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Wan's Column - 21st July 2006

Healthy Lifestyle
I notice I have been paying more attention to health related issues lately. I never fail to read or at least browse through articles in the press about health. I guess this is quite natural as we get older, we hear more stories on health related issues happening to people around us. Last Sunday in page 22 of the Sunday Star, a full page was devoted to healthier lifestyle. I read through the article and did not notice anything new that we were not told before. (Please read attached article from the Sunday Star dated 16th July 2006). I believe most Malaysians are not ignorant on health issues, it is just that majority of the Malaysians just do not have the discipline to live a healthy lifestyle; too obsessed with their jobs or business, do not eat in moderation, do not exercise regularly and do not rest adequately.

FIFA World Cup 2006 And Lack of Sleep
To live a healthier lifestyle, we need a little discipline…. make it a little more discipline! Take sleep as an example. Having enough and regular sleeping time is very important to me. Last month, we had the FIFA World Cup 2006 and as a football mad nation, we believe a significant segment of the population stayed up to watch some of the matches that were screened at 12.00 midnight or 3.00am in the morning. We see a number of walking zombies in the office. Sick leave went up during this period for obvious reasons; football fever! The more responsible employees took the opportunity to take their annual leave to enjoy the football games. This World Cup, I have a very proud record, I did not stay up for a single match, not even the finals between France and Italy! I did not interrupt my lifestyle of sleeping early and getting up early for my morning runs. I wake up at 5.30am each morning during working days when I want to run at Taman Tasik Perdana. I almost manage to keep up my 30km weekly mileage throughout the football season but I did reduce my Sunday long run mileage from the usual 11km to just 7km. While my regular weekdays’ runs are minimally impacted, I did follow the football games adequately in my own way. I watched the group matches that were telecasted at 9.00pm or 10.00pm and relied on the highlights nightly from ASTRO. During the weekends, I watch the delay telecast later in the mornings after my usual morning runs. It may not be as exciting as watching the games life but given the need to strike a balance between my regular morning runs and following the games, this must be the most viable compromise. Thanks to ASTRO, I could exercise this option. However, something did give way as I was unable to do my 2 x 15km long runs before the Seremban Half Marathon, I gave it the miss, a sensible thing to do than to struggle back in the last 5km! It was by chance a correct decision as I heard that it was not too well organized…..not having enough drinks stations.

Rest of the Run Season And Haze
This year, the race organizers are rushing to complete their calendar before the fasting month from the third week of September 2006. We are going to have some runs almost each Sunday. I have become highly selective of the events I am going to take part in and will not go for every event that comes my way. I was looking forward to going back to Penang this year for the Penang International Bridge Run but after learning that it coincide with the Saint Anne Festival at the same weekend, I decide to give it the miss. I do not fancy traffic jam going to Penang when there is a major event like the Saint Anne Festival at Bukit Mertajam. I recall some years ago (1988 I think), the Saint Anne Festival coincided with the Kuan Yin Festival and it resulted in the collapse of the jetty. Let’s hope the organizer could be more carefully in selecting the 2007 date so that I could run at the Bridge again. I shall support my home run, the Subang Jaya 10km on 20th August 2006, hope it is on as scheduled. Then I close off with 2 back to back runs, the Putrajaya Marathon on 10th September 2006 and the Mizuno Wave Run on 17th September 2006 before the fasting month. After the Hari Raya, on 19th November 2006, we have the Ipoh Road Runners 10km (may be upgraded into a half marathon) Last major event of the year, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2006 is opened for registration today! I shall register over the weekend to enjoy the early birds discount. These handful of runs should keep me motivated till Christmas.

At the time of writing this, the haze is back, a little earlier this year and with the dry spell coming, we may have a longer haze period that I need to smell the air each morning before putting on my running shoes. Judging from the acreage cleared for oil palm estates in Indonesia and Malaysia, we are fighting a losing battle. As an active individual that loves running in the open, I always dread this part of the year. What else can I do other than praying for some rain and wind to blow away the haze?


Wan Yew Leong
21st July 2006


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