works and documentation's, instead of taking your family for a walk in the park.

One morning, on your way to get your copy of The Star,you realized that Ah Kau is no longer in his stall. So is his rundown motorbike. Instead, there's another young Chinese guy at the stall.

"What happen to Ah Kau?" You ask out of curiosity.

"Oh, he is still around, but he is no longer taking care of this stall as he has opened up a new grocery shop down town. I am running this newspaper stall for him."

"Ok." you smile. You feel happy for Ah Kau. At last he manages to improve his life.

Your normal life continues. A year passes by and at the end of your company's fiscal year, you're rewarded for your effort with a 5 months bonus pay-out by your employer. Wow. Now that is a very handsome reward. You feel your effort has been equally compensated. To celebrate, you decide that it's time to trade your 5-year old Proton Wira to the latest Honda Civic model. It won't be much a problem to you to get a loan scheme from the bank as your pay slip will provide you an easy gateway to access financial help from any bank.

One day, the hardest reality of life hits you right on the face. The company that you've been working for years announces that they're moving their business to China for cost and competitive reason and has asked you to find a job somewhere else. "What?" You scream out cold. "I got a lot of liabilities on the card! Who's gonna pay for my mortgage? My car? My credit card? My gym fees? My bills?" You yell like there's no way out.

This is the first time you feel let down by your own employer. All your hard work seem to go up on the smoke. You feel sick. You now hate your company. On the way home, you stopped by at a mamak restaurant for a cup of teh tarik while pondering about your future. Alone.

Suddenly you saw this new, shiny BMW 3 series being parked nearby. And to your surprise, it was Ah Kau. Yes, Ah Kau who used to sell newspapers nearby your old apartment. "What happened to old Ah Kau?" You whisper to your self.

Ah Kau still recognizes you, and sit next to you, and shared his story.

To make it short, Ah Kau had accumulated his money from selling newspapers to open more stalls, one after another. Every new stall is run by his workers so that he focused on opening more and more stalls, which in turn give him more and more money. Over the years, he had accumulated enough cash to open up new grocery store while at the same time buying more assets to grow his wealth. And his current wealth and success is achieved without any loan or financial help from banks and other financial institutions.

There you go. That's the story. While Ah Kau is set to become financially free, you're back to where you're started before. Ground zero.

Before leaving, Ah Kau gives you a familiar quote,

" Biasalah hidup. Kadang kadang ok, kadang kadang tak ok." He gives you a pat on the back and walks away.

In reality, if you're observant enough, there are a lot of Ah Kaus out there, that you will see every day and every where you go. The names are different, but inside them is every character of Ah Kau. They might be Uncle Dorai, Ah Chong, Pak Abu, Makcik Gemuk, Pak Man nasi lemak or others.

They look to be struggling on the surface, but if you look carefully and compare with you life, many of them are living with little or no liabilities. They ride an old kapcai bike. They live in an old rundown house. They don't have credit card to swipe. They wear a 10-year old shirt and short. No new, shiny Toyota Harrier. In short, their living means are far below than yours. But what you don't realize is that many of them can save more money than yours, and over the years generate enough money to expand their business, or invest in properties. Their asset columns are much thicker than that of yours.

So the next time you see Ah Kaus, never look down on them, and never under estimate them. Or else you're up for a harsh reality lesson.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PBM07 pictures

A race without pictures seems like the report is missing something. So with the courtesy from Gege Tey who is again our official photographer for the PBM07, I took the liberty to post this pictures that were sent to me.

In memory of Terence Leong - Penguin 6. A special bib created by Tey were distributed to all who wanted to run in memory of him.

My self-made bib pinned to the back of my vest for the run.

One group photo before the start. All the best before the race was gunned off.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

PBM Race report - Der Pacemakers Way

No Pain No Gain!!!

This time hor, i am write my race report in der Pacemakers way.

For me, der nite before the race, i cinya cannot sleep or dont know whether i sleep. After dont know how long hor, my handphone alarm rang and i wakeup. It was only 1am and there is 2 hours more to the race. I am not kan cheong but dont why I wake up so early. Then sleep back again when Dr alarm rang. That time is 1.30am. I sit down for a while and go to toilet and try to pangsai. Nothing come out. Si liao, after when race start want to pangsai how? Now start to kan cheong abit.

For this race hor, i have no pressure for myself. My motto hor, "No time pressure, and run to my fullest capabilities" I couldn't ask for more and cinya happy to finish der run in 4hrs29mins03sec, 30mins faster than last year. i think i am cinya happy liao. Some more 2 weeks before race my stomach got so much gas like balloon. Taking medicine until race day, and also suffer from sore throat and cough. I keep praying my ang kong (God) that my stomach dont suffer any gas and my sore throat and cough is less.

I was out of my room early to get some hot water to make my oats/soymilk breakfast. At the reception, I meet Tay Poh Chye. I say HELLO to him but he shy shy shake my hands. I think he cinya scare looking at me one kind.

Der morning is cinya hot and humid, no rain for the nite. 30 mintues to 2.45am, Dr, geraldine, wong sifu and myself walk to der start point. Ah Beng followed later. Registered at der entrance of der school and get a wristband. Meet all the running friends inside der school. Cinya happy see so many friend and chit-chat.

Der race started at 3am sharp and I paced with Dr. Geraldine already pecut and cant see her liao. Ah Beng also followed her to run fast at the starting. We paced for der 1st loop of 6k before running onto the bridge. At that time, I oredi feeling throat cinya dry liao. Need water and drink at the 1st water station.

Onto der bridge together with Dr and we continued to run together until we reached der toll at Prai side. At that point i slow down a bit because I want to reserve energy for der remainder of the race. Dr ran ahead and after a while I cannot see him anymore.

As I come out of the toll, der place there is cinya smelly like kok!!!. What is this man, TNS!!!! Der nearby factory must be pouring out some unwanted water. I speed up a bit here to avoid the smell and then back to my normal pace. Continue to run and then reached der mid span of der bridge. Then i heard machine noise coming out from der bridge and it was der piling machine which is for der bridge extension work. TNS again because i breath in so much smoke from the machine. Der smoke is call carbon diaoxide.

When i come out from der bridge, it was close to about 26k liao. I know from here onwards hor it will be a long stretch all der way to der end and U turn near the Seagate junction. Knowing der route from last year experience, I continue to run at a normal pace which I am comfortable. After another 2k suddenly I saw Penguin 2 (Khee Meng) in front of me, then Bong and followed by Jamie. Greeted and went past them and continue running.

After this stretch, I am running into a very dark stretch of road with no lights. It was very dark and this is TNS number 3. How can der organiser let runners running in der dark with very little race officer around. Run and run and run, finally reached der Seagate U turn. Saw Tay Poh Chye again and greeted him. Again he looks shy shy and quickily run away from me. Then I dont see him anymore after that.

After this point which is around 32k, thats where der battle of der race starts. My legs and body start to be weaker, and muscle feel tighter liao. Cinya amkan. I pray to my ang kong (God) again and say popee popee, pls dont let me suffer cramp. As i run on der opposite side of the road, I saw Gege Tey, Pelle (my swedish friend) and a few others. This will be another long stretch back to where we enter and will take me to the 35k mark and then to the final stretch before making another U turn.

Continue to run but at a slower pace and keep on praying to my ang kong (god). I fear cramp will come and running slower is the best way to prevent it. Soon I am out of der stretch and onto the final phase of 37k, 38k, 39k and U turn, then hitting der 40k mark. My pace is getting slower and slower liao. Got potong sayur some even slower runs and those suffering from pain and cramps. Also kena potong sayur by some faster runners too.

As I passed der 40k mark, there is a slight uphill over an exit that join the road to USM finsihing point. TNS number 4!!!, so many students blocking my way, and i just shouted "GIVE WAY" and bang onto anyone that dont give me way. I ran zig-zag to avoid all these students and suddenly i felt cramp on my upper body. Must be due to der way I am running.

I press my turbo and pia like kok to try and do a sub4:30, I so kan cheong now with so many students blocking my way into der padang. Finally I make my way into der USM padang and crossed der line in a sub4:30 finishing. Der timing ngam ngam ho liao.....4:29.03 After that i am cinya happy liao. Happy of running der race without any suffer and also 30mins improvement from last year.

After this PBM, it will not be until next year that I will run a marathon again. Will run shorter distance races and let my body rest well. So pray to my ang kong (God) again for letting me run PBM with no suffer and see you next year in KLIM08 42k race.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The day I took on the Bridge

This morning was the day thousands of runners all over the country and some from neighbouring countries ran the Penang Bridge Marathon 2007.

I set out my own mission to take on the bridge trying to improve last year timing of 4h57mins. But thats not my key goal. My key goal was to go out there to enjoy my last marathon race for the year and my usual motto "No timing pressure and run to my fullest capability". And everytime I condition my mind to think that way, my performance gets better race after race. The day was stale and humid, we are expecting some shower or light drizzle to cool down the running condition but it did not happened.

As I did an analysis with some of my buddy runners like Jamie and Lifemou, the incline of the bridge on both ends can take the toll of runners without they themselves realising it. The inlince is so gradual and long, it just saps out one energy and put extra pressure on our leg muscle to carry us through.

Anyway to cut the story short, I ended out happy with my performance for the day by crossing the finishing line in 4h29mins03secs. Almost a 30mins improvement from last year on the same route. So no complain for me and my training and execution plan works out for me in today's race.

Full report will be out in one to two days time.

Bridge Footage capture on surveillance TV

Friday, June 22, 2007

Leading to the race day

Come this Sunday, 24 June 2007 the running communities will be lining up to start off the Penang Bridge Marathon 2007. Whether you are running the full or half marathon, you would have probably prepared yourself to take on this challenge ~ mentally and physically.

Rain or shine, fit or unfit, sick or healthy.....we have to overcome it as the race get closer. For newbies there will definitely be race jitters and butterfly in the stomach!!! Dont worry too much of whats gonna happen, and its too late now to worry about it anyway. You have trained for months and now is the time to go out and have fun. Put no pressure on yourself.....things will come along. Run at your own pace and dont get intimitated by faster runners that get past you. Motivate yourself by saying "Dont you stop, else I will come after your butt at the 40th kilometre and if not I will see you at the finishing line"

For some, carbo loading is a must just before the race. Big caution, DO NOT try unfamiliar food that you have never eaten during your carbo loading session if you are doing one. Try not to be too adventurous especially when you are in Penang!!!. The delicious food are all over the place yet can be a suicide consuming them ie nasi kandar, char kuey teow, lobak, laksa and so many more. If you really need to satisfy your taste bud, have moderate portion of it. I hope that wont hurt.

Good luck to everyone and have a save journey into the Pearl of The Orient aka Pulau Pinang.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bad timing

Three days to the race day in Penang, and I am hit with a bloated stomach feeling very gassy and also a throat infection plus mild cough. The medication I am on is making me a bit weak and running the marathon will be a struggle for me if I dont recover in time. I pray and hope for the best, and timing is so bad. It had to happen at this time of the week. Have not been running for the past 3 days and I am not sure if I will be running for the rest of the week till race day.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Special Announcement For Friends Of The Late Terence Leong - Penguin 6

To all friends of Terence who will be running the Penang Bridge Marathon this coming Sunday, Many of us will be wearing a special bib on top of the official race numbers as a tribute to the late Terence Leong, best known as Penguin 6, on the race morning. This special bib will bear the following words:
In Memory Of Terence Leong Penguin 6

This special bib is to be pinned above the official back bib, which should not be obstructed. The use of permanent marker is a must obviously. The material can be recycled bibs, a piece of white cloth or any material you think can be appropriately used. Personally I'm using a piece of wax paper. Even if you're not running the Bridge on June 24th, you can also pin this message up for your training run knowing that you'll be running with the flock of us in Penang. Thank you.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Those were the days.....The Finale

My greatest moment in my running career. Finishing my best timed marathon crossing the line at The Esplanade, Penang in the year 1987. This was the moment that I was so proud of. Happy that my training for the race enabled me to achieve the target. Talking about EXECUTION WITH A PLAN!!! In this race I executed to my plan in trying to clock a good time, and every thing went well till the finishing.

And next week I will be running my 4th marathon in 2 years after making a coming (lay off for the past 15yrs). Fortunately or lucky for me the past 3 marathons timing have been improving, so I have no complain about it. I am not going out there to put pressure on myself to run a good time but more so to enjoy the race. If I feel good on race day, I will definitely run to my fullest capability in finishing the race comfortably without any suffering (I hope)

A posting that I wrote sometime in 2005
Memories of the 80-ties

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Those were the days.....Part 4

The Penang Bridge Run - My first run on the bridge was year 1987 ( if not mistaken it was the first time LLM open up the bridge for this event). The experience was wonderful, the air was clean and refreshing, and the event was well organised.

Everyone were just curious about the experience running across the bridge, from the island over to the mainland and back. It was something the runners can brag for a moment because we were consider the pioneer group of runners that take on the bridge where nobody had done before. It was indeed a proud moment as we ran and ran, and finished the race with our heads held high up with no regrets.

And after that maiden event, the bridge run is now incorporated into the Penang Bridge Marathon. In those early years the Penang Bridge Run and Penang Marathon were totally 2 separate races. And now until June 24, it will be the second Penang Bridge Marathon that I will be running after my comeback.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Those were the days.....Part 3

My running buddy and pacer. On the right (topless) is Ng Boon Thong. He is a real speed-king and I always used him as my pacer and running buddy. Our running standards are almost the same and running topless during those years are a norm for both of us.

As I said its always good to find someone as your pacer and running buddy. Someone who has the same running standard as you irregardless if the buddy is a male or female. Having a pacer cum buddy running together will get you more motivated and especially when hitting more than 25k during your LSD days. And till today I still lookout for a pacer or running buddy although now I am a lot slower than before. But that doesnt matter because a running buddy will always be a running buddy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Goodbye Terence Leong aka Penguin 6

I do not know him either have i spoken to him...but what give me the good impression about him was he is someone that were being admired by many in the running communities. I heard a lot about him thru the Penguins and der Pacemakers. I do also visit his
blog regularly to read those interesting articles that he wrote especially related to sports like running, tri and many more.

About 1.5yrs ago I read about him being diagnosed with brain tumor and der Pacemakers group actually organised a run for his benefit. I believe this was a good cause and no matter how small amount the donation was, it is always the care that counts.

As I continue to read his blog, I thot he was recovering well to whatever treatment he was undergoing. But the news that no one wanted to hear came on Friday, 8 June 2007. Our brother Tey informed every one on der Pacemakers Shoutbox that Terence had left us. It was the most unwanted news of the day, and even the sky was not spared cos it was raining heavily during the late afternoon.

I believed all those who were very closed to him were sadden by the news and the only best thing we can help him is to help his immediate family to get over it and be strong over his demise. I know its easier said than done, but life must go on and hopefully Terence had left a legacy for us to carry on with his jovial character and the support to sports activities especially running and tri.

More posting about Terence can be found at the respective blogs.

der Pacemakers
Gege Tey

My deepest condolences to his immediate family.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Those were the days.....Part 2

This was my first marathon in 1984, running the KL International Marathon 84. As a rookie runner, I do not know what to expect. And till today, I still remembered the suffering that I had went thru running this race. But it was a good experience that I will never forget, and from that day onwards it make me a better runner. I learn from the mistakes I made during training as well as during the race. Imagine the race starts at 6.00am in the morning and I finished the race in 5hrs49mins. The blazing sun was hitting me like nobody business in the last 10k of the race and I was suffering from severe cramps. And I still remembered very well at that time I was running along Jalan Duta heading towards Jalan Parlimen and onto the Selangor Padang now known as Dataran Merdeka. I was lying on the pavement along Padang Merbok to rest myself and continued to cross the finishing line. It was a run-walk strategy but I never gave up.

My first sub-4 marathon was achieved in Singapore on the same year ie 1984. I managed to just squeeze into the sub-4 bracket clocking 3hrs58mins. It was a satisfying run for me breaking the 4 hr barrier and never look back ever since then. The training that I put in paid off handsomely. And also thanks to those running buddies that I have during that period of time. I learn a lot from them and train together helping each other out. One thing I found out in my first year of running a marathon....You must find your running partner to train together ie someone that has almost the same standard as you. That way you done have to run alone and will always have a pacer to run with. Thats Marathon 101. Till today, I always look out for a running pacer or buddy to run together. That will give you better motivation especially on a day when you are hitting 25k and above.

Finally Its over

Did my final LSD this morning before getting into the tapering period for the next two weeks till race day on June 24, 2007. This morning run was with Wong sifu since Geraldine and Jamie started earlier at 5.15am.

We ran the normal LG-Hartamas route of 20k and back to the Bukit Aman carpark for waterstop. Wong sifu called it a day, while I continue to do another 6 laps around the lake. Stay on the road I did for 3.5hr covering approximately 32.3k for my final LSD. It was a good run and my ultimate goal is to stay on as long as I can.

After the run, my body condition and stamina are still good except that the legs are feeling a bit tired and some muscle tension on my right foot. The shoe that will be with me on race day SAUCONY RIUMPH 4 is also responding well and doing its job.

So its tapering period for the next two weeks and I just cant wait for the race to start. Bring on the bridge, brother!!!. I hope I will feel good on race day.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wat happened tis morning?

Two things happened this morning:

Incident #1
My sleep had taken over my scheduled morning run. It was so cooling and cozy this morning that when my alarm rang at 5.30am, I choose to continue sleeping instead of doing my 6k run. Wat the heck i told myself....running 6k less this week probably dont hurt me bcos tomorrow will be my final LSD of 30k+ before the tapering period for PBM07. I need quality rest to prepare myself for tomorrow. Just to pampered myself for at least one of those morning when it is so so cold and cooling, and continue sleeping is the best option. Running take a backseat at least for this morning. Not too often though, else my fitness level will degrade gradually.

Incident #2
I have made a decision this morning to purchase the above gadget. (which my colleague is buying it for me in USA) The $$ damage to me is USD199.00 excluding tax. "You mean I have to pay tax when buying something in USA.....Yes Sir, you have to". I hope it will be a sound investment and become a good running companion/buddy for me in all my future runs or any outdoor activities.

Carboman told me "This is the Rolex for all runners!!!!"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Those were the days.....Part 1

This was a group picture of Pacesetters taken in year 1985. If i can still remembered, it was a run in Universiti Malaya campus. The group was very small during that time and had grown to a very well known club today. Good old memories.......and we are trying to locate the guy sitting in front of the group (right side of the picture). His name is Ng Boon Thong, and he is the speedking of road runners during his prime time.

Where are you Ng Boon Thong???

And can you spot which leng-chai is yours truly.....!!!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Another Saturday, Another LSD

This morning my plan was to take it easy for a 25k run or stay on the road for 2.5hrs, and easy it is not. In fact the LSD was ran at a faster pace, with Bro Ben and Geraldine being the front pack. While Pelle and myself were following behind.

Although it was faster than usual, I was comfortably talking to Pelle throughout the run. He is going back to Sweden next week for his summer holidays and will run in the Stockholm Marathon 2007 on June 9. He had invited me to do next year race which so happen to be the 30th year celebration (according to the website). Well I told him I hope to be there. Keeping my finger crossed!!!!

After completing our 20k, we have our waterstop at Bukit Aman carpark. While on the way back saw Flying Pig Chen, PM1 and Loco Lai doing their 30k and 20k respectively. We didnt see Bro Ben at the carpark and he probably had went off to do the laps at the lake. Both G and myself then continue our 2 laps at the lake via the Carcosa route.

Physical and fitness condition after the run was good. Doesnt feel any tireness and I believed I am feeling alright. Hopefully I am peaking at the right moment towards race day.