Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Test run reviews

Saucony's ProGrid Kinvara is the first minimalist running shoe that I have ever tried.  Since I've often asked myself if I needed more support and stability and love my shoe to be lightweight. I was excited to take the Kinvara out are a 20k run on last Saturday along the usual BA-Hartamas-BA route.  This route will give me chance to test out the Kinvara on different terrain - up hill and down hill, then follow by flat and fast cruising terrain.

I've found that it’s an excellent choice for your ‘first time minimalist’ because it provides a surprising level of cushioning for its feather-like weight and structure. Anyone who has read Born to Run and is working on becoming a “light and easy” style of running (a mantra I frequently find myself silently repeating to myself on tough runs) will find Kinvara as the shoe that you have been looking for. You can hardly feel the weight of the sneaker when it’s in your hand and it’s even more invisible on foot.

The shoe has a snug feel and ride was comfortable for the entire run.  The feel is like running barefoot hitting the ground but with the right amount of cushioning and support.  Thanks to the Progrid Lite that lined the entire shoe.  So with the kind of feeling the Kinvara will be a good option for barefoot running or those that owns the VFFs but still want a minimalist that gives the same feeling.  The Kinvara holds very well on uphill climb and down hill sprint.  Even on a straight flat route, one get the right amount of cushioning and support while you up your pace tempo.  Your feet will feel really spice up by the shoe when pushing hard, all aided by the diamond studs (Saucony trademark sole design) position at the sole (forefoot)

Ventilation of the shoe is good, as I dont feel any overheating during the run.  More important it doesnt gets hotter when I put the shoe to test on high friction when I increase my pace along a flat straight route, plus by climbing the Tinjani stretch (hilly) in a much higher tempo pace.  The shoe remains cool after this hard workout.  Passed the ventilation test as its extremely important for a minimalist (bcos the sole is much thinner and the heat getting to the runner feet is much faster, compare to a normal travel where the sole is thicker)

At this moment I am putting away my hat as a supplier for Saucony and put on the hat as a runner/consumer.   Overall I am very happy with what the Kinvara have to offer, and am sure it will have a big impact on the market. The trend in running shoes seems to be “minimalistic” “lightweight” “barefoot” “midfoot/forefoot strike”. The Kinvara arrives at the right moment with the right shoe.
I am amazed by the lightweight feeling (merely one ounce heavier than your average racing shoe) and great running feeling. The upper is seamless, snug and light; the sole feels fast and it is somehow supportive – probably given the pretty wide base.

Tested the shoe on wet concrete pavement and the sole holds firmly to the ground without any slightest slip during the lift off.  Although the sole looks slippery, it actually holds very well on wet surface whether its on a climb or downhill.

And the sweetest part… the price at RM330.00  is an extremely competitive price for a shoe so well executed. I might have reserves on the shoes’ durability but again dont expect too much from any minimalist (the mileage done and the wear/tear will tell!) And for that kind of price I hope to see runners giving this shoe a try. 

Next was the CompresSport R2 Calf Sleeve that I wore during the run.

As claimed by CompresSport, they approaches the actual science of compression a bit differently. Most compression gear features graduated compression, that is, compression is strongest at the toe or foot and decreases as you move up the leg or calf.  This is great for hospital compression where the goal is to prevent blood pooling in the lower regions, but not ideal for exercise.  CompresSport uses a different approach to compression.  For the Race and Recovery Calf Sleeves, the compression is lighter around the top and  bottom of the sleeve and is most strong at the calf.  The Race and Recovery sleeve provides 12-14 mmHg of compression at the top and bottom and 30 mmHg at the middle of the calf.  This means that you get the most compression where you need it.

The calf sleeves are very comfortable and provide a great deal of compression.  Although the top and bottom bands don’t have the same gripping or tension features, the bands are wide, comfortable, and keep the sleeves in place.  The fabric used by CompresSport is very lightweight and breathable.  The fabric allows heat transfer and wicks moisture extremely well.  The fabric doesn’t retain water, as can be seen after my 20k where the sleeves are still dry.  So with such functoinality, you could easily wear these guards into the swim and not have to worry about putting them on when you’re wet.  The Race and Recovery Sleeves aren’t damaged by Body Glide or other lubricants (as informed by CompresSport)  The sleeves holds the calf muscle very well during the run, not allowing much movement but yet providing the right comfort and compression needed.

Overall I can conclude that the CompresSport Race and Recovery sleeves provide a good level of compression.  You will be surprised by the level of support and compression these sleeves provide.  It might take a day or two to get used to this increased level of compression (if you have used other brands of compression calf sleeves), but your body will thank you.  In addition to providing a high level of compression, they are quite good looking and striking too.  They don’t look dull or like hospital clothing.  Though appearance isn’t the most important, it certainly helps that these are very attractive looking sleeves.

Super Moon

Mark your calendar. On March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It's a super "perigee moon"--the biggest in almost 20 years.
"The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993," says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. "I'd say it's worth a look."

To read more, click here

Friday, March 18, 2011

Testing out my new Race Kit

Looking forward to tomorrow's 20k run from Bkt Aman - Hartamas - Bkt Aman (19 March 2011).  Will be testing out my new race kit for ENR 2011, Sundown 2011 and SCKLM 2011.

First is the award winning Saucony Kinara, a minimalist shoe that got the Best Debut Award from Runner's World USA.  Its a one piece sole technology and lets see how well it will hold for a 20k run.  Obviously I am running with the Lime Green one and not the pink one, LOL.

Next is the CompresSport R2 Calf Guard.  I have always been using a full length compression tight either from 2XU or CWX for my long run.  Since I took up the product and is getting quite a good response in terms of sales, I wanna try it myself just to be sure that the product holds up to its reputation as the No 1 brand for compression calf guards during last year IronMan World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.  This is the product that is overtaking most of the popular brands (in terms of sale and popularity) and getting alot of positive feedbacks not just only from the elites but more importantly from amatuer sportsman and sportswoman like you and me.

Will keep u updated on the test reviews on both products.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bah Ren No Half Marathon

Its not Baleno, but Bareno.  What are they, u may asked.  Well they are a company that specialised in wash basin, sinks, jacuzzi and anything about toilet wares. Anyway so much about them.

I think I cant recall when was the last time I ran a 21k race.  It must be at least more than a year ago!!!!  Even for this race I didnt register for it.  It was a last minute thingy when I bought it from someone who is not running.  And obviously running under a different name and Open category.  600 medals up for grab I was told.

Not much expectation out of this race, as I am still in he midst of recovering from a bad cough and flu.  Medication had weaken my body for the past 2 weeks.  And also still suffering a pull ligament on the back of my leg due to some MTB session.  Even if I am fit, I doubt I can go under 2hrs. So target is to try and maintain a 6-1/2min pace and finish the run in 2h 15mins.  And bcos I have not run a half marathon for so long, proper pacing of the race is important.  Not to tekan too early, if not I may not be able to sustain the 2nd part of the race.  Run too slow in the beginning and I may not be able to catch up for lost time.  So in fact running a 1/2 marathon need lots of good pacing and endurance speed if one wants to do a sub2 race.

In no time, the runners were usher to the start point and the race got start.  Got smack at the back of the pack.  Slowly work my way up to catch up for some lost time and then maintain a steady pace.  The route took us from The Bukit Jalil Stadium carpark, out to the Sg Besi highway, then into OUG/Happy Garden, the Maju Expressway and then back towards the stadium via the Puchong-Shah Alam Expressway.

The route can be deem pretty challenging especially towards the last 5k where there are alot of steep and short climbs.  Certain stretch of the route was pretty dark and can be dangerous if someone will to trip themselves.  I was pushing myself abit in the beginning and test my fitness on how long I can sustain.  Also to ensure the pull ligament doesnt act up.  Taping the affected area with MUELLER Atheletic Tape was effective.  Hardly felt any ligament pull and pain.  Felt that my energy level is depleting at around the 13k/14k mark where Azam and Calvin started to open up the gap, as I was trailing trailing them closely from behind since the 9k mark.

Then I maintained a more comfortable pace to reserve some energy for the finishing.  As the route approaches the last 5k, there are quite a number of short and steep climbs that can easily demoralise a tired runner.  I keep pushing thru at a much slower pace rather than to walk.

Energy level is low now and the effect of medication is taking a toll on my body.  Last 1k to go.  Heck lets get it done and complete the race.  As I approaches the entrance to the stadium carpark and crossed the finishing line, my watch showed 2h 12mins 15secs (slightly better than wat I targeted)  Position 458 and I have got a medal for the race.

Looks like I  have to do more 21k if I need to make some improvements in the timing.  Running too many marathons will basically slowed down one performance in 1/2 marathons as the pacing and speed endurance are totally different.  And so to those out there, if you are consistently doing sub2 1/2 marathon, u are doing a great job.  There is nothing wrong in continuing to focus on just 1/2 marathons if you are doing well in this category.

Pictures courtesy of Weng, KK Yum and Gege Tey

Friday, March 04, 2011

Put some thots in your trophy design

What a Golf trophy!!!!!

The next time when you have the opportunity to design a trophy especially its a Women event, please put some serious thots into it.  Besides plannning how the trophy shud looks like, also put some thot process into what will the Women Champion do when she is receiving the trophy.  The champion will be very happy winning the tournament or race, thinking where to spend her winnings.  But she will fail to instantly know or react to what she is doing with the trophy at that instant moment of joy.

So be very careful in dealing with things like that or else you will end up with something like the picture above.   Dont say I am dirty minded, but anyone of you see the pic above will have the same thots too :D