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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Timex Run Trainer

After considering almost every GPS watch available to replace the Garmin 110, my first option was the cool looking Motorola Motoactv. It is packed full of features and most important of all was available in Singapore. But in the end for one reason or another, I settled for a more time tested and reputable watch from an established watch company, Timex and not some pseudo gadget company.

After comparing the 3 models available from Timex, I settled for the Timex Run Trainer. The Timex Global Trainer is Timex's first GPS watch. A gigantic size watch also crammed full of features but  was simply too big for my liking. The latest Timex GPS watch is the Marathon GPS. This was Timex answer to the Garmin 210 and the low end GPS watch. The Run Trainer was right in between. And so it won me over with   the features, size and the pricing. 

First the size. Compare it to the Garmin 110, it is not much bigger. In fact it looks better on my wrist than the Garmin 110. DC Rainmaker has a very nice photo comparison of the various GPS watch here.

Display Mode
Because of its size, it has very big display making  it very easy to read while on the run. This in effect makes up for the very dim indigo blue light that Times uses on its watches which is almost useless. Note the extra big characters in the middle row. This is double the size of the other rows. In fact, the watch can be customised to display 3 or 4 lines of data.

This is the 4 lines display layout. The text are visibly smaller but still quite readable during daylight. Apart from being able to display either 3 or 4 lines of data, Timex allowed for 3 pages of customisation with any one of them being the default display screen.

The setup for the display and in fact everything else can be done on the watch but since there are so many features, it is easier to do it on the Timex Device Agent software. This is the set up for my display.There is an mind boggling list of data that can be displayed that it took me a few tries before I settled on what I want and how to read them.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Craze Ultra 100 Miles 2012

The crazy people at Running Guild decided to organise an ultra marathon. Not just any ultra marathon but a 100 milers. I can't imagine running 100 miles in hot humid Singapore. But apparently, a lot of people can and a few hundred people duly signed up for the various categories including 67 for the 100 miles, and the rest spilt between the 50 miles and the marathon distance.

The race was flagged off from MacRitchie Reservoir. Despite the darkness and the lack of transport facilities  the participants started turning up from 5 am to run in this aptly named Craze Ulta.

These folks flew in from Philipines just to do this. As if there isn't any ultra there.

The Malaysian contingent was nearly 30 strong if I am not wrong. There were also many other nationalities including another big group from the Indonesia.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Problem with Garmin Watches in Singapore

My 2 year Garmin 110 is still ticking away but unfortunately, like a runner, while the "body" is still working, the "legs" have gotten injured. But unlike a runner who can walk into any hospital in Singapore, it is not possible for the watch to get "treatment" here.

First to go was the watch band. That wasn't so bad since worse case I can use a rubber band or a wire tire to secure the strap.
Spot the difference. 210 on the left and 110 on the right
Then I discovered a small break in the strap itself. And another break between the watch body and the strap. Which means the watch certainly won't last another run.
The 2 breaks in the watch
So I thought to get the watch strap replaced. And that was when I discovered being a Garmin watch owner has its disadvantages. Polar watch can be replaced here. So same with Casio. But Garmin?

The local distributor said they don't have the equipment to do the replacement and have to send it to Taiwan.  And it will cost $95.00 for the replacement and another $60.00 for the service. And it will take 3 - 4 weeks. And the friendly guy on the phone has the cheek to tell me it is more worthwhile to get a new watch!

I think it is a shame that the local distributor does not see the need to invest in the equipment to service the  local market considering that Garmin is the most popular running GPS watch here.  They have taken us runners for granted.

Me. I took the guy advice and promptly went a buy a new GPS watch - but not a Garmin. A Timex!

PS: Updated: The watch strap disintegrate into several pieces eventually. It appears the strap is not suitable for our local weather and is too brittle.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2012

After 3 years I got another shot at this great race. I took part in the inaugural race, skipped the wet 2nd race,    was injured last year (although for some reasons still unknown to me), I got a timing and the certificate even though I didn't run and I in the 4th edition!

Took a bus from home to the start site. There was a mini jam so we alighted 1 stop earlier only to find that the jam cleared straight after that bus stop! But what greeted us a few metres away was this klutz of a car wreck!

The driver must have been so distracted by the race site on the other side of the road that his car kissed the bus. And I figured that was the cause of the traffic jam with the remaining 2 opened lanes being reduced to a single lane for vehicles in both directions. Luckily there were plenty of auxiliary police around to direct traffic.

While walking to the start line, the MC announced the arrival of the Guest of Honour and then to everybody bemusement, the race was flagged off, 10 minutes ahead of the official start time! Sighed. GOH comes late, runners got to wait. GOH comes early. GOH cannot wait. I guess the people stuck in the buses and vehicles must be seething in anger at the earlier start.

As we were still far behind, we had to walk with the crowd to cross the start line. The first 2 km was expectantly jammed pack with runners. What made it worse was that the 2 carriageways were reduced to 1 single lane about 50 metres after the start line making it extremely difficult for runners who want to run fast to weave their way through the mass. Me? I was in no hurry although I also didn't want to be reduced to walking pace so I too squeeze through whenever I see a gap or resorted to running on the pavement whichever has the least crowd.

The way became clear when we entered Loyang Way. But that also signal the start of the many inclines along the various streets. But at least where there is an up slope, there will be a down slope. So it wasn't that bad. And we had great weather. There was adequate water point at every 3 km serving isotonic drinks and water. Road marshalling was great with no stoppages for traffic despite us running not just through the prison complex but industrial and residential areas.

For the most part, I was running at a comfortable pace at about 80% effort. The kid was just slightly ahead of me about 10 metres away. It turned out he had a stomach ache and wasn't pushing himself as well. I stopped at 2 drink station and finished about 54 minutes surprising myself. 

Muffin unlimited
At the end of the race, there was the usual carnival with games, massage and free flow of drinks, bananas, muffins but sadly no ice cream. Overall, another well organised race by the Yellow Ribbon team. And except for the snafu on the start time, I am sure every participant has no complaints about this.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Punggol Sengkang 21km Route

Decided to try running a full 21km around Punggol Sengkang area making use of the North Eastern Park Connector. Started off from the usual point at Lorong Halus. After crossing the bridge, we went over to the river side running on the by now very familiar red ground. This is what the Nparks call the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk.

From there, the park connector leads to Punggol Marina or the Punggol Promenade Punggol Point PCN which leads to the Punggol Waterway. Instead of turning back to Lorong Halus, we continued north towards Sengkang Riverside Park. The last time we ran there, we reached the expressway before we turned back. This time we continued past the expressway, through the Sengkang Riverside Park and continued along the river. This stretch of the park connector is simply called Punggol Park Connector.

It's a great feeling running along this park connector. So peaceful with trees and mangroves on both side of the track. Too bad this will probably soon disappear looking at the construction crane looming in the background.

Our route led us past the last kampong in mainland Singapore, the Lorong Buangkok kampung. We didn't detour to explore the place though. Must go back one day before it disappear. More on Kampung Buangkok on Singapore VR.

The houses behind the plants is the kampong
We continued down the park connector. The mangrove on the right are gone now, replaced by houses.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Singapore National Games Cross Country

Perhaps caught up in the fervour of the just concluded Olympic Games, the SSC and PA decided to revamp the annual Inter Constituency Games into the Singapore National Games. Unfortunately, other than a change of name, I don't really see much changes.In fact, if anything judging from the poor organisation of the Cross Country race at Bedok Reservoir, I would say they should have stick to Inter Constituency. At least then the blame for any boo boo can be apportioned to the regional organisations instead of Big Brother.

Since moving out of Simei, I can no longer be involved in the Cross Country. Pasir Ris West, the area that I am in now, certainly don't need me judging by their sterling results and I no longer qualifies to run for Simei. But since I was free, I decided to go down to Bedok Reservoir to kaypoh a bit.

The website for the event stated the timing as 4pm - 5pm which was rather strange as usually race are stated to start at XX time and not a range of time. Since it was rather hot and since I figured like the past, they need to do all sort of kaisu registration including tagging the runners, they will probably only start the race at 5pm. I was dead wrong. When I turned up at 4.30pm and was walking towards the start line, I saw a group of runners racing down below on the trail and I went shit! "They started" To catch the actions and hopefully the top runners finishing, I had to make a mad dash to the finish line. Luckily, I was about 1km away and was able to reach the finish line, running in the reverse direction from the runners, faster than the runners.

It was still blazing hot and I really salute these runners for enduring the heat. As usual,the young fast and furious finished the 5km in slightly over 17 minutes!. The Men Veteran and Ladies started later in separate wave and I was lucky to be on time to capture the anguish and pains on most of the runners' face. Running a hard 5km is seriously no joke! And to make it worse, I understand there was no water point along the route. (somebody correct me if I am wrong on this)

2 young runners chasing each other
The start of the Mens Veteran
Like I said earlier, caught up in the spirit of the Olympics, the organiser decided to give the top 15 runners in each category a medal and a soft toy Mascot. The top 3 teams also got trophy.

To the annoyance of the many supporters and photographers, the prize presentation was delayed by nearly 45 minutes. Understand that the flag off for the Mens Open was also delayed by 30 minutes. To make it worse, after waiting for so long, they lined up the winners in a row and the VIP stood with his back towards the audience to give away the medal and mascot. And us poor photographers ended up with a very poor angle to shoot the awards presentation on top of being harassed by the security personnel. I really don't understand why they couldn't have done it the usual way with the VIP standing sideway and each winners walking up to receive their prizes!
Victory Ceremony.
For those who are interested, the pictures I took are here and on FB. The full listing of the winners are here.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

More Items for Sale

More items for sale

2011 U-Run + Vertical Climb Finisher Tee size L $20.00

2010 TNF100 Challenge Event Tee size L and S. $20.00 each

Injinji Socks Size L Color Black/White $10.00 each

Cash term only. Self collection at either Tanjong Pagar, Raffles Place or Pasir Ris MRT. Interested please leave me a message or send me a email.