Six days of inactivity after the 100 plus outrunner to recuperate, I decided to follow my friends out for a slow jog-cum-walk around the trails in and about Keningau. Fascinating would be an understatement of the year as I literally possessed no notions about these trails until today. The early morning breeze, coupled with the slight drizzle that preambles the portentous sign of a heavy rain (which failed to turn up) as well as the gunmetal sky with razor-lines of sunlight peeking behind the pregnant clouds was an inviting breath of fresh experience. To be frank, I have never in my life attempted jogging on a trail prior to this and as exciting as it may have seemed, I was partially and internally happy to go slow in fear of risking further injuries while at the same time taking in the glorious sights of the local village sceneries. The picturesque view would hardly come as a surprise for a person like me who has been staying in Alor Setar for more than five years as I do have encounters, every now and then with the brilliant golden-yellowish hue of the paddy fields.
The 12 KM stretch starts out from the back of my house (a trail which I never knew existed) followed by a circuitous route that takes us out of the Bingkor bypass before feeding into a lengthy gravel road intertwined in between with tarred road. The huge circle then ended right back up on the front of my rented place and the whole affair took us nearly two hours to complete as I went really slow. Notice how far behind I was from the avant-garde runner right in the front. Haha... I'm quite certain that my pace might have been lingering around 9-10 km/minute, the unconventional pace that I would take whenever I couldn't quite cope with the state of affairs of injuries that I picked up from the overly gung-ho participation of the half marathon the month before. I've learned my lesson well enough and would stick to the 5-10 K for the time being.
Thankfully I decided to revert back to my Asics Kayano Gel which I've been running with for the past six months or so. It must have been broken into enough to be a comfort fit for my feet. I ended the run with some tolerable strains, not much of a pain but bordering on discomfort. As I've learned from the past, whenever I am afflicted with such soreness, I chose to dwindle down the speed even further and walk at a languid pace. No more of those cavalier attitude of no pain, no gain after I've done a lot of reading and revising on the ChiRunning book by Danny Dreyer. A good form is what's important after all and I tried this out throughout my run/jog/walk. It served me well enough and I attempted to utilise my core muscles, lifting my ankles and keeping my knees down to adopt the proper form in running. I also pointed my toes forwards rather than sideways unlike what I would usually do in the past. That's what people would call the duck-walk just to clear up the confusion.
Notice the toes pointed forward, a slight lean (not from the waist but from the ankles and I do realise I still do lean on my waist every now and then), elbows bent at 90 degrees while appearing not so relaxed for the fear of the cows going suddenly berserk behind me. LOL! Oh and most importantly, I strive for a mid-foot landing rather than the usual heel strike. You will appreciate that I tried to open my stride behind my hips on the pictures above rather than opening the stride up in front. I could only manage around 150-160 steps per minute at my fastest but I couldn't quite keep this pace up with too much of a short stride as I was literally exhausted after a couple of minutes. I then went down to around 120-130 steps per minute.
Scenic view, with the paddy fields adjoining the sides. Juxtaposed right next to the trail is a canal that is actively gushing with fast-flowing water thanks to the rain the night before. With birds chirping, egrets poised in mid stance, the gushing of the water flowing through and through as well as the occasional moos from the cows and the barks from the local hunting dogs, who wouldn't feel relaxed at such an ambiance that would take you through the trail roads at a slow comfortable pace? This was definitely a new experience - one that I'm sure would keep nature-lovers glad with a fulfilling satisfaction.