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Friday, 18 November 2011

Shanaz Running New York!

On November 6, 2011, 3 close friends decided to fulfill their dreams to run in one of the Marathon Majors, the ING New York City Marathon 2011. Being also close to all 3 of them -we met through running! Smile- I had the honour to blog host one of them, Shanaz Shamsuddin (sorry Captain, a bit delayed), to tell her story and journey. This is Part 1 of her 3 part story, so let’s experience her ups and downs, her joy, her sorrow, the euphoria, the pain, the tradition of running the fabled NYC Marathon, enjoy! Red heart

My NYC Experience (Part 1 of 3)

First of all, there is one thing that you need to know about me – I am not a writer. I haven’t written anything other than technical reports for quite a long time. But I feel the need to document and share my awesome NYC experience with my close friends. So, excuse my lack of story-telling skills, sit back and just enjoy my NYC notes, written straight from the heart ;)

The Big Apple of My Eye

It wasn’t hard for me to fall in love with NYC."The City That Never Sleeps", as it is called, had witnessed different versions of me at different phases of my life; as a poor student back in 1999 on a backpacking trip, as a girl infatuated with the guy she was travelling with in winter 2007 and, just a year ago, as a determined runner on a mission to break her Personal Best (PB) at the 2010 ING NYC Marathon.

So yeah, I've even run NYC before. NYC 2010 was my first attempt for a 4hr30m full marathon. I completed the run in 4h40m - ten minutes off my time-goal, but my fastest nonetheless. PB or no PB, it was by far the best marathon I had ever run, thanks to the big cheerful crowds. It was as if the city was on a glorified, 42km-long “New York, New York” themed street party! I told myself that I would come back to experience this awesome race again, not knowing that this "next time" was only a year away ;)

clip_image002Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. View from Top of The Rock.

The Decision

I didn't get in NYC 2011 through lottery. I was just unlucky the 2nd time around, which wasn't really a big deal as I told myself that I could always try my luck again in 2012. When I learned that my running BFF Nana got in, my initial thought was that I could just tag myself along as her cheerleader. After all, I wanted to treat myself to a big vacation at the end of the year.

However the idea of running NYC again kept toying in my head. I knew that it would be "difficult" for me to just be there as a mere supporter. The more I thought about training and running the race together with Nana, the more tempting the idea became. Nana and I ran Paris ’11 together and had a real blast, so I knew that the NYC experience was going to be equally as awesome, if not better.

So, after not much deliberation; p, I signed up for the race as a charity runner. I registered myself to be part of "Team Up for Autism Speaks" team, for reasons I'd rather keep to myself ;) Not long after that, Selly announced she has also signed up for the marathon for "Shoe4Africa". Double-like!!! :)

The Training & The Goal

Truthfully speaking, this was the first marathon that I trained with some kind of structure. Of course, work and "social agendas" prevented me from following my training program one hundred percent (or even eighty percent, for that matter). My life, after all, doesn't revolve around running (or at least I try not to make it that way ;))

To hit my highest weekly mileage, which was in the range of 65-70km, I had to sometimes split my daily runs into two sessions (i.e. one in the morning and one in the evening) in order to not risk being late for work or whatever plans I had with friends in the evenings. I would leave home first thing in the morning all laced up with my running shoes and come home at night with two sets of dirty running clothes. I guess the notion "run, eat, repeat" really suited my lifestyle during the 4-month period prior to the marathon.

clip_image004Screenshot from my DailyMile (just because I’m kiasu ;p) showing my “gradual” mileage buildup from Jul to Oct. Note that Aug was a fasting month. (Also note the extended “gantung kasut” period from Apr ’11 to Jun ’11 – a result from my Paris 2011 post-marathon blues, hehehe).

I would say the biggest difference between my preparation for this marathon and my previous ones was the incorporation of speedwork. Nana & I made Tuesdays our speedwork days when we ran for a maximum of 3 miles at supposedly 10-K pace (we usually went a liiiiiitle bit overboard with the pace). Thursdays were our "marathon-pace" days, Saturdays were dedicated to FRIM (just because I'd go grumpy if I didn't get my weekly steroid-hill fix) and of course, Sundays were our long slow distance (LSD) days.

Of course, with all of the training, I had a goal in my mind and that I was going to conquer the streets of NYC again with a vengeance – by crossing the finish line in less than 4h30m. After two failed attempts, I truly hoped that this race would be “it”, since I pretty much doubled my efforts and commitment this time around.

So there you have it - our training regime, minus all the dramas, the discontents from our close non-running friends and the “no-wonder-you’re-still-single” remarks from self-proclaimed “life gurus” (meow!)

Race or no race, a weekly dose of FRIM is a must.

Photo taken at Bukit Aman carpark after our very last LSD run.

KOTR – one of our training runs – with late TSB.

Pic taken after TNF & Real Run SG, our last 2 races before NYC.

The Tribute

Eversince I took up running, I have been blessed with many running friends, most of whom I have become close with on a personal level. I took the opportunity to pay tribute to two close friends who, unfortunately, are no longer with us today; Casey LaJeunesse and Kharis Idris a.k.a TSB.

Casey was a very close friend of mine – my soul mate, to be more exact - who I met in Africa through (surprise, surprise) running. Our friendship blossomed after a series of runs around the dull Malongo camp in Cabinda, Angola. In fact, he was the person who first got me hooked on long distance running.

My friendship with TSB, on the other hand, started through DailyMile and we becameTTDI teh tarik buddies within months. He was like a big brother to me, who loved to give me advice on a lot of things especially those concerning the matters of the heart. He was excited about my trip to NYC and constantly told me not to let anything or anyone stop me from chasing my dreams.

These two wonderful men had touched my heart in many different ways and for that very reason, I chose to run the streets of NYC with their names displayed on my vest.


…To Be Continued in Part 2, stay tuned! Winking smile


  1. Shanaz, u must open ur own blog!!!! Great write up ..waiting for the rest :) Izuan dpt royalties???

  2. shanaz u shd start your own blog :) a lovely write up and now waiting for more .. congrats on your superb run girl !

  3. Thanks KJ :) I malas nak create my own blog hihi. But never say never ;) Izuan nanti I belanja Mayan ;)


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