The Weekend Runner: Mardi MAEPS Trail Run 2015

As I treat the minor cuts on my fingers and my sore thighs, I chuckled at myself for being overly confident and optimistic last year during Mardi Maeps Trail Run 2014. I thought “It’s only for 12 km, I can do this in 1 hour 30 minutes”. I was so wrong – It took me close to 2 hour 30 minutes. So I ended up with more than just cuts and sore muscles; I ended up with an ego bruise too. This year, I knew under 2 hours is not a realistic target for me. I never forget how I grinded up the steep stairs and hills, cursed at myself for not training my glutes and quads enough (they took away the stairs route this year, thank God!), how I wished I brought my own water because I knew nothing about increased humidity in the trails, and most importantly, how I wished I had proper trail running shoes.


This was me back in 2014, making my debut trail run at the very same event, with friend I knew when I was studying in Canada.


IMG_6959From 2014’s route: Thank God they took this super steep route and killer stairs out of the route for this year.


This year I was back, mentally prepared  and armed with the correct equipment (but still physically under prepared due to consuming too much Eid goodies), ready to take on the same trails again. They retained about 80% of their 12km route, so I could recall with some sense of familiarity and nostalgia as I ran. As we proceeded deeper into the trails I could hear the birds and crickets, amazed at the vast expanse of green despite still being in the city. I even spotted a snake!

IMG_9797Trail shoes? Checked. Bladder pack? Checked. Nashata’s Ultra Top? Checked.


Taking in the fresh air after conquering one of the many elevations and uphill climbs. The view was rewarding!

It was raining the night before. So we have been warned by the organizers that the trails are slippery and muddy. There were occasions when the downhill was too steep, so everyone had to sit down and slide or crawl slowly. Thankfully, Nashata’s Ultra Top has thumb holes so the end of the sleeves acted as finger-less gloves. My palms were protected from the rocks and thorns but unfortunately my fingers had minor scratches. But hey, it’s all part and parcel of trail runs.


How I improvised Nashata’s thumb hole as finger-less gloves for trail runs. At least my palms were protected!

IMG_9812Shout out to Kak As, a random runner I met yesterday. Our pace matched each other’s so we kept company through out the run.

The most noticable improvement made this year was the BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle), No Cup policy at every water station. Styrofoam cups can be an eyesore, and contribute a significant amount of waste. The organizers deserve a round of applause for keeping the trails clean, and I hope this concept can be implemented at every race that has multiple water stations.


I had a bladder pack as well but a plastic bottle is handy for refilling purposes.

Overall, I rate the route of this event as easy to intermediate, as there are relatively minimal technicals compared to other trail runs that I have experienced. However I highly recommend some serious amount of lower body strength training if you are running in Mardi MAEPS for the first time to be able to tackle the technicals and hills. I think I will be back next year, and upgrade to the 18km category instead.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

The Weekend Runner: Business As Usual

One day I woke up early in the morning after going for a night run with a major headache and feeling extremely hungry. I went to work groggy and half-asleep. I quickly realised that I was dehydrated and did not monitor what I was eating during suhoor. Lack of sleep contributed to the problems too. Major adjustments must be made in order for me to continue with my work out and running routine for the month of Ramadhan.


Just like picking up a skill, saving up, reading, and many other good things in life, long-distance running is built on consistency. Without regular practice and maintenance I will loose the endurance and stamina built over a few months ago. Plus, I have less than 4 months left until I run my first full marathon at Standard Chartered KL Marathon, so I have to make every mile count.



Can’t stop won’t stop!


Some might argue that Ramadhan is a time focus on ‘ibadah’ but I would argue that maintaining a healthy body is a part of being a good, practicing Muslim. As long as you divide your time well, your work out is also considered as an ‘ibadah’ if your intentions are right and you do it for the sake of Allah.


So, after making some adjustments stated in the example below, it is business as usual with my running routine:


1)     Run at night – Just keep in mind to wait at least 2 hours after a heavy meal if you had a heavy meal at iftar. Or run very early in the morning before suhoor. Running when the sun is not out is much more pleasant and you won’t feel thirsty too quickly.


2)     Get enough rest – it is hard to define how many hours of sleep you actually need because it varies between people, so listen to your body.


3)     Hydration – Drink plenty of plain water. I know that some ice cold cendol at the bazar is tempting, but that should not be your priority. If you want to run while still fasting, some runners that I know revolve their running routine around iftar so their work out is complete as soon as it’s maghrib time.


4)     Eat right – getting enough nutrients such as carbs and protein is very important during Ramadhan because you have time for only 2 major meals. Therefore, focus on quality, not quantity of the food, for example, swapping the usual ‘kuih’ for fruits instead at iftar.


Runner - what they think I doI think guy on the right just bought a big packet of mee goreng mamak from the bazar (picture source: Google)


May all of you be rewarded with better performance for the months to come for adjusting your routine to suit the holy month of Ramadhan!


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

Persediaan Larian Marathon di Cuaca Panas

Berlari di cuaca yang melampau dan panas boleh merbahayakan diri. Badan anda boleh mengalami dehidrasi dan menjadi terlalu panas dan boleh menyebabkan kekejangan haba, keletihan haba atau strok haba semasa larian marathon. Bayangkanlah berlari selama 3 – 6 jam di larian marathon semasa cuaca panas yang melampau.

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Prepare Yourself For the Heat

Memandangkan cuaca terlampau panas dan matahari terik sehingga suhu mencecah 35°C, anda perlu membuat persediaan awal untuk mengelakkan daripada. mengalami masalah-masalah haba yang membahayakan diri.


Antara langkah-langkah yang boleh diambil:

1. Biasakan diri berlari di cuaca yang panas secara beransur-ansur, tidak terlalu lama dan tidak terlalu panas. Sebaik-baiknya sesuaikan diri anda dengan cuaca yang panas 8 hari sebelum acara larian marathon. Badan anda tidaklah terlalu terkejut dengan cuaca semasa larian.

2. Bawalah ‘hydration belt’ dimana anda boleh membawa air sebanyak 100ml ke 200 ml dan minum setiap 3km atau apabila perlu. Ketahuilah di mana letaknya stesen air sepanjang laluan larian.

hydration belt

hydration belt

3. Pakailah pakaian yang longgar dan ringan yang membolehkan pengaliran udara semasa berlari. Elakkan daripada memakai pakaian yang ketat dan berwarna gelap atau hitam

riada nahl

Pakaian yang longgar diperbuat daripada fabrik yang mengeluarkan peluh

4. Pakailah cermin mata hitam yang berUV dan juga topi ringan apabila matahari sudah naik. Silau boleh menyebabkan anda pening kepala. Pastikan anda sudah biasa berlari dengan aksesori-aksesori tersebut sebelum acara larian


Topi ‘Visor’ yang ringan

5. Sapukan dan bawalah sedikit ‘sunblock’ SPF melebihi 30 ke bahagian-bahagian yang terdedah kepada matahari.

Apa-apa pun, jika anda terasa pening, loya atau terasa suhu badan terlampau panas, anda perlu berhenti dan dapatkanlah pertolongan perubatan dengan segera.

Run safe!