Category Archives: Running

Borneo International Marathon 2014 – Half marathon race report

Borneo International Marathon, an annual event here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah was held on 4th of May 2014. This year, I decided to run their half marathon, the first ever half marathon of my life. Last year I ran 10km event, in which I did in 61 minutes. I decided to run the half marathon just to push myself a little bit more and would like to know how far my body could go.

500m before the finishing line

500m before the finishing line

This time around, I did register my 10 years old son for 10 km event. I knew he could do it, but I just did not know whether he could do it within the cut off time. We did some training runs together around our home, sometimes to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 1, and sometimes around Tanjung Dumpil beach, Putatan. Our home is very nearby those places.

Most of the time, my training runs consist of long slow distance (LSD) running with heart rate around 140bpm. I used Garmin Forerunner 210 with heart rate monitor and following Phil Maffetone’s advice on building my aerobic base at the stated heart rate. Most of the time, the pace was around 9min/km, in which my son was able to follow me.

My longest distance of training was only about 16km. I don’t think I’d ever run more than 20km since my Climbathon last year. Anyway, I am still confident that I could run the half marathon within the cut off time.

Race day came,and a lot of things were out of my control. The race started at 5am in the morning with my heart rate as already at 140bpm! My usual early morning hear rate should be around 70bpm, but maybe because all of those adrenalin and anxiety of a half marathon virgin (HMV) made my heart rate double even before the race started!

There were a lot of people. A LOT! Nearly 7000 participant took part in this year’s race. The ambiance was not like last year’s event, when it was rescheduled to August in which maybe half of the numbers as compared to this year.

So, I started to run with all the runners for half marathon from the starting line, with my heart rate rushing at 160bpm! My strategy was to maintain my heart rate, not to exceed 164bpm during the race. With that, my pace was only around 7:30min/km in which was quite slow. But my target was NOT to get muscle cramps at the end of the race and running without any blisters.

I bought High5 energy gel – only 3 packets – to be consume during the run. Hopefully it could fuel me up through the race. I took it at kilometer 6, kilometer 12 and kilometer 18, and drank water and 100Plus at every water station. I knew that hydration is very important and energy gel was even so, to prevent electrolyte imbalance in which can predisposed me to muscle cramps.

Dany Hijazi & Me

My first ever Half Marathon & 10km for Dany Hijazi

The last 3 km I ran all out. I am glad that although the pace reached 5:30min/km, I did not have cramps during the race. I arrived at the finishing line at 2H 40M, 10 minutes off my target time at 2H 30M. Anyway, I am glad that I did not have cramps and blisters – in which was my target for this race.

My son? He actually ran alone with all other runners in School Chlidren category. He was flagged off at 6.15 am in the morning, and reached the finishing line at 8.05 am. Total of 1H 50M. Not bad for a boy his age and a starter. Apart from complaining that his socks were too tight that makes his feet hurts, he is quite fit for the run. He was even happier when he could finish it within the cut off time and received a medal!

Dany crossing the finishing line

Dany crossing the finishing line

So, next year’s BIM, I am going to participate in Full Marathon, 42.195km. Target time: sub-5 hours!!! See you next year!

My Garmin profile for the run.

These are the resources that I used for this event. Phil Maffetone method:

Chi running, for an injury free long distance running:

And Garmin Forerunner 210:

Photos from Sutera Harbour Sunset Charity Run 2013

I ran the charity run on 21st of September with my two kids. It’s not even 7 kilometers. From my Garmin Forerunner 210 watch, it logged only around 6.2 kilometers. And we managed to finished it on time.

There were a lot of people running, the press said it was around 20,000 participant. We came early just to beat the traffic, and we also left early, as I don’t think it was necessary for us to wait until night for the lucky draw.

Sunset Charity Run 2013

Sunset Charity Run 2013

Sunset Charity Run 2013

Sunset Charity Run 2013

Sunset Charity Run 2013

Sunset Charity Run

Sunset Charity Run 2013

Check out my GPS which I logged with Garmin Forerunner 210!

Borneo International Marathon 2013 10km personal report

My first ever official running event after leaving high school in 1994. Borneo International Marathon was successfully held yesterday in Kota Kinabalu, after it was postponed from the actual date on 5th May because of Malaysia’s 13th General Election. It was a very lively event, the organizers were fabulous. They did a very excellent task of handling the event professionally.

As it was my first ever event, there were few issues that I think I would like to mentioned, in which maybe a good information for those who planned to run in next year’s event.

First and foremost, as I am a Muslim, prayer room (surau) is one of the priority. Stadium Likas where the event was held has a prayer room. So it will not be an issue for 10km and half marathon runners, as both events starts after the early morning (subuh) prayer. Only for full marathoners, they may have to have a slight detour from the main road to Kota Kinabalu mosque to pray. As the event starts at 3.00 am in the morning, by the time they reached near the mosque, they can have their prayer.

I came very early, at 4.30 am last Sunday, although my event started at 6.15 am, just to familiarized things around. It’s a good way of not panicking around if you arrive late at the starting line.

Sponsors were also good. Drinks on the water stations, ice cream at the stadium, free flow of MILO were abundant.

The only glitch that I think that could be improved next year was the shuttle bus that feeds the runners back to their hotel. Although the bus picking them up from the hotel was punctual, buses picking the back to the hotels were not that punctual.

The volunteers were also very cheerful, traffic police and cyclist really helps the runners to run in a safer condition.


So, what next for me? I am targeting for full marathon next year. 4th May 2014 Borneo International Marathon. I would like to run the course less than 5 hours.

If you want to know how did I do yesterday, check out my run profile from Garmin Connect. I run with Garmin Forerunner 210, as my Runkeeper app failed on me.

How to connect Garmin Forerunner 210 to Linux Mint 14

I have been using Linux Mint 14 for my main operating software for my Dell Inspiron 15 since I bought it in February. I am very happy with the performance and ease of use of Linux Mint, as I can do almost all my daily office and clinic work in it. However, when I started to use Garmin Forerunner 210, I had a difficult time connecting both devices together. The need to connect both device is important, as I have to upload all my GPS tracking data for my run in Forerunner 210 to Garmin Connect website.

After working on the issues for few days, I found the best way to connect both devices together without any hassle.

So, if you have similar problem like me, you may want to check out the steps that I took to get things working perfectly.

Things that you may need:

  • Garmin Forerunner 210 with the data cable connector
  • Linux Mint 14 (or if you are using Debian/Ubuntu based OS, you may find this steps quite similar)
  • Firefox web browser
  • Your own Garmin Connect account. You should have your own account to upload all your activities. If you still do not have the account, please get one here:
  • Garmin plugin from Synaptic package manager
  • Garmin forerunner tools from Synaptic package manager

First and foremost, install Linux Garmin Communicator Plugin. As the plugin is NOT available in Synaptic by default, you need to install it from the developers PPA here: Fire up your terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:andreas-diesner/garminplugin
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install garminplugin

The above steps should install garminplugin in your Linux Mint 14. If you are not sure whether it was installed correctly, just open up your Synaptic package manager and search garmin.


At the same time, you also need to install garmin-forerunner-tools from synaptic. Just tick garmin-forerunner-tools and click apply to install it.

Now, you should have both garminplugin and garmin-forerunner-tools in your Linux Mint 14.

Now, open your Firefox web browser. Click Tools>Add-ons, and search Garmin Communicator. It will automatically install Garmin Communicator Extension, a free Internet browser add-on that transfers data between your Garmin GPS device and your computer.


Now close all windows, and plug in your Garmin Forerunner 210 connector cable to your USB port and your device. If you want to know whether your device is read by Linux Mint 14, fire up your Terminal and type:



It will show all your devices that are connected to your Linux Mint 14. You should see that your device is connected properly. A triangular Garmin icon will appear on your desktop if all the steps above are done correctly.


Now fire up your Firefox, and login to your Garmin Connect website. Click Upload, and you will see that your device is detected properly.


Now get out and get running!!!

5 reasons why you should buy Garmin Forerunner 210 and ditch you Android app

I received my Garmin Forerunner 210 yeasterday from, one of the best online shopping mall based in Malaysia. After paying RM680, the item arrived as expected. By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post.

This is the situation that I was in:

  • I have been actively running for about 5 months since March 2013
  • I have been logging all my run using an Android app, Runkeeper
  • And now I DECIDED to become more serious at running to improve my health and well being, and maybe run a cempetitive event like the Borneo International Marathon and the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon
  • And want to  slim down my gadget from the bulky Galay Nexus smartphone to just a wrist watch

garmin-forerunner-210So, if you are like me and have similar situation, I would like to share with you the justifications on buying a dedicated GPS wristwatch like the Garmin Forerunner 210 and upgrading the app from Runkeeper to Garmin Connect. The 5 reasons why you should get the device are:

1. When you started to think that your smartphone is bulky and heavy to run with (like running with a brick on your arm)

Don’t get me wrong here. I love my Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Since March, I have installed and used few Android apps to track my running – which includes Endomondo, Strava, Nike+ and Runkeeper. After trying those apps for a few weeks, I decided to stick to Runkeeper as I think it was the most user friendly and less buggy as compared to other apps.

However, after running for about 5 months with the smartphone strapped on my right arm, I started to think that it’s very bulky and heavy to run with. It’s like running with a brick strap on my right arm. Do the math. Galaxy Nexus weighs 135 grams, WITHOUT the strap. Garmin Forerunner 210 weighs 52 grams. My Galaxy Nexus is almost 3 times the Forerunner’s weight.

This weight differences will be very significant when I want to run the Kinabalu climbathon. You want to get the least amount of weight running the climbathon, as extra weight will need extra effort to get yourself up and down the mountain. I am a student of minimalist running and I think it is the best way to run. To add on the minimalist ideas and  weightlessness issues, I even run on minimalist shoe – Skechers GoRun 2 which only weighs 190grams.

2. When you want to separate your GPS running tracker from your smartphone

forerunner-210A dedicated device to track and log your running is NOT always the best way of doing things. But for some people like me, having a separate and dedicated device will actually “simplified” your running. You can track your running even if you don’t have your smartphone with you. With only one press of a button, you are ready to go. With the separation, you can get specific device to do specific task.

However, the downside of running without your smartphone is when you have an emergency by the roadside. Or even get lost in the wilderness. Garmin Forerunner 210 does not have a compass or a way finder. So, you can be in trouble if you get lost in the woods. With the smartphone, you can have a compass app installed.

3. When you don’t want to look like those chicks who run with their iPhone strapped on their arm with earphone in their ears

iphone-armbandHaha. I was just like some of you guys when I started running with my Galaxy Nexus on my arm. I think I am cool with that brick strapped on my arms. However, my view changes after running with some pros in running. They were NOT that impressed with the bricks on the arm.

Almost all of them that I knew wears small wrist type GPS devices to track their run. Few other brands that I saw was Garmin, Soleus and Suunto. They just looks cool without the brick. Smartphones are for beginners. True gps wristwatch is for the pros.

So when I see those chicks who still runs with iPhones on their arm and earphones in their ears, I just smile.

4. When you have converted to become a stats freak which includes a heart rate monitor (HRM) and a foot pod

When I started logging my runs with Runkeeper, I realized that I have becomes a little bit like a stats freak. Runkeeper helps you log almost all aspect of your run – the distance, the time, the duration, the weather, the speed, the pace, the splits, the lap, the interval, the elevation etc… etc… I have to admit that the more I dwell into the numbers, the more I becomes obsessed with the result. Most of the time I tried to do better the next time I run, in which sometimes it’s NOT a good way to train myself.

Well, with Garmin Forerunner 210, you can add two more variables to your running statistic – your running cadence (using a foot pod) and your running heart rate (using a heart rate monitor). With this two additional gadget, you can get even more data to crunch in which, at the end of the day, HOPEFULLY will help you train yourself better, optimizing all your resources and reducing injuries. With all this variables, the aim of wearing a Forerunner 210 is to get yourself into a more competitive shape, as compared to most people who are using a smartphone which most of the time just to get themselves fit.

I must say that Runkeeper app also have a third party heart rate monitor that you can pair with your smartphone, but adding more gadget on top of a brick on my arm is a no-no.

5. When you have extra money to spend on extra device

Why not? If I had that extra money, I would buy the whole package of Garmin Forerunner 210 which includes the heart rate monitor and foot pod. With RM680, I only got myself the wristwatch. The heart rate monitor and the foot pod can wait. For me, it’s an investment for my personal well being if I used my Forerunner 210 correctly, more so when I planned to participate this year’s Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon. Wish me luck.

If you are also interested to get yourself a Garmin Forerunner 210, check out for Malaysian, and for international. Please check out the link below:

Sutera Harbour 7k Sunset Charity Run – register now!

marathon-running-trainingYou can start to register for the event that will be held on 21st September this year from Sutera Harbour official website here. You have to download the form, fill in and send it to Sutera Harbour office to get the t-shirt. An attractive prize will be given to the supporter for the “Most Creative 7K Run Outfit”.

Adult registration fee is RM28 and children fee is RM18. I will be joining the event with my children. Come and join us run for a charity!

By the way, I am wearing my Skechers GoRun 2 for the event. I have shared a review about this shoes in my previous post. If you still thinking of what shoes to buy for a long distance run like this, you may want to read about GoRun 2. A very lightweight shoes indeed!

Eco Village Challenge trail run in Kota Kinabalu

For hardcore trail runners, nature lovers and charity seekers – this event maybe suitable for you. Habitat For Humanity Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu Sabah affiliate will be organizing its first Eco Village Challenge on the 1st September 2013, to raise funds for families in Sabah in need of decent homes.

Eco Village Challenge

The day-long Charity Run is 15-km route inside a beautiful and pristine nature reserved called Kasalagan Park in Kampung Natai which includes tour around Kampung Borombon and Kampung Bongkud.

Teams of four, will have an extensive back-to-nature adventure experience as they visit three kampungs (villages) where they will take part in three native sports, traverse seven rivers and streams, a waterfall and trek through jungle trails, valleys and ridges.

The journey is a salute to the traditional community practice of villagers traveling long distances to visit another village to celebrate together the important occasions such as religious festivals and weddings.

Non-existence of roads in these three villages is a great privilege for the Eco Village Challenge to link them using these villagers’ existing trails.

In order to participate, you need a group of 4 people, (at least one male and one female). The entry fee is RM1,200 ($400 USD) for Malaysians and RM2,000 ($665 USD) for non-Malaysians. The entry fee includes a free t-shirt, water, and support along the run.

Prizes will be awarded for the fastest teams!

1st place – RM$5,000

2nd place – RM$3,000

3rd place – RM$2,000

There is only room for 50 teams, so head to Kota Kinabalu’s website to register today!


7k Sutera Harbour Sunset Charity Run 2013

I am going to join this year’s 7k Sutera Harbour Sunset Charity Run with my 9 year old son, Dany Hijazi. The run was usually held on July for the past few years. However, as this years July coincides with Ramadhan fasting month, they rescheduled the date to Saturday, 21st September.

Sutera Harbour have not published any official website for the event, but only mentioned it on their Facebook page. Stay tuned for more information, and for the time being, keep running!