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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tour De Trail 2011

Haven't meant to take photos for this race but was at MR waiting for M to finish her run and decided to kill time by taking some photos. Small race in the format of the end of year MR UltraMarathon. Each runner have to run loops of 12km. Minimum to complete and earn a finisher tee is 4 loops.

There seem to be slightly less than 100 runners. Except for brief instances when my attention was diverted by yakking with friends, I think I managed to shoot 80% of the runners. Some of them are simply outstanding and can put all of us to shame.

This man must be at least 70 years old?
The ever inspirational Mohan. He did another full marathon the next day in Malaysia!
The female Champion
The Men's Champion
 Here are the rest of photos.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chia Seeds Basil Seeds

Been hearing a lot about Chia Seeds. No I have not read Christopher McDougall's Born to Run yet but have heard enough talk about Chia Seeds. A quick search on the web and was bowed over by its so called health benefits. After several futile search, finally managed to find it. 

Haven't yet open it cause I have found an alternative. And it is this little pack of Basil Seeds, a native plant of Asia. Most of us older folks will remember that it is commonly used in Bandung drink, a local rose syrub and condensed milk drink. The Muslim in the region also add it liberally to their drinks during the fasting month.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2011

I have been very selective in my choice of races this year. This should have been my 5th race for the year but as it turns out, this has become the 3rd DNS with hopefully only one more to come before I resume running. 

But even though I can't run, I have to drag my butt down to the race site. Unlike the previous 2 editions, there was no rain this time round and it was a bright sunny morning. After dropping the sidekick and friend off at the race site, I plod myself outside the main Changi Prison Gate to wait for the runners.

There, I have the privilege of meeting the famous Malaysian 'photorunner' Tey. He had came down from Malaysia just to take photographs for his Singapore's friends [clap clap]. Took the opportunity to get some tips from him on taking photos.
Mr Photorunner Tey all the way from Malaysia
 The first lot of runners to reach this approximately 8km at about 20 minutes and soon it was snapping time as I snapping away. Eventually, the mass reached and when it was no longer possible to take individual shots, I made my way into the Prison compound for more picture takings. To view the pictures, click here

M did reasonably well finishing below 1 hour; considering that she has automatically reduced her running without me to run alongside her. Lazy lazy!! 

From what I observed, the race was well organised. There was no complaints of longer/shorter distance, missing distance markers or lack of drinks etc. In fact, they are so super efficient that even though I didn't run, I managed to register a finishing time of 1hr 19mins! Now how did that happened?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Trail Maintenance

After 2 previous failed attempts to participate in the TNF trail maintenance programme with Nparks, finally managed to get my act together and went for my first ever trail maintenance. Of course, I dragged both the sidekick and the Princess along.

We met up at the Bukit Timah Visitor Centre, hopped up onto a truck and were driven to the all too familiar Dairy Farm Carpark where we alighted and walked into the Belukar Trail. We were then split into 2 groups. Our mission: to create drainage at 2 waterlogged area for the water to drain away. 

For many of us, it was the first time toiling with a changkul. Everybody gamely went about their work, digging small drains, clearing away branches and roots. I don't know whether we succeeded in our task but we certainly managed to clear away a lot of top soil from the side. Hopefully, that will be enough for the water to drain off when it rains. 

After 2 hours of labour, we called it a day but not before we unearthed some forest creatures. More of it here. I hope we didn't kill any others in the process though.

The trail maintenance programme is part of the agreement that the TNF has with Nparks in return for using the trail for the TNF 100 Challenge. There are a total of 3 sessions, the first one was on 3 September (read Kelly's report here); today was the 2nd and the next one will be on 1st October at MacRitchie Reservoir. Those who are interested in participating, can obtain more information here. Participants will get a token memento from TNF and a lot of appreciation from trail users.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Changi Simei Road Run 2011

Got a last minute call up to help in the Changi Simei Road Run at Bedok Reservoir. Roped in the sidekick and the Princess and off we went. Weather was great after the earlier rain.

This has got to be the cheapest race in the history of Singapore. $3.00 and participants get to run, timing, goodie bag, baggage and isotonic and plain water and bananas. Where else can one get so much for so little? Despite that, and more likely due to the low key publicity, there were only about 300 signup but maybe because of the rain, only about half turned up, which was a pity.

The race was flagged off by Miss Jessica Tan, MP for Changi Simei. It was a short and sharp affair being just 1 round of the reservoir and the runners soon came back with the winners earning a small cash prize.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

TNF 100 Singapore 2nd Progressive Run

How time flies. We are now onto the last TNF 100 Progressive Run before the TNF 100 Challenge in October. This time round, there were more participants compared to the first one in August despite the rather steep cost of taking part in what was a routine run for most along a by now very familiar route.

After a short briefing by Dirt Traction, the hired organiser, the runners took off. Again for me, I had to again contend myself with snapping pictures. There was an option of 2 distances, 15km and 30km and from what I could see, only a few runners choose to ran the 30km.After a wait of about 40 minutes, the first runner returned and soon the other followed.

With this run, the informal run up to the TNF 100 has ended. I enjoyed the time spent on these series of runs, getting to know new routes, new running friends and I hope to be able to do more of these runs with my new found friends in the future.

More pictures on my Facebook album or here

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Are you a Camel?

Sometime ago in the Sgrunners' forum, some bloke posted how he was going to dump the main bulk of his water after crossing the start line at the forthcoming TNF 100 Challenge. Of course, most of us old birds were a bit shocked and some of the more kapo one, including old uncle me joined in with; I am sure most unwanted advices and warning on the danger of doing so and how he will suffer in the run if he does so.

I still remember vividly my experience last year. Carrying a full 1.5ltr of water + stopping at every water point, of which there were 3, I still ran out of water and suffered tremendously during the last 5 km! 

But on hindsight, maybe this guy knows what he is talking about. He could be right in that he don't need to carry water.After all, he is younger, fitter and faster and only doing the 25km. He claimed he has been running in trails and only need a small quantity of water each time. Come to think of it, if the route for the TNF100 is the same as last year, there will be at least 3 water points at roughly 10km, 12km and 18 km. Beside that, there is the ranger station which is approximately 4 km from the start and end point making a total of 5 water points along the entire route. That could be more than adequate in a 25km race if one is fit enough. Or  is it?

Coincidentally, I have a colleague who is going to take part in the 50km duo for the first time. So he has been diligently training in the trails over the course of the past few weekends. Of course, old uncle me again got to give his 2 cents worth of advice to carry water and of course, he being younger, said he sees no need for it. Beside, he finds the hydration bag troublesome and heavy. But he being the good boy that he is,  listens to old uncle here and diligently carried his water-bag. Yesterday, he came up to me and told me that to get use to the later start time for the 50km duo, he started his last weekend run at 10am. And he confessed, he had to refill his 1.5ltr waterbag twice! So in the end, he ended up drinking almost 3ltr of water.

The moral of the story? Uncle eat more salt than young people eat rice so unless you are born a camel, go without water at your own peril!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

How to Lose Weight the Cheapo Way - Part 3

The average person needs about 2000 to 3000 calories a day depending on the type of activities. Generally, a office bound person needs less calories than an outside office worker or a sportsman. Weight loss is simply a matter of more calorie being burnt than taken in. There are various websites available to calculate how much calories required each day for each type of work but then living life around calorie is not going to be fun. How to calculate how much calorie each type of food contains? I rather eat smart and enjoy myself than obsessed myself with what to order each time I dine out.

Anyway here is a sample meal for a day.

  • Early morning - Breakfast - 2 slice of wholemeal bread sandwich. Spread with peanut butter or margarine or butter. Or tuna. Go easy on the mayo though. Add a cup of unsweetened coffee or tea.
  • Mid morning - Snack.  A banana or a slice of papaya with a cup of unsweetened or reduced sugar soya drink.
  • Lunch - Porridge or reduced rice with 2 - 3 side dishes. Avoid fried stuff like fried chicken, fried fish. Go for steam fish, tofu, vegetables and egg.
  • Mid afternoon - Snack. More fruit or a fistful of nuts/grains or a salad (go easy on the toppings) or a low fat yogurt. 
  • Dinner - Reduced rice with 2 - 3 side dishes. Or Pasta with reduced sauces. Or fish noodles. Do not go for the fried noodles.
  • Night snack - Fruits or nuts.
Stick to a sensible meal plan as above but relax a bit and eat some nice but not so "healthy" food. As mentioned in the earlier post, eat drink and be merry and if you can't enjoy nice food, what is the point of living?

The trick to weight loss is not to lose too much too soon but gradually in small doses. Rather than starving oneself and going on a crash diet, do it sensibly. Eat in moderation and slowly and surely you will get there.

Happy weight loss!

Part 4 - Non food way to lose weight.
Part 1 and Part 2

Friday, September 02, 2011

How to Lose Weight the Cheapo Way - Part 2

So we now come to the exciting part. All ready to lose weight without spending excessive money? Read on.

1. Eliminate processed sugar from all your meal. Sugar is possibly the biggest single contributor to weight gain. Don't take any soft drinks. Not even those diet or low sugar drinks. Look at the labels on packaging. Don't take anything that in its ingredient's listing ends with a "ose" like fructose and sucrose. Don't take anything that the seller has to add sugar water like cold desserts, mixed drinks, soya drinks and bubble tea.   Be discipline about this. Go cold turkey without sugar for 3 months and I guarantee you see results. No sugar - drinks etc don't taste nice? Not true. Fruit juice, the type straight from the fruit and not in the carton taste much better. Smell the aroma of rich coffee without the sickening sweetness of sugar or condensed milk. Use natural raw honey if absolutely necessary.

2. Reduce carbohydrates from your meal. Now this one is a bit difficult seeing as in Asia, the main meal always revolves around rice or noodle. So the key word here is reduce not eliminate. Eat less rice, noodles and bread. Ask for less rice. Where possible, replace them with brown rice or wholemeal bread. Those who think they need the energy to run or sustain them throughout the week, there are alternatives that can provide energy - fruits, nuts, cheese etc.

3. Cut out snacking unhealthy one that is. That means no potato chips while watching tv, no biscuits to munch on during afternoon tea. Replace with fruits and nuts. Don't even think of those so called "healthy snacks" like brown rice rings, cereals or trans fat free biscuits. Most of them are fried and processed and have a lot of artificial ingredients added in.

Does all these sound very boring?  Not really. Nuts (the unsalted type) are great to eat and snack on. For variety, go for the mixed nuts containing almond, walnut, pistachio, brazil nut and cashew nut. Don't take peanut though. Most peanut sold are salted. For even more variations, add in seeds like chia seed, sunflower seeds and dried fruits like raisin, cranberries and blueberries. Eat all type of fruits. The great thing about Singapore is that we are at the cross road of the world and we get to eat all types of fruits. Don't just stick to apple, pear and orange. Go for the most brightly coloured fruits. Mixed and match and fruit eating will never be boring.

4. Eat frequently. Do I hear you go ??? Eat like a king at breakfast, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper? No no no. I don't believe in that. Eat small meal at frequent intervals so that the body has time to digest the smaller portion and use it up. The frequent eating will also keep you feeling full instead of overeating at a single meal. I eat at least 6 times a day and those who know me will know that I cannot be even remotely be described as fat although the belly is quivering most of the time nowadays but that is another story!

Just doing all the above should guarantee weight loss. So like promised - save money on sugar, save money from eating less carbs, save money on snacks and no need for any extreme diet plan or expensive slimming program. But how to execute it?

Next Part 3 - A sample daily meal.
Part 1 here