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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Moving on to

I migrating from Blogger to my own domain. So this site will not be updated any more. Over time once I figure out how to do the redirection, this blog will cease to exist. But fret not, all the contents here, the controversial posts, the contentious posts, the cheesy photos, the blurred photos everything have already been migrated over to the new blog. In fact, there is a new pull down menu that makes it easier to zoom down to the specific topic you looking for.

So hop on over to for the latest on running (yes it still sucks), food and all the blurry photos that come with it (somehow I can't seem to be able to take good photos with the camera phone) and gossips and chats on everything under the sky.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top of the World

Well not quite since the highest point in Singapore is only just slightly over 160 metres. But that is Bukit Timah Hill and Bukit Timah hill is now close so the next highest point is Mt Faber at 105m and that where are the trail runners looking to race overseas are flocking to now that they are deprived of good old Bukit Timah.

I followed 1 group last week and did just 1 loop of the hill. One can get a pretty nice view of the Telok Blangah Estate from the top of the hill. The view stretches all the way to Orchard Rd. On the other side of the road, one can see Sentosa, the cable cars and on a clear day, some islands of Indonesia. Instead of using my own lousy camera to show the view from the top, here is a VR taken by Singapore top VR photographer, Aram Pan. Guess what? I am mentioned inside the post! Cheap thrill!

The beauty of running around these areas is that there are several high ground where you can have that top of the world feeling and look out far far away.

From Mt Faber, I went on to Telok Blangah Hill crossing the beautiful Henderson Waves Bridge. And right smack in the middle of the bridge which is 36 metres high you get these awesome view.

Looking southward towards the sea
The Telok Blangah and Bukit Merah estates
After the Henderson Waves Bridge is the Telok Blangah Hill. There are some mean slopes here including a very short and steep one up to Terrace Garden where you can another panoramic view.

Standing between Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge is a patch of forest and over this is a series of metal bridge called the Forest Walk hovering over the forest. And beside being able to see the flora and fauna close up, one can get another great view of the far beyond.

After crossing the bridge, its up to Kent Ridge Park and here there is a series of zig zag path which leads to what is known as the Canopy Walk which comes with a view of the Hort Park below it.

From here it is a straight run down Kent Ridge Park. That is the easy part. But coming back up, there is either the long and steep Pepys Road or the other long and steep Vigilante Drive. By now after conquering the up and down from Mt Faber to Kent Ridge, I was well and truly beaten and could only managed to walk up Vigilante Drive. At the top of course the reward is another top of the world view.

All in, depending on how one runs, one can do up to 20 km covering Mt Faber, Telok Blangah Hill, Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park with total elevation of more than 500 metres. Not a lot by any other measures but certainly a good enough workout for those who want to do some serious hill runs and get many great view at the same time.

Here is the elevation for the run last week

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Skechers GoRun 2

This comes about 3 years late. But hey, better late than never. I first read about the Skechers Gorun back in 2012. Back then, Skechers had just embarked on the development of a running shoes and the review wasn't that great. Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued and I was determined to get hold of one to try out. But being the kiam kanah, I wanted to get one at a more down to earth price since it was just for the purpose of trying. I waited and waited and Gorun 2 came and went and 3 came along. And finally I decided to buy. But not the Gorun 3 but the by now on offer Gorun 2. Beggars can't be chooser so I ended up with a blue shoe. My 2nd pair of all blue shoe after so many years. But the store didn't have any other color available. Worst of all, it was half size too small. I knew it the minute I put it on but so strong was my desire to try it, that I just went ahead. To be frank though, I quite like the color. That was back in the middle of last year and after that, it was left in the box for another 6 months before I finally took it out this year!

The Gorun 2 comes with a 4mm heel to toe drop and is considered a minimalist shoe. The upper is very breathable. And  it is light coming in at about 200 gm.

The heel counter is on the low side just like the tongue is pretty short too for my long feet at least.

The sole is what set the Gorun 2 apart from other running shoes. It comes with round studs which they called Pods. Not too sure what the various colors and design does but whatever it does though it must be doing something great for I am going to say it now, this is probably why I now consider this the best pair of running shoes I ever have!

So far I worn it for over more than 30 km and I am loving every km of it. Notwithstanding the fact that it is still half size too small. In my first run, I knew it was too small and because I have Morton's toe, it was a tight fit at the front although the width was just right. Not willing to give up on the shoe, in my next run, I decided to go sockless and bingo! Without the sock, the fit was just right and there was no blisters on my foot. Not at the heel where I expected or the side of the toe. Nothing. I was really delighted!

Cushioning. This is supposed to be a minimalist shoes and rightfully I do not expect much cushioning but it was there all right. Not a lot but enough to make the landing soft. And best of all, extremely comfortable. 

Traction: I ran mostly on road and in one instance, after a heavy downfall. There was no slippage even on the smooth concrete surfaces. Ground feel was good too. Obviously because this is not a trail shoe, I have not attempted to run in the trails with it. I think the upper appears to be a bit thin to take the toils of the trail. 

Flexibility. The shoe is rather flexible despite the presence of the many pods. The design of the pods forces the wearer to land on the midfoot and toe off properly. No way to land on the heel which is as it should be. I took it for a few hard runs with the longest distance at 10km and it works well especially the pushing off part.

Water Proofing. I ran once after a heavy downpour and maybe because I didn't deliberately run into puddles of water, my foot didn't get wet.

Overall, I would say this is by far the most comfortable running shoes I ever have. However, to date the longest distance I did in them was 10km and I am a bit apprehensive about going longer distance although I am aware many runners have already worn it for marathons. Maybe now that Gorun 4 is already out, I will go and see whether I can get a pair of Gorun 3 at a price below $100.00 with the correct sizing  and perhaps try to run a marathon in them. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Singapore Blade Runner - Running the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon

Md Shariff Abdullah, more popularly known as Singapore Blade Runner is Singapore's first blade runner. Born without a left foot, life was tough for young Shariff as he struggles with ridicule from schoolmates, a broken family and more physical problems as his stump got infected and had to be further amputated. However, not one to be put down by life, he pressed on and in 2008, inspired by Oscar Pistorius the South African amputee, he started competing competitively and soon went on to compete in many road and trail races including the prestigious Boston Marathon.

Despite his handicap, Shariff dares to dream and once had a dream to climb Mt Everest. Unfortunately, upon doctor's advice he has to stop that dream and is now focusing on completing the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon in 2015. However, as a self employed motivational speaker, he is still short of funds for this trip and is looking to raise more funds for a spare Ossur Flex Run Prosthetic leg, registration fee, flight and accommodation, insurance and other incidental fees.

How you can help:
  1. Run with him or your friends and simply share a picture of you running saying you support his trip to Everest, and asking others to donate, with this URL 
  2. Rather not run? Just share his page
  3. Kind contribution or purchasing the blade runner products which includes a limited edition Compressport tee.
For more information go to his home page or visit his Facebook page 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Light up your Runs

I talked about running safe in an earlier post. And I not talking about being attacked but being visible to motorists and other people. One of the way is to wear bright apparel. Black, dark blue are not bright colours and yet it is so common to see people here wearing dark coloured apparel and running in the night. And event organiser adds to this by issuing running and event tops that comes in black colour. I know black is a great solid colour that speaks of power and might and command respect it is not suitable for night running, not unless one is thinking of doing a stealth run and need the cover of darkness.

But good news for those who really want to wear dark coloured apparels at night. In the past, most major apparel manufacturers will incorporate some reflective strips (usually the logo or some lining) that will reflect lights from vehicles and torches. The problem with this strips of reflective lighting is that they works only when a light is shine on them otherwise they are not useful at all. And they tend to drop off after several wash.

Lately, apparel manufacturers have come up with more innovations to make night running safe. Like Puma NightCat Powered apparels which comes with built in led light strip. And the light can be turn on and off or set to blinking. Cool!\
Photo: Puma

And Skechers have come up with a Night Owl running shoes which incorporates photoluminescent technology which produces an intense glow in low light or darkness. And no battery required!
Photo: Skechers
Not to be outdone, Asics has a Lite Show apparel with built in reflective material in the shoe shoe and design.
Photo from Asics

But if spending hundred of dollars is not your idea of running safe, just wear a white top and maybe carry one of those tiny blinking lights.Cheap and good light include those from Nathan and many many others which you can get from those cheap perpetual clearance shops in HDB estates.
Photo from Nathan
Happy Running. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Unconventional Shoes

I constantly tell people to wear proper and suitable shoes when they run but when it comes to myself, I never ever follow my own advice. Take this 2 pair of shoes for instance.

I bought the Puma Mobium on impulse at the Puma Factory outlet in December 2013. Back then I knew nothing about the shoes and the only reason I bought it was it cost less than $100.00 and it was orange in color. True be told, it wasn't a really great shoe. It was a tad too rigid for me and I was always afraid the Mobium band will break. But slowly I got used to it  In fact, I worn it so often that I managed to clock more than 700km in it and all from runs of not more than 10 km. I still couldn't bring myself to run longer distance in it. And the Mobium band didn't break. In fact, it was the upper that finally tear and force me to retire it. So it has been a pretty good shoe after all and certainly good value for money. But not a shoe that I will recommend to anybody.

The Skecher shoe on the right of the photo is the Skecher Go Run 2. I got this in the 3rd quarter of 2014. It was on sale as the Go Run 3 was already out. Since then it has been in its box till this week when I finally took it out to replace the Puma Mobium. And these 2 shoes wouldn't have been more different than night and day. But more about the Skecher when I run substantially enough to form a proper opinion.

So these 2 pair adds on to my collection of unconventional and non main stream running shoes which so far have included the Altra Lone Peak (still in use); Terra Plana Evo (one of my favourite and now retired); Tyr booties, Pearl Izumi SyncroPace; Zoot UltraTempo (another favourite) and my current daily ride, the Puma Faas 300. How many of these names do you recognize?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Run Safe

Recently there was a press report of a case in 2013 when a lady jogger was attacked and raped by a man while out on a night run. I think a lot of people were shocked. Surely Singapore is the safest of all place? But like the police slogan, low crime doesn't mean no crime and this is not the first time a lady has been attacked while out running. In 2000, a lady was attacked and rape while running in Bukit Batok Park. She died a few days later from her injury. And for those who thought MacRitchie Reservoir is safe, in 2003, a lady was sexually assaulted while running there.

Singapore is generally a safe place to move around but like in any other countries, there will be sickos around. Here are some unsolicited advices:

1) Don't run at night. The best time to run is early in the morning but I know it is easier to sleep late than wake up early. And with everybody's busy schedule, sometimes the only time available to run is in the night. So if you must run at run, try to run earlier and end by 8 pm rather than start after 9. But if you really cannot avoid running later in the night:

2) Get someone to run with you. The hubby, the boyfriend or girl friend, neighbour or even a child. There safety in number. But if there is really nobody to run with you:

3) Avoid running in dark places. For some reasons known best to Nparks, our parks are not well lit at night. Even places like East Coast Park is poorly lit and the park lights are switched off after a certain time. So if you must run, run along the roads or in brightly lit areas. Or if there is no other option, run only in the brighter areas within the park. Do loops around the brightly lit area rather than run the full distance along the park trail. Some parks with poor lighting to avoid:
 - Area A and area G of East Coast Park
- Pasir Ris Beach Park especially the middle section between Sungei Tampines and Sungei Api Api
- Fort Canning Park. The lighting here is atrocious. Many stretches have no light or they are switched off at random
- Bukit Batok Nature Park - the place with the most incidents
- The Green Corridor. Avoid running alone at all cost and this applies to the guy too!
- West Coast Park
- Garden by the Bay East. The lights here are generally ok but it is too quiet. Keep to the waterfront and not run into the park ground.

4) Wear bright clothing. I am always amazed at the number of people who wear dark apparel to run. Not only does it absorb heat it also attract mosquitoes. And in an incident, it is easier to see something bright moving/struggling than something dark. Beside, other road and park users can see you if you wear brighter clothings and minimize the chance of a collision or being scared out of their wits!

5) Carry a small panic button, the phone and identification. The panic button is useful in situation where you need to attract attention. The phone? To call for help not just for attacks but in case of accidents. And ID - for identification purpose.

This is a rather useful panic button. Can double as a key chain too. You can get this from Sim Lim and other electronic stores or buy online. A panic button is more useful than a whistle as in an emergency, chances are you have no opportunity to blow the whistle

This ID band can be purchased online but you can also make your own ID band like what I did

6) Let someone know. Where you running and what time you be home. This will help if you go missing and people need to search for you. Or if you fail to reach home in the expected time, help can come earlier.

So that about it. Run happy and run safe.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Merlion Run

Group run is fun when you are running with a group of great people and there is no competitive element, no time pressure, no stress and no need to worry about being named and shamed for taking short cut ahem... diverted route.

So after a long absence of group run in 2014, I ended 2014 with a group run and started 2015 with another group run. This time round as a sort of informal and unofficial SG50 event, a group of us decided to run to the five official Merlion.

We started at the Seah Im carpark at Telok Blangah and went to the first Merlion on our list at Sentosa. But enroute, we found another Merlion. A multi-colored Merlion in fact.
Photo Credit Lionel Cheng/Neyton Tan via wefie
But this is the official one that we came to see

From Sentosa it was on to our next destination at Mt Faber. Unfortunately not by cable car though. We had to run there up the 100 metres or so "high" hill. Poor me legs.

Fortunately it was all downhill from here although our very fierce leader made us run from here all the way to Orchard Rd where we sneaked into the Tourism Board office for this group photo with the very malnourished looking Merlion.

We also discovered there are actually more than 1 Merlion here.

But we have to move on to the last 2 Merlions. The anak Merlion and Papa Merlion in the background.
Photo credit Lionel Cheng
And here is a better view of Papa Merlion

Group run can be real fun and there always one going on organised by one group or another. For those just starting out running, this is a great way to get started on running, make new friends and get tips and see places. So if you are free, look out for such events on FB and why not join one?

Sunday, January 04, 2015

A Letter to Nparks on MacRitchie Reservoir

Dear Nparks,

Thank you Nparks for thinking of our welfare and safety.

Thank you so much for putting in more fine gravels and providing such nice mini steps so that our precious feet in our expensive running shoes will not be dirty and we will not trip over those sharp ugly rocks and roots and injure ourselves.

Since Nparks place such premium on taking care of us who visit MacRitchie Reservoir park, can I request for more?

- How about providing a shelter throughout the whole trail. That way, rain or shine we can visit the beautiful park and be in tune with nature. And no need to worry about falling branches injuring anyone.

- Also our weather is rather hot most of the time and it can get pretty hot and stuffy under the trees. So maybe when building the shelter, Nparks, you can consider like put in air con. Maybe enclosed the whole shelter, put in air condition and while we at it, maybe a travelator like those at the SEA Aquarium. Then really, rain or shine we can visit the park. No need to get wet. Our expensive Nike shoes won't get dirty and best of all, the filthy monkey can't get our lobster roll.

- At every 500 metres, provide drink vending machine. As you know, it is rather hot in Singapore and I am sure you don't want us poor park visitor to get dehydrated. And of course I am sure you know that we Singaporeans are so gentle, we don't have strength to carry water bottles so a drink machine every 500 metres will help us fill our hydration needs.

And oh I noted that you are doing some major renovation works at the Male shower area for the past months. It looks like very major since it is taking so long. I am rather excited. I hope Nparks instead of having stupid open shower, can you provide jacuzzi and onsen instead. Those smelly fellas who want to bath can bath inside the shower stall. The rest of us after walking around the park, will surely enjoy a nice soak in the jacuzzi or onsen. So please do take your time to do up the place nicely. 

I am so looking forward to the air con sheltered trail walk, the jacuzzi and the onsen. Thank you in advance.

Your most loyal MacRitchie Reservoir visitor.