Click here for the latest on RunEatGossip »

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Never Stop Exploring - More than the usual MacRitchie Reservoir

I have been running at MacRitchie Reservoir for a number of years now and I like to think that I know the place pretty well. But last Vesak Day, we followed the runners of Trail Running Singapore for an exploratory run unto "unknown" territory.

We started off up to the usual Northern Trail. Somewhere inside the trail, we turned right onto a small trail and volia:

There was this long slanting grassy slope. It was slanting at about 30degree and kinda difficult to run on.

 There was even a small stream to add to the excitement.

Actually we were running behind the private estate along Thomson Road. The houses along the slopes are mainly bungalows and we were disturbing the dogs and causing them to bark non-stop. Luckily, they were inside the compound and we were outside.

 Eventually we came to this open patch with a gorgeous view of I presume, the Sin Ming housing estate.

It was also here that we have to turn back into the trails

And this trail leads to the Venus Drive carpark and SICC road which brought us back to the Ranger Station.

Quite interesting considering that we have never discovered this place after so many years of running in MacRitchie. Truly good to never stop exploring!

All photos courtesy of Trail Running Singapore

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Growing old and slow

My long runs have been going down hills. Maybe it is a sign of old age or maybe I have really been super lazy. All along I thought my fitness level was still fairly decent and can run at a decent speed.

Then I did a long run in March from the office back home. Distance was about 23 km. It took me and the sidekick nearly 3 hours to complete. I was surprised that we took so long. I thought we ran at quite  a hard effort and the pace felt more like 6.30 than the 7.25 that it turned out to be. I  attributed it to running at night

As the sidekick has signed up for the full marathon for the Sundown, she had to train and I tagged along. The next long run above 20 km was a 25km run at the East Coast Park. We started at 11.30 pm and crossed into midnight. We were supposed to join the Punggol/Newton Runners but were late and ran at a furious pace to catch up. Or rather we thought it was a furious pace. It turned out to be 7.05 pace and I was struggling towards the last quarter. Previously for my longer road runs, I have still been able to at least manage a sub 7 mins pace and so I was really surprise that I was now doing above 7. Again I blame it on the night run.

To prove my theory right, I did a 16km run in the late afternoon and the pace was exactly 6.30. Yes it has to be the night running. So for the next long run of 25km, we started at 6am. And guess what, this time we took 3 hours 22 mins! There goes my night running theory!

So we switched back to night run and decided to start the next one at 4am. Target was 30km never mind the timing. I bombed at 15km! For I think the first time in my running life, I hit the wall at an premature 15km! It was so totally unexpected! I knew I didn't start off well. It was one of those run where you struggle to start and every little step seems to be such a bit effort. But I thought I could shrugged it off once I warm up. The warm up never came though. I ran out of steam and couldn't run at all. My whole body just felt like collapsing. The sidekick who was by then way in front ran back when she saw I was staggering. Lack of water? Couldn't be. I was carrying a hydration bag with 1 ltr of water and was drinking at about every 2km.  Hyponatremia? Nah I didn't think I was drinking that much. My waterbag was still more than half full. In the end, I walked another 5km and took a bus home.

So the night theory didn't work. The truth is probably I am getting slower and slower. Sign of old age or whatever. But the next run at 11 pm I went below 7min pace. 6.50min to be precise. Distance 20km. Still got hope?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cold Storage Kids Run 2013

There are races for everybody, races for women and obstacles races and there is the Cold Storage Kids Run. The Cold Storage Kids Run is the first race specially for kids and to date it is still the biggest and only dedicated race for children up to 12 years old.

I have been involved in this event since its inception and over the years have seen it innovate to keep ahead of all the other races which have a children component. It added a stroller category a few years ago and this year it added a 3 generation category. 

But in my opinion, the most unique part about the Cold Storage Kids Run is that it is also open to handicapped children. Each year, children from the  Spastic Children Association of Singapore suffering from Cerebral Palsy participates as guest of Singapura Finance. This year, the invitation was extended to children from Katong School and Rainbow Centre as well. The grit and determination on the faces of these children as they struggled to complete the 800m I believe truly touches the heart of everybody there especially those who are parents.

Here are some pictures from the events:

A child completing in the 1600 category
The Singapura Finance Mascot, Phoebe
DJ Jamie Yeo with her daughter
A participant in the Stroller category
Children completing in the Special Needs Category

The volunteer cheering on the last participant of the day
 The Cold Storage Kids Run also raised S$11,000.00 to buy shoes for children in Cambodia.
Certainly, the Cold Storage Kids Run has proven that when it comes to children, this is the best event in the whole of Singapore!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Long Run Tea

Not only are there isotonic drinks and energy drinks for runners but now there is something else...tada...

Tea! Freshly brewed for long run.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

First Look - Erke W. Fitness Shoe

Sometime ago, I got an email the content of which surprised me. It was an invitation to review a shoe. I haven't got many such invites for a long time, probably no thanks to my rather negative review of the Nike Sportsband. So it was really a big surprise. And it was for a shoe that I know absolutely nothing about. An Erke running shoe!

So far the only thing I know about Erke was that it is a Chinese sports manufacturer and produces apparel which I had seen selling in Sportslink here. In fact, I think I might even have one or 2 of their shorts. So I decided to enlist the help of the world most famus guru, Mr Google to find out what the shoes was and not entirely to my surprise - came back with absolutely zilch, zero and nothing! That put me in a spot. I would certainly love to do a review but having nothing to start off with was like... what am I going to write about? So I wrote back to the nice lady and told her accordingly and also to warn her that I may end up writing a very negative review if I don't like the shoe. And I thought that was that. Well, she surprised me by coming back with an offer of a compromise and bingo a new pair of shoe to try out and to replace my dying Brooks. But unfortunately, they didn't have my size and I had to settle for another compromise - a Women's shoe for the sidekick to try and we will jointly write the review. And here it is: introducing the Erke W. Fitness shoe [insert drumroll]

Ok the color is a bit unusual. The type of love it or hate it color. Luckily, M don't seem to mind it.

Here is some very brief description of the shoes from the people at Erke:

The ERKE W. Fitness Shoe can take sports women from the gym to the great outdoors. Featuring the ERKE Easy-Bending Technology which allows easy bending of the shoes up to 180 degrees, ladies can run and exercise with the slightest of resistance of running and greatest comfort. The soft material used also ensures that shoes are lightweight, minimizing the amount of energy needed for movement. 

To ensure sufficient cushioning while keeping the shoes light, the thickness of the rubber soles are increased at the ball of the foot and heel, and in areas where greater pressure is experienced. 

The ERKE W. Fitness Shoe is made of high-density space leather materials at the front and heel of the shoe to increase the sturdiness and impact resistance of the shoe, and breathable mesh to keep the runner’s feet comfortable and dry.

That about it. Nothing on the specific make up of the material for the sole, the body etc. No mention too of the usual stuff that other manufacture like to throw about - heel to toe thickness, technology involved etc. But from the descriptions and the pictures, we can ascertain what it is and not:

It is not a minimalist shoe. Yet at the same time, it is not exactly a conventional shoe. The side profile of the shoes looks like almost all other newer shoes from established manufacturers like Nike and Reebok. The heel to toe drop is just under 4 mm so should qualify as a minimalist shoe but it has much better cushioning all round. I am not too sure about the material used for the cushioning though. The description said rubber sole so rubber sole it shall be.

Erke W. Fitness 

Nike Free
Reebok Realfex
The upper of the shoe is supposed to be made of high quality leather and breathable mesh material. I cannot smell any leather smell but the material feel sturdy enough and looks about the same as many other conventional shoes.

So far from what I can see, I like that it is fairly well build and flexible. This could be due to the design of the sole with it cross cut groove.

M hasn't took it out for a run yet. That will be remedied once she completes the main part of her training for the Sundown. And thereafter, we will put up her feeling and opinion of it. Until then.

NB: This product review is made possible by the good people at Erke Singapore.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Be Frank and help beat Cancer

A friend from Malaysia is running the Comrades Marathon for the 2nd time. Like his last attempt last year, Frank is using the run to raise funds for Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (Carif) and create awareness of cancer.

More information about the Be Frank campaign can be found here.

Frank himself is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed of Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects muscle and connective tissues at the tender age of 12. Today, he has accomplished what was seemingly impossible, he has trained as long distance runner and is now an ultra-marathon runner.

To help in this meaningful initiatives, make a direct donation at Carif or buy a t-shirt at RM60.00 each.

The 2nd Skin t-shirt (super comfy microfiber material) can be bought from - CARIF Main Laboratory, 2nd Floor Outpatient Centre, Sime Darby Medical Centre, Subang Jaya. Tel: +603-56391874 or Running Lab, Tropicana City Mall. Malaysia Tel: +603-7727 8555. Singapore runners who want to buy the t-shirt can contact Frank directly via the Be Frank's facebook page and I am sure he will be able to work out some arrangement for some Singapore runners going up to bring the t-shirts to Singapore.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Geigerrig Hydration Engine

Was at an sports retail outlet and came across this new, or at least new to me, bladder bag.

My attention was drawn to the very outstanding caption on the pack "Never suck again".

I was rather intrigued by the slogan. And since my current bladder bag's hose was almost like totally coated with slimy yucky stuff and algae, I decided to give this a try. I rather like the idea of not having to suck on the tube especially when I remember how sticky the mouth piece can be. And moreover, the promotion video that the store was playing was talking about dirt and dust gathering on the mouth piece and how unhygienic it can be. 

Out of the pack, these are the various parts:

1) The main bladder itself. It is rather small for its 2 litres capacity and the material is very thin and light. It can even be turned inside out for washing and the instruction there said it is very tough and will not tear.