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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 Things that Get Me Pissed

Don't you just hate it when you are running and

1. You get nasty cigarette smoke wafting into the nose - why go to the park for fresh air and spoil it all by smoking all those cigarette?
2. Ang Moh cyclists who think they are doing the Tour de France charged down the path cursing and screaming at you to get out of their way
3. Group of cyclists/pedestrians/runners who ride/walk/run across the whole path forcing you to go onto the grass verge
4. Parents and people who allow their toddlers and dogs to run all over the path without looking left or right and forcing you to take evasive actions to avoid knocking into them
5. Runners who spit or throw their balance water without checking whether there is anybody behind or next to them and getting the spit and water onto you
6. Cyclists who comes up behind you and expect you to jump out of the way for them
7. Cyclists who ride illegally, like across overhead bridge, failing to stop at pedestrian crossing and still scold you for blocking their way
8. The sight of isotonic bottles, cans, gel packages lying along the paths or trails, obviously left behind by fellow runners/cyclists giving runners/cyclists a bad name
9. Runners whom you do not know tailgate/draft you so close you can feel his breathe on your back
10. Runners who think they are God's gift to the running community and keep dishing out unwanted advises and "encouragement" when all you want is to be left alone to do your own run

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Never Stop Exploring - Beyond Woodcutter

Last year one of the highlight of the TNF Trail Run series was the Woodcutter Trail, a place which has reached mystical reputation for its swamp and easy to get lost trails. I ran there once but failed to make it for the official run. Read the account by Brokenrunner here. Since then, none of us has been back there until last week when we finally decided to hit the trails again.

We started at the usual place from Upp Peirce and went in. All was fine and dainty. Except for giant mud pool that keeps wanting to eat our shoes, everything else was exactly the same and looks unchanged. The fallen trees were still there. The overhanging vines, the protruding branches, the web of roots everything that nature can throw at us humans to stop us from desecrating their grounds. But what is a few muddy shoes, some broken skins compared to the joy of hitting the trails? Anyway, we reached where we wanted to go, did our u-turn to go back and that's where we got itchy and decided to detour from the known path.

Our first detour brought us up this narrow path to a place with a big red sign warning of helicopters maneuvering and to keep out, Did not stop us? Of course not, we went right in hoping to catch a glimpse of helicopters but alas all we got was a big open field.


So the helicopter place is not very happening. We went off in double quick time and continued our way until we came to another fork. We took the one less travelled and went up and up cutting our legs numerous times on the sharp leaves of some ferns on the narrow trail. For our blood and sweat, we reached another big open field. Our GPS showed that we were now nearer to Seletar than Peirce but how to go down? A quick look around the place didn't show any other path other than the one we can up on. Reluctantly, we made our way back swearing to come back with more experts to figure out the route.

Fast foward one week later and we are back! This time determined to unravel the exit point from the big open ground and surmising that it could be from Seletar, we decided to start our exploration there or at this spot to be precise.

See the red sign there? Did that stop us again? Of course not, in we go with 2 new members but unfortunately after bashing through thick vegetation for 800 metres and taking almost half an hour for that, we decided to give up and retract our steps to fight run another day! What a downer!

So anyway, to the trail runners who know how to run from Seletar to Peirce, this is an appeal - can help help a bit and show us the way? Email me or pm me on FB, SMS, Whats App, Viber, ........(if you know me personally. Arigato Dozamasu!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Banana Relay 2012

Into its 5th edition and I still haven't got round to participating in it. But that didn't stop me from going all the way to Woodlands to kaypoh a bit. 

This year the number of participants were noticeably lesser probably because of the faraway location and also because there was another race, the Mizuno Mount Faber Hill race on the same day. The format of the race was the runners were randomly formed into group of 3 and has to run 3km each, with them holding a banana as a baton and passing it on to the next runner. The team with the fastest time win. Because of the random choosing of the runners in the group, some group ends up with 2 runners, some end up with all female runners or all male runners which means there was an unfair advantage for some of the team. Correct? Wrong. Because although the top team was a all male team, the all female teams also didn't do too badly with one of them coming in top 5 if I am not wrong. If I am not wrong, the 2 runner team also did well.

Anyway, the Admiralty Waterfront Park is quite hot with very little shade but of the 3 past relays that I attended before, this one got the best scenery with the Johore coastline in the back. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Micah True aka Caballo Blanco

Micah True, ultra-marathoner extraordinaire. 10 November 1953 - March 2012. God bless his soul.

For someone who loves running so much, it must be the ultimate way to go. Doing something he loves. But to die alone and in the wild for so many days before he is found. Not a very nice way to go in the end. 

How did someone who run so much just drop dead from running? The autopsy said he died of cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart. Should runners be scared? The Runners World has a explanation for the condition here

Read the account of how he died and how he was found here

For us mortals, run easy, run sensibly. Run with a friend especially in the wild away from civilisation. To the naysayers, it is still safer to run than be a maid or a cyclist!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Waterway Passion Run 2012

My first official volunteer event for the year. Originally didn't want to do this but got cajoled into doing it by the sincerity and persistency of Mike Kang, the chief and founder of Punggol Runners. So it was a very big group of volunteers that turned up bright and early on a Sunday morning to get the free t-shirt and other freebies err to help out.

We were divided into 3 groups of 3 - 1 group for each main categories and within each 3 subgroups. Our roles were to run or walk in my case within our alloted time frame the entire route and to look out for runners in trouble, give encouragement etc. Sound easy enough. I was put into the sweeper group for the Open category and has to start 15 minutes later than everybody to ensure that we can "sweep" all the late comers like this couple here

So that basically means that I get to walk the entire 10km although I was surprised that there were less walkers than I had expected. But I must admit that after walking for almost 2 and a half hour, it is actually easier to run 10km and I now have a lot of new found respect for those people who dare to walk a half marathon or even a full marathon!

Back at the event site, there ministers of Pasir Ris GRC were out in full force and they machiam like those sexy car models at those motorshow. Actually I mean they pose like the models and let people take photo with them but they certainly ain't sexy! And every Tom, Dick and Harry, Lucy, Mary and whatever were queueing them to take photos with the Ministers and also the "ultra" cool Yam Ah Mee.

For our efforts, we got the nice green event tee, a nice breakfast or lunch? set and plenty of fun.

More photo here or in my FB.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Organiser's Headache

The HiVelocity people had been getting hell for the last minute change of route for the Sundown Marathon. Originally, the route was supposed to be from the City to the West and back but just days before the race, the route was abruptly changed to the usual East Coast Park. Along with that change was a change in the start time for all the categories. The end results was a big hue and cry from all runners.

It was the same situation last year at the North Face 100 race when the 100km Duo start time was changed leading to runners leaving for Malaysia in a limbo.

The next hue and cry will probably come from the participants of the Waterway Passion Run when they realised the run route has also been changed.

And of course, the event organiser get all the blame. But is it really the fault of the organiser? Will any organiser worth his salt tablets really suka suka change such important details at the last minutes incurring cost of printing new route maps, direction sign etc etc? Or are they masochists who loves to have people rant at them?

Of course not. The sad fact is that inevitably any last minutes changes are forced on the organiser by the authorities. Take this year Sundown. After getting everybody excited about a new West Coast route and after the map has been published, it was abruptly changed. Why? I can only suspect that the Traffic Police had a change of mind after getting some "feedback" from people who will be affected by the road closure. And the change of start time? That could have been due to the Army Open house being held in the vicinity and the authorities wishing to avoid a human jam. 

Ditto last year TNF start time.What actually happened was that one of the people responsible at MacRitchie refused to open a gate at the required time. The other party refused to let the participants run through the wooden bridge and so the poor organiser ended up having to delay the start time.

Next week Waterway Passion Run also had its route changed because the authorities had a change of heart and refused to close the road apparently after in principal agreement had been obtained.

Most of the experienced event organiser had already anticipate such problems and hold off announcing the route until the very last minutes. That of course leads to a whole new lot of complaints from participants but what is the poor organiser going to do? Announce a route without getting the final approval and risk having it changed beyond recognition or delay the announcement until the final minutes?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Nobody Deserve to Die

It was with much sadness that I found out about the death of a young cyclist on Sunday morning. A friend smsed me about it and I subsequently saw the facebook postings. I do not know this young man but yet I felt a sadness at the loss of a young life so cruelly cut short by a rash act. My sadness turned to anger when I came upon the harsh words posted by motorists in FB and other forums.The fingers pointing came swift and sharp - with most of the motorists criticising the way cyclists ride.  One sick fella even said the cyclist deserved it!

What the fuck!  True, there have been many occasion when I am peeved at the cyclists forcing me off the road when I am running or hogging the road when I am driving but nobody deserve to die, not least a young man in the prime of his life. And since we do not know the full circumstances of the accident, we cannot and should not assume that the cyclist is at fault but and that is a big BUT, even if he was, there is no justification for a lorry to know him down which was what those bladdy fuck hiding behind the keyboard are insinuating.

Whatever it is, as user of the road, be it a cyclist, motorist, runner or pedestrians, each one of us got to share the road. It does not mean that whoever pays road tax has the right to use the road and those who do not, cannot use the road. By that logic, if I am paying $5000 a year in road tax, does that mean I get to use more of the road space compared to say somebody paying only $500 a year? 

That said, there have been many incidence of cyclists riding recklessly - failing to stop at traffic light, riding in the extreme right lane of the road (yes I seen it a few time at Xilin Ave), riding 3 - 5 abreast. At Upper Peirce, I have been forced off the road by big group of cyclists racing round the bends and I can go on and on about their faults. So it would be nice if the cyclists practice some road safety and show some consideration for other road users.

Motorists should also be patient with cyclists. It is okay to be behind a group of cyclists for a short while. That few seconds is not going to cost any great loss of time.

I know nobody is going to heed this but if you are reading this, whether you are a cyclist, motorist, rider or runner or pedestrians, be patient, give way to each other and show consideration to other users. Nobody need to die because of a moment of carelessness or impatience.