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Monday, June 25, 2007

Mad Dash Home

10.05 am Set off from hotel in happy mood to go airport. Flight is at 12.05

Stopped to put petrol. The machine refuses to take my credit card. The attendant didn't seem to know what to do. Told him I reverse to another pump. He insisted I try again. Finally, made him pump the petrol and I will pay cash. Shit.. he didn't pump it all the way to full. Now I have to stop again to put in that little bit more before returning.

Drove on... holy cow.. we end up on Penang Bridge and its jalan sehaleh all the way. Started to panic. Barely 45 minutes to reach airport to check in. Have been trying to find a way up the bridge for the past 2 days and failed and here we here up there when we don't want to! Can't seem to find a way to u-turn until the end. Have to stop to ask for directions and than kena pay toll. Which was fine but we still have to drive the 8km back to Georgetown and find the airport.

Less than 45 minutes to go before the plane takes off and we are nowhere near the airport. It's a mad mad rush as we sped through the roads desperately looking for directions to the airport.

Somehow, we managed to end up at the airport with less than 20 minutes to go. Screeched to a stop at the departure hall, 2 of the girls ran out with the passport, the other 2 unload the luggage and I drove off to return the car. Just like in the movie!

Made it by the skin of our teeth. The check in had already closed but thankfully, it was a man there and probably impressed by the sight of 2 ladies running towards him, he reopened the counter and they managed to check in.

It was also smooth sailing at the Avis counter. The girl did not insist on a visual inspection of the car, told me it's okay if the petrol tank is not full.. I suppose they have my blank charge slip after all. Gave her our rambutans and banana which we had planned to eat while waiting for the plane.

Managed to board the plane with 15 minutes to go. Back at JB, it was plain sailing until we alight at custom. Couldn't find my tickets for the bus for the continuing journey and in the end had to pay again. This time made sure put the new tickets in my pocket. Can you believe it.. at Singapore side, the tickets go missing again. What the &*($!

Anyway, it was a good experience. The whole trip. I enjoyed the experience of driving around in a foreign place, trying out the nice food. The race was so so. Didn't really like the way it was organised (which means I won't be back). And I enjoyed being the thorn among the roses!

Penang Bridge Marathon 2007

2.55 am. Went to the hotel lobby. Taxi not here yet.
3.00 am. No sight of taxi
3.05 am. Ask the hotel to call and check what happened. Taxi driver says he come at 3.30am. What the ^&%#! He's supposed to come at 3 am and bring us there by 3.30!
3.15 am. Taxi turned up.
3.40 am. Reached the USM. Road closed. Had to get down and walk. Taxi driver say only 1km. 1km my foot! Took us 15 mins to walk there! Sweating like hell. Registration close at 4.15am. Will we be on time!
4.00 am. Finally located the place where they are distributing the wrist band. Why can't they issue it at the number tag collection? M is asked to go to another site to collect hers so we split from there. Followed the crowd and walked across the Padang
through a housing estate and back onto the main road. Sigh, why can't they site the start point nearer? Took me almost 10 mins to walk there. Maybe this is the organiser's way of getting the runners to warm up?

We are doing the half marathon. This is my first major race for the year. I am not aiming for a PB. I just wanted to use this race to assess myself and see whether I am back to full fitness. So far the signs have not been good. The past few runs I have took 2.30 hours or more to complete 20km. In fact, the last 22km run was completed in almost 2.45 hours!

The crowd was huge. From the registration list we saw on Friday, the largest turnout was for the half. There are only about a 1000 runners for the full (in all categories) compared to almost 5000 for the men's half. Most of the runners were wearing the event's tees and a lot of them looks very young - in their late teens and most of them are in groups. I am stuck about 50 metres from the start line. I have a bad feeling!

4.30am. The race is on! Er what race - everybody was still walking. Struggled to go to the front but the crowd is too massive. 1.20 minutes it took me to cross the start line and even than couldn't run. About 10 minutes into the race and there are many walkers all over especially the young teens. They are walking across the width of the road. It's going to be a long run.

Finally up the bridge. At least a little bit of space to run. More and more walkers now. Than there are those kamikaze's runners - chiong for 20metres than walk than chiong and they criss cross the width of the road without regards for anybody.

First waterpoint. There is no more water! I couldn't believe it! So early in the race and they ran out of water? Luckily it was still early and I was okay without the water. The weather wasn't so good. I had expected a crisp cool weather, being so early but unfortunately it was just like another night in Singapore, hot and humid.

Didn't recognise anybody. Than saw this guy wearing a World Harmony Run t-shirt. Went nearer to him. He was listening to the ipod and damn - running with his eyes closed. Was he sleeprunning? Decided to 'wake' him up from his 'sleep'. Told him he damn good - can run with eyes closed! He opened his eyes to stared angrily at me. Gave a shout 'Singapore' to him and quickly dashed off before he hatam me.

The bridge seems to stretch on and on. There are no distance markers except some weird distance markers for the full marathon. Even those didn't make sense to me the way they are spread out. Saw some full marathon runners on the other side of the road. Started looking for familiar faces again. Finally saw IMD and Teelee running together. Shouted a loud 'hi' to them. Now managed to past a few woman running the full marathon. In fact, they are all walking. I estimated the distance for them should at most be about 18km. Walking at such early stage?

Finally I reached the uturn. Time taken about 1:08 hours. Is it 10km or 11 km already? Really had no idea. Managed to get 2 cups of water. Decided to take a pack of the powergel and leave the jelly beans. The return trip is just the same monotonous run. Continued to run at the same constant speed maybe 7min pace. Am overtaking more and more full marathon runners. I am very surprised. They started 1 hour earlier and most should have cleared this sector by now.

Picked up the pace a little bit but soon ran smacked into a big crowd. It's the 10k fun runners and the kids are everywhere. They had started their run 1 hour later and are now doing the return leg. Sign :( how to run like that! Anyway, that's mean I am near the end.

Finally, saw a sign that said '1km to go' on the way down the bridge. My watch shows 2:03 so that could be my 21km timing I supposed. Reached the end and was given a medal and a blank certificate. Total time taken 2:09:07 hours. Quite surprise. Based on the pace I was running at, I had expected to finish in about 2:20 but anyway am very satisfied with the time since it translated into a less than 6min pace for the 22.3km distance (if it is actually 22.3km)!

The organisation at the end was just as bad. The drinks soon ran out and by the time M came back, there was no more drinks. She completed the run in 2:18:04 hours which was a PB for her as it was better than her last year SCSM half marathon which was shorter.

Crossed over to the other field and it was better - free milo, corn fakes, fruit juice, coffee, yakult but the queues were very long. The goodie bag collection was in a separate building. After that went to find the 3 ex VRP girls before going back to the hotel.

Penang Penang

Day 1 Penang - First stop,
to collect the number tag and t-shirt.

There isn't a big crowd but it was not very well organised. First, had to queue at a counter to make payment. Than had to join another queue to collect the number tag and vouchers. Finally had to queue again at another counter to collect the t-shirt! The faces say it all!

M's name was on the list but no race number was given so she had to join another queue to get a number. Luckily, the uncle there must have like there - he went and collect the t-shirt for her and even gave her a plastic bag>) That's why she smiling while the rest face black black!

Next stop was lunch, before we went to check in and than tea and than dinner. More on our food here

Day 2 - We continued our drive around Penang with a recce to the race site. Of course like the previous day, we went for many impromtu sightseeing around Georgetown as we bravely tackle the roads. Those of you can imagine driving with 1 female woman vehicle commander. I had 4! But thanks to their bright eyes and street smartness, we eventually found our way to all our destination and also managed to 'accidentally' found the famous Penang Road Chendul.

Pictures of the trip here

Road to Penang

We wanted to go for a short holiday. Nothing too expensive or far. Decided on Penang since we last when there more than 10 years ago. Decided also to do the Penang Bridge marathon at the same time. Together, with the 4-ex VRP gals, we set off from Kranji MRT on the
Than we took the


Senai Airport has a beautiful feature wall - inside the men's toilet!
It is actually the urinal!

Our transport to Penang Island:

Haven't been down on the tarmac for so many years. Nowaday it is all aerobrige.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Almost there

5k - 25:43 mins 5:04 pace. Almost there. Now to maintain for up to 10k.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blacken Nail and Painful Arch

1 black nail and 1 painful arch:(All on the left leg.

The painful arch is worrying. Classic symptom of plantar fasciitis. Have removed the insole for the time being and it helps. Hopefully, it does not blown into something bad.

The black toe - never had this problem for the past few years until started wearing the PI. Should I just give up wearing it for run?

Is it due to

1) new shoe? - Black toe appears only after started wearing the PI. Too loose, too wide, too tight?

2) left leg taking on a heavier workload - more impact on the left leg as I unconsciously shift impact on to left leg to reduce impact on right leg?

3) increased time spend on trying to bring up running speed? Have been putting in a little bit more time on shorter but faster runs. Still can't go below 5.30 pace though:(

4) increased mileage. Not a lot more by other's standard but have been doing more than 2 hours run on past few weekends to prepare for the upcoming half.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Changi Business Park

My fave Run Route 3

Thanks to Taz, found this cool new distance plotting map at MapMyRun. Much better than Singapore Street Directory and

Changi Business Park is my usual training ground when I want to do a simple 10km run. The route is generally flat and once pass New Upp Changi Road East, there is relatively little traffic especially if running in the early morning or evening. The route can be varied by running through the various side roads or by running in the picturesque park.

The Route: 1 round starting from Eastpoint and back is app. 9.8km.
Extra 1: Instead of turning into Changi Business Park, by crossing the road to Laguna Country Club, can continue to run all the way to East Coast Park or Bedok Reservoir.

Best time to run: Early morning or evening after 7pm to avoid traffic

Facilities: Toilets available at the Expo MRT station and Expo. There is a 7-Eleven at the Singapore Expo

Fun element: There used to be a beautiful and mysterious Pulai tree which supposingly cannot/should not be cut down but it was cut down for the construction of the UNSW. Look what happened to the UNSW now! Click here for a 3D view of the tree

Danger List: Heavy vehicles along the routes at times. Can be too quiet in the evening. Certain area like the park itself is very deserted.

How to get there:
Simei MRT station & Expo MRT station.

Nearby Eat: Simei town centre

Picture of Changi Business Park from JTC Photolibrary;
picture of Pulai Tree from SPI website

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Offiical Opening of Simei Covered Basketball Court

Boon Chye bought tickets for us for this Sunday and told us it was a walk-and-jog event organised by Simei CSC. So we dragged ourselves there and found out it was actually the official opening of the Blk 106 covered basketball court cum block party. But the organiser had included a short run as a prelude.

First thing first, there was a lady from Club Fitness One who led everybody (which comprises a lot of aunties and children) in a warm up aerobics session. Than came the run which was flagged off by MP for East Coast GRC, Jessica Tan.

It was a short run - approximately about 3.6km along Simei St 3, Simei Road, Upp Changi Rd, Simei Ave and back to the start. Boon Chye led the pace since there wasn't much runners. Didn't expect the aunties and the overweight RC members to really run right? For most part of the route, I was second about 100metres behind him. There was this little boy about 12 who was running alongside me. He is really good. The MP Jessica Tan is also rather fast - just slightly behind me. I estimated I was running at a 6mins pace. 100 metres to the end, stopped at the traffic light outside Changkat Sec and the boy and the MP caught up. I let the boy run ahead and pace the MP back. Wah.. damn stylo.. first time run with MP. Found out from her she runs twice a week early in the morning. Reached the end in 20 minutes which roughly works out to a 5:45 pace and I think in 4th or 5th place behind BC, the boy and the MP and another RC member. But there was no prize:( but hey the goodie bag more than made up for it.

For the $2 registration fee, (which incidentally was paid for by BC), there was a towel, banana, apple, bamboo pole stopper, 1 water saving device for placing in the cistern, mineral water) and buffet breakfast! How about that! There was also a lucky draw but unfortunately we didn't win anything.

What is an official opening of a basketball court without a basketball match... so dutifully, the organiser rolled out a match between some youths. They must be so happy now they can play basketball out of the rain and sun.