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Friday, April 29, 2011

TNF Sentinel Trail Shoe

As  part of the support given to the Run Leaders for the TNF Trail Run Series, Run Leaders were each given a pair of TNF shoes. I was given the TNF Sentinel. For the technical aspect and specification of this shoe, read here.

I took it out for the maiden run on 23 April 2011 during the TNF Trail Run #3. In a way, this run was very suitable for field testing this shoe as the route comprises of 30% road, 10% grass and balance soil and dirt. Part of the route was also wet and muddy. There were also many areas where there were roots, rocks, logs, wooden planks, broken asphalts etc. How did this pair of shoes fared in all these conditions?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TNF Trail Run Series #3 Quarry Catchment Run

In a blink of an eye, we have reached the half way run of the North Face Trail Run series. This time round we were back at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve but instead of starting at the overly congested Bukit Timah Visitor Centre, we choose to start off from Dairy Farm Car Park B. 

After a short briefing, the runners took off towards the Singapore Quarry. The distance we were supposed to cover was about 10km, kept short in view of the more "challenging" route. Just after a few hundred metres, we started ascending a slope going up and up till we came to the first of our stop - the Singapore Quarry. Most of the runners have not been here before and were dumbfounded by the beauty of the quarry. One guy even exclaimed in mock surprise - "Is this Singapore?"  
Group photo at the Singapore Quarry
After a short stop for photo taking, we resumed the run and entered a mountain biking trail. It was single file running most of the way with lots of mud and cyclists to avoid. 
Mud pool

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Good Friday Run with Punggol Runners and Team Fatbird

On  a bright shiny Good Friday morning, we joined Team Fatbird and Punggol Runners in a holiday run at the Lorong Halus trail and wetland. Almost 100 runners turned up. I expected anytime to be stopped by the police for illegal gathering but I think the police are too busy with election matters to be concerned with mere runners.

This was the first time I am running with the Punggol Runners despite many invitations previously. This time round, only a few of us know the trails within the rubbish landfill so we had to oblige and turn up to lead them in. As usual, the trails were wet and muddy and the oil patch had grown much bigger since the last time we were there.

Kayano led the main group up to the dam and into Pasir Ris Farmway before meeting up at the Wetland. Meanwhile, lazy us decided to take a break at the Wetland and did not follow through. We ran back via the new Ponggol PCN through to Hougang PCN before calling it a day with a nice breakfast at the food centre.

Doing this type of run, I am always surprised by the type of runners that turns up. There are the usual speedster, those out for a nice run and those who simply want to run in a new place. What I am surprised at is the obviously unfit participants. While we generally welcome all runners, sometime managing people who can't run and yet want to cover the full distance can be really a pain in the neck. Its fine if a not too fit runner gets cramp, that is okay but if the participants (I hesitate to use the word 'runner') are so unfit that they have to walk almost from the outset. what makes them think that they can cover the long distances on trail? I am not too sure whether they notice the distances that the group is coming.

I am not being an elitist but in order that such long runs do not drag into the late morning, perhaps next time organiser should have a sort of minimum  qualifying criteria for long runs such as these.

For those newbie who are just starting their runs, they should consider joining group runs such as the U Zonal Run, I Run or the various group runs by the various apparel companies.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


On Tues evening, when I went for my run, had barely gone 10metres when shooting pain started emitting from the right ankle. What the hell? Not willing to take any risk so abandoned the run immediately. Subsequent close examination of the ankle shows no swelling. Neither was there any pain when pressed. The arch was still a bit sore and the top of the foot where the chairs went on top was a little painful to the touch but otherwise, the foot seems okay.

Resumed the abandoned run the next evening. This time everything seems okay. No pain. No nothing. And I managed to complete the run in one piece.

The only difference appears to be the shoe. On Tuesday, was wearing the Terra Plana Evo. Last night, I wore the Zoots Ultra. Could it be the lack of cushioning in the Evo? Or the arch pain is really the dread Plantar Fascittis and the movement of the foot in a more minimalist shoe causes the tendon to stretch too tightly during the arch movement and the pain to shoot up? 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The North Face Velocitee

One can hardly see me running in a tee. Usually I wear running singlet. In our hot and humid weather, the less material the easier for the body to cool down and the sweat to dissipate. If I can, I will run without any top but I don’t want the ladies to faint from the shock and the guys to fall down in laughter when they see my bouncing one lump of belly. 

So you can imagine my consternation when I was given a running tee when I joined TNF Trail Run series. With the hydration bag already weighing me down, and trapping the air on the back, how was I going to run in a tee?

But my fears soon turned out to be unfounded. We were given a TNF Veloci-Tee. The guys in white and the ladies in black. And it was an amazing piece of tee. The material was so soft it was almost like silk. According to the website, it feature a velocitee fabric and is extremely light weight. It comes with the vaporwicks technology which promises to wick sweats away from the body to the surface of the coat for it to evaporate fast. And indeed the tee dries faster than any other shirt I ever worn. And because it was so soft and light, I hardly even felt it.

The only blemish about this was the sheer thinness of the material means whatever was underneath could be seen clearly when it is wet which means…….. Apart from that, it is a quality piece of tee and I would highly recommend it for daily run and wear.

One other detail - the sizing are not for Asian, so those wishing to get this should get one size smaller. TNF Veloci-Tee is available at TNF stores at Marina Square and Ion Orchard.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Abductor Machine

Most time I go to the gym, there are 2 specific equipment that are visibly underused. One is the adductor machine and the other is the abductor machine. Most gym rats don’t see the point of this machine. However, if it is occupied, it is usually by the ladies. And when they use it, for some strange reasons, they will sit there and use it for the longest time.

Now I don’t really know what is so great about these 2 equipment that the ladies love it so much. There was one time I was there and I think this lady was on it for at least half an hour. Every time I walked past, there she was opening closing her legs. Can somebody tell me what so great about these machine that we guys don’t know about?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Poor Right Foot

That could quite sum up the state of the poor right foot.

2 weeks ago doing a short run, developed a pain in the arch. So naturally being the typical kiasu guy, consulted my panel of 'experts' and the diagnosis was. It could be just a simple case of over stressing the foot (likely) or a sprain arch (possible) or the dread plantar fascittis (probably). Unfortunately, my panel of 'experts' cannot give me a conclusive diagnosis since they are all rather dumb in nature. So the next best thing was to self cure. So first some RICE for the overstressed foot. Reduced number of runs and short easy runs. And ice of course. Next generous application of muscle rub (of whatever free sample I have in the house) for the sprain arch and finally stretch and anti-inflammatory cream for the plantar fascittis. Did it work?

Unfortunately before I can know for sure. Over the weekend, somehow somewhere the top of the foot; and yes it is the same foot; started to swell. Did I sprain it? Not that I can recall. Again I called into action my panel of experts. It could be tendonitis or worse case a metatarsal stress fracture. Sighed. Out comes the koyok again.

They said all bad things come in 3. On Sunday while helping out at a funeral, dropped a lot of chairs, all 8 of them onto my right foot. Fortunately I didn't manage to break any bone but now there is another piece of plaster on top of the koyok and the muscle rub and the inflammatory cream.

Double sighed. Let's hope 3 is enough. Now time for a run!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Never Stop Exploring - TNF Trail Run #3 Preview

It was a hot hot afternoon when we arrived at the carpark at Dairy Farm Road. The pesky mosquitoes were everywhere. Luckily they were partial to ladies, in particular 1 little lady, so we guys escaped relatively unscathed. We were there to recce the route for the TNF Trail Run #3. Never mind that the arch was still hurting. A man got to do what a man got to do and so it was running/trotting and plodding as usual.

We roughly mapped out the route and off we go. Like the TNF slogan - Never Stop Exploring, we were determined to chart out new 'unrunned' territories. Within less than 200 metres, we had to ascend a steep slope and it was hard work going up, what with the heat and all. But the reward was well worth it!

The next part of the route took us through a meandering muddy trail with thick foliages, fallen trees at certain places but it led to a interesting little bridge followed by another nice view. This could possibly be the most scenic run in the series to date!

But this was dampened by the many slopes and it was tough going. Up slopes, down slopes. Many of them almost 'unrunnable' forcing us to walk constantly. Midway through, many of us who were carrying only 1 small bottle of water had ran dry.

Hot, tired and thirsty, we eventually completed the approximately 10km distance. Due to the nature of the route, we decided to scale down the distance to 10km instead of 15km. That reminding 5km is another almost 'unchart' route with one of the most interesting trails and view ever to be found on our little concrete island. Watch out for it in next month run! Meanwhile, on a scale of 1 - 10, with the trail at MacRitchie Reservoir being a 5, we rate this trail an 8 with last month run at Lorong Halus being a 1.

Runners who are interested in knowing more about this series of run, check out the TNF Singapore FB page.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A Quarter of First

The first quarter of 2011 has gone by. It has been a rather interesting start to the year with a few ‘firsts’. But first (oops) some stats.

Running mileage took a backseat as I went for more fun and interesting runs instead of clocking up the miles. Total distance ran for the quarter was 433.9 km which works out to a miserly 144.6km a month or 33 km a week.

Instead of counting distances, I had more fun running than I can remember for a long long time. We kicked off the year with an Eastside Run followed by the Brokie Smell Flower. Then we did the Team Fatbird annual Eastsider CNY Run and it was fun getting to know new friends and meet old friends.

This was followed by the first/new The North Face Trail Run series, a monthly trail run by TNF Singapore where we get to run various different trails in Singapore. Most who had participated in the past 2 runs enjoyed it and I had double the fun as I am one of the run leaders and we had the pleasure of going to recce the routes so we ran twice insteadJ And that was how I managed to did my first run at Lorong Halus.
And instead of stressing myself over races, I only signed up for 1 race – the NTUC OMB Challenge and it was my first time racing stairs. While it was tough, nevertheless it was worth the ‘torture’ as otherwise I don’t think I have the guts to sign up for a full vertical marathon.