During the New Balance Pacesetters 15km 2007 in May
2007, I ran a fabulous race, clocking 1hr 24mins, just
got the beautiful finisher certificate with my picture
on it. While the time is nothing to shout about for
the faster runners, it is at least 5 minutes faster
than my past practice runs on the same course. As the
Race Director of this event between 2003 and 2006, I
have done both the old route and the current route on
many occasions when I prepared for my half marathons.
I seldom do the Sri Hartamas route as I hate crossing
Jalan Duta, even on a Sunday. It translates into 830m
faster as compared to my usual pace, and that's a lot
for someone of my mediocre capability. After the run,
I rested several days and deliberately skip all races
for June and July. I found that I have developed bursitis
on my right feet, inflammation of the sac below the
Achilles tendon. I read about the injury on RunnersWorld
and have been icing it after each long run, cut my mileage.
It never healed completely and when I did the adidas
King of the Road on 3 August 2007, it came back to haunt
me after the 15km mark. After another week rest I went
back to my usual routine of 30km per week over 5 mornings
trying to live with the problem.
During my Sunday long run with Kim on 26 August 2007,
I told her about this nagging bursitis problem I have.
Immediately, I got an earful from her, it goes something
like this………..."Uncle Wan, you have to go and see
Dr. William to check it out, you have always advise
us on never too much to soon………..you must practice what
you preach……..the Saturday Beginners' Group look up
to you as the role model………" The balance of the
run from the 5km mark was a repeat of what was said
till I commit to see Dr. William on 30 August 2007 when
I took a day off to avoid the Merdeka traffic at KL.
Well! At least I know I have a guardian angel in Kim
who sincerely cares for the well being of her Sunday
long run training partner.
Dr. William did an X-ray and Ultrasound scan on my
right ankle after noticing a clear difference in the
size of my left and right ankle. From the X-ray and
Ultrasound, it is very clear, my right ankle was injured
badly many years ago, I can recall it was during the
school basketball days more than 30 years ago, I have
injured my right ankle and left knee in basketball.
Due to the injury, my right ankle never fully recovered
and has lost considerable flexibility. As we age, the
degeneration process will take its toll and a tough
road race will result in an injury. The bursitis was
a result from the weakness of the right ankle. The treatment
is that I need to completely lay-off from running for
2 to 3 weeks and take some anti-inflammation drugs.
As my injury is not considered severe, I choose to begin
my recovery process after the Mizuno Wave Run on 9 September
2007, the last event before the fasting month when we
all take a break from road races.
Managing Risk in Life
Life is about managing risk, it does not mean that with
this little set back, I should give up running altogether.
After my visit to Dr. William, I fully understand my
injuries and what I need to do to get back to running.
What is a 3 weeks break as compared to be able to run
another 15 to 20 years; using Uncle Hooi Siew Weng and
Francis Cheng as benchmark! I have been taught by Professor
Heinz, a German professor who taught me market risk
management several years ago that when something bad
happened, look for the silver linings. Over the next
3 weeks, I have the opportunity to improve my swimming
strokes by swimming more to keep my current level of
fitness. I could also do some gym work to tone my upper
body muscles. I will be able to send my second and fourth
daughters to school in the mornings over these 3 weeks
and have a little better bonding with them. On Sunday,
instead of a long run at Bukit Tunku, I do a long swim
at Holiday Villa Club and then have breakfast with my
neighbor, Dennis Yee. We had not have breakfast together
for a long while. All these soul searching positive
thoughts help me take my mind off running.
Injuries Management, Lower Mileage & Cross Training
I know I am not alone in getting injuries. I notice
a number of senior PACM members are now less active
in running or have given up running altogether. I met
some of them during Heng Kok Ching's son wedding towards
the end of last year. Some have gone into cycling, a
less impact sports but not necessary less risk. I feel
the crux of the problem may not be running as a sports
but the tendency of overdoing things, overused injuries
as Dr. William Chan calls it. While PACM is a running
club, it does not mean everyone must run a marathon
to prove himself / herself. Running a marathon may be
a great personal challenge but it comes with risk of
injuries when the mileage goes above 60km a week at
the peak of the training. We have to be clear of our
objectives in running, most of us just want to keep
fit and enjoy the runs we take part in. I have done
4 marathons, started from 1984 in the 1st KL International
Marathon, the last one was during the Penang International
Bridge Run 2000. Due to an old injury in my left knee
from basketball and badminton in my younger days, I
get a knee pain when I got to 30/32km mark even in 1984
when I was a young man. Since 2000, I have decided that
I stick to half marathons and 10km that are more manageable.
I could enjoy them with a 30km per week program, over
5 mornings, 51 weeks in a year. As we get older, getting
injured is a painful experience, very frustrating and
takes long time to recover. Therefore, injury prevention
is critical…….not running too much is the best strategy.
Swimming is my choice of cross training activity that
I pursue whenever I could. You have to decide what level
you should run to attain your fitness objectives. I
also take Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate, a food
supplement to take care of my joints. You could read
about this compound by doing a Google search. I believe
I could sustain my simple program for several years
to come, modify it along the way with more swimming
or brisk walking to achieve the cross training benefits.
I hope more of you could continue to run as a sustainable
exercise program and perhaps lower your mileage and
do some cross training to give yourself a variety.
Mizuno Wave Run 2007
I suppose I can't possibly complete this piece without
writing about this event, the last event before the
fasting month. It means a lot to some of us, for me
this is the last race I am running till I get a complete
recovery from my injury. Honestly, throughout the run
I did not feel any strain on my tendons or ankle. However,
I still take the 3 weeks break during fasting month.
Throughout the year, I have been advising the beginners
at the Runners Malaysia Beginners' Program to target
for the Mizuno Wave Run as their first 10km event. I
feel it is the best event for a beginner to go for as
the crowd is fantastic, all running or at least trying
to run. The qualifying time is generous and even weak
runners can fulfill. There will be finisher medals for
all. Last but not least, it is organized by PACM, a
minimum standard approved by runners can be assured!
I have most of my beginners' group members doing well,
completing their run within their capability. Chong
Ting Chow was so happy completing his first 10km road
race in 1hr 25 minutes. He took several pictures with
us. Steven See also completed his run in 1hr 30minutes,
a great feat for him given his fitness level.
Wan, Kim, Rizal and the veteran champion, Iwata Takatoshi
after the Mizuno Wave Run
Chong with his coach, Wan (also his former classmate)
with their medals from the Mizuno Wave Run
I don't find any flaws with the run, except for the
men finish for those taking between 60 to 70 minutes;
they can't run across the finish line but have to queue
up to cross the line for their bib numbers to be written
on the position cards. This is sort of a victim on its
own success with 1616 finishers out of 2048 registration
(79% turnout rate). The organizer has to settle for
a single line for the men, instead of 3 lines for the
3 men categories due to its timing system. Not having
the chips system will result in this minor problem that
PACM will have to fine-tune given the likelihood of
a larger participation next year.