Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Warriors took on the Round Island Relay challenge

Having to wake up at 3am on a Sunday morning wasn't fun, NOT FUN at all. The pressure of having to sleep by 10pm in order to get enough hours of sleep before having to get up... well, let's just say not everything worked according to plan. Pre race jitters as some may call it. Just as I was really getting into the deep sleep mode, the alarm went off. I forced myself out of bed to get ready. Head was a little heavy and I felt..... 'floaty'..

I picked up two other passengers on my way to the starting point in Esplanade. We met up with other runners who were already there before us. Registration and attendance marking by the team manager Kelvin, running vest, food and drinks distribution were done before all of us were asked to get into our respective teams.

There were 2 teams representing Warrior Bootcamp this year; Warrior Bootcamp Team A and Warrior Bootcamp Team B (not quite creative with the names I know :P) Yes the more the merrier and we were glad to have 2 warriors accompanying each other in every check point. We chatted animatedly between ourselves, eager to start the race as well as looking forward to complete it, took some group photos and did the WBC huddle screaming 'WARRIOR' loudly (probably shocking everyone around us in the process) and wished each other best of luck in the race. Yes, all of us were feeling pretty pumped up and motivated!

We lined up according to our waiting points or CPs as they called it, from 1-12. One by one starting from CP2 runners, we were ushered into awaiting buses which will drop us off at our respective CPs. I was stationed at CP5 so together with another warrior, we boarded the bus labelled no 5.

I don't remember how long it took, perhaps bout 20 mins later, we found ourselves sitting on the pavement at the roadside somewhere in the middle of a hill in Balik Pulau.

There wasn't much around, a few lamp posts for light source, other runners and a few officials. One thing I have to say though, the view in the sky was absolutely beautiful. Clear skies and stars were shining brightly, I don't think I've seen that many stars in a while. The only thing we didn't like about sitting and waiting in the dark was the wind... that and oh.. having to attend to nature's call. No nice looking clean toilet with running water... just bushes.. and more bushes...

The pictures below were shared by some of the warriors

If you're lucky, you get a check point with a decent toilet...

And if you're even luckier, you get to eat McD while you wait :P

I wasn't sure of the exact time the race was flagged off (think it was about 5.15?) but by 7am, the first runner from my CP took off. Started to get more anxious as more and more runners from CP4 arrived. I'm not ashamed to admit that I had to go to the bushes to attend to one last emergency before my turn. Either that or run with a full bladder. The wind chill factor didn't help either especially when we were in singlet. I got up to run around a little bit to get the  body warmed up.

At approximately 7.16am, as all runners were waiting eagerly for their team members to turn up, someone came running, huffing and panting all the way up the hill. I couldn't figure out from far the dresscode of the runner but as he came nearer, another warrior who was waiting with me shouted "It's him! Your team member!" I ran to the line where we were supposed to receive batons and waiting anxiously for CP4 warrior to arrive. Poor man was trying his best sprinting up the hill. His face was almost ghost white when he passed me the baton.

I took off the moment the baton was received, speeding uphill. My route was 1km uphill, 4km downhill. As we were used to train running uphill in bootcamp, it wasn't much of a problem. In fact it was kind of a nice run although my lungs were almost freezing from breathing in the cold air. Marshalls cycled past and wished me luck, and soon, a few more cars some with people I know screaming out the window to give motivation. It definitely helped big time and great for lifting the spirits when you're half dead trying your best to run as fast as you could and yet an uncle in his 50s just sort of throttled along past you. Running 4km downhill certainly had impact on my knees and quads but as much as it was starting to hurt, I knew I had to go on because because this war was not fought by me alone (the power of camaraderie)

Misery came to an end when I saw a group of people at the bottom of the hill. I picked up speed and sprinted as fast as I could to the team member who was already jogging in spot. She took off as soon as the baton was in her hand. I felt like the air was knocked out of me when I stopped. When I've rested enough, I changed into dry top and got into the support car driven by another warrior who had finished his lap from CP3. We drove to the next station. Saw CP6 runner along the way and we rolled down the window to scream motivation as we passed.

It was a long route till the next CP. Another warrior was already waiting impatiently. When we finally saw CP6 runner from afar, we started screaming, encouraging her to finish what's left of the route. She sprinted and raised the baton from afar....we could tell that she's really looking forward to finally give the baton away.


Meanwhile in CP7, another warrior was anxiously waiting for his turn.

CP7 to CP8 was a crazy and narrow uphill run. Even driving up the route itself felt tiring! But to our team's CP7 runner, it was easy peasy.

The baton was soon passed to CP8 runner. Not a problem for her either!

We drove to CP9 after seeing CP8 runner off and while waiting for her to arrive, we took the opportunity to camwhore take photos.

And then she arrived! Again, also looking very impatient to give the baton away~

And she swerved straight to the road side right after just in case she needed to ermm...puke.. rest.

And we continued on our journey to the next station, cheering the runners along the way. The pressure's definitely on every runner to keep a good time.

CP9 runner reaching CP10. The female warriors can in fact be good sprinters when we wanted to :D

And CP10  runner's off! At this time it was a little past 10 and it was beginning to get really hot. We could only hoped that our runners can maintain a good speed  and last till the last kilometer. It was no doubt very hard to run under such humidity and weather.

Drove to CP11 to wait for CP10 runner, took another photo for momento and...

calm the growling tummies

CP10 runner arrived soon after with a very red face looking like she's been basking under the sun for hours. Kudos for making it through under the hot sun!

And then it was time to head to the last CP, CP12. He sure looked all geared up and ready to fight!

A team photo of runners who'd completed their missions earlier in the day. The group sure got bigger and bigger from one station to another.

The route from CP11 to CP12 was even hotter than before. There weren't a lot of shades along the route and at this time it was close to 11, which only meant higher humidity and crueler glare from the sun
But warriors don't give up! She soon turned up and passed the baton to the last runner.

It was the most intense, teeth gripping moment of the entire relay. The pressure was the worst on the last runner as he'd had to sprint the remaining 5.1km to the finishing line under the hot scorching sun. At this point, we can't afford to slow down and lose time, as much as we understood the difficulty of running under such conditions.

He didn't let us down. We finished 12th out of 26 teams with the total time of 6:26:16. It's definitely something to celebrate if you were to ask me considering not all of us are full time runners

Meanwhile, in team B, Jee sprinted gloriously across the finishing line with all of us cheering him on

We did it! Mission accomplished! 

Team A warriors

Team B warriors 

Thank you everyone for being such a great team player! The warrior ethos were greatly demonstrated by all and we had indeed COMMITted, FOCUSed, BELIEVEd and ACHIEVEd!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Military Grade Training : 9th - 15th Dec 2013

Warrior Bootcamp is the leading provider of outdoor fitness training , leadership and team-building.

Our programs are Special Forces inspired but adapted for persons of all fitness levels. 

We take the best aspects of military training to provide a fun , friendly,  highly motivational " CAN DO" workout environment. 

YOU WILL improve your fitness , health , weight loss , mental toughness & athletic performance. 

BE super charged to succeed !! 

Click on the link below for a map of the location >>>>>    

BUKIT DUMBAR                           

SUNGAI NIBONG                        

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Beer Drinkers Guide to Running a Marathon

In my dream there is an annoying siren sounding, interrupting my slumber. I open one eye and realise it’s my alarm going off. Damn. 4am Saturday morning. Time to get up for a training run.

It was my friends idea to run a marathon. Back in May it seemed like a good idea. ‘How hard can it be’? ‘Can a chronic beer drinker run that far’?. I was about to find out.

My training for the Penang Bridge International Marathon, held each year in November,  started in August. Our first training run was 21km - a half marathon, so individual training had actually started well before then to get up to that distance. After that first training run, I was already thinking to myself ‘there is no way I can run double that distance’, yet pig headedly I persisted, sacrificing my Friday night beers and Saturday morning sleep ins to  get up in the middle of the night to run ever increasing distances.

Training became increasingly technical as our distances increased. It was a fine balance between eat, rest, sleep and exercise. Other things to consider were also what and when to eat, when to rest and what type of exercise to do. As it turns out, and science supports this, its pretty simple - if you want to run a marathon, you need to run a long way in preparation. Cross training has its place, but nothing prepares you for running long distances like running long distances. However, and science also supports this, you cant run too far too often, or you will suffer injuries and wont be able to run at all. So although it’s simple in theory, it’s really a fine balance between what the science tells us and what your own body can cope with. You have to work it out yourself.

Our training schedule became fairly standardised over the four months leading up to the big event - long run on Saturday, and during the week a couple of quick, shorter distances, and either intervals or hill running. Cross training also featured in the form of Warrior Bootcamp ( and Sunalini’s Iyengar Yoga Classes ( Rest weeks were also important. There is only so much the body can do before it cant do any more, so programmed rest weeks were crucial, and I looked forward to these with anticipation! I also learned that sticking to the training programme is hugely important. A week in Bangkok with all the city has on offer does not qualify as ‘rest’, and neither does climbing Kota Kinabalu. After each of these ‘distractions’ I was severely punished for my lack of discipline during my next long run.

During the training period it felt as though the main event would never arrive, but all too soon there was only two weeks until the marathon. Thats when the doubts began to set in - have I done enough training? Have I done the proper training? Am I eating well? What supplements should I be taking? And of course, the big one - will I be able to finish the race?

With one week to go, everything hurt. Every little twinge in my leg or pain in my stomach led me to believe I was severely injured and would be unable to compete. Turns out, this is quite a normal process prior to a big event, both psychologically and physically. The mind becomes anxious about big events and focuses on ‘the event’ in preparation, and the body aches when the training tapers off. It helps to have good people around during this period to assist with your anxieties - both psychological and physical.

The day before the marathon I was a mess, and was therefore completely unprepared as I attempted to depress my anxieties through my usual coping strategy of denial. I did everything I could the the day before the marathon to take my mind off the event, except to actually do things that would help me prepare for it, like pin my race number to my shirt. But of course, everywhere I went I would bump into someone I know (Penang just isn't big enough!), and they would then ask me about ‘THE MARATHON’. Our longest training run had been 33km, which I had completed a couple of times, once poorly and once really well, but a marathon is 42 km. There was a whole extra 9 kms which I just did not know about, and I found that really scary. But hey, after my denial strategy kept getting hijacked by well meaning friends and acquaintances, the only thing left to do was to give it a go.

Aside from the extra 9 kms, the other thing I was concerned about was the course - a dog leg at the beginning, out and back across the bridge, and out and back along the highway towards George Town - how boring! I was concerned that I would get really bored and maybe even just run home to Gurney Drive just for some variation.

Race day, or rather, race night. Once more there is an annoying and interfering siren sounding, interrupting my dream. this time though it really is a siren that has woken me up at 10pm, and hour before my alarm is set to go off. Damn. In addition, it seems like all of Malaysia is on Gurney Drive in their car and honking their horn. I try to go back to sleep, but then open one eye and realise my alarm is going off. Damn. 11pm Saturday night. Time to get up and run a marathon.

It’s been raining - just the usual torrential tropical rain storm and wind. I’m really hoping I don’t have to run in these conditions. Miraculously, the weather clears and it’s perfect for the tropics - cool with lower humidity than usual because of the rain, with a light breeze and even fine drizzle for some of the race. Penang has certainly turned it on for the marathon this year.

My training buddy arrives at midnight to pick me up and we arrive at Queensbay Shopping Mall about 12.30. Finding a park takes quite some time and we finally tuck up alongside a double yellow line about 1 km from the start. Although there is a steady stream of early morning athletes, I am amazed at how well the event is organised for 49,000 competitors across the full and half marathons and the 10 km events. We do our pre-race warm up, discuss our race strategy, go to the toilet about 50 times, and get to the start line with about 5 minutes to spare. We shuffled as far forward as we could so we could start running as early as possible, and the gun sounded - it was a couple of minutes before 2am even. When is Malaysia ever early?!

Based on our training runs, we were aiming for a run time of 4.5 hours to complete the full distance. The only good thing about starting a marathon at 2am is that you run the distance in the dark, which I love. Our race strategy was to start really slow, take the middle part of the course slow, and then to finish off the last 10kms slow. Any energy I had at the end I was to save for the last kilometre. Seems a bit weird to run 41kms slow to run a faster 1km, but that was the best piece of advice I received. That and take time to enjoy the experience - you only ever get to run your first marathon once.

The run itself was not as bad as I had anticipated. Running over the bridge (and back again) was much less boring than I had expected, and was even pleasant. It was amazing to see the throngs of people on both sides of the bridge as I was on my way back to Penang, and the lights of George Town and Penang Hill twinkling in the background provided a pretty distraction. I hit the 25km point feeling pretty good. I had eaten every hour (carb shots), drunk a lot of water on the way, and re-hydrated with electrolytes at 21km. I was running to plan; I had been going slow and was not thinking of running any faster - yet. The pace setters had passed us a couple of times due to the out and back course, and they were beautiful to watch run. They reminded me of race horses galloping up the back straight. It was like they were gliding over the ground, their feet barely touching the asphalt. There were also plenty of people running barefoot, which surprised me as the entire course is on the tarmac. I asked one of them later how his feet felt, he said they were sore, but so were mine and I had shoes on. Every now and then I would see someone I knew, and it was a real lift to call out to them, or have someone call out to me and give a word of encouragement.

Off the bridge, the course turned nasty. We turned right, away from the finish line, and ran down the highway towards a point that kept getting further and further away. This was the worst part of the course and emotionally draining. At this stage of the race I was at 30km and getting tired, and I was still running away from the finish line. It was more than depressing, and could have become soul destroying or life threatening, but out of the darkness rose a group of familiar faces on the sidelines waving their banners, blowing their whistles and wearing their Bootcamp t-shirts! Here was the support crew, armed with water, supplements, 100 Plus, and best of all loads of moral support and encouragement. I felt like crying when I saw them, but instead I just kept running. They gave me energy.

The turn around point at 33km was both a blessing and a curse. At least now I was headed for the finish line, but this was where ‘the unknown’ began. I did a quick check of myself and was pleasantly surprised (yet again) to realise that I felt ok and that another 9km didn't seem as far as I had previously anticipated it would. Because it was another out and back, I knew what I was in for on my way to the finish line, and ran back past my wonderful support crew. It was also really nice seeing all the people behind me that were still heading to the turnaround, although not so good for them. In what seems no time at all, there was sign that stated ‘5kms to go!’. Wow! Only 5 kms to go! I did another check, and again was surprised to realise that I still felt ok. Pretty soon there was another sign that read ‘3 kms to go’. I checked my watch and found that, although my pace was still slow, I was running at the same speed I had been at the 4km check point. I had remained consistent throughout the race.

However, with only 2kms to go, my world turned black. I had ‘hit the wall’ and there was nothing left. My left leg hurt between my hip and my knee and was doing funny things when I tried to thrust it forward. Everyone around me was walking, and I dropped down into their black hole of despair with them and stopped running. How could I go on when I couldn't control one of my legs? But walking seemed ok, so I tried that for a bit. Then I tried walking faster. Then I saw a sign that read ‘1km to go’ and I forced my crippled body into a slow moving shuffle. The Chinese man beside me was making noises similar to those of a woman in labour, so I told him to keep moving forward. This seemed to have an impact on me, like it was someone else's voice saying the words to me, and I picked up my pace. The Chinese man in labour stayed with me. We crept along the road towards the finish line, picking up our pace as we went. With about 100m to go I got sick of his labouring noises and wanted to beat him more than anything in the world, so in my head I looked like Usain Bolt and sprinted across the finish line. Then I hugged the Chinese guy.

I don’t have an official time, as my e-tag stopped tracking after 19km, but my ‘unoffical’ time was 4 hours and 56 minutes and 30 seconds. A bit slower than I had anticipated, but then I had stuck to my race plan and ran slowly until the last kilometre. At the time, there was nothing left in my body to allow me to experience an emotion of any kind, but on reflection, I am proud of my sub-5 hour marathon time. It is the tropics and it was my first marathon.

Now I know you are all wondering ‘will I run another one’?, and ‘is it possible to drink beer and still run a marathon’? It’s only one day after the race, and I cant say I am tempted to run another 42 kms on the road. However, some of these off road ultra marathons look interesting…. and no, it’s not possible to drink beer and run a marathon, especially not at the same time.

Mariane Wray - Marathon Runner.

Tips for Training for a Marathon:

Get a Training Programme that works for you, and stick to it: Train smart, train well. I went to a marathon clinic early in my training, and most of the problems people had experienced on their previous runs were due to a lack of training. To run a long way, you need to practice running a long way. Its not possible to get a good result if your longest run has been 15km, and you are much more likely to injure yourself. During the marathon, there were a lot of people experiencing cramps and unable to continue. This is generally due to a lack of training.

Do it with friends: Get yourself a training group. If I had to get up in the middle of the night and run for 3 hours by myself week after week, I would have packed it in. Often, the only thing that got me out of bed was the knowledge that I had people waiting for me before they could start their training run. Get yourself more than one training buddy and all run together, as injuries during training are not uncommon. You don't want to lose motivation because you are the last man standing.

Rest: So, so important. Schedule in rest weeks every month, where your training is reduced. This doesn't mean you don’t train, just that you lessen the training every once in a while to let your body recover.

Research supplements: Good quality supplements assist the body in coping with the pounding it is taking from all the running. You lose so much running long distances in the tropics, and you have to replace the nutrients you lose. Running long distances reduces the efficiency of your immune system, so taking anti-oxidants and Vit C helps to reduce the effects of this and allows you to continue training. I also took L-Carnatine, Whey Protein, electrolytes and magnesium, along with my usual fish oil and multi-vitamins.

Eat good quality food: Its not possible to run long distances well if you've had McDonalds for dinner the night before. Whole foods and vegetables with protein based foods (meat) provided me with the best outcomes on my long runs. Avoid processed foods as much as possible, and as good as Fish Curry is, it’s not recommended as a pre-run meal. That’s when I learned that Tamarind is a natural laxative.

Stop drinking beer: Not completely, just not on the evenings before your long runs. I did drink throughout my training, but maybe only one or two beers after a long run, and not at all for the last couple of weeks. I had several beers after the marathon, and it had never tasted so good!

Recruit a Support Team: Having friends running the event with you, or parked up alongside somewhere on the route makes a huge difference to your emotional state, especially towards the end of the marathon when you are emotionally fragile.  One of our support crew ran the last six kilometres with my training buddy - priceless. Also, support from family and friends during training is critical. Having people who support your goal and can help out with child-minding and other tasks while you are training makes a huge difference (you know who you are!)

Don’t do anything new on marathon day: Make sure you have used your training runs as practice runs for kit, clothing, supplements and food. Don't do anything you haven't done before on the day of the marathon - except for running further!

Enjoy running: There is no point running a marathon if you hate running. But if its something you are curious about, give it a go. You don't even have to be good at running, as you get better during your training, or you get injured and stop. Penang has a great range of running events, so sign up for one and see if you like it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How to make exercise a habit

Of three top ways in which you can make life better – decreasing stress, reducing pain and sleeping better – exercise helps you do all three. When you are ready to improve the quality of your life and make exercise plans, you’ll want to form a daily exercise routine. How? Remember that an exercise lifestyle is lived one moment at a time and that quality of life is revealed by each choice you make in each moment.

Simply know this: Your thoughts and feelings support your actions, your actions support your steps, your steps support your behavior and your repeated behavior becomes your lifestyle. Take a look at how the small choices lead to a lifestyle:

Become aware of emotions you associate with the experience of exercise. Tune into your well-being and joy when you are active. Choosing to be active is much easier when your mind says, “This is fun!” or “This feels good!”

Visualize walking around the block to get your mail and playing with your kids or grandkids. Let those thoughts inspire creativity, so you begin to make other feel-good exercise plans.

Live in the present, which is the only “place” where you can be active. Actions happen now, not in the past or future. In-the-moment opportunities, such as walking up the ramp at the mall instead of taking the escalator, riding a bike instead of driving or taking a walk on your lunch break instead of gobbling fast food, provide ways for you to fit in fitness and should be part of your daily exercise routine.

Create your belief system, make your choices and take a step. After experiencing the endorphin release caused by physical activity that can reduce pain, believe that exercise can make you feel better and make exercise plans. Choose to be active over being still. Accumulated in-the-moment choices are the actions that become the steps that establish a lifestyle.

Cultivate and engage. Each day we engage in activities that care for our body, such as taking a shower, eating, sleeping and brushing our teeth. These actions have become a lifestyle and, more than likely, there are aspects of each one that you enjoy while you are engaged in it. The same can be said for exercise. As you cultivate a relationship with exercise, you create and live an exercise lifestyle, and your actions – and life – become extremely rewarding and enjoyable.

-Karen Danner, author of Life Moves, Exercise for the Love of the Lifestyle

Monday, December 2, 2013

The power of camaraderie

To be encouraged means literally to acquire courage, while to be discouraged is to give in to fear. Soldiers need courage to charge into battle, and without it, they won't. We all conceals a level of fear and anxiety inside ourselves, however in order to meet life's challenges and crises, we all have to discover how much courage we have.To face your fears isn't a pleasant experience yet in the long run, many accomplishments in life come our way only if we overcome fear and acquire courage.

The band of brother’s mentality (teamwork) that develops among soldiers embraces the challenge of fear. Most non soldiers don't realize how important it is for soldiers to develop this camaraderie. The soldier’s commitment to each other is real and it helps:   
Develop a stronger sense of self esteem
  • People feel included and accepted.
  • The group moves forward for the benefit of everyone.
  • Fear of failure is reduced.
  • Belief increases
  • People feel that they are not alone in facing a crisis.
  • A stronger sense of self diminishes anxiety and fear
  • Resilience in the face of challenges is able to grow.
  • Productivity is increased.

As the world become more individualistic we must stop and see camaraderie as something that makes us better human beings. Look at your own life, how do you raise your children, how do you treat other adults, and begin to build co-operation and encourage real teamwork not just the appearance of teamwork

Some suggestion: 
  • Start by solving challenge for everyone, not just you.
  • Bond with others by paying personal attention to them.
  • Start thinking inclusively rather than individually
  • Improve the environment for everyone, not for the strategic few 
  • Afford dignity to everyone
  • Think in terms of a “We” rather than “I”

Brand new week : Let's do it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fancy a Dirty Week ?

Warrior Bootcamp is the leading provider of outdoor fitness training , leadership and team-building.

Our programs are Special Forces inspired but adapted for persons of all fitness levels. 

We take the best aspects of military training to provide a fun , friendly,  highly motivational " CAN DO" workout environment. 

YOU WILL improve your fitness , health , weight loss , mental toughness & athletic performance. 

BE super charged to succeed !! 

Click on the link below for a map of the location >>>>>    

BUKIT DUMBAR