Monday, October 29, 2012

Available @ Sukan G :)

Pretty and stylish belts for you to stash your stuff while sweating it out ;)

More pretty bands for our sistas! :D

Heavenly scents after your workout :)

Say NO to chafe marks!

And we have new tees on the page as well!!!

Do check us out at now ;)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Featured :)

Have you heard about Spirit of the Marathon movie?

Well, if you haven't... You should definitely check it out! Worth watching the movie!

Well, Shanaz and I were lucky enough to meet the producer, director and one of the cast runners at the expo last month... These people are so amazing at what they do, capturing the moments of the beautiful sport (I'm biased like that :P) 

And guess what?! We're featured in their latest e-mail newsletter :)

See below to read it ;)

At the BOA Chicago Marathon...
Hello Spirit of the Marathon friends!

Our amazing director-producer team, Jon and Gwendolen, just wrapped up an incredible time at the BOA Chicago Marathon and were thrilled that so many of you came by our booth to say "Hi" (and pick up a SOTM running tech shirt)! They loved hearing your stories about how Spirit of the Marathon has played an integral role in your running journey and continue to remember the inspiring conversations that they shared with many of you. One story, in particular, left producer Gwendolen in tears as she recounted the group of women who were running the marathon for their friend, Linda, who couldn't join them because she was undergoing cancer treatments. They had even designed a Flat Stanley with Linda's picture on it and were going to take turns carrying it while running the marathon--thus giving Linda a chance to run the marathon in spirit. Such were the stories of endurance, determination, anticipation, and comraderie.
Shout out to Natascia!
Ilyanna & Shanaz came all the way from Malaysia! We love that Spirit of the Marathon has fans from all over the world!
Interviews with Dick Beardsley, Hal Higdon, Paula Radcliffe, and John Bingham!
In addition to the time that they spent at the Expo, Jon and Gwendolen also managed to sit down and film interviews for Spirit of the Marathon II! (Perhaps you might recognize names like Dick Beardsley, Hal Higdon, Paula Radcliffe, and John Bingham?!) Not only can you anticipate some great interviews in the upcoming Spirit of the Marathon II, "Like" us on Facebook to get a sneak peek into producer Gwendolen's notes from the interviews!
Gwendolen hanging out with Hal at his booth (be on the look out for our next Facebook giveaway--you could win an autographed copy of Hal Higdon's, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide!)!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The City By The Lake

It was our first time to Chi-town and although we felt like the trip was quick (due to our practice runs, the marathon itself and finding gems for Sukan G), I fell in love with the city instantly from day one!

We stayed in downtown and everything was accessible via the public transportation or by foot! We pretty much walked to places while we were there as our apartment's location was great and walkable to Chi-town's attractions!

And the people there are genuinely nice and friendly! It seems that it's pretty normal for strangers to talk and be chatty with you! I shall let the pictures 'speak' for the highlights of my trip there :)

The lobby of our apartment... Loved it!
I can imagine mine being somewhat like this when I have a house in the future ;)

If San Francisco had hearts 'left' all over the city, Chicago had balls instead ;P

Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery!
This famous bakery was featured in Sex and the City! 

Met my primary schoolmate who's currently residing and working there... The last time we met was 17 years ago! Amazing how FB can re-connect you with your old mates :) 
Of course we had to have these for our catch-up dinner there...

Only in Chi-town - Deep dish pizza at Lou Minalti's! Sinful but heavenly scrumptious!!!

Beautiful skyline and Lake Michigan!!!

Was in complete awe when I was in the room filled with Monet's paintings at The Art Institute of Chicago :)

View of the skyline from Nichols Bridge

Couldn't get enough of the bean, so we came back again! ;)

So, what did we do the day after the marathon?

The same thing that we did when we were in NYC - show off our bling day! ;)

Captain and I with a part of Chicago as the background :)

The medal was our main star alright :)
Yummy red velvet cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory (where Penny works!) 

Just following the tradition ;)

And the best part of the day was our celebratory dinner at none other than.... 

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The famous Italian restaurant by the celebrity couple, Giuliana and Bill Rancic :D
Great food and great service! 
The ONLY time where the both of us dressed up to celebrate Captain's birthday and our achievements :)

I had a blast in Chi-town! And I'd like to say thank you again to everyone who followed our journey from day one and for continuously supporting us with your kind and positive words :) You have inspired me to do more and challenge myself, even with all of the setbacks... I'm truly blessed and grateful for that... May God bless each and every one of you! Oh, and thanks to our supporter-cum-photographer for that day for taking those awesome pics :) (a short Oscar speech this time around :P) 

And it was a wonderful 2-week getaway too! Couldn't ask for a better traveling partner, as always! :) 

Who knows, maybe one day I'll return and catch up on the places that I didn't get to go insyaAllah ;)

Captain, let's plan for our next adventure! :D 

Monday, October 15, 2012

iRan and Owned Chicago :)

Ready or not, here I come Chi-town! 

During my 6-week rest and no running period, I was feeling pretty down as I was hoping much earlier on to attempt a PB at the marathon, even if it was just a minute or two... But thanks to my amazing support system (you know who you are ), I got myself psyched for the marathon again last month when I started running again :) BUT, 2 days before Captain and I left for San Francisco (SF), I caught the flu bug from my lookalike brother and inevitably it got really bad on my 2nd day in SF and was down with viral infection... Cough, runny nose, phlegm, sore throat, you name it, I was experiencing all of it... So, I had to rely on the meds that I bought from Walgreens pharmacy... I got frustrated again and I was grateful to have Captain around to be 'entertained' by my drama on this ;P

When we got into Chicago, I was still recovering and thanks to the infamous weather forecast due to the strong winds, I knew that the recovering process was going to take much longer than I anticipated... As per my previous post, we came to the States much earlier on to get ourselves used to the time difference (SF was 12 hours earlier while Chicago was 13 hours earlier than KL), get acclimatised to the unpredictable weather and to have final rounds of running just to wake our legs up too, just like what we did for last year's New York City (NYC) marathon... Only that for this time around, we decided to be tourists in SF first :)

As Nike was the official apparel and footwear for the marathon, we both decided to check out the Niketown store at Magnificent Mile on our first day after our first torturous 7km run (we were still trying to get used to the weather and it was 2 degrees that morning!) in the beautiful windy city, as they were launching the marathon's merchandise and the campaign 4 days before the big day! Quite odd of Nike to do so, maybe it was part of their marketing tactics... Needless to say, the campaign 'Own Chicago' is super shagedelic and I really dig it!

One of the displays in Niketown

Felt like I was running in the 60s ;)

Apart from the banners that we saw along a few of the streets in downtown and around the start/finish area at Grand Park, we didn't really feel the vibes until race day... As the marathon is the second biggest one in the world, we certainly didn't feel like it was though... But hey, I was just excited to run at a new (and windy) route with 44,999 other runners :)

And I have to say that the bank's campaign for the marathon was pretty neat as it uses positive adjectives to describe the city and real runners from the previous marathon as their poster peeps :)

Outside of the expo

My favourite word ;)

I was feeling pretty good on our last run before the marathon as I felt much better to breathe properly while I was running, so I had positive thoughts running through my system again :)

I was thankful that our apartment was just an approximately 1km (or less) walking distance from the starting point, which meant that we both could sleep in more the night before the marathon ;) We woke up at about 6am to get ready and walked to Grant Park... And just got in time to our corral 15 minutes before the flag-off at 8am after deposited our bags... We were assigned to the same corral so it definitely felt nice to have someone to be nervous with up until the flag-off ;)

It was a freezing morning that day with a high temperature of 6 degrees (damn cold right?), we were shivering even with our hoodies on! We only took off and donated our hoodies just before crossing the line, hope that the day will become much sunnier and warmer... But the weather was definitely much better than our first run there a few days before that!

Apparently, we were either twins or sisters here in Chicago ;)

The course was flat but with elevations here and there from the bridges that we had to go through... It was good for the legs ;)

The course map
You can click here to see a bigger view of the map

At State Street... 

We ran through 29 neighbourhoods that morning... The city was buzzing with cheers and music from the supporters... I was in awe again with the view of the skyline while running at The Loop! My favourite ones are just after entering the Lincoln Park, as there was a band and they were playing 'She Loves You' by The Beatles (loved it!!!) and Old Town, where there were lots of peeps supporting and playing and singing to the loud music for the runners since we had to go through this neighbourhood twice... I will always remember singing along to a few of the songs (eg. The Proclaimers' I Would Walk 500 Miles) and the Korean supporters for playing the darn Gangnam Style song for us ;P

I was doing pretty okay during my first half of the run and surprisingly my left leg was doing pretty darn well too! But just after the 22km marker, my right foot felt superpain out of nowhere, and that's when everything went down the hill *drama* From that point until the km30 or so, I was walking and stretching my leg on the side of the road like a lot!!! And to make things worse, there were strong, gusty winds that accompanied us during the race and I almost had an episode of asthma attack as I started to have difficulties in breathing and was wheezing for a good 1-2km...

Felt really crappy for a while as the thoughts of giving up were lingering in my mind while my right foot was screaming at me to stop! I knew that I can't push myself anymore... But I kept going and kept telling to myself to just take it easy from then on.. And enjoy the experience and atmosphere instead... And so I did :)

Loved the dragon dancers that greeted us at the gates of Chinatown! Oh, and I enjoyed eating all of the free candies, pretzels, sweets and fruits provided by the lovely supporters and hi-fiving the lil' cute kids that were out to support as well... It was also nice to see runners hugging their partner/family member/friend respectively to get the extra push to complete the remaining miles of the marathon... While I on the other hand, had fun posing for the cameras and was enjoying every single water station after that! ;)

Just after entering Chinatown
Taken by MarathonFoto, the official photographer for the marathon

I decided to run more instead of walking at my last 3km... I thought that I might as well just endure the pain since I'll be suffering after the marathon anyway ;P

Moments before crossing the finish line at Grant Park
Taken by MarathonFoto
It's my fave shot from them :)

So, I crossed the finish line with my 'Jalur Gemilang' and completed my 8th marathon at an official time of 5 hrs 13 mins 29 secs! My fastest time for a mary this year, so I'm not complaining... I'll just have to beat my New York time at another marathon then ;)

My splits from the marathon
Fastest times for both halfie and mary for this year... Now that's worth celebrating for right? :)

It was a special day for Captain as it was her birthday and if you recall last year, we 'fell in love' with Paris together on my birthday... Of course, she just HAD to run a birthday marathon and have an amazing and well-deserved PB ;)

2011 and 2012 - Proud with our flag :)
Congrats again captain on your sweetest 4:11!!! You're getting stronger and faster... You completely owned Chi-town on your day! Super proud of you! Happy birthday again too xx
Soon, sub-4 will be in our hands (I also want that :P)

Lessons learned from this marathon:
1) If you're unwell, don't take medication the night before the marathon, as you will constantly want to do a no 1 during the course... It was my first time ever going to the loo twice while running a marathon, and the queues were just too long... In total, I went to the loo 7 friggin' times that morning!!! (3 before the race, 2 during the race and 2 after the race) Next time, just going to deal with it with good ol' fashioned plain water ;)

2) Never EVER run in a pair of shoes when you've done 3 marathons in them... I was actually trying to look for another pair of the same shoes back in KL, but it was unsuccessful and I was saving my money as well for the trip... So, I thought that my legs will still be okay IF I run another marathon in them since I was training in them for the entire month before that... WRONG!!! My right foot is paying for it right now (I'm sorry baby!). I'm just going to stick to 2 marathons per shoes after this then!

Despite all of the setbacks, I am proud of myself and contented to have completed the marathon... And I kept reciting the same dua that was given by my good friend throughout the 42.4km route over and over again so that I won't suffer so much during the run (Thanks Ili!) I am just beyond grateful for not giving up to become one of the 37,455 finishers :)

Thanks to everyone, especially my closest friends and my loved ones, for the support throughout my entire journey and the awesome wishes too! I really appreciate every one of them :)

So yeah, I did own and moved with Chi-town on that day baby! :)

Close-up of the awesome looking medal :)

One thing that I must highlight and love about the marathon is that there were supporters along the entire route! Even at the bridges!!! So, the runners didn't feel alone at all and that helped me a lot especially when I was walking dejectedly... The volunteers were fantastic! Loved seeing elderly people out in the streets with their supportive cheers and smiles... I'm pretty sure that the runners including myself were thrilled to receive their support and love from all of the supporters :)

The fact that it was the breast cancer awareness month too, a lot of runners were donned in tutus - colourful ones! Even the guys (muscular ones!) were wearing them! Definitely a refreshing sight! ;) It was also nice to see supporters holding their personalised signs for their partner/family member/friend respectively :) And the supporters were pretty creative with the signs for the runners - one of my faves is "If marathons were easy, they'd be called your mother." Oh, snap!!!

But, if I were to pick between Chicago and New York City, I'd say that NYC wins BIG time for the overall experience! They organisers are in a league of their own as compared to the marathons that I've been running at so far! The entire city came alive just to celebrate the marathon for the entire week! So yeah, I would definitely run NYC again in a heartbeat (well, if money permits again ;))! Nevertheless, the organisers did absolutely terrific at hosting the second biggest marathon in the world as I enjoyed every single moment of it, even when I was in pain :) This year, I am so ecstatic that three of my dear friends will be running at the prestigious marathon next month :)

Us last year in New York, and us in Chicago last week :)
We still look pretty young right? ;P

2 out of 5 World Marathon Majors down and 3 more to go... Got rejected again for the third time by London this year for 2013 (me no like you anymore London!), I have to REALLY train to get a BQ :P, so I'm left with Berlin then... But we shall see ;)

I am just going to rest and eat happily now until 2013 :)

And probably plan my next destinations for my #9 and #10 too ;)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chicago Marathon - The Toughest Feat

Taken outside of Niketown, Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Hello everyone!

Alhamdulillah, Captain and I are safely back in KL already... Didn't have time to blog while we were in Chicago and we were both prepping for the marathon and had so much fun at the expo... So much fun that we went to the expo 2 days in a row!!! ;) Will come back to that shortly... And that we only had 2 days after the marathon so we were trying to spend some time with the windy city as we were first-timers there :)

With only one month to train for the marathon after my 6-week rest, I knew that achieving a PB would be pretty impossible... So, I tried my best to cross-train at the gym and run at the same time in September, even when my left leg was feeling somewhat strained whenever I completed a workout or run... Had to re-set my mind and aim to finish the marathon strong instead... Afterall, I am grateful enough to be given a chance to run at the second biggest marathon in the world this year :)

I have to say that Chicago is such a beautiful city! We ran twice before the marathon and completely fell in love with the skyline and the warmth shown by the people over there...

Captain and I with the beautiful and massive Lake Michigan as our background during our first 7km run...

Us again with the iconic bean after our last 5km run (the day before the marathon)

I'm sure you've seen this famous bean in movies ;) 

Signs were up already :)

Night view of Chicago... Simply amaze-balls! (ala Giuliana Rancic ;))

This time around, both Captain and I were pretty excited about the expo as we were trying to score goodies for ourselves and also for Sukan G, and we also did finally meet our 'friends' in person, the ones that helped make Sukan G possible :)  

The Nike Wall of Names, where all of the 45,000 marathoners' names were printed, and superoverwhelmed to be one of them :)

The event tee and our bibs respectively... Look at the numbers, what are the odds eyy? ;)

Starstruck!!! An American running icon, Deena Kastor, who's currently the record holder for marathon in the States! 2:19!!!

The awesome 'Italian (Shoe) Restaurant' by Brooks... So creative with the spaghetti and the tagline :D

Definitely one of the best expos that we've been to! There were just so many pretty and awesome things for the runners.. It must be pretty great to be a runner residing in the States! And I'm telling you that the Americans are pretty darn good at throwing awesome running expos ;)

So why was this marathon the toughest feat I've ever had to endure so far? I'll tell you why in my next entry ;)

The battle of jet-lag has begin! :P 

Next: iRan and Owned Chicago

Monday, October 1, 2012

The City By The Bay

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lack of updates! Was busy with the launching of Sukan G, especially with the Facebook page, up until my last day in KL!!!

And now I'm in the West Coast with Captain and feeling the jet-lag and under the weather... But loving the city at the moment! I used to come here a few times with my family but of course couldn't remember a thing, so it's kind of refreshing to be here again :)

And I have to say that it's probably going to be my 2nd favourite city in the States! The people here are warm and friendly, the food is superyummy, everything is accessible and it feels safe to be walking on the streets, and there are lots of runners here! This city reminds me a lil' bit of Melbourne too... Only that it's better ;) (Sorry my dear 2nd kampung!)

Shall update from time to time... In the meantime, enjoy the pics :)

Captain and I at Pier 39

The luscious tree and beautiful flowers at Golden Gate Park

At one of the houses on the way to Alamo Square... An idea for my old jeans perhaps ;)

At the famous Postcard Row

One of the pretty hearts 'left' all over the city

At the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, our 5km marker for this morning's run

I might have to come back to this place again and run a marathon ;)

Oh and it's 6 more days 'til Chicago Marathon!!!

*Anxious and excited*