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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sundown Marathon Rain down the City

For the fifth year running, I went down to kapo. But this time round, I got more than I bargained for when it poured and poured and we got soaked through! Broken Runner, Kelly and me had parked ourselves at the Garden by the Bay East with coffee, coke and honey drink for the friends running the full marathon but barely before we can see even one of them, the heaven opened up!

Looking at the runners struggling through the heavy rain, I am glad that I did not sign up for this. Originally, I didn't want to sign up after last year's horrendous jam but regretted that decision when the route came out and it was a run to the West Coast Highway. But by the time the early bird was over and I didn't really feel like paying full price. So I am double glad when part of the route was changed from West Coast Highway to  East Coast Park.

Everybody was caught by surprise during the race pack collection when the new route was unveiled. The start time was changed too. Understand there was some anger during the race pack collection and the poor volunteers were the targets of the anger. But I am sure the race organiser wouldn't have made such a drastic change without a valid reasons and sure enough they did...........

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wedding Bells

Certainly not mine. Wedding bells that is. And no, I didn't get the blog mixed up and posted in the wrong blog.

Over the past years, I had the privilege to attend a few weddings of my running friends. Of these, 2 weddings stood out because the lovely couples met while running. Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending another wedding made while running.

Maybe it is a sign of old age but I am always glad to hear of somebody getting married. I am a strong believer in marriage (but only if it is between man and woman) I have many running friends and acquaintances. Last I checked, my FB running friends account for more than 70% of my friends on FB. Unfortunately, of these, I know know of only a few couples; in fact I think less than 5; who run together. At the same time, there are many  ladies and gentlemen who are running and still single. 

To these singles, instead of continuously chasing that PB or running longer and longer distance, why not take some time off and look closely at the young lady running next to you in the group. Or how about that hunk leading the run? Get to know each other better. Don't be shy. My suggestions for the guys: Go up to the girl and jio her for a run out of the usual runs that you do. Ladies, no need to be shy. Just asked that handsome dude for some running tips and pretend to be a little bit lost and watch him sweep you off your feet.

Over the wedding dinner of this latest couple to get hitched, I remarked to good friend, IMD (sorry ladies he is no longer available) that maybe he should organise some sort of "speed dating" run. I am sure he will meet with good response. And if anybody get hitched as a result of this post, don't forget to invite this old matchmaker:)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cold Storage Kids Run 2012

I have attended this run for the past 5 years. Even though my kids are too old for this. But I enjoyed coming down and seeing the little children. The flag off and the resulting stampede is awesome. There is bound to be blood and spill and today was no exception. I saw 2 in the little time that I spent at the flag off!

But more than that, it is the innocence of the kids that captivate me. The little pleasure they get from getting that little medal, winning a souvenir at one of the many game stores or just taking a picture with one of the many mascots from the so many corporate sponsors.

Enough said. A picture tells a thousand word and below are a few million words:

Yes all the kids are Champion!
The very first kid in all the categories

Flag off and away they go

She believe in herself!

A wheel chair participant from the Spastic Children Association of Singapore
The very last kid of the event.  A child from the SCAS with all the volunteers!

Phoenix from Singapura Finance
Kiwi fruit
The ever popular Milo!

A child peeping out of a photobooth
Game time!
Some hopping perhaps!

Or how about westling?
 And finally all the adorable little kids

More photo here

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Never Stop Exploring - Dead end Run

M didn't feel well this morning so we abandoned the plan to go East Coast for the weekly run. Laze around in bed before deciding to drag my bum up and out for a solo run but to where? In the end decided to just run anywhere. 

Hit the road about 7.30 am but fortunately the sun was a bit shy today and hiding behind the cloud. Went the usual route to the park before deciding to go into the mangrove boardwalk. After that came to the 2nd park went in between some concrete structure. Funny how come never came this way at all before? Finally exited through the private estate, huffing and puffing up the short slope. And from here, the adventure began.

First went up this trail that was covered in many places with mostly man-made obstacles. That should be the signal for me not to go this way but I persisted. At one stage, ran smack into a giant spider web and had web all over me even until I reached home! After climbing 2 artificial mounds and 1 low gate barrier, I came to this wide open trail.

After about 1km, I came to my first dead end. It wasn't exactly a dead end. There was a bridge, with a low gate that was padlocked. But more ominously, there was a sign that said it was a protected military area and no trespassers. Sighed.If there was no padlock gate, I would have just ran across, sign be damned but with a padlock and a military camp behind the bridge, I chickened out and did my first u-turn of the morning.

After about 200 metres, there was a small path and I decided to try my luck and came to this 'nice looking' place. A scene like in some movie where a giant croc will just spring out from the water. But lucky thing, there was no croc here.Instead, there was an old man. No he didn't spring out of the water. He was maintaining the water pump with which he used to pump sea water from the sea to the farm.

What farm? The fish farm lor. Right at the end of this muddy path. But the kindly uncle warned me not to proceed this way. He said got dogs which will bite. Of course, me being me, what is a few dogs? So instead of heeding his advice to turn back, I went up this path towards the dogs.

But first took a picture of the fish pond.

And true enough, after clearing the fish pond, came to a few buildings, presumably the fish farms. And that was where the dogs appeared. Not one, not two but three. They started barking aggressively. Barking dog seldom bite, so they said so I ignored them and continued to run which was when all 3 decided I looked easy meat and started chasing me. Never turn your back on a dog. So I wanted to turn round and confront them but I knew if they attacked, either I get injured or they get injured since I was pretty much bigger size than them and I reckoned I could easily kick them into the fish pond. Ha ha ha. But the battle was avoided when a lady voice ran out and called off the hounds. Whew!

So me continued my exploring until it came to a stop at this "stream". 2nd dead end. Okay, I could try to bash through and wade across but I didn't want to get my shoes too dirty so no choice did a 1.5km detour which brought me out to the main road before coming back on the opposite bank. 

After another 1 km of road, came to this place. The place stinks! But I persisted only to be rewarded with my 3rd dead end. Sighed. How come so suay? Turned back on the stinking trail and just decided to follow whatever available routes and there were plenty.

Like this wet and muddy trail. There were many of them crisscrossing here and there and I went through most of them.

One of the place I wanted to run to was an old place I ran before last year. And I finally found the way to it only to see that the path has been overtaken by the plants. Anybody can recognise this place? Clue - the metal chain in the middle of the picture. So my third dead end.

Finally, came upon this beautiful pond. Only it is not a pond but a big puddle right in the middle of the path and beyond that like no more place to go. 4th dead end and time to go home. 

Total 16km at a nice easy pace with the sun occasionally coming out to light the world. Back home, I discovered there were still strands of spiderweb all over me. Now I wondering, did any spider hitched a ride on me home?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brooks Pure Flow

My latest toy. A green Brooks Pure Flow. My third Brook shoe. The Brook Flow is touted to be Brook's Minimalist shoe. It boast a totally a brand new design from traditional trainer and come with a 4mm heel to toe drop to qualify for its minimalist title and weigh only about 250 gm just a little teeny weeny bit heavier than the Saucony Kinvara.

Design This is the side view. Not too bad looking except for the grey sole. I thought black would have look better though.

The upper is made of the usual nylon material. It looks waterproof enough although I have not been able to put it to the test so far. What is unique about the upper is that 1) it comes with a what Brooks called a Nav band and 4 eyelets for the laces. Having read in some reviews that the Nav band may cause the shoe to be too tight, I was a bit concern that I may have to cut it away. But fortunately, the fitting was a tad on the loose side and this is not helped by the minimum eyelets. I had to pull the lace real tight to get a good fit. 

The Nav Band
I think the Nav Band serves no real purpose and in certain case can be more a minus than a plus.

Cushioning The ride in the shoe was soft. Very soft. After being used to the reduced cushioning of the Kinvara and the Terra Plana, it was a bit weird to run in a pair of cushioned shoes. The cushioning comes mainly from the BoMoGo DNA midsole. It is a bit too much cushioning for me. I likened it to running on a pillow. Nice for those who likes the cushioning but disturbing for me as I could not feel the ground.

Ground Feel. The sole is made of what Brooks call Brown Rubber. It promises flexibility, responsiveness and durability. There is a 4mm heel to toe drop but due to the cushioning and the thick outsole, there isn't much ground feel. On my first run, I did a short 3km interval and was very distracted when I could not get the rebound from the ground.

Right smack in the middle of the arch is this bright yellow bulge. Initially it made wearing the shoe very uncomfortable as the bulge is slightly higher and one can feel it with every movement. However, as I worn it over a few runs, I soon got used to it. And the purpose of this bulge? Apparently it forces the wearer to land on the mid foot instead of the heel. 

Another thing about the shoe is the Ideal Heel. The curve of the heel again forces the runner to land on the mid foot. Perhaps, due to these 2 innovations, Brooks dare to call the Pure series of shoes "minimalist" shoes

Brooks has also added a sort of split toe into the sole. Again I has no idea what it serves. It is too stiff to allow for the big toe to flex, too shallow to house the toe properly. Maybe like the Nav Band it is just another "differentiate itself from the competitors" features.

Flexibility. Despite the bulge and the thick sole, the shoe is quite flexible. I can bend it at will and this helps tremendously in the mid foot running.

Conclusion. The shoe is light at about 250 gm. But still slightly heavier than the Kinvara, its closest equivalent. It is too much cushioning for those used to real minimalist or barefoot. Brooks can call it what it wants, but this is no minimalist shoe.I would rather think of it as a transitional shoe much like the Newton. Good for those converting from heel strike to mid foot and not for those going shod less. 

Date of Purchase: 7 April 2012

Cost: $110

Purchased from: KPI Warehouse Sale

Worn in races:


Retired: 13 July 2013
Mileage 703 km

Monday, May 14, 2012

Count Your Calories

After a rather unsuccessful attempt to lose weight, 3.5kg over the 3 months although the target was 5kg, decided this week to do a little experiment and to count the calories. 

I downloaded this little app from the Health Promotion Board and used it to track the calories consumed and burnt for the day. This app, the Interactive Diet and Activity Tracker (IDAT) allows one to input activities or upload direct using the built in Endomondo software and to keep track of the food consume using the food calculator. Generally, the app is quite useful although it would have been if the food choices were more comprehensive and localised. It does not have many common food combination and instead one has to key in separately eg for peanut butter sandwich, one has to keep in bread as a separate entry from peanut butter. Also, there are limited choices for chicken, egg (couldn't find fried egg (or sunny side up egg) etc.

After keeping track for 1 week, I had an overall loss of 499 calories which means I had made no progress at all!

This little experiment will ends today as I find it tedious to keep searching for the food items after every meal and going through all the options. But for those people who are disciplined enough, this can be a useful app for keeping track of the calories. The app comes in both IOS and Android platform and can be download here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Why Running Sucks?

Somebody, actually quite a lot of people asked me why I named my blog "Running Sucks" when obviously I enjoyed running. Yes why running sucks?

I said it here before.

Getting up early in the morning when one can be sleeping soundly!
All the sweaty and smelly body!
Huffing and puffing, struggling to breathe
And its an expensive hobby - new shoes every 6 months, supplements, massage, and woes if there are injuries
And don't forget the delayed onset muscle syndrome!
Why do we bother to put ourselves through all this?

More reasons from netizens:

10 reasons here and another even better 10 reasons here and this long winding rant

So why am I running so much if it really sucks?

Seriously I don't know.  Sometime I ask myself the same questions and then I went for my run and I forget everything. Those who don't run, won't understand this. For non runners reading this, give running a try. Do a few runs, join a race and you will know running sucks and yet its .........................

Friday, May 04, 2012

I had a dream

I read the news about the launch of Singapore very first dedicated Running magazine "Run Singapore" with a tinge of sadness. Sure I am glad that Singapore finally has its own running magazine but at the same time there is this feeling of what if and that it could have been me who was launching it. Cos a few years ago, I had a dream. But the dream never came to life and all I had are regrets of what if............

Back then about 2007 I was seriously contemplating publishing my own running magazine. It was not just wishful thinking or daydreaming. I was serious. I held discussions with a magazine editor; a magazine publisher and people in the sports retails industry. I even shortlisted some potential candidates for editors and writers. 

But all I got was discouragement from these people. In those days, the running scene in Singapore hasn't explode like it has today. There was at most 6 races a year. The estimates was there was only a pool of about 30000 regular runners out of which only about 10000 are hardcore. The subscription rate for the magazine would likely not exceed 2000 plus another 3000 new stand sale. At most, each magazine can only sell for not more than $10 so the sale will barely be enough to cover the cost. Advertisement sale will have to form the main bulk of the revenue and being in this line for so many years, I knew it was tough for established magazine to get ad much less a new untested magazine.  After doing the sum, I reckoned I need at least half a million to tide over the first year.

I had over the course of the years seen many magazines opened and folded within a short period of time. Of course raising the money was another big hurdle. Getting investor was going to be tough and I couldn't afford to go it alone. In the end, with a comfortable job in hand and no push to do anything new I gave up the idea. But what if I had persisted with the dream? Well I guess I will never know now right?

Incidentally, the 2 sports magazine that was available then, Asia Runner and Sportsmag have both folded so maybe I did made the right decision?