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Monday, March 27, 2006

The Longest Run of My Life

World Harmony Run. What a grand sounding title and what aspiration. A run for world peace, world harmony. Why not? So I goondu goondu signed up. It was supposed to be a 37 km run at moderate pace with stops at various religious outlets. Although the organiser has stated that the time taken is to be from 7.30 pm to 1.00 pm it turned out to be the longest run I ever did so far.

We started a little late from MacRitchie Reservoir, a motley gang of around 40 runners (mostly from sgrunners), 2 cisco escorts, 1 ambulance, 1 cyclist escort and 1 mini coach and 1 support car running a distance of about 4km to our first stop - the Bright Hill Temple at Bishan.

After a short prayer by one of the monks, we moved off to the Salvation Army Here we didn't get to go in and after another short prayer, off we went again. This time, down Marymount Rd to Balestier and to the beautiful Burmese Buddhist Temple. 2 Ang Mio joined us for a very short distance b4 breaking away. I was running sweeper and there was this 57 years old guy walking. He told me he had a heart attack 7 years ago and has taken up running to keep with. I was a bit concerned on hearing that. By than, we had fall behind by almost 500 metres. Fortunately, he decided to board the coach after some time and I had to chiong to catch up with the main group of runners at Balestier Rd.

Another prayer and blessing by the monks. Here they served us monkeys with bananas and off we go to next door - the Sun Yat San Memorial Hall. After phototaking, went into the main building and the muscle went into shock upon coming into contact with the aircon. Ah... how nice just to stay there and not continue.

Next stop, the Tai Ping Yuen Temple in Whampoa. Another prayer, more food (vegetarian ham and egg sandwiches) and down the road to the Masjid Hajah Rahimabi Kebun Limau mosque. Whoa, they served us H2O and plums and jambu. For that, we had to do the song and dance for the children. By that, we were running late already. Talked to this Malay lady who had just came back from KL after a race. I salute her!

We soon reached the Ceylon Sports Club. The people there were playing cricket, a game that is totally alien to me. But more fruits, sandwiches and drinks. I took this opportunity to sit down and rest a while. By than, estimated we had covered about 20k.

Next stop, the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Rd. After a whole morning of cloud, the sun was out now. Decided not to go into the temple but hang around outside. It has been an interesting run so far, seeing all the new places and meeting so many new faces from sgrunners and getting to know the other people as well.

Down the road to the next Indian temple, the Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple. Again, elected not to go in. Fortunate enough to witness the blessing of a new car.

The Sun is blazing now and I'm thinking - what am I doing? We move off from there to the Civil Service Club. One lady was so alarmed by the whole gang of us running in that she fell to the floor! By now it was 12 noon and we had covered probably 25km which means another 12 km in 1 hour if we were to make it to Merlion park by 1 pm as per schedule.

We turned back to the Central Sikh Temple in Serangoon where we were given a raptous welcome by the Temple trustees who were waiting patiently for us. Wondering whether Yap will cut short the route and just go up Lavender and back to Merlion park. No such luck. Some more, took the long route to East Coast - via Boon Keng, Sims Drive, Still Road. Running as sweeper, it was so tempting to just go up the bus to cool off and rest my legs especially as runners after runners took turn to board the bus. But decided to continue since I was still feeling fine although a bit hungry.

At Marine Parade, we will met by the rest of the sgrunners who had completed their biathlon in the morning. Quite a number proceeded to join us for the rest of the run. At East Coast Park, the sky opened up - to cool us off? But it was too heavy. The spirit sank and when Bee, Divey decided to go up the coach, I finally followed. There, managed to grab a banana. Recharged, I joined back the runners at Fort Rd.

Crossing the road, who shld I see but my car at the traffic light under the flyover. The Mrs was on the way to pick me up. There and than, so tempted to just hop in and go home. Cannot lose face. Ran on down Mountbattan Road, Nicoll Highway and finally Marina Promenade. By now pretty tired and hungry like a bear. Stop to chat with Bug who was walking. He superrunner cannot tahan the slow pace and was deliberately creating a gap so that he can chiong!

Bought a 100+ from a street vendor. Feeling sufficient recharged and with the end in sight, decided to move forward and stop playing sweeper. Finally, the Esplanade and Merlion Park. It is over. 7 hours 10 minutes! what a run!

I sincerely hope there will be world harmony at least for a day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ing Temple Run

2.15 am. Took a cab to the Amarie Watergate hotel.

2.45 am. Ate a sponge cake and a banana before going into the hotel lobby. They serving coffee and tea for the runners! Wondered whether I will bump into Runwihme?

3.00 am. Boarded Bus no 5. Collected my breakfast pack. Got a sandwich, banana, an apple, an orange juice, a packet of orange juice and a bottle of mineral water. Those people staying at the Amarie Watergate got a even bigger breakfast pack! Wonder what's inside?

3.30 am. Ate the sandwich and drank the orange juice. Tried to get some sleep thereafter but couldn't. Too excited - mahchiam like a schoolboy going on his first excursion.

4.45 am. Reached. Hell - still got to transfer to a pick up truck to reach race site. Walked around looking at the stalls. Bought 2 running t-s for 260 baht each.

5.30 am. The full marathon starts. Went to take a leak.

6.00 am. Another leak! Why so much pee?

6.30 am. The race starts! The race plan is to go for a PB (anything below 2.02 2004 AHM timing). Decided to start slow - 1st 2 km at 6.00 min pace and thereafter at 5.30 pace.

1st km - 6.15 min. 2nd km - 11.45 mins within target. Decided to continue at this pace for the first 5 km. The scenery is nice - plenty of fruit trees along the way. Longan, lychees and pomelos. Will take photos on the return leg. Alamak, need to piss again! No toilet in sight. Continued running. The road is generally flat with some crossing over the klongs. It's just like running in Lim Chu Kang during the NS days. No dirt road. All proper tar road. The villagers are out in full force. They livened up the route by playing traditional Thai music, peforming puppet show. Missed the 8km marker. A lot of people are overtaking me. A little girl probably about 10 years is already running back. Reached the 10 km point about 55m. 11 more km to go.

Then I decided instead of just going for a PB why not try breaking my first target for this year? - complete the race in below 1:50! Which means I have to finish the next 11 km in 55 minutes or less. Should be achievable! Picked up speed. Shit, still need to pee. Where is the toilet? Overtook the little girl and a lot of other people - the sexy angmoh, the guy taking photographs, the beared ang moh... 15 km: Time so far 1:17 - 6 more to go in 33 minutes. The sun is out now and it's blazing hot. There is hardly any shade as all the trees on the side are fruit trees and not very tall. The legs are now screaming. Must be all the previous days of walking! 18 km - 3 more to go and its already 1:33. 3 km in 17 minutes? Possible. But the spirit is willing - the flesh is weak. Somehow couldn't summon enough energy to run at that faster pace. 2km left and it's already 1.41. 1 more km to go 1:47. There goes my target! Tried to go all out but it's tough. Ha the end point at last. 200metres to go. 1.51 on my watch. The timer at the end point shows 2:53:03. Chiong the last 50 minutes and it's over - my first overseas race! Check my watch - arrgh it's still running! Must have forgot to switch it off! Press again. Shows some funny figures. Press clear - Holy cowbunga - deleted the whole damm timing. Shit! Anyway, the Chip Time is 1:54:08 that what's the official results say!

Grab my finisher medal from the girl and than I surronded by 3 Thai girls. What's going on? Alamak, no hugs they just want my timing chip back and I thought it was traditional Thai welcome! Grab a cup of water. Went to look at what's food is available. Porridge, and noodles etc. Didn't feel like eating those. No enery drinks only some bottled white tea drink. Went to the massage booth and got my legs massaged by 2 aunites. Whoa, steady there. The right leg is still slightly swollen from the fall last week at the MRT station!

Then the SMS came - "have you finished? It says. Replied yes and than asked an angmoh lady to take a photo for me. Aw shucks. Forgot to take the photograhps on the running route back! Another SMS - "so you takin the first bus out?". Sigh - got to go. Got a Thai guy to take another photograph for me. Than saw the toilet - ha forget about that as well. Photos at Yahoo! photos

Met 3 Singaporeans while resting. They signed up locally and paid local rates. Big savings. They doing the KK Climbathon next. Invited them to join sgrunners before bidding goodbye.


16 March 2006. 3 days to race

Joined a half day city tour. Free in the iternary. Visited the usual place. Cruise down the Chao Praya, visit temple, gem factory and finally the obligatory stop at the 4 faced Buddha.

Afternoon, met Annie and her family at the former World Trade Centre for lunch. Took curry rice followed by sticky rice with mango. Does this count as carbo loading? Then went to Pratinum. The place is so hot and boring! And it's so big. The ladies wanted to cover all the 4 adjoining markets and malls. Must have walk a marathon this afternoon!

Night time went over to Suan Lum Night Market! Alamak, more of the same stuff and more walking! I dead beat - like that how to run this Sunday?

17 March 2006. 2 days to race

Dropped the family off at Siam Paragon - a super duper big shopping mall with a fantastic food court and went over to Amarie Watergate to collect my race pack. The taxi journey took 30 minutes just to clear the stretch from Siam Paragon to World Trade Centre (which is just next to each other!). The taxi driver kindly suggested I walk instead and dropped me off 10 minutes walking distance from the hotel! Sigh - more walking. Collected my race pack. The t-shirt not bad! Couldn't get extra ticket for the Mrs to go to the race site on race day. She sure going to be HAPPY! No need to wake up early and hang around there for 2 hours! Decided to walk back to Siam Paragon rather than take the cab. Another 45 minutes of walking. So much walking. Went to the Ocean World. Quite impressive.

Nightime walked down to Patpong from the hotel. My legs are really tired.

18 March 2006. 1 day to go

Today we booked a coach - to recce the race site but first stop on the way - Chatuchak weekend market. The place is hugmogous which means more walking! Luckily not much time to spend there. Went off to the Elephant and Crocodile farm next before going to the Race Site at Amphoe Amphawa, Samut Songkram province a good 2 hours drive from where we were.

The stalls are already opened for business! Loud music is blaring from the speakers. Don't they have any respect for holy ground? Got our tour guide to ask whether the products on sale are genuine. Seems all the major sports brands have their products made in Thailand and these are direct factory outlet sale. Took a few photos and asked the driver to follow the running route!

Shit - either he don''t understand or pretend not to since we were running late and before I knew it we will out on the main round to Bangkok instead of going along the race route! Gave up!

Night time - it's Chinatown and more walking! I really don't know whether I can run tomorrow. I must have walked a marathon distance these 2 days!

Photographs at Yahoo! photos and more on Bangkok trip at Yahoo! 360.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

MR TT 4/Pre Bangkok

On leave today. Decided to go MacRitchie for a final run before leaving for Bangkok.

As usual, reached there about 9 am. Weather is hot. The plan today is to do the MR TT route again. Objective to better the previous run in February. Strategy - if the first run is okay, the 2nd run to be a recovery/cool down run. Otherwise if the first run is slower than the previous run time of 25.15m, than to chiong the second lap.

Tried a new approach this time. Started at a slower pace. Reached the 2km marker app 1.5 from the zigzag bridge in about 7mins. Picked up the pace a little. Reached the half way u-turn mark. Checked the watch: 12:45mins. Sightly faster than the last round but still 45sec off what other experienced runners say is optimum time. Went flat out on the way back using the downslopes to chiong down and going fast on the flat ground. Time crossed the zigzag bridge: 24:48mins. Yes I did it! Under 25mins.

Felt pretty good. Grab a drink and a banana - surprise - bump into an old flame and her family. Me had taken off my singlet and was wearing a skimpy Ascis running short. She must be thinking - heng ah! never went further with this guy. Look how he turns out - a dirty old man standing half naked in the reservior! Don't know what he's up to!

The final run was done in a slow jogging speed. Took 33 mins plus but happy with the results anyway.

Next Stop - Bangkok - and the Temple Run!

Friday, March 10, 2006


No - not sway by Michael Buble - but "sway" as in suay - unlucky!

First - on Monday caught a cold or is it the flu never know how to differentiate but in any case have been suppressing it with vitamins hoping it will not become full blown otherwise next week how to run in Thailand! On the other hand if it come out now maybe will recover by next week in time to run? But knowing the pattern, if the flu or whatever become full blown, such down for at least 2 weeks like last August like that!

Than last night on the way home - don't really know what happened. Just coming out from the train, can't even remember whether I was pushed or what but I hit a bench and nearly went flying. As I was carrying the cake for Mom's birthday, I didn't want to let go and balance myself. So I did the next best things. I jammed my leg hard against the bench and leant forward. The 2 waterbottles in my bag went flying like ballistic missiles and my legs - now both shin got 1 swollen 'pow' each. Ouch.

This morning, went with Mother, Auntie and Uncle to the temple. While burning the paper money, a sudden gush of wind came and a few pieces of burning paper came flying out. 1 of them ended up on my leg. Now got 1 botak patch with no hairs. Maybe the ancestors punishing me for not believing in these type of mumbo jumbo!

Hopefully no more bad luck!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Guy Ogden

Read the interview in the Today Newspaper Wed 6 March with Guy Ogden, a former World long distance runner and athletic coach to Vietnam and now based in Singapore. Most notably, his comments on marathon running:


"Older folk often have more mental strength and patience and these qualities are valuable in marathon running"

"Analyses of marathon results also show that relatively greater improvements occur among older runners"

Yeah right - I belong to the 'older folk' category - so how come my timing is going northward?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

New Watch

The strap of the Timex Ironman given by Sebas (his prize from one of the New Paper Big Walk) broked on Tuesday during the CBD run. Replaced the strap on Wednesday evening and the damn thing broked again on Friday on the way home from office!

So went and got a new watch yesterday. Couldn't decide between a Polar with Heart Rate Monitor, another Timex or something more fancy. Shelved the Polar cos couldn't stand the beeping sound (also quite pricey). The Timex - so many models didn't know which one to choose. Than saw the Adidas range - quite stylo. The girl at City Chain said this one got timing for soccer referee. I liked huh? Do I look like a referee! But the watch quite chio - beside the Referee function, also can store 100 runs + 100 laps timing. Also got interval mode. Finally it was down to this and a Puma watch. In the end, choose the Adidas - why becos the display is so big - old man like me can see easily!

Saturday, March 04, 2006


No, it's not my wedding anniversary but this month marks the 2nd anniversary of my love affair - with running! To celebrate the occasion, ran back from office to home last night. As I ran, I reflected on the past 2 years:

I have come a long way since than. It all started when the Company came up with a gym membership for us at Planet Fitness. I followed a colleague who was than into body building to the gym. From doing the warm up on the threadmill, I progressed to running in the parks. Than another colleague, a seasoned runner came along and he started encouraging me to run further. By the end of 2004 in just 9 months, I had finished a half marathon and a full marathon - something that I had never dream possible.

As I looked back and recall the many milestones:

My first 2km run: I was gasping for breath in just 2 minutes. The air was literally being sucked out of me. My legs felt like lead. It was hell. Now - 20km is the norm and I trying to do a 9.30 for a 2.4km although this still seems like a pipe dream.

My first run at Bedok Reservoir many years ago. It was with a brother in law. He ran the full 4.3km and me - I started walking from the pump room onward. Today, I can do 3 - 4 rounds of Bedok Reservoir without any problem. My brother in law is still doing 1 round!

The first time I ran to Bedok reservoir from home. I was so apprehensive whether I could complete the journey - I took along cash and the ezylink card just in case I need to take the bus home.

My first half marathon. My longest run prior to that was jus 2 20km run at East Coast Park and yet I managed to finish the AHM in 2:02 which I later found out was very respectable indeed.

My bulging belly disappeared. I had to discard all my trousers and purchased new ones which made me very happy. The lump of fats is still there. It's hasn't totally gone away but at least now it is no longer visible through the shirts.

I met this group of 'siow' runners at and end up with a whole new opportunity for running

Running along East Coast Park in the cool evening breeze, running past beginners struggling alone, I feel good. I no longer consider myself a newbie in running and has volunteered to lead the runs at Running Lab Thursday Night Run. It's gave me great satisfaction to see new runners like the Mrs and the other ladies run further and further each week.

Here to more good years of running!