Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Devilicious Gs @ Nike We Run KL 10km

Who needs Batman when you can have four devilicious Gs? ;)
Pic credits to Idola

It was my first race upon returning from the States and this event was my third 10km race...

This was Nike's second running event... The first one was held last year on the day that I proudly called myself a marathoner in Melbourne, 10/10/10... 

And because I've heard rave reviews from the last year's race, I decided to join in and be part of the massive 'red' runners this year ;) 

It was also my first race running with a new pacer this time around, Deo ;) 

I was chasing for the sub-1 hour finish and am stoked to have crossed the line just below the 1 hour mark!!! :D :D :D 

I'd say that this event is so far the best organised 10km race that I've ever participated in... From the reasonably priced fees, to the adequate water stations with volunteers and organised race village on the day itself...

Oh, and I loved the exceptionally rolling route!!! Kudos to the organisers and Nike for throwing us the runners a big fun party on Sunday! :) 

I shall let the pictures speak for this post ;)

Another round of making this a fun run for the Gs...
Yeap we were the red devils (not Man U yeah :P) ;)
Pic credits to Missy

Dashing towards the finish line...
Pic credits to Aiman

Thanks to my pacer, 59 mins and accomplished my mission! 
Could've done better but I'll take that time for now ;)
Yayyyy!!! Thanks again Deo for putting up with me especially at the last 2km of the race :)

With Idola... 
He's so photogenic kan ;)
Pic credits to Idola

Skirts galore with Herr G!
Pic credits to Missy

Trying to notty-fy our Mr Reindeer ;P

The Gs interrogating Deo to see if he wants to be a part of the crew ;P
Pic credits to Idola

It was supposed to be his next race with us...
Arwah signed up for the race at my place a day before the adidas KOTR's race with Missy...
My very good friend, Mizi ran on behalf of arwah...
You did him proud, G... 
We still miss you... Al-Fatihah

One more race to go and then I am d-o-n-e for the year! :)

Captain G's NYC Marathon Experience

My partner-in-crime and travelling buddy when I was in the States, Captain G aka Shanaz is featured as a guest blogger in Idola G's blog, penning down on her recent marathon experience in New York City but of course :)

Click on the links below to read about her awesome journey:

Part 1 - The Decision and Training: http://jurnalari.blogspot.com/2011/11/on-november-6-2011-3-close-friends.html

Part 2 - Being in New York: http://jurnalari.blogspot.com/2011/11/shanaz-running-new-york-part-2.html

Part 3 - NYC Marathon (my fave!): http://jurnalari.blogspot.com/2011/11/shanaz-running-new-york-part-3.html

You did a great job at blogging, Captain! :)

And congratulations again on your sub-4:15!!! Looking forward to our 'next' adventure in 2012 :D

Mucho love xx

(Idola, I'm giving free publicity to your blog, you should consider doing the same thing.. Hahahaha :P)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Day after the Marathon and Reflections

Apparently, it was a tradition for all of the marathon finishers to proudly wear, walk, and parade the medal on the streets of New York City...

And that's exactly what we did on the next day :) Even with our 'busted' legs :P

My pretty necklace of the day :)
Breakfast at one of our fave places, Le Pain Quotidien 

On the way to Top of the Rock...

With the gorgeous Central Park as the backdrop :)

Because we had to celebrate the American style ;)

Dinner time ;)

And to end our NYC trip, of course we had to make an epic one... And so we did :D

One of the best concerts I've ever gone to!!!

I think our medals had a blast too on that day... Hehe ;)

It was a perfect post-marathon day for us... Strangers on the street came up to us and congratulated us for completing the marathon... Bumped into runners that did the same thing, we exchanged smiles at each other on the street with an unspoken understanding that we braved through the 5 boros the day before and the medal's probably one of if not the best thing that has happened for this year :)

I think if we were to do this in KL, people would think that there's seriously something wrong with us :P

Now, I don't normally do this... But I thought a self-reflection about the whole marathon experience would probably do me good whenever I look back later on... And of course I wouldn't mind sharing it here with all of you :) So here goes...

What went right:
The training... I completely agree that you need sufficient training in order to achieve your desired time goal in a marathon... As I was saying, I've never trained properly for a marathon except for this one... And it helps to have a training buddy who shares the same passion as you too :)

The speedwork did wonders to my legs... And when I was running the first 30km, I felt like I could go on and on with the unexpected pace that I was running at...

Oh, and before I started training for the marathon, I used to loathe running through the hills... Whenever I see one from afar, I'll start to get demotivated and immediately switched to brisk walking mode to go through them... But thanks to my training, I can proudly say, bring the hills on because the legs are loving it! :)

And as per my previous post, the combination of feeling happy and the amazing atmosphere were definitely the two factors that helped me PB-ed this awesome marathon on that day :)

What went wrong:
I think looking back, there was a pinch of regret as I felt that I didn't push myself during my last 10km of the marathon... After I crossed the finish line, I thought to myself that I could've gotten a slightly better timing have I not been walking too much... But a PB is indeed a PB... And there's always a next marathon to smash a PB right? ;)

Also, the fact that my Garmin went hay-wired during the race... I became too worried and kept on checking on my watch and the mile markers to see whether I was on target with my time goal... But either than that, I am super grateful that my legs were fine (except for my cramped left leg between 35 - 40km of the route) throughout the race... Alhamdulillah for that :)

What could've been improved:
I think more speedwork and strength sessions for the legs would've helped during my training period...

Also, I should've ran outside more instead of on the happymill... I think my dailymile friends can conclude that happymill was my superbestie during the training period... Hehe... Time was always a factor for me when it comes to running during weekdays... Maybe next time, I'll try to go out more and run at parks instead :)

And it wouldn't hurt to have a man by your side, supporting you throughout your journey ;P

So there you have it, my NYC Marathon journey, jotted down in words (and in 3 parts! hehe) and written straight from the heart with no regrets :)

Follow your dreams, have faith and believe in each one of them, and they will come true eventually...

I know that one of mine did :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

iRan New York City :)

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive, 
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise,
To fly :)
(From the song Fly by Nicky Minaj feat. Rihanna) 

When I found out that Captain and Señorita was going to join me for the trip, I was really ecstatic because I'd have two awesome running buddies to share my amazing experience with... And the fact that Captain and I made plans to travel together in the States for three weeks (New York - Boston - Washington - Houston), I knew that this trip was going to be definitely fun and unforgettable :)

As per my previous post, we flew in a week before the marathon itself to get ourselves adjusted to the time (13 hours difference from KL!), to acclimate and to have a few final runs in NYC... Buses were already decorated with Asics' motivational messages for the marathon, posters in cafes were up inviting runners to dine at their place, and posters were scattered around the city... When we had our first run in Central Park, it was already 'decorated' with banners and posters, and that the organisers were working on the finish gantry area... And that runners from all over the world have started swarming the park throughout the week... Yeap, the marathon vibes were in the air already :)

One of the tour buses...
Pic credits to Señorita

We carboloaded here the night before the marathon ;)

At one of the metro stations' entrance...

Central Park...

I was really anxious for the entire week, and especially the day before the marathon itself... With friends and family posting messages on Facebook, Twitter or BB to achieve a new PB, how can you not right?! Haha! All of the possible 'what-ifs' popped into my mind... Thank God Captain understood what I was going through because she felt the same way too... Come to think of it, it was just plain silly to put such pressure on myself... I kept telling myself that even if I didn't get my PB, I'll be okay but I guess I was just trying to be in denial about it :P But one thing is for sure, I was pretty proud of myself to see how I've improved mentally and physically from the training :)

In Lululemon Athletica store, Woodbury Common... 

The marathon day finally came and it was a testament to myself to see whether what I've been training for the past 3 months were good enough for me or not to finish strong within my desired time goal :)

With the recent passing of my beloved friend, TSB, I dedicated this marathon to him as he was eagerly excited when I told him that I got in back in April and gave me encouragements throughout my training til the day that he left us.... So this one was for you and you were in my thoughts throughout the marathon :')

Tribute sticker was pasted at the back of my running top 
Pic credits to Captain

We woke up at 5am to get ready at the hotel... Captain was running for Autism Speaks so she had to leave early to catch a bus with the other runners from the group... An hour later, I left the hotel with Señorita (who was running for Shoe4Africa) in a cab to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and catch our ferry...

Nervous already!!!

Once we got to the island, we took the bus that was provided for the runners to the starting point of the race - the Verazzano-Narrows bridge... The three of us were flagged off at 1040am... Mind you, it was still a very cold and chilly morning... So, camwhoring was a must for the three of us before we separated into our respective coral and wave no ;)

The G girls posing proudly with our Malaysian flag :)

I donated my sweater just before entering the starting point... They blasted out New York New York by the legendary Frank Sinatra for us after we were flagged off... So, we danced and sang before we started running and entered the bridge since we were going to run NYC 'right through the very heart of it'... A good way to ignite our running spirits eh? ;)

There were 5 boros that we had to go through - Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and finally Manhattan... All of which we had to pass their insanely elevated bridges respectively from one boro to another... Here's the beautiful but torturing course map ;P

You can checkout the map clearer by clicking here

The legs had a good workout alright from the elevations ;P
You can click here for a larger view 

The first 2 miles were quite challenging for me as I had to run my way through the massive sea of runners and kept up with my pace... And the fact that my Garmin went hay-wired because I was running at the lower deck of the bridge... Hence, from the beginning of the race, I had to rely on the mile markers and my time on my Garmin to gauge whether I was on the right track for a sub-4:30 or not... And I was praying hard that I wouldn't get any more 'surprises' or mishaps during the race...

When I entered Brooklyn, I was overwhelmed with the supports from the crowds.... It was a huge street party, with the all kinds of music blasting from the stereos, performances by bands and percussionists, and the super loud cheers from the supporters, I smiled widely while running in this boro... Definitely the best boro to run in! :)

One happy runner I am ;)

Halfway to go!
Spot me ;)
I made sure that I posed for the cameras whenever I see them... Hehe

I ran past Queens and it was also filled with supporters that were mostly looking for their spouse, husband, wife, family members or friend respectively... I somehow wished that I did have at least one supporter to cheer me on at that point... Hehe... 

The toughest bridge for me was definitely Queensboro Bridge... It seemed never-ending for us and I laughed at the end of the bridge to see a couple of banners that said, "If you think the last 10 miles are easier, then welcome to easier"... 16 remaining clicks were definitely not easier in my books! ;p

First Avenue, Manhattan was filled with thousands of supporters on both sides of the street and I felt like a rockstar here as this was the area where my name was called by a no of supporters/volunteers and it felt awesome to be high-fiving them :)

The Bronx was definitely a favourite for me too - with hip hop and soul music and performances by the musicians, a sign from the crowd that says 'You're the shit', what's not to love about the Bronx? ;) Definitely my kind of hood... Hehe... I pretty much danced my way through this awesome boro :)

I was pretty consistent with my pace, which was between 5:45 to 6 min/km until I reached the 35th km... I was grateful that I didn't feel the wall, but my left leg started to cramp up at the last bridge that we had to go through... So, I stopped by the side of the bridge to quickly stretch my legs here... Also, my big toe nails were still suffering from TNF, and I was praying hard that they would still remain intact as they were 'throbbing' as well... *Drama* :P

Hence, the last leg of the race at Fifth Avenue before entering Central Park (the finish line) in Manhattan was challenging for me, as I switched to run-walk-run mode for the next 5km... Plus, I had a few mins to kill knowing the fact that I was well on track with my timing... Lazy :P

Except for this one...
Caught by the camera :P

The encouraging words and posters from the supporters really did help me get through the last 3km of the race... So when I finally entered Central Park, I gave my all and ran my heart out to the finish line with my Malaysian flag :)

Felt euphoric to be crossing the line :)

And Alhamdulillah, all of the training, sacrifices and investments were paid off on that glorious day as I completed the biggest marathon in the world with a whopping PB of 4 hrs 23 mins 39 secs!!! My first attempt and I nailed it!!! :D :D :D

I was overwhelmed that I almost cried after crossing the line, but at the same time I felt like puking because I sprinted like a crazy girl before that... So much that a few of the volunteers asked me if I needed medical attention... So crying did not take place :p

And these were my splits from the awesome marathon :)

I got 'lazy' between 30 -40km... Hehe

I felt completely overjoyed when I was running the marathon... With the amazing atmospheres from all of the 5 boros, it was a day of celebration for us the runners... The city came to life on that day and the people really know how to throw big parties for us :) There were many things that came through my mind when I was running too... I had my moments of reflection in life too (so deep right :P)

And to achieve what I've set out to achieve from the beginning, nothing beats personal glory and gratification :) I can't wait to share this amazing story one day with my kids, insyaAllah :)

Sub-4:30 marathoners - Check!!! :D :D :D

To Captain, I had a blast training with you for the past 3 months or so... We've strengthened our friendship through what we've shared and learned from each other, and that wasn't just through running... And you've proved that with perseverance and practice (oh, and no social life :P), magic can happen and a sub-4:15 is doable ;) Hehe... You did super awesome... I'm so happy for you and that I'm proud to be part of your journey :)

With our roses respectively from a guy called Pakwe (not mine!)...
The deal was that if three of us PB-ed, we would get one rose each..
And so we did :) 
Pic credits to Captain 

To Señorita, you finally did it! A sub-5 in your belt now and you smashed your PB by friggin' 42 mins! Fantastic! An awesome way to celebrate your birthday in advance right? :) You did me proud girlfriend (ala Bronx accent)! ;)

(My Oscar speech again :P) To all of my friends that have been endlessly supportive and for not wanting to strangle me every time I mention about NYC previously, you can all breathe a sigh of relief now :p Though I might be talking about it back at home for the next one month as I'll be carrying my medal in my bag too... Haha :P But thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your kind, inspiring and positive words, be it via face-to-face, this blog, Facebook, BB or Twitter... Words cannot describe how thankful I am to have such amazing friends :)

I also would like to give a special shout-out to my fellow Gs, Idola and Apprentice, for staying up so late back at home, tracked our progresses and updated them on our Facebook pages while we were running the streets of New York until the three of us crossed the finish line respectively... So grateful to have you both as our Gs *hugs* :)

Would I run New York again? Heck yeah!!! Well, one day and if money permits again insyaAllah :) I highly recommend all of my running friends to run NYC... Definitely an experience of a lifetime :)

So, 1 marathon major down... What's next? *wink*

Maybe having a man in my life should be my next target... LOL!!! Just sayin' ;p

Next: The Day After the Marathon ;)

(Note: I am still waiting for my pictures from Brigthroom, the official photography for the marathon... The ones I've shared were taken from the website... Will upload once I've them)

Monday, November 14, 2011

New York City - The Road to Realising the Dream

Taken in Niketown Store, NYC :)

Hello everyone! :)

I am still here in the States... I figured that since I'm at my last destination before heading back home and that I've time at the moment, I'd like to share about my NYC experience in a few parts... Because it deserves to be in that manner and that I have so much to tell!!! Hehe ;)

So, let's start with my training regime for the past 3 months leading up to the day of the marathon... When I found out that Captain was going to join me in NYC, I was super excited and grateful at the same time... This was because she was an awesome companion back in April when we both went to Paris for my birthday marathon and that I was going to share my dream this year with her again :)

So, we both decided to train together this time around for the marathon... This was the first time that I actually had a proper training regime and that I was actually training for a marathon 3 months prior to an event! :p On the last 4 marathons that I've done, the longest training that I've done so far was one and half months before the race that was the Paris one... Talk about discipline :p

Of course, I had a goal in my mind for NYC, and that was to attempt and complete the race in less than 4 and half hours... I have two sub-5 and two sub-5:30 in my belt... So, a sweet sub-4:30 would be a perfect present for my last marathon of the year... Hence, I told myself that I was going to really train for it, rain or shine... And the fact that I was going to invest a lot by coming all the way to the Big Apple, I had to make this a worthwhile trip no? :)

So, captain and I started our training during the fasting month... We dedicated our Tuesdays for our speedwork and strength workouts, Thursdays for marathon pace runs, and the weekends for our LSD runs... The other working days were dedicated to easy runs that would accumulate to 60-70km in total per week... And there were also races that we took part in October (adidas King of the Road, The North Face 100 and New Balance Real Run which was both in Singapore) as part of our training...

After our first LSD during the Ramadan month in Putrajaya :)

Military ratus ;)
Pic credits to Missy 

Before leaving Singapore :)
Pic credits to Captain

The last LSD before flying off to NYC

At the end of October, I was happy and lil' proud of myself that I've trained well... Here's a snapshot from my dailymile on my training:

100 miles+ for the month of October... A first for me :)

And of course we ran in Central Park just to acclimate ourselves to the supercold weather...

Our 2nd run...

The day before the marathon - our last 5km run...

I have to say that it wasn't easy for the both of us due to the fact that we had to be super committed and discipline with our program - and that meant sacrificing our social (yes, I do have a life!) or family gatherings and handle the banters and dissatisfaction from 'non-runnning' friends at the same time... You gotta be in our (running) shoes to understand people! ;)

And of course, there were days where I just didn't want to run, but I had to force myself (with positive thoughts!) and that captain was around to push and motivate me to do so :)

Nevertheless, our close running friends were very supportive throughout our training months... And not to mention, my super understanding parents and closest friends... Alhamdulillah and supermad  for them :)

And just like the first pic in this post: Nothing worthwhile was ever easy; and I am glad that I followed the program and pulled it through :D

Next: iRan New York City :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

ING New York City Marathon

It was my dream to run the prestigious and biggest marathon in the world this year...

And to PB by 24 mins and complete the race in less than 4 hrs 30 mins?!!

Superduper stoked!!! :D :D :D

Alhamdulillah... I can't believe that I did it!!! 

Will update soon on my best marathon experience here soon...

Now, time to reward myself here! :) 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Super Starstruck :)

The girls and I went to pick-up our bibs and shopped like crazy at the expo after that...

But the highlight of the day was definitely meeting these 2 inspiring and running legends :)

With Mr 800 himself - Bart Yasso :D

One of the greatest ultramarathoners - Dean Karnazes y'all!!! :D

Less than 30 hours to go for me here...


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Empire State of Mind :)

A BIG hello from the Big Apple :)

It's a surreal feeling to be here, since I grew up watching movies that featured New York city... Such a vibrant and colourful city this is!

My girls (Shanaz and I) are here and it has been a fun journey for the three of us here being tourists ;)

Here are some of the pictures that I'd like to share since I got here :)

Moments after arriving at JFK - Times Square baby!!!

Captain and I :)

Spotted: Captain, Senorita and Princess during their first run here at Central Park (ala Gossip Girl) ;)
Supergorgeous park!!! 

The props and signage are up around the park :)  

Visited the Lady Liberty today :)
Pic credits to Shanaz

Words cannot describe how happy but nervous I am to be here!

More updates soon!

T-3!!! :D :D :D