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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Twilight Ultra Challenge

Another weekend another race. But this one is another race with a twist. This is an ultra event only for the fit and the best which was why instead of running, I am back in the volunteer role. The race is organised by good friends from sgrunners who have formed their own company to organise niche races. There were only about 200  participants but since this was a niche race and for the fit and elite, the number was acceptable.

Participants have 16 hours from 5pm on 26 March to 9am on 27 March to complete as many of the 10km loops as possible. Kaypoh me and the Mrs plus the Princess who decided to tag along were deployed with some other student volunteers to the water point at the 7.5km route to while away the long long night. And of course we had fun and Uncle here still managed to get some shut eye while the runners went up and down.

Here are a few of the pictures:

The volunteers from HCI and Nanyang Poly

This is the Champion!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Venus can Run

The SAA following the change of Management has decided to follow the crowd and join in the merry money process of organizing a mass market race. And just to up the ante, they came up with one special race just for the ladies and to tie in with International Woman month. So volia – the birth of a new race: The Venus Ladies Run; a 5km team event comprising of 3 ladies per team and with a catch. The fastest team doesn’t win!

So I found myself at Bedok Reservoir where M and her friends have registered as a team. It wasn’t really a big crowd. The SAA has wisely capped the number of teams at 150 teams which means in total there should be not more than 450 participants and perfect for the teeny weeny little track at Bedok Reservoir. To add to the fun, there was also a fancy dress competition so we had some sporting ladies coming in all sort of costumes including these 3 who walked away with the top prize.

The race started slightly earlier than the official flag off time of 8.30 am. As usual, some guys choose to run alongside their darling but majority of the other half prefer to walk around, gawk at the chiobus and take pictures. And this klutz here was salivating at all the chicks on display that he forgot his photo taking 101 and forget to change 1 setting and destroyed all the running pictures:( Anyway, here are some of the more passable photos.

The race was won surprisingly not by the elite team of Vivian Tang from Athlon but an ‘oldies’ team from HDB with a combine age of 164. The winning team is actually determined by a combination of the total time and the total age of all the runners in the team. So Vivian and company got pushed down to 2nd whereas Club HDB with a total age of and a total time of 1hr 22mins came in first. Score one for the oldies!

But I think all the ladies enjoyed themselves. Not only do they have plenty of space to run, enjoy the camaraderie and bitching that only women are capable of, but like all the other ladies race, they managed to lug home 1 big solid goodies bag.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

TNF Trail Run Series #2 Lor Halus Wetland Trail

I finally managed to satisfy my curiosity as to what's on the other side of the river. On Sunday morning, together with about 50 other runners doing the 2nd run of the TNF Trail Run Series, we ran from Tampines Road to Lorong Halus and remarkably in urban buildup Singapore, managed to run 16 km of trails and what could pass for bushland and swamp!

 There was thick vegetation to bash through

Wet ground to run on

More wet and this time slimy oily ground!

And also wide open ground

We got muddied, baked and toasted but I believe everybody enjoyed running in this new ground, hearing the chirping of the birds and the total absence of vehicle noise (except for the short stretch along Tampines Road). 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Terra Plana Evo - The Field Test and Review

How to field test a pair of shoes? Dunk it in water, boil it over fire? Bashed it repeatedly to see how soon it tear? Obviously I couldn’t do that. So the only thing to do is to wear it and see how it goes.

In normal conventional review, the focus will be on the cushioning, the grip, the flexibility, the weight, sizing and the design. For minimalist shoes, there is no cushioning to speak of, so the primary areas I will look at were be the sizing(fit), the grip, the flexibility and to a lesser extent, the design and of course the most important ground feel.

Design – This one is pretty straightforward. Unlike other minimalist shoes, this one look very normal. When I put it on, there was no ‘yee’, ‘yuck’ or ‘cool’. It does not elicit any response just an ordinary pair of shoes which is good. The inside of the shoe is supposed to be seamless thus reducing the chances of getting blisters. However, there is still a fold above the arch but because I worn a pair of socks, I didn’t feel it or get any blister. On my second run, I went sockless. Unfortunately, either my skin is really thin or flawed or the shoe is too small, I ended up with blisters on the outside of the 2 toes and both the heel. Oh well, I suppose I have to go with socks. Overall, I will rate the design a 8 out of 10.

Sizing – Like in any conventional shoes, correct sizing is of primary importance. Too wide or too narrow and there will be a lot of problems. At the shop, I first tried on a pair of US size 12, my usual size and to my utmost surprise it was way too big. In the end, I settled for a US size 10 or UK 44. However, as the shop had no treadmill, I couldn’t really test out the fit. When I put it on for the first run, and after walking a few steps, I realized the right was a tad too small. I have Morton’s toe so I need a little bit more headroom in the toe area. Funny thing is when I press down, I can feel some space yet my toe was scrunching up. Actually, the web site recommended getting 1 size bigger for the shoe than usual. Maybe I should have followed that advice. Or could it be the laces? As I had planned to replace the laces with the lazy bum laces, I had not bother to do any adjustment to the laces. But the left foot was fine. In term of width, it felt just right. There was adequate room in the toe box for the toes to splay and during running, there was no tight feeling or rubbing against the side wall. On the 2nd run when I went without sock, the size fits well and there was no feeling of the toes being squashed. 7/10

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tees for Sale

Clearing the closet and the following event tops are available for sale at $10.00 (price reduced for selected items 14.6.2011) each first come first serve. All not worn before. Interested please email me or those who know me personally can sms me. Self collect at Tanjong Pagar area.

Milk Run 2006 Size L Cotton material $5.00

Penang Bridge Marathon 2007 Size S Cotton $5.00

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Run and Raisin 2011

Another race where we took part and yet did not run. This time round a bigger group of friends got together to volunteer our time to pitch in for the Run and Raisin Charity Run organised by the Touch Community.

We were split into 3 groups - some at the baggage, some as marshals but majority of us were put together at one of the water point and I think most of us have a splashing time serving water to the runners.

Once in a while, it's good to experience racing from the other side and understand the problems that event organiser face and the frustration that volunteers face from the participants. Maybe if more runners help out more often in events, that will reduce the number of complaints from these people?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Terra Plana Evo

I have been looking for the ‘shoes’ to wear for my barefoot run. Yeah isn’t it a oxymoron thing? Shoes to wear for barefoot run? But I wasn’t going to take any chance of getting a nasty cut or picking up some nasty infection or worms from running around barefoot. But like the bikini, it seems that the less material the more expensive and I wasn’t prepared to stump up so much $$$$ for a pair of what would be an experimental shoes.

So far stingy me has contended myself with pseudo ‘minimalist’ shoes from the mainstream manufacturer or wear a cheapo alternative like my Tyr booties. I picked up the Brooks Launch at a sale, got the Saucony Kinvara at a very good discount direct from the local agent and bought a pair of NB MT101 at Hong Kong prices. Not for me, the overpriced and ugly Vibram Five Fingers which seems to be everywhere. But since I first heard about the Terra Plana Evo, I had wanted to try it out but again kiamseap me baulked at the retail price of $229.00.

But now I have it! Courtesy of the nice people from Terra Plana Sg, I have been given a pair of the Terra Plana Evo  to what they call ‘field test’ it. Before I go into the shoe proper, something about Terra Plana:

Monday, March 07, 2011

From Pasir Ris to Punggol in 30 secs

After hearing Kayano, Mike Kang and friends raving about the Lorong Halus Wetland, and reading in the papers about this place, decided to go for a fun run to explore the area. But instead of starting from Punggol like most people do, took the lazy way out and drove all the way to the Lorong Halus Wetland and started from there.
From Pasir Ris Drive 1 to Pasir Ris Farmway 3 just follow the sign to Lorong Halus Wetland

The map of the Wetland which is actually a sort of landfill of rubbish
This bridge connects Lorong Halus to Punggol across the Serangoon River. Not a very long bridge. A fast run of 30 secs should bring one from Pasir Ris to Punggol.

Along Punggol Promenade. This park connector connects all the way to Hougang.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

TNF Trail Run Series #1 Bukit Timah Reserve

Saturday morning, participated in the new TNF Trail Run. This is a series of monthly trail run to acquaint runners to trail running and will lead up to the North Face 100 Challenge. This inaugural run started off at the Bukit Timah Visitor Centre and subsequent runs will cover new trail routes like the Pulau Ubin trail, Lorong Halus Wetland and the mysterious Woodcutters' trails among others. Included as part of the series will be the 2 TNF 100 Challenge Progressive runs.  Runners participating in this series of runs will gets product samples; discounts and some entitlements to the TNF 100 Challenge subject to some terms and conditions such as minimum attendances.

Anyway back to the run. About 30+ runners turned up bright and early at the Bukit Timah Visitor Centre. After registration and a short briefing, the group took off for a 12km run through the forest of Bukit Timah. The designated route was a combination of the past 2 years TNF Challenge route. However, the 12km came up short and turned out to be not more than 8 km. Somebody aka me underestimated the distance and sell the runners short. Sorry guys.
Photo by Francis Chia
Apart from that, there was a further little hiccup. There were a mix of experienced and newbie. The run leaders deployed were also new to this and along the way confusion arises over the route as well as trying to rein in the fast runners and getting the slower ones to catch up. Some runners also failed to bring their own water despite repeated reminders on the emails and briefing. But it was I think generally a good effort for a first run. And it can only get better with time.