Showing posts from 2013

Standard Chartered Doha 10K

14 December 2013

Hani and I entered a 10 km race organised by the Standard Chartered Bank in support of their Seeing Is Believing charity initiation. It is one of the many Standard Chartered races worldwide. I was not looking forward for this race, because 10 km is my least favourite event. 5 km of fast anaerobic torture is as much I am willing to handle and having to do it twice the length is enough to make me want to wee in my pants so to speak.

The race started about half an hour late and it was already too hot by the time we started. My goal for this race was just to do my best and clock a new PB.  My coach, on the other hand wanted me to run a sub 43 minutes. Well, I thought I can manage that considering I just did a 5 km in a PB time of 20:22 few weeks ago at Doha College 5K race, and it's only natural that if you good at 5 k you should be able to replicate the same in the 10k, like Mo Farah. But I forgot, I just ran a long run two days ago and I am no Mo Farah.

I tried to pace…

Al-Khor Community Open Triathlon 2013 and my 37th Birthday celebration

My racing schedule is really packed this month, and last Friday I participated in a team relay event at Al-Khor Open Triathlon with Alan swam  and Najib cycled. It was 600m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. I did the run in 20:58 which is my second fastest 5k time. Alan and Najib did brilliantly themselves too. We came second among 13 teams with a total time of 1:11:34. It was a great feeling to be on the podium for the first time ever since I took up running. We won QAR 400 Lulu vouchers each, Silver medal and a big trophy. It was exceptionally great for me as it happened on my birthday! The event was well organised and the organiser was generous with the prizes to the winners and the post-race buffet.  This was without a doubt the highest Return of Investment event for me ever with just QAR 50 entry fee.

I would like to thank my team mates Alan and Najib for the great team work. I believe we have a solid team for a team triathlon.

…………………………………… Meanwhile, some 800km away, my wife finished …

GMC Tri Series Doha Race 2 (Sprint)

Ok I admit I got a little bit too carried away after my debut in the Triathlon three weeks ago (see report HERE). The race no 2 in the series was double the distance of the first. It was a Sprint triathlon with 500m swim, 20km bike and 10km run. In terms of training, though I did not do much cycle and swim as I would have wanted to, I only cycled 5 times and attended swim session twice since the last race. My worry was on the swim leg, but I swam that distance last year in Aspire Aquathon races, so 500m is still manageable. We also had bigger Malaysian participation too. Other than Yusry, Najib and Zairin, my running group, PSY Qatar sent a team in the relay too with Aizal run, Bulat cycle and Yasir swim. The others came to cheer too.
The weather on the race morning was perfect, with a temperature around 18 degree Celsius. This helped me a lot especially on the run. The participation though was a little bit less than the first race maybe because there was another race, a dualthon being…

Doha College 5K

I have not run any 5 km races for a while now, so it was about time for me to test if I have made any improvement in that distance. So I registered for the 5 km instead of the more popular 10 km in the annual Doha College 5/10K race after consulted with my coach. I will be doing the 10 km race in the forthcoming Standard Chartered Doha 10K on 14 December 2013 anyway. As a marathon runner, 5 km is not my favourite and 10 km is even worse, but i need these shorter distances to build up my speed. Most of my training has been about speed and core strength after I came back from Munich.

This was the 3rd edition of Doha College Race, and the 5 km category was held for the very first time this year. The event has grown by leap and bound. It has become one of the largest road races in Qatar with the event being a sell out to its maximum capacity. It was organised by David Thompson (a member of DBRC) and his army of volunteers and support crews. I also volunteered before the start to distribute…

My first Tri : GMC TriSeries Race 1

Wow I don't believe it. I am a triathlete. I know you cant believe it either. I just started swimming again after the last Aquathon series (report HERE)  and attending a once a week swim lesson with Hamilton Aquatics since a month ago. I am still bad at it. I could barely swim 200 m without taking a break and swallowed one-tenth of the filthy pool water in the process. I also never ride a road bike ever in my life. The last time I rode any kind of bicycle was during my time at UTM in the 90s. So I was a sure bet for the last place in any bookmakers mind.

Why I suddenly want to do this you might ask. Well I must start preparing for life after Marathons. When I have reached my full potential which I think wont be too long now considering I will cross the new age group in few years. There are two options for 'retired' marathon runners, joining the Ultra Marathons or Triathlon/Ironman. I choose the later. Only because training for triathlons would benefit my marathon trainings …

Our future Olympian, Zachary's first 1k run

Zachary, my 3 year old son always asks me to take him for a jog. So last Saturday, I took him to Aspire park and ran 1km with him. He loves running, well maybe he was influenced by his papa and now mama too. I want to register him in the 1k mini marathon during the upcoming Ooredoo Marathon in January, but I was sceptical about his ability. I am not a pushy parent. I wont force him to do anything he does not like, but since he kept asking, lets put him on a time trial for 1km.

He was so excited, he just ran and ran non stop. I was running beside him and kept asking if he was tired or if he wants water. But he kept saying No!. He only stop once at 600m to have a sip of water before continued running. I observed his running form and found out that he has a perfect running style. Mid foot strike, high cadence, shoulder in front, legs behind, in short, I was a total opposite when I first started 2 years ago. He completed the 1km in 9:21. He was actually faster than me when I did my 1st run…

Munich Marathon 2013

This is it. The race that I have been waiting for. The race to redeem myself from the disappointment of my last marathon in Paris, and more importantly as my first stop to Boston qualification. I hired a personal coach, Sarah Whittington, and trained through the summer for this race. I was mentally and physically ready to fly along the course across this beautiful Bavarian city; and I won't be alone. My coach will be pacing me and she had planned for a sub 3:40 finish for me. Everything seems perfect. I was injury free, been on gluten free and cleaner diet and and I even slept well the two nights prior the event.  I even dared to asked Sarah to revise the target and aim higher for a sub 3:30. I may sound over confident, but I felt so ready and well prepared. Perhaps I was too over confident that I forgot a marathon is a long 42.2 km (it was 42.5 in Munich) battle and anything can happen in between.

It was a cold and wet morning with a temperature around 3 deg Celsius when I woke up…

SP Half Marathon 2013

13 September 2013

I came to Sungai Petani with an aim to finish the race in the top 20 based on my current form and their last year's result. It was a very realistic target and for that very reason I was willing to embark on a 10 hours bus ride from Johor Bahru to participate in this race, despite all the negative reviews I heard about them in the 2012's edition.

I arrived in Sungai Petani at 6.30 am  on Friday and I was lucky that the hotel allowed me to check in early at 7am instead of the normal afternoon check-in. I had one full day of rest after collecting the race pack at Dewan Penjara.
I accept that it was my fault. My coach has reminded me before I left Doha to learn the course well and remember all the turns and corners, but I was too lazy to do it. Lesson learned. I joined this small town race to 'win' but I think that would be the last. To add salt to the wound, they only timed and rank the top 10 of every category. As they race was manually timed, we never kne…

Road to Munich 2013: 18 days to go - Interval at QSC

This was my firs interval after a month. I felt so sluggish and heavy. I mean literally heavy. I am 4 kg heavier now than I was a month ago. I cannot possibly get to my ideal race in time for Munich. I seemed to have lost the speed in my legs and I got tired by the end of the session.

The programme was: 2 km Warm up, 5 x 1km in HR Zone 4; 3 min recovery jog in between, 2km cool down.

Here how it went.

Split Time Avg Pace Best Pace Avg HR Max HR
1 3:58.6 3:59 3:44 178 184
2 3:59.6 3:59 3:34 180 186 3 4:15.9 4:15 4:00 178 185
4 4:14.6 4:15 4:02 179 186
5 4:26.3 4:26 4:08 179 184

The good thing was, the 3:58.6 i did in the first split was my new PB for 1km.

Garmin data here:
Interval by Syafei at Garmin Connect - Details

Sure Can One Lah

Road to Munich 2013: 34 days to go - LSD at UTM

I dad a great LSD session at my alma mater, University of Technology, Malaysia campus this morning. My heart rate and pace suffered from the hilly route. The highest point was the Observatory station hill at 126m. I am totally loving the change of scenery. It is so green and peaceful here. I forgot how beautiful UTM campus was. The campus is perfect for marathon training. The sprawling campus is perfect for LSD. Then there are many hilly terrain for hill training, nice flat loop around Lingkaran Ilmu for tempo and the spanking new stadium for track intervals. They also have a new olympic size swimming pool and gymnasium for cross training. They should be doing really well in the MASUM meet with all the facilities.

I have recovered well from my half marathon last week, apart from a slight pain at the side of my right knee, I supposed at the point where the IT band connects with the knee. I hope it will heal completely before my next race this Saturday.

LSD @ UTM by Syafei at Garmin Conne…

SAFRA Army Half Marathon 2013

I was still tired from my 24 hours journey the day earlier and still suffering from the jet lag that I only managed to go to bed past mid night, with a help of Ezee Sleep, a concoction like its name suggest, was supposed to make you drowsy and help you to sleep I found on a 7 Eleven counter. Yes it works, but I kept waking up and only had intermittent sleep.

My plan to enter the pen early did not work as I dozed off when I hit the snooze button on the alarm clock. I only went into the pen 15 minutes before the flag off. I started the race from the back of some 16000 strong crowd. I was trapped and had to weave through the crowd fighting for space to run.  The course was so narrow after 7 km, no wider than 2 meters on garden paths. I had to run on the grass, concrete pavement and the road kerb. It was tiring and hard on my leg from all the lateral movements.I took my first gel at KM 8, and a capsule of Hammer Endurolyte at KM 10. There were so many sharp turns and few bottlenecks. The w…

Road to Munich 2013: 48 days to go - Easy Zone 1&2 HR

I will be super busy this week before my leave next week. I was also expected to stay back after work. So today I ran at 4.30 AM right after fajar prayer. It was a nice change. I haven't been running before work for more than a year. It was so refreshing and I was so energetic at work too.

My HR was stable and the run was enjoyable due to an improved weather than the weekend. I dont have much for the remaining of this week as I am already start tapering for my SAFRA Army Half Marathon next Sunday. I am just going to take it easy and cant wait to have a break from work.

Garmin Data here:

8 km zone 1&2 HR by Syafei at Garmin Connect - Details

Sure Can One Lah

SAFRA Army Half Marathon 2013: Race Pack Collection

The race pack collection for The SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon was held this weekend at the Singapore Expo. I don't understand why the expo was held a week before the event and not on the same weekend. This surely not ideal for oversea's participants like me. Luckily I have my dear sister, Sariati in Singapore to do that for me. Thanks sis, sorry to trouble you but I am going to make you proud. Im so excited for my first race in Singapore.

My pro look make over with Asics vest

Thanks to my friend, Hozumi-san who bought me these two Asics running top in Japan. It us impossible for me to get the right size here in Doha. The S size shirts here are still too big and I supposed I could squeeze another small human in the same shirt.
I tested the Singlet few days ago and really felt the different. No more nagging loose fabric rubbing the skin and im so not into a baggy look. This singlet looks like what Malaysia's national athletes are wearing. I feel like a pro already. Well to be a pro you should at least look like one.

Sure Can One Lah

Road to Munich 2013: 53 days to go - Interval

I had a great interval session at Aspire Dome this evening. It was my first time running at the indoor track, but with the sweltering heat and humidity now plus I am training by HR rather than pace, I thought I give it a try. I made a right decision. My HR was so stable and I had a consistence HR, pace, cadence pattern through out the session.

My programme was 8km (2 km Zone 1, 3 x 1 km Zone 3 with 2 mins jog at Zone 1 in between + 1 km Zone 4 and finish off with 2km cool down Zone 1). I got too carried away with the training and surprised on how easy it felt. I even had great time running in group, chatting and joking with Karl, Shawn, Paul, Tobias and JC. They called me a little pacemaker every time I took the lead after my 2 minutes recovery. Then they played chasing the rabbit game with me, I had to tell them that I was actually training. I lost count of my fast lap and ran an extra fast lap. I was waiting for the alert from my watch when I ran the last fast lap at Zone 4, but it d…

Road to Munich 2013: 55 days to go - Slow Tempo

My HR monitor works perfectly fine this evening. No spikes of 200+ bpm of sort. But my HR did affected greatly by the humidity. It was 37 Celsius with 70% humidity at 8 pm and it felt like 49 degree. The programme was 10km pyramid (3km Zone 1, 1.5km Zone 2, 2km Zone 3, 1.5km Zone 2, 2km Zone 1). At the end I had to slow jog and walked intermittently to be in Zone 2 and just mostly walked to be in Zone 1. But I was pleased with my training. My HR graph does look like a pyramid.

I sweated profusely, I have never been so drenched. Now I understand why some of my friends prefer to run on 'dreadmill' in this weather.

Garmin Data here:

10km tempo by Syafei at Garmin Connect - Details

Sure Can One Lah


Road to Munich 2013: 57 days to go - Long Run

Today's long run was especially hard not because of the pace or distance, but the humidity. The 33-36 Celsius felt like 48 degree with with 87% of humidity. I also messed up with my HR and I ended switched it off and ran according to Coach Sarah's HR and based on effort. As long as I can speak a full sentence without gasping for air and can chat happily with Coach Sarah, I will be OK.

We were supposed to do 15 km in Zone 1 but just did 14 and spent the last km walking when our HR refused to go down.

Hoping for the weather to get better soon.

14km Zone 1 HR by Syafei at Garmin Connect - Details

Sure Can One Lah


Road to Munich 2013: 60 days to go - Interval

I did my first interval training for Munich this evening. The programme was 8km as 2 km in Zone 1, 4 x 1 km in Zone 3 (175 bpm) with 2 minutes recovery jog in between and 2 km zone 1 cool down.

Interval is my favourite among all the training as it provides me with the dose of speed that I have been craving for. However, this evening's programme only limits my speed within Zone 3 HR. It was like running with a hand brake engaged the whole time. It was not satisfying enough and I was still pretty relaxed when I concluded the training, but I know the training will get harder and harder as we progress to the race day before the tapering starts.

The weather was still hot and humid at 37 Celsius with 67% of humidity, and it affected my HR as I progressed through the session. The pace for my Zone 3 started with 3:42 and it slowed down to about 5:40 on my last split.

I was also working to improve my running form by trying to land my foot near the centre of gravity, high cadence and focussing…

Road to Munich 2013: 62 days to go - Tempo

I had a much better run this morning. My pace in Zone 1 HR, though I was not supposed to concern about it has improved a lot from 6:40 ish min/km to about 6:10ish. My HR however was greatly affected by the sun. It shot up every time I was running in sunlight. Like a vampire, I had to stay away from the sun as much as possible by running in the shades of the towers around Porto Arabia.

The programme was to run 8 km, starting with 3 km in Zone 1 HR (152 bpm), 1 km Zone 2 (163 bpm), 1 km Zone 3 (175 bpm), 1 km Zone 2, 2km Zone 1. I found running in Zone 3 was the easiest. My HR was actually lower than 175 when I ran at around 5:10 min/km. Zone 2 was somewhat more difficult as I had to adjust my HR and brought it down from Zone 3. I ran the session very conservatively and ended up with a very low average HR at just 153 bpm. Im not sure if this was a good thing, but I think it is. See what my coach say about it.

Another good news was, my knees felt great even after the HIIT circuit I did las…

Road to Munich 2013: 63 days to go - HIIT Circuit

My third HIIT session. It was still very hard though I can feel a little improvement. I was getting better at the burpees, but it sapped all my energy and I was struggling to complete the squat thrust and 1 leg hop, while OK on the others. It was also hard as I was eating the whole day from Eid party I hosted. But I am positive that it can only gets better. Oh yes, my knees seems fine this time. The HIIT may have strengthen my joints I believe.

Sure Can One Lah Syafei

Road to Munich 2013: 65 days to go - 10km Zone 1 HR

Friday run back at the Cornice. I was excited to see my DBRC friends after a month of training or hibernating to be more appropriately during Ramadan. Too bad i was struggling at the in the bathroom after mammoth feasting yesterday and ended up at the Corniche zero marker 8 minutes late. I was supposed to run with Coach Sarah but I guess she would have thought I had too much Eid parties and decided for a lie in.

I took a short cut and managed to catch them at the Woqod Station, 5km into my run. I ran the remaining 5km with Coach Sarah. The weather horrible today, 35 deg Celsius with 70% humidity. Though it wasn't really killed me as I was running so slow, but it caused my heart rate to beat a lot faster. According to Coach Sarah, by up to 20bpm. So I had to run a lot slower with walk breaks to keep my HR in zone 1 or 152 bpm to be exact. After a week of HR training, I finally managed to let go of my infatuation with pace and speed. I did not even bother looking at pace and elapse t…

Road to Munich 2013: 67 days to go - Fun Run

We went for a short 6.5 km run at Zone 1 HR. It was  definitely a lot better than the first two runs I did. At least this time I was able to run almost entirely except for some walk breaks when my HR went over 152.

Here is my Run data

Fun run with Coach Sarah by Syafei at Garmin Connect - Details

Road to Munich 2013: 68 days to go - Fartlek

Second run session this week. I was still struggling in getting used to HR training. The plan was to run at zone 1 HR for 2-3 minutes plus fartlek up to 175 bpm for 20-30 sec. I was still unable to run a steady pace at the required HR i.e 152 bpm. It was either too low or too high with a slightest change of pace. I also need around 1 minute of walking to get my HR down to 152 after each fartlek, while it took around 30 sec to get to 175 bpm from 152. My HR monitor was less erratic this evening with only one anomaly spike recorded.

Again Strava did not get the pace of each split right.

The more accurate data from Garmin Connect can be retrieved from the following link:

8 km Zone 1 HR Fartlek by Syafei at Garmin Connect - Details

I will be having a short 'fun run' with my coach tomorrow. Perhaps she could asses if I have been doing it correctly. Till then.

Sure Can One Lah

Road to Munich 2013: 70 days to go - LSD

It was my first run session in programme. The session requires me to run 10km at Zone 1 Heart Rate (152 bpm). It was impossible to stick to HR below 152 bpm let alone running exactly at that specified HR as my HR fluctuates easily. I had to run very slowly, I could be easily over taken by a grandma on walking frame should I run any slower. I had to walk at some point especially between km 2 and km 4 as my HR mysteriously shot up to 180, 190, 200s without any reason. I cannot understand how's that even possible as I did not increase my effort level or pace, and I did not feel any different. I managed to get my HR stable at some stretch and found my ideal pace to run in Zone 1 is around 6:40 min/km. My average HR for the session was 149 with maximum HR recorded at 214. Though I did not feel any signs of fatigue, I felt a little pain on my knee caps towards the end of the session but the pain was gone  as soon as I completed the run. I hope that's normal.

Here are the split: 6:19,…

Road to Munich 2013: 72 Days to go - Circuit training

Today was my first day of official training for Munich. And what could be more harder than a high intensity circuit training, after a full day of fasting? After less than an hour of heavy feasting during iftar? It was also especially hard after enjoying 2 months of sedentary life. The circuit involved the following exercises:
High arm jumping jacksMountain climberRun and dropFull press upSkaters sideWeighted squatRunning manJump lungeBurpeesSpider lungeSide to side jumpPlank dipsSquat thrustLong extensionStanding mountain climberSquat leapHigh knees runRussian twist1 leg hop and balanceBack lunge hold and finishes off with some stretches. 
I felt great until about halfway into the session when that burpees really killed me off. It was all down hill from there onwards.

I even felt the food inside my tummy bouncing all over the place when I did the burpees. Then I had side stitch on high knees stationary run. That what happen when your body was asked to run at high gear while your digestiv…

Tokyo Marathon 2014 Lottery Registration

I was too scared to miss it, i slept with my phone and submitted my entry when the reminder woke me up just as the registration open.

Sure Can One Lah Syafei

Kyoto Marathon 2014 Lottery Registration

I have set my target to join Tokyo Marathon in February next year. But the chance to win the lottery slot is rather slim. So as a fail safe action, I submitted my entry in Kyoto Marathon today. It is another major Japanese marathon and entry will also be based on lottery system. Registration for Tokyo will open tomorrow. I would be happy with either one.

Road to Munich 2013: 74 days to go

I was so excited when my coach told me that she has finalised my training plan. I will be having my first circuit training session with her this Thursday. She warned me that I will be hard. *gulp.
She developed my training regime based on heart rate. Well I was struggling to train on HR before as I always ended up running faster than the designated HR. I cant for example run in Zone 1 where the bulk of the runs were made up. I don't run the slow sessions slow enough during the LSD or recovery days to develop aerobic capacity and fat burning ability. You want to burn as much fat in your body as you can before moving into the lactate zone if you want to be an efficient endurance runner. Well I am not currently burning fuel aerobically as my weight fluctuates faster than that of the stock market indices.

What is HR zone? Well think of it as a pyramid, and Zone 1 where you run the slowest being the base. You run faster further up the pyramid but the time spent will decrease respectively…