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Friday, August 29, 2014

Theme Runs Galore

The Singapore race scene has really heated up. From just 4 races in the month of January this year, there are now 11 races in the month of August alone and another 9 in September and that not counting the odd Triathlon and weird odd races.

But the latest in thing in running events is not the multitudes of 10 km races or the Ultra (there seems to be one every month) but theme races. Theme run are all the rage now and none so than the upcoming Hello Kitty Run.

The Hello Kitty Run has sold out its 15000 slots even before registration opens and at $65 per registration, that is a cool $1m in the pocket for the organiser.

If my memory serves me correctly, last year was the year when the themed race from overseas came to our shore. It started with the Color Run, which was sold out even though it was spread over 2 days and ended with the Run for your Lives, a Zombies themed Run. In between there were the Electric Run and Commando Challenge. 4 in total.

This year, there are at least 7 most of which are sold out. The last one with a cartoon character to cause great excitement was the Garfield Run and now we have the Hello Kitty Run. 

What's next? Snoopy Run? Or Mickey Mouse Run?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Shoes

It has been a long long time since I have so many pairs of new running shoes. But I reckoned it time to retire some of my running shoes and I am mighty excited at what I have to replace them with.

First on the list is my 4th pair of Saucony Kinvara. This is my 2nd pair of Kinvara 3.

I bought this a few months ago at the Royal Sporting House when there was a 50% discount. I guess the hefty discount was due to the Kinvara 4 being out for some time and the release of the Kinvara in other countries and they were trying to get rid of the number 3. Number 3 suits me fine though and if it ain't broken, why fix it? And at 50% discount I can't go wrong, not with my current pair hitting over 700km and although a bit worn out at the sole, still giving good support.

This is the left sole of the current shoe. Having clocked 708 km, I think it is still in pretty good shape. For the record, I managed to clocked 661 km on my earlier Kinvara 2 so who says Saucony shoes are not lasting?

Next new pair is my first Skechers. I been meaning to get a pair of Skechers Go Run since I first read about it but flinched at the price. But now that Go Run 3 is available, the price of Go Run 2 has finally been reduced and I managed to get a pair at $89.00! 

This will be my everyday training shoes to replace my Puma Mobium which despite my earlier apprehension has served me well and is still in good condition despite clocking more than 500 km todate.

Last but not least, is my first "new season" shoes. It has been a long time since I have a brand new first season shoes and for that matter, a free shoe to trial but here it is. The New Balance 980 Fresh Foam Trail courtesy of New Balance Singapore and Trail Running Singapore.

Ain't it a beauty? Unfortunately, trialling this will have to wait as I am giving trail running a short break while I focus on my training for my next attempt on a road ultra. And beside, I still have 2 relatively new trail shoes still waiting for me to pick them up.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Runner and her Phone

You know this crazy obsession with mobile phones has gone overboard when people stares at their phone when walking, going up and down the escalator, driving and running. It seems that if they can bring it into the water, they probably will. Wait a minute, isn't there waterproof phone now available?

Anyway, I am really intrigue why people will bother to take part in a running race and then while running, keep staring at their phone like these participants here.


Ok maybe they need to communicate with their friends on their whereabout but surely they are a nuisance to other runners. I mean how do you message and run at the same time? I tried walking and texting and cannot even do it what more running?

Seriously folks, put the phone aside, enjoy your run and take it out only after the run. You won't miss anything.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

There nothing to be ashamed of

Recently we at Running Shots got a request asking for us to remove a photo. Now getting request to remove photos is quite common. Most time it is due to a wardrobe malfunction or some very glaringly faulty shot. So when this request came we thought nothing of it. Probably a badly taken photo that slipped QC. It sound like it though from the message which I quote:

"I know I'm not tagged but omg guys a lil bit of quality control! Please please please take it down"

When we took a look at the photo, we were real surprise. There was no wardrobe malfunction. Neither was it out of focus or badly taken. In fact it was a perfectly well taken shot. There were 3 persons in the photo. 2 Caucasians (a man and a woman) and 1 Chinese man. What was unique was that the couple were obese. But there was nothing word with the photo per see.

Last year I wrote a post  about how to look glam for one's running photos and got whacked left right centre by a lot of ladies. I guess the point which the ladies were trying to carry across was that it should not matter whether one look glam or otherwise when they are running. What is important is that they made the effort to go out and run. And I totally agreed with this stand. 

So for this particular case I guess this lady was the reverse of all the other ladies. The only reason I guess was she didn't want other people to see her obese self. Which I think is very wrong and silly. In fact, she should be proud that despite her size, she is doing something about it and out there participating in a race. 

For me, every time I see someone who is older, obese or handicapped participating in a race, I am encouraged and motivated by them. And I think that it is wonderful that despite their condition, they are still out there pounding away and not letting their condition get to them. A case in point is our very own blade runner, Sharif. His life story would make a very compelling sob movie but every time I see him, he is always cheerful and encouraging others in their own.

So I think this lady should not be ashamed of her size. She should be proud and happy of herself. And my message to everyone who is willing to wake up at ungodly hours, pays exorbitant transport fare and race fee to participate in races, you are beautiful in your own special way and you should never  ever be ashamed of it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sometimes we need to smell the flowers

I go to MacRitchie Reservoir pretty often. Most times to run. Very rarely for any other things. During a run, it is pretty difficult to spot anything except maybe the monkeys or occasional monitor lizards. Some people have spotted snakes but while I seen them, this was not during a run but a hike.

Recently I went with a group of students for a hike to the Tree Top Walk. And because we were not running, we spotted so many things that I never noticed in my run.

Like this patch of beautiful Tiger Orchids just outside the ranger station. Now I stopped at the Ranger Station on almost every run for the past 6 years and I swear I never knew there was a big clump of Tiger Orchids growing just outside it. 

Then there is this little mushroom on the floor. It was covered by the fallen leaves and a Nparks officer showed it to us. Apparently it can eject a puff of powder if disturbed hence it is called the powder puff mushroom.

And everybody who been to MacRitchie is familiar with the long tailed macaques or monkeys as we called them. Unfortunately most of the sightings are either of them around the Amenities Centre scrounging for human food or chasing visitors for more human food. But how often have we seen them in their natural habitat in the trees or eating fruits like what we saw when we on the tree top trail?

Last but not least, how many people have seen a flying fox in MacRitchie? This one we saw was so near I could almost touch it.

Isn't these sightings good enough reasons for us to slow down and smell the flowers and look at the rich wildlife that abounds in MacRitchie.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Ultra Women

I always think people who runs ultra are a bit crazy up there. But then again I have many friends who runs ultra and I know that they are certainly not crazy and most of them are very nice humble people. And over the course of the past weeks, my opinion and respect for them went up many many notches especially for these 2 lady fiends of mine.

Over the just concluded weekend, Singapore sees it second ultra event for this year - a super duper ultra event for only the hard core die hard ultra marathoners. Spanning a maximum distance of 168 km between Bukit Timah Hill and Mount Faber, the event is a real test of endurance. Runners can choose to do a shorter 108 km but that still involves doing 5.5 loops of 8 km per loop at Bukit Timah Hill before running 17 km to Mt Faber and doing another 4 loops of 8 km before running the 17 km back to Bukit Timah Dairy Farm. And that comes with total elevation of 3500 metres! To put the distance in perspective, from Changi Point in the east of Singapore to Causeway Point in Woolands is just 36 km!

Our first Ultrawoman, Mel, prior to completing in the 108 km distance has only a 50km trail race to her name. Yet I don't know what drove this little lady to celebrate her birthday by running 108 km and that on the actual day too! Anyway, what this plucky lady lacked in physique and experience, she more than made up for in pure grit, determination and completed the gruelling 108 km in just over 26 hours. A few of us were honoured to be invited by her to share in her journey across Singapore and I must say that I am deeply humbled by her courage and strong resolve to finish it despite not sleeping, no food for the 26 hours and blisters and painful heel. 
Photo credit Rosemary Chan
Of course she swear after completing this that she will not compete in another ultra event but I wouldn't be surprised if the next thing I know of, she had went and sign for an event like the Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon which is what our next ultra lady did.

The Badwater 135 is billed as the world toughest foot race and rightfully so since it span 135 miles which is 217 km to us un-initiated in the Imperial system of measurement. And that is not all. Day time temperatures can go up to 55 degree Celsius! Only 97 crazy nuts started this race and 83 finished it. Out of the 83, one of them was Kelly, arguably the most hard core and prolific ultra runner in Singapore having completed countless ultras and marathons all over the world. 

But even by her own standard, the Badwater was probably one of the toughest race of her life and yet she breezed through in just over 46 hours! Read more about her adventure at the Badwater 135 on her blog here.
Photo Credit Andre Blumberg
So what possess these people to take on this type of challenge where the distance they run is longer than the distance they take to go to/from work everyday and their battered bodies cry out for relief, for protection from all the abuses they put it through while completing in such events?

I seriously don't know but whatever it is, I take my hand and legs and whatever off to them and can only salute their grit and determination.

Well done ladies!