Performance is more than just lacing up your shoes and going out to run. To really perform, you need to mind the details.
Many runners I speak with train regularly. Far less train with purpose and know how each session fits into the bigger picture.
Even fewer pay attention to the peripherals. Nutrition, recovery, race execution, mental conditioning, stress levels and the like.
It’s these things that often make the biggest difference, especially when you’re limited in the time you have to prepare.
Here is a quick start guide to performing the Coached way!
Follow a plan (it doesn’t have to be a Coached plan but it’s a good place to start) and use a heart rate monitor to measure your effort and track your progress.
Stop eating “food products” and start eating real food again. Real foods are fruits and veg. Nuts and seeds. Meat, fish and eggs. As my manager always used to tell me: “you don’t put diesel in a Ferrari”.
Training stress breaks you down and is multiplied by other life stressors like work, family and social commitments. Aim for 7+ hours of sleep a night, use a foam roller, eat clean (see above) and turn off the notifications on your phone. These are good places to start.
You cannot change the state of your fitness on race day so your job is to maximise it. To express your fitness in the best possible way by executing a smart and controlled race. Start conservatively, build your effort and finish strong.
The mind controls everything. Start with 10mins a day of meditation. Build that duration over time.
Performance is in the details. Start with the simple (not easy) recommendations above and see what happens. You’ll be amazed to see excess body fat fall away, energy levels rise and performance improve.
Control what you have the ability to control and the outcome will take care of itself!
Agaration about 25% of deaths in Singapore every year is related to cancer. It’s really a very high percentage 😣 With advances in science and cancer research activities, it is hopeful that progressive breakthroughs can lead to a cure and manage cancer better. Run for hope is a run to raise awareness and support of cancer research. Contribution in healthcare research is really important, even Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg also contributes billions of money in healthcare research aiming to cure all illnesses including cancer.
There is 2 distance category, the 3.5km and 10km. So I still turn up for the run though I was still sick as this is a rather meaningful running event, I feel ok and I could just turn up and walk all the 10km as I assume since there is no medal and no timing chip, there is also no cut off time 😆 Just possible that when I return to the finish point nothing is there anymore 😂
One of the reasons I participated in this run is also in remembrance of a lady, which fate had causes us to cross path in life. Seeing her going through many check ups, chemotherapy, taking of the medicines and going through pain and side effects over years, she was a determine and strong women and had fought fiercely battle after battle from breast cancer to liver cancer. You just have to believe that sometimes people come into your life to give you valuable lessons so that you will learn.
(Photo Credits: JJL Runners – Veronica) Though there is no finisher medal and no timing chip to record timing, it is still nice to see many runners I know at the event and so many people showed up to support the event though weekends is really shiok to nua in bed. But it will be nice to give us finisher medals as extra motivation, especially to medal collectors like me, the eyes will have heart heart like this: 😍 when we receive medals after the runs 😆 I think with medal and timing chips, more people may participate in this event.
I really like the bib design as there’s a blank space for the participants to write their dedications. Added to my wall of collection if the running bibs 😊 I cleared the entire one side of my room to leave the wall out and I think it is going to take years to fill it up with running bibs 😆
The website and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is very well updated and maintained. With inspirational posts from cancer survivors and contest such as the best bib designed to keep the participants involved.
(Photo Credits: Running Shots – Eugene Tan)
On race day, weather is good but now I really miss the feeling of running at 13 degrees in Hong Kong. Seriously must run in cold countries then will know it’s so shiok! Not every run need to chiong so I went slow, chit chat with my friend and when Photographers spotted, we act like we very hardworking and run 😂 See the above photo is so nice 😆 Thank you photographer 😍 And so nice when the photographer took down his “weapon” off his face then I realised it’s Eugene! A running friend who have passion for photography and now he have joined running shots to take photographs of runners during running. Say hi to him when you see him in your future runs! 😊
Maybe because there is no timing chip, I have no motivation to push myself to run plus I’m sick anyway, so don’t need to be so hard on myself. It’s still enjoyable though at my 7th km, the Sun is out and started to feel hot but I already gave up in hiding from the Sun months ago, I’m getting so much tanner and many people mistook me as foreigners. Come to think of it, I’m very universal 😆 Over the years, I’ve been mistaken before as their local when I visited their country for holiday or back here at home Singapore as Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Indonesian and I’m most commonly mistaken as Malay.
The portable toilet is enough for the participants and no queues for baggage deposits and collections also no queues. Flag off for the 10km is at Bayfront event space at 7.15am sharp shortly followed by the 3.5km category. The race route is the usual route to Marina Barrage and u-turn back at Garden by the Bay East. There’s many water points along the route with only water and no isotonic drink but also never mind because at the race village got two Milo vans! Win liao! Hope more future runs will have Milo vans in the race village or even Milo at the hydration points along the routes! Stay hopeful! 😍
And also the Vitagen tentage is fantastic lah! Got photo booth and also provide like unlimited bottles of Vitagens for the runners!
Overall I enjoyed the event very much, especially the Milo van and the trampoline workout we sat near the performance area at least a good 10 minutes watching the new type of workout, it’s seems really fun!
This time, as a friend said to me, ‘You are running for the animals’. Yes, it’s the Safari Zoo Run and I was answering the call to raise awareness for wildlife conservation. To make things interesting, there are 4 teams: Team Ah Meng (orang utans), Canola (manatee representing aquatic wildlife), Chawang (elephants) and Sunny (Hornbills). I love birds so I picked Team Sunny, the Hornbill Mascot. I joined the 10 km competitive category and there were 5.5 km, 2.5 km family and kids’ dashes.
My friend, Francis had signed up ahead and I had tried my luck at getting a free slot first as the entry fee was relatively high. I had made a resolution to cut down on ‘racing’ since this was eating hard into my budget and overall plan. It didn’t help that I took up running at such a late stage too. Recently, for brief moments, I wish I was younger to start on this stage of life as I realized that in the real world, age is an issue most of the times – try competing for the same position in a company or for any sponsorship.
But still, it had been a rediscovery of the self as I entered into this year of the Rooster, recovering from a fractured spine. You are as young as you think (or as old). Running had also strengthened that belief.
I was getting ready my credit card to pay the entry fees one morning after the futile attempts to get sponsorship. Then I saw a post on FB by Run Society, the official online media, for a giveaway contest of free slots. I tried my luck and got it ! So thanks to Run Society, I got the opportunity to Run For Wildlife free for this race… before I meet Francis again for his debut full marathon in March (Sundown).
The race pack collection was a new experience as the organizer introduced automated machine for dispensing the entry pack. I got my pack without mishap as the volunteers were more than ready to help when I hesitated. There was still some manual handling as I was given the blue carrier for the pack with the discount coupons by the volunteer but it was done in double quick time since there was no queue and I got those as I was waiting for the machine to print the bib. (I realized some folks did encounter some delays on other time of the day due to unfamiliarity and ‘waiting time’.) Still, it was a positive attempt at making it available 24 hours to participants in future.
On race day, I made it to the start line early and the race was flagged off 10 minutes after the announced start time. Francis ended up in the second wave with his friend. But he caught up at his fast pace when I just reached the 3 km checkpoint and then he was gone as he maintained his pace. The route was well marked and volunteers were on hand to guide throughout. The hydration points provided both water and Aquarius drinks except for the last station, I believe. The first hydration point was located less than a kilometer from start point.
Results were announced 2 days after the event. I realized that photo finishes were taken for participants. I observed there might be gaps in the shots so certain time stretches were completely missing (or at least at point of writing this post).
Looking at some of the shots too, I thought the camera could be more prominently shown because there was a number of shots of blocked runners or too close a shot. Not many seemed to be aware of the placement of the cameras.
But Running Shots photographers were on the running route and as usual they took their splendid shots of the different categories (and they are ‘free’!). I took the liberty of sharing some of those candid shots of the young participants. You could just search for Running Shots on facebook if you are somehow new to them and they usually indicate the time span and physical location of the photo shots. (Thank you for the photos, Marcus from Running Shots.)
The air was fresh in the early morning (there were some stretches where you could smell fresh animal dung too) and the route was an interesting break from the usual Singapore race routes. You won’t be seeing elephants or lions (including white lions) for example in the enclosures along a normal race route. So I would say it’s an attractive route though there were some slight gradients. Surprisingly during the run, I didn’t experience any mosquito bites as one might expect.
I collected the finisher medal and a cup of water at the finishing point. The finisher medal was unique too, with designs of the four endangered mascots. Then we had to make our way out some distance to the ‘entitlement’ area before we could get the usual stuff like bananas and Aquarius drinks. We also met the peahen and its chicks making their rounds at the area, unperturbed by the crowd around them.
We made our way back to the zoo to spend some time with the animals before we made our respective way back home. It was a nice way to cool down after a race. As you could see, I was fascinated too by the white tigers. I enjoyed the morning with the wildlife and this also made up for missing my planned visit to the zoo last year.
So this is also part of my journey back to another full marathon – the Sundown, my fourth full marathon since 2015 and then onto my 8th Half Marathon (2XU) a week after. I will be attempting these challenges to support a cause close to my heart and hope to get some support for the kids. https://www.simplygiving.com/runforthekids. Till then, run safe and happy.
Safari Zoo Run 2017 is back for its 5th year and continue to draw many new as well as past participants into running for a cause – Wildlife, and also, it continues to commemorate our beloved Ah Meng who passed on and became an angel in February 2008
The race entry pack collection happened over the weekend of 10 – 12 February at the Marina Square Atrium.
What made the collection experience unique is the use of the organizing team’s proprietary innovation of the race entry pack vending machine. According to the staff, participants only need to scan their barcode (found on the confirmation email) onto the scanner of the machine, and tada, your tee shirt, as well as the timing chip will be dispensed.
Like what most of the runners do upon reaching the race village, I scuffled right to the baggage deposit where the process was smooth, partly due to the abundance of counters available, and I only arrived 15 minutes before flag off so most runners might have already depo-ed theirs.
Warm Up & Race Route
Just before the flag off, we had an impromptu warm-up conducted by the emcee! You know the ‘YMCA’ dance? Yes, we did that as part of warming up and we didn’t really know we were doing it until the too-familiar song started playing. Shortly thereafter, we also caught a glimpse of the mascots as well – Chawang and Ah Meng flagging all runners off!
The 10 km race route would have brought us running through almost all of the available habitats in the zoo, and it was a great experience personally as I have not set foot onto the zoo for almost a decade.
As we ran, the sky began to brighten up, and so as the zoo’s ‘residents’, and in particular, I remember how I noticed the lion’s stare was following me as I ran past it, and with many runners were like “Wow, they are all awakened!” I can’t help but to imagine the animals thinking “Why on earth are there hoomans running around when it isn’t even 8 am yet!”
The race route constitutes a mixture of diversions between first, second loopers, left/right turns, mild slopes (which got slightly technical) and loops. There were at least twice I ran past different finishing gantries (possibly for the different categories) on race day. Water points were ample for my category so no complaints about it. All in all, the race experience was great with the forgiving weather complimenting it.
The finisher medal is pretty looking and decent. Finishers were also provided with post race snacks such as bananas and mineral water to replenish the carbs and fluid loss during the run. With a full day complimentary day pass into zoo, friends and myself took some time to walk around the zoo, exploring other wildlife we haven’t seen during the run or in a while, while cheering for the runners of the later categories on their way back to the finish line.
This was my first Safari Zoo Run, and with the above, I have no qualms about joining next year and I certainly look forward to it! P.S I would also like to catch my baby giraffe the next time I am back!!
It is my first time participating in Safari Zoo Run. The Safari Zoo Run is organised to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and to encourage family bonding. Thank you JustRunLah! for the slots! Runners participating in the run gets complimentary entry to the Zoo and River Safari after the run! Of course I will make use of the opportunity to explore the Zoo 😍 But after Zoo I have to go back rest already as I have Run for Hope the next day 😆
Have to grant the runners complimentary entry what, the race slot is very expensive compared to other runs! A 10km competitive slot is $80 😱 A family of 4 person can easily cost over $200! 🙈 But considering that these are tourist attractions, just buying tickets for its entry is already around that price so consider it paying to visit the beautiful creatures! 😊
Thank you Rey for helping me collect the race entry pack as I was away in Hong Kong for Standard Chartered Marathon 😊 Since I’m back from Hong Kong I’m a little sick, I kena flu virus and I can predict that next few days I will get cough as it always comes as a package 😂 Speaking of which, I’m really grateful that my legs is very fine the very next day after the marathon. Last year after my Sundown marathon, I couldn’t even walk properly after a week 😭
Flag off for the 10km competitive run is at 7am so I took a taxi there at around 6am wanting to reach there earlier in case there is jam. Though it’s about 8km from home， I’m not so hardcore to run there and it’s troublesome to take bus and do all the transfers there and I will not make it on time. Baggage deposit and collection is efficient with no queues at all as I think most people drive there and does not require baggage deposits. What I like is that there is actually shower facilities prepared for the runners of both gender! There’s not much of a queue and even seats and slippers are prepared for those who wants to take a shower 😍
There’s a slight delay of 10 minutes in the flag off time but it’s no big deal. The emcee is trying his best to come up with a short unplanned warm up to keep us entertained during the delay. The 10km route is quite sloppy and theres 4 water point one loop, for the 10km route we are running 2 loops around zoo and night safari with the second loop a smaller loop so we are passing by many water points and no need to worry of not enough hydration. The weather is cooling these few days and luckily it is cooling this morning too and the Sun is not out 😊
(Photo Credits: Running Shots – Eugene Tan) I feel that my flu getting worse after 2km so I have to go slow. This 10km took up even more effort than the 42.195km I did the last weekend. I thought I will just walk the rest of the distance, the cut off time is a generous 3.5hours 😆 That’s when a runner from 42race saw me and ran with me. That’s what I like about running and participating in running events, we get to meet people, exchange conversations and share experiences. Thank you Willis for running with me, really appreciate it, if not seriously I would have walk all the way after 2km. I’m just glad that I managed to complete the run and the medal is so nice! 😊
After the run went to explore the zoo with Kelvin and Rey. The family run/dash is still going on, there is so many adorable kids running. Just so cute! 😍
I really like going to the Zoo, Bird Park and River Safari and also places like the Underwater World and Sea Aquarium though it’s really troublesome to go to these places. These are happy place to go to 😊 And for your information, it is free entry to the Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Bird Park within 7 days from your birthday with a paying person! 😍 I like some animals they are really beautiful, gentle and cute creatures with interesting facts about them such as the male penguin will picked a pebble which he thinks is beautiful and gives it the a female penguin he likes and the otters will hand hands while they sleep! So lovely right? Makes me feel that life is so magical and amazing!
In 2015, I even signed up for a yearly membership for Zoo and River Safari. And for quite a while, I visited the Zoo and River Safari quite frequently. And the privilege for their members in the past is that you can enter the zoo as early as 7am to encourage people to run when it’s only opened to public at 8.30am, but I don’t know what is there for their members now. What I like best going there super early is that it’s quiet, no human beings except nature, those beautiful creatures and you (Even the Zebras were stunned to see a human being there so early in the morning 😂)
Then, the zoo is like my “gym” and the path is my “thread mill”. During the weekends I would run there from home and spent quite a lot of time there, mostly hanging out with the Ring Tailed Lemur and the Giraffes or can just be sitting there looking at the Orang Utans. Let’s not debate whether a zoo is a “prison” for these captured creatures but can see that they are well taken care of, it’s a safe environment with food and shelter and with vets and zoo keepers who are trained to look after them 😊
My Race Journey. Safari Zoo Run 2017 (10KM and 2.5KM Kids Dash)
How are you racing? I have been so behind the race scene this year. In fact, if not for the complimentary race slot, I have not signed up for any races yet! Let me take this chance to thank JustRunLah! for this. Having my race registration waived and since it is a themed run which sounds great for kids, I thought why not I register my daughter too. Lil’ Miss,ashow I referred tomy 7 year old kiddo, is a very spontaneous little girl who loves outdoors and is always willing to tag along with me in either her scooter or bike as I go out for a short run.
I bought her first scooter when she was 3 and eventually got mine too as I got hooked into a level up GPS based android game few years ago wherein I had to go to a certain location where there is this called “portal” which can either be a figure, a mural, a landmark or a anything and link it to another portal. Each time I link them I earned mind units (MU) so that is where I level up in addition to destroying the portals owned by the opposing faction. There were only 2 factions and this game is developed by the same PokemonGo game developers. Since then, I always wanted to go out check out new portals and so did my Lil’ Miss who enjoys discovering places with her scooter. She enjoys her ride so much that my wife worried she will develop big leg muscles considering our daughter is still a girl! This did not stop us though and this has brought us even closer before I started running. Now she has learned how to bike.
As I was offered with the free slot, I quickly signed up for a 10km competitive and 2.5km kids dash for Lil’ Miss both under team Chawang, the Sumatran elephant. She was very excited that time I broke the news that she’ll be going for a race. I even got a hug when I told her it is going to be at Singapore Zoo. She has been asking me to go to the zoo again for the nth time earlier this year which apparently we are scheduled to go later this month through our corporate scheme and so this run is a perfect experience for her. This is going to be her first official competitive race too so I am as excited as her and as worried at the same time as her mother. Worries like what if she cannot finish the race and act like a baby crying in the middle of the race or what if she gets too competitive at the start and ends up fainting or injure herself along the way. Although I believe in her so much that I know she can finish this short distance “easy-peasy” like she always say, I still can’t stop the anxiousness in me. I trained her to be a tough girl and she knows how much I hate seeing her become teary eyed. She attends swim class every weekend and she bikes for fun as well. That is enough training for her. I reassured my wife that our Lil’ Miss can do this.
Race pack collection was a breeze. We went on the second evening of the race pack collection. There were auto-counters which I thought were photo booths so it did not intrigue me much and went on to the manual counters instead. There were not much people then so collection at Marina Square was a little less of a hassle except that I registered my daughter’s FIN wrongly -common mistake or maybe just for me, O for 0 instead so we spent a little bit more time waiting for them to search. The event shirt was quite big for my Lil’ Miss but we were told that there were only a few shirts for kids available and that we were not allowed to change hers for a smaller tee. Chance is to post it on social media as suggested by one of the crews and wait for the right shirt size for exchange which I do not find any spark of hope. It was still alright to keep the shirt though because kids this age grow up fast and she can use the shirt for maybe a couple more Safari Zoo runs. It is funny how race packs become more and more empty these times. It is not a mystery why less people post about their race packs on social media nowadays unlike before. Our race pack is bare containing only the event shirt, the bib and a few prints which are mainly discount coupons. What more do you expect. Race packs change too as much as people/runners do.
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The excitement in my daughter’s eye never faded off until the race week. She may not have full understanding of what’s going to happen next unlike us adults that we,at some point,seem to worry about our race performance. Still, the parent in me, took her out one evening a few days before the race day for a very short run just to test whether she can really endure running 2 kilometers without stopping. We ran a distance of about 3 bus stops as 1 km estimate and back. Proud I was that evening knowing that she possess such eagerness to run. I told her to imagine that the third bus stop is the finish line and that once she sees it, she must run faster than ever before and never stop until the finish. Surprisingly, she did as I say. Of course we had to stop before we u-turn and let her take a rest. There I am now very confident that she can do it and went on for a one more round that she merely resisted and started hearing a lot of complaints from her so I decided to call it a day and weheaded back home.
I went off first during the race day leaving the house at dawn. Mandai area is quite accessible to me because a direct bus coming from Ang Mo Kio interchange passes by my place and goes straight to the zoo.I instructed my wife and daughter to come a little bit later and but they must be there by 8AM as the kids dash flags off at 9AM. The bus journey was rather fast and reached the venue dimly lit by vehicles’ headlight. I walked through the dark using my phone’s torch and proceeded to where the music comes from which I assumed to be the race village. I went straight to drop my bag and passed the information booth, from afar I can see the stage where the host is randomly talking to runners. Porta-loos are well situated and something new to me is the mobile shower which I find it cool specially to everyone who loves to be always feeling refreshed after a good run. I still had plenty of time so I did a little warm up run and loosened some muscles before going in to the start pen.
The flag-off was delayed by 10 minutes which is kind of still not bad as I find the place still very dark. The host did a good job as he entertained us well while wewaited. I could see silhouettes of some primates jumping at the branches of one of the tall trees in front of us. Ah Meng the mascot then helped to flag us off. I start strong at a sub 5 minute pace probably because of the rush of runners in the front where I am and immediately a downhill slope pushed us even faster til I realized I am not running a comfortable speed anymore. I slowed down and constantly checked my watch and made sure I maintained a 5 min pace instead. A gentle uphill slope welcomed me at the 3rd km mark but what surprised me more is that the uphills seemed to be never ending until finally I realized I have passed by this part of the route earlier completely unaware that I am already on my second loop. It has gotten bright and I could see a squirrel crossing the road swiftly. The animals showed up from their dens and I couldn’t stop myself to slow down and admire the place looking left and right as I run thinking God is indeed amazing creating such beautiful animalsof different sizes. And so yes, it’s that uphill slope again at the 8-9 km which nearly killed me dropping down pace to 5:30. I aimed for a sub 50 minutes but finished at 50:12net time.
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I went off quickly to find my wife and daughter after getting my medal. It was a long walk from the finish line back to the race village. At that moment, the family run is being flagged off. As I approached the race village I immediately saw my daughter getting some artwork done on one of the tents. While she was busy, I asked my wife to get me some post run photos. Then we proceeded to the start pen and waited until they flag off the 2.5km competitive Kids’ Dash.
Before the Start Pen Opens
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The kids were flagged off in 2 waves: first the 10+ year olds and lastly the 6-9 year olds where my Lil’ Miss’s is. This time the Chawang mascot flagged them off. Two or three kids fell down on the first wave. I was crossing my fingers that it will not happen to my precious one on the second wave. Off they went and yes, nobody fell. I saw her very happy as she ran alongside other kids. Impressively, some kids are very competitive that you can see them wearing those game faces especially the older ones.
Me and my wife went to the finishing side immediately after their flag off. We walked slowly as we entertained ourselves with sights of the mascots all around seeing real kids and kids at heart very happy at their presence. We followed the sign to the kids holding area. I expected Cassy, Lil’ Miss’s nickname to finish in 20 minutes or so. Fifteen minutes have past but I couldn’t see her distinct purple shoes. I decided to find her then. I was a little worried she might have injured herself and walked instead. Truly enough, I caught her walking with other kids looking at the big birds flying above. I waited for her until she reached the giraffes and took a quick snap with the huge stunning long-necked creatures in the background.
Lil' Miss in Action
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Finally, I encourage her to run the remaining distance and reminded her that once she saw the finish line, she has to run faster which she did without hesitation! Hooray! She did it. She completed it in 18:43 net time. Not bad at all for a first timer.
We had the best time at the Zoo. We had to leave early though as Lil’ Miss needs to attend her stage 2 swimming exam. Meanwhile, enjoy some our photos at the zoo.
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We look forward to the next kid’s race. Are there any race you can suggest?
The next time you take the train, observe how many commuters use their mobile devices with their head and back hunched forward. Why do such poor posture habits matter?
Analogy of the Bowling Ball
Your head weighs as much as a 12lbs (5.4kg) bowling ball. In a neutral sitting or standing posture, your spine already bears that weight. For every 1 inch (2.5cm) your head goes forward, your spine is stressed an additional 10lbs (4.5kg), an additional bowling ball’s weight (Kapandji, 2008). So if the head is 3 inches forward, your spine bears 42lbs (19kg), which is a lot! Also, your muscles on the back get tight while those on the front get weak, pulling the spine into potential misalignment(s) and creating structural imbalance. Thus, it is not surprising that aches and pains, from neck to low back, are often related to poor posture.
Impact on Athletic Potential
Prolonged forward head posture may decrease up to 30% of lung vital capacity (Calliet, 1991). As an athlete, I am looking for every 0.01% from all bodily aspects to get me faster, higher, and stronger. Therefore, it makes sense to sit straight.
Impact on the Nervous System
Spinal misalignments (also referred to as “vertebral subluxations”) occur due to any kind of stress the body cannot adapt to (e.g. poor posture). These have a far reaching impact not just on the musculoskeletal system, but also the nervous system. Poor posture creates tension along the nerve signal pathways between the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Since the nervous system coordinates all aspects of the body (from systems to organs to cells), it makes sense to reduce unnecessary spinal tension, so that athletes can function at optimum potential.
Firstly, individuals have to be aware about what good posture entails, which requires regular self-checks until it becomes a habit. Secondly, there could be underlying skeletal imbalances that limit the individual’s ability to sit or stand neutrally. This is where Doctors of Chiropractic come in. We are uniquely trained to correct “vertebral subluxations” via gentle and specific adjustments.
Try hunching down with poor posture for 30s versus sitting neutrally with the head upright. Chances are you feel more “stressed” in the former situation due to a low level “fight or flight” response. I rather save my fighting or flying for marathon race day, simply by “keeping my head up”. How about you?
There is a saying that goes “Have a breakfast like a king, a lunch like a prince and a dinner like a pauper”, and it isn’t without its reasons. We need to kickstart our body at the beginning of the day to get it going and maintain our energy through the day before we let our bodies rest for the night.
But as much as many of us wish to keep to such a feeding system, it is sometimes highly impossible due to our hectic schedules. Most of us end up having large dinners that leave us feeling overly bloated and unable to go to sleep.
So what kind of food can we can have for dinner that will keep us nicely full and yet still allow us to be lulled into a good night’s sleep? Here are some for your next dinner consideration.
Did you know that fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna, contain vitamin B6 that is required by our bodies to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin? Now you do. Besides that, fish also contains loads of protein and omega-3 acids that are good for our heart and body.
The future of athletics is going to be ignited with Nitro: Athletics Australia brings to you the Nitro Athletics! This is an innovative version of athletics, designed to be engaging, entertaining and an immersive experience for athletes and audiences alike. And, what a brilliant show it was!
#1 Wild Elimination-Style Mile
Photo Credits: runningmag.za
What an exciting event this was! The last person to finish each lap will be eliminated. This brings into a lot of different strategies into play. Just because you can run a sub-4 miler, does not necessarily mean you’re going to nail this! You need to go pretty damn fast on the final stretch of each lap, but not too fast as to gas out to be eliminated on the next lap. It’s definitely a brutal event and a painful one to run!
#2 The Rise of Riley Day
Photo Credits: new.com.au
16 year old Riley Day gave a stunning performance, winning the 150m events, outrunning her speedy competitors. She ran a blistering 150m to come out on top. Thew new sprint queen left 2 Olympians in her wake.
‘To be running against all these beautiful women is just an honour’ – DAY
#3 Fastest Man on Earth – Usain Bolt
It’s Usain Bolt. We can’t deny most of the people that came to watch the revolutionary Nitro Athletics did initially come out to watch Usain. Although he did mention he isn’t used to racing this early in the season and isn’t in tip top shape, he delivered a great performance. He cruised home with the gold!
With the success of this inaugural event, we can look forward to a new revolution hitting athletics! We look forward to this Nitro Athletics concept to spread globally. Bolt is contracted to run the Nitro Athletics in Melbourne for another 2 years so we definitely can look forward to the watching the speedy gonzales showcase his skills. He did mention he can do javelin, and maybe even longjump he can try. Usain doing the long jump? – something to look forward to!
Dubai Marathon is a big name event yet signing up is open even a month before the race. January weather in Dubai is perfect, the race course is flat, fast and with very few turns- all the necessary pre-conditions for a PB to start the year with. January is also the shopping season in Dubai with many shops offering big discounts, so a good time to visit the city.
An added bonus for me personally was that Dubai is located halfway between Bulgaria and Singapore which meant I could meet my parents midway and explore the city together. The company I work for- Wego has an office in Dubai which meant I could add a few days onto my personal trip to work from our MENA office and meet the team in person.
Going to Dubai
Dubai is a major airport hub, so getting to Dubai from anywhere is easy. Getting to Dubai from Singapore is even easier, just not very cheap as only network carriers serve the route. Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airlines all fly direct and Qatar Airways offers convenient 1-stop options. (Quick note that should you choose Etihad you would fly in Abu Dhabi and also need to arrange a car ride to Dubai but this is not difficult) I ended up flying with Qatar as I didn’t mind the short stopover in Doha too much, I love Qatar’s service and they happened to be running a special sale just when I was shopping for my tickets allowing me to earn 4X miles on my flights. Bingo! Pro tip: January is low travel season, so rather than buying your flight tickets early, you might be better off if you actually wait for the airlines to run a special promo. Just set your price alert for the dates you want to fly on and wait.
For the work portion of my trip, I shared a room with a colleague who was also on a work trip to our Dubai office. However, for the personal portion of the trip, I booked a whole flat from Airbnb as I wanted a more homey type of accommodation. The apartment was in the Dubai marina area, a location I would highly recommend as it is one of the few places in Dubai that offer nice walking options and is also suitable for short runs (definitely suitable for taper runs before a big race!). The apartment itself ended up being a disappointment though and made me rethink my decision to forgo booking a hotel room. The flattering reviews on Airbnb were quite out of line and I was even spending more money than the hotel room I was previously in costed!
Getting ready for the marathon
Having ran the Singapore marathon in early December meant that there were less than 50 days between the two races. So, not much time for recovery and getting back to my optimal running form! Also, with the Christmas and New Year’s’ holidays in between the two runs, I had to be careful with what and more importantly how much I was eating. Well, with all the sweets that come along the holiday season, this one never really materialised. 😉
In terms of running, I only averaged three runs a week instead of the recommended with the longest training run being just 24km. And on top of that, after my final long run- a 18km affair in East Coast Park, I caught a cold and started coughing fairly badly.
Collection of the race packs was at Meydan Hotel. Meydan Hotel turned out to be this glamorous building that is ideally located for horse racing events. For anything else, it isn’t. Reachable only by car, going to Meydan Hotel with a taxi costs you between $10 and $20 dollars each way depending on where you are in Dubai. Finding the marathon expo was easy enough, however- the hotel porters would point us in the right direction plus this was where most of the visitors were heading to anyway. Once inside the expo, I was quite surprised to see just two people manhandling the distribution of race packets for the full-marathon distance! Luckily, there weren’t a whole lot of visitors at the time I visited, so getting my race pack took literally a minute. Just as strangely, after passing through the collection area there were only two booths with companies merchandising their products! A big difference compared to Singapore marathon where 20-30 people would be handling the race pack collection for each one of the distances and there would be many booths merchandising all kinds of running related products.
The race pack itself was fine. Not too many promos and discounts codes inside, a fact that I actually liked as I rarely find these actual bargains. The race pack also included some electrolytes which is always useful, a sports drink, and two nicely done booklets about the race which I actually read through. Best of all, my BIB was a cool three-digit number which I loved.
Pre-race I had the usual pasta for dinner to fuel up myself with carbs and drank a Nuun electrolyte. Something I didn’t realise ahead of time and came as a pleasant surprise was that I could also have a normal breakfast. The Dubai Marathon starts early but not super early as in Singapore where many races would flag off in the ungodly 4-5am. The start time for the Dubai Marathon was a reasonable 6:30am which meant I had to leave the flat around 5am. However, the time zone difference with Singapore actually played to my favour as Singapore is four hours ahead and I was able to fall asleep nice and early in the evening, get enough rest, then wake up on my own at 4am Dubai time with sufficient time to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast before taking off for the main event.
As my running form wasn’t ideal and my persistent cough was worrying me, my race strategy was to start conservatively and to gradually increase pace as the race progressed. For the actual race, I brought with me a chia drink for before the flag-off, two packs of chews to take one every 5km and two Cliff bars for the 20km and 30km marks. I know most people choose to go for energy gels but my hands get too sweaty and I always struggle opening the gel while running. So, I simply go for chews and bars.
Dubai Marathon 2017
Waking up on race day and getting myself ready went as planned. Such a great feeling to leave apartment at five in the morning and knowing you will be running for 42km yet feeling you had a full-night of sleep and a proper breakfast! Never happened to me in Singapore.
Getting a taxi in Dubai apparently is not a problem even at 5am as there were a few ones readily available as soon as I went outside. I wasn’t sure this is going to be the case though, so I had ordered a Uber ride while still in the apartment. Getting a hooker in Dubai at 5am apparently is not a problem either as one came to me faster than the Uber driver managed to! And that was despite me being in full running gear with a big sports bags hanging on my shoulder. In any case, the Uber driver came quickly enough and I was off to the start point.
Twenty minutes later while already at the baggage drop-off area, I realised why my BIB number was so cool and why there was no mention of starting waves in the race guide. It also explained how come two people were able to handle the race pack collection. The baggage area was divided into just three sections for the different BIB numbers- up to 1,000, 1,000 – 2,000 and 2,000 – 3,000. So, despite the fact that Dubai Marathon advertises itself as having 30,000 competitors and the fact that world record holding athletes such as Kenenisa Bekele were participating in this year’s event, the actual marathon runners were fewer than 3,000 while the majority of the participants have signed up to the shorter 4km and 10km distances. With $250,000 going to each of the first place finishers, Dubai Marathon offers one of the biggest prize funds worldwide plus has the IAAF Gold class label, yet the marathon itself is actually fairly small. Which is actually nice- you get to participate in a “major” marathon, run with superstar runners yet enjoy the intimate feel of a small-scale run with all runners starting together.
In any case, race was about to be flagged off and everybody was lining up. While the flag-off appeared uneventful and in fact, I didn’t experience any of the usual light pushing between bodies and having to slow run for the first few hundred meters, there was in fact a newsworthy event. Bekele, the main favorite to win the marathon, who in pre-race TV interviews was promising to not just win the event but also break the current world record, had been inadvertently tripped and fell to the ground immediately after flag-off. He did get up a couple of seconds later but the fall seemed to have affected his running ability as he never caught up with the leading pack and eventually ended as a DNF shortly after the halfway mark. Not that catching up with the leading pack was an easy task. The pacemakers set out a blistering pace at the start and by the 15km mark, the leading group was going 40 seconds faster than the current world record!
Much further back and with much less drama, I started out running at a 6:10 pace staying comfortably in my easy zone. Following my negative split race strategy, I kept the pace for the first five km, then gradually moved to 6:00 pace for the next five, then 5:50 and finally reaching the 4hr marathon pace of 5:40 around the 15km mark. As my muscles were warming up, my pace was naturally increasing without me feeling that I was exerting an additional effort. Expectedly, a lot of runners passed me up in the first couple of km but I was disciplined enough to stay put. By now, I have started to quickly recognise the unmistakable signs of people running at unsustainable speeds- upper torso moving vigorously, big hand swings, the back leg going high… I wasn’t worried about people like that passing me up- with 40+ km to go there was still a lot of running to be done and I felt confident I would be catching them up soon enough.
There was also the usual mix of runners bringing some diversity and entertainment. A two meter tall man in a full-body Superman suit was perhaps the most noticeable runner among all as his huge red mantle was hard to miss. The guy must have had some true Superman powers since despite the tiny beer belly that was starting to show up, he was running fairly strong. Then there was the lone barefoot runner who would venture sideways every time he saw some grass to run on. There was also the group of runners from Georgia all of whom seemed 60+ yet eager to run. But by far the loudest and most disruptive of all the runners was an african guy who it would seem has decided to run some intervals zigzaging through the (naturally) slower running crowd while also screaming on top of his lungs something unintelligible presumably in his native language. Change from the usual is nice I guess but I was happy to pass the interval runner for good after he had sprinted past me three times only for me to pass him up once he would start walking.
Around the 3rd km, I noticed a lady running close to me and going at a pace similar to mine. I am not really the type of runner who would look for runners to run along with and pace each other but the two of us did seem to be on a similar pacing strategy, so we stayed in proximity. As the km were piling up, both of us were gradually increasing the pace and started catching and passing more and more people. Around the 10th km mark, we became a trio as some guy started running along as well. The three of us kept going for quite a while. By this point, nobody was passing us anymore instead we were catching more and more runners. In fact, as we neared the 5:40 pace, we started passing whole batches of people. My legs continued to feel good and as I kept increasing my pace, I eventually lost my new running-mates around the 17th km.
Regular water stations were located every five km, however, there would also be smaller water stations halfway between the regular ones. In contrast to the cups of water they give you in Singapore, in Dubai we had bottles of water which while probably not the most environmentally-friendly way to go about things, I found much better. You can grab a bottle of water and continue running without the risk of water spilling up. Also, a bottle holds more water than a paper cup which is especially useful for me as I often times would stop at a station and drink 3-4 cups of water in a quick succession. The water stations also offered sponges which many people took advantage of. Gels were occasionally on the offer as well but since I brought my own nutrition, I never took any. Along the way and especially in the second half of the course, many ordinary people would line along the road to cheer and offer extra nutrition. I saw slices of orange, watermelon, chocolate, gummy bears, etc to energize the runners. I must have been really focused on my running at that stage because I passed on the guy offering pieces of chocolate without taking any.
All in all, my race was going quite smoothly with both legs feeling fresh and my HR staying comfortably in zone 2. Then out of the blue, a disaster struck around the 24th km. My cough was suddenly back and I kept on coughing and coughing while continuing to run. I must have been a strange sight from the outside- running at around 5:35 pace I was visibly faster than the runners around me yet my cough sounded like the cough of an old man who has smoked for decades. For about half a km, I kept on coughing and running and wondering how can I keep going if I cough for 18 more kilometres. Then, as suddenly as it had appeared the cough was gone. Not sure what it was but I was just happy that my cough reappeared only well after I had finished the marathon. That episode reminded me of something the famous ultra-marathoner of the recent past- Scott Jurek was describing in his Eat & Run book. In the book, Jurek was saying that one gets baptized as an ultra-marathoner when their body starts vomiting while they just keep on running. I have always thought not stopping when your body is clearly sick is too much and I still think this way but if there was a tough it out moment for me during the race, it was definitely the coughing episode.
Coughing aside, my race was going smooth and I kept on catching and passing a ton of runners. I even passed Superman around the 26th km mark as he seemed to be struggling and was breathing heavily. Not easy to carry the Superman mantle, I guess. I thought I would say something funny as I pass the superhero but just in the 2-3 minutes while I was catching up to him, already two people shout out fun comments at his expense, so I thought I would give the guy a break, pass him quietly and stay merry on my way.
The 30 and 35 km marks came and went with no signs of hitting the wall. My HR was now mostly in the high zone 3/low zone 4 with my pace starting to approach 5:20. It was a bright and sunny day in Dubai but it didn’t feel hot and it certainly wasn’t nearly as humid as in Singapore. A lot of people were struggling to maintain their stride though. I even saw somebody being carted off by a medical team around the 30th km. Mostly flat, the only uphill on the Dubai Marathon is a small bridge on the 21st km that you have to pass again on the way back around the 33rd km. Nothing nearly as bad as the dreaded Sheares bridge in Singapore Marathon- the bridge in Dubai is more like half the size of Marina Barrage climb. It is an uphill nonetheless and at the 33rd mark most people were walking it.
At the 39km my legs finally started to show signs of wearing. Not a pain I couldn’t tolerate for a couple more kilometers and I didn’t slow down my pace but running was no longer a breeze. I was still catching up and passing many runners. In fact, since the 10km mark, I don’t think I was passed by anybody. This is where a slow start pacing strategy really pays off for me at least. Going strong in the later stages of an endurance event, gives me an additional boost of energy and confidence to keep going a tiny bit more. So, I took an extra chew along with my regular one a bit before the 40th km and the finish came soon enough. While it was a bit disappointing to make the final corner and see that I have missed the 4hr mark by a bit, overall I was very happy by how well the whole race went. And luckily I had enough energy in reserve and not too many runners around me to do a final sprint for a nice finish photo too.
Immediately after the finish, I was handed the finisher’s medal with the usual bananas and drinks available shortly after. However, it seems like Dubai Marathon is not giving away finisher t-shirts which a was a bit surprised about.
How many ways do you know of that one chicken can be cooked? At least four right? Fried, boiled, steamed, broiled, you name it. And within each category, we know that there are a few more subcategories that further determine whether your dish will taste that little bit more different if you stir-fry it or pan fry it. See what I mean?
One chicken, many ways
Continuing from my point above, especially in food-crazy Singapore, it is common to hear and read about how various cooking styles can make one chicken taste totally different. Some more celebrated chefs have even gone as far as to use one bird to create a few different dishes with different cooking methods to illustrate that it does make all a world of distinction taste-wise.
How about health-wise?
Which brings me to my main question. Does cooking your food in certain styles mean that it is healthier or better for you? I guess the answer to this is almost definitely a yes.
The most direct of an example would be the comparison between deep-fried chicken and pan-fried chicken. Both end up crispy and delicious but because the pan-fried version used much lesser oil and probably not as much batter, you get a slightly healthier version of a crunchy piece of meat. Of course some of you may argue that there is no way anyone can compare a piece of deep-fried chicken to one that was cooked otherwise but hey, you have to admit that I speak the truth to a certain extent.
And well, this is how many nutritionists and health buffs will look at it too!
What about the flavouring? Wouldn’t that be the same regardless of cooking method?
But seasoning and flavouring play a big part in the food being “the healthier choice” too. Even though opting for the steamed fish is better for you, the amount of salt and oil used should also be controlled. It has to be understood that while choosing to have deep-fried fish with loads of seasoning is not recommended as part of your nutritious diet, having a steamed version with loads of artificial flavouring isn’t that fantastic either, even though yes, you can always argue that you are still having it steamed. Still, not that healthy too my friend!
So are we limited to the likes of just steaming and baking our food with less seasoning? Wouldn’t that be flavourless?
The thing is though, as much as we should all try to keep to the healthier cooking methods like steaming, baking, broiling and even light pan-frying, we can occasionally delight our tastebuds with a little of the deep-fried or calorie laden guilty pleasures. Otherwise, it will be a bland, sad life we live.
Oh yes, and remember to exercise to keep those nasty calories to a minimum!
The Performance Series is coming to Malaysia. The TPS tagline has always been #TranscendYourself. This concept is based on a never-ending journey to constantly improve yourself – physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. It brings you to new heights, and this year, TPS also brings you to new places to #TranscendYourself.
Penang is the food haven of Malaysia and is a serious contender for ‘best street food in Asia’ title. Penang is home to many great delicacies. We can’t decide what’s best – the Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow, or the one by this old uncle along Jalan Siam. Or is it the Penang Road Asam Laksa, or the One Corner Cafe Prawn Noodles. The Pulau Tikus wantan noodles is also outstanding. Then again there is Tek Sen restaurant that serves brilliant home-cook dishes.
Photo Credits: Penang.ws
But Penang is not just all about the food. There are a couple of places worth visiting. Try running up the Penang hill for instance (perhaps a good idea after all the food). The views from up there will be rewarding. Or visit the biggest Buddhist temple in Malaysia – Kek Lok Si. The temple faces the sea and commands an impressive view. You could also go running or hiking in the Penang National Park which will show you a different side of Penang.
Explore, discover and #TranscendYourself with The Performance Series in Penang on the 9th July 2017.
Photo Credits: Sarawak Tourism
Kuching is the City of Culture. Being on the other side of Malaysia, there are alot of cultural differences that are reflected in their architecture, traditions and also food. In Kuching, people go to Jalan Song (for the food – now you know where to hunt for your Sarawak Laksa and Sarawak Kolo Mee), Kuching Friendship Park (for dating), the Waterfront area (for the culture), cultural village (for the culture), Damai Beach (for the beach), Santubong (for hiking), and the various national parks – Bako National Park for instance (for the flora and fauna).
Explore, discover and #TranscendYourself with The Performance Series in Kuching on the 3rd September 2017.
Explore Kuala Lumpur
Photo Credits: KL.spe
The Garden City of Lights will not fail to impress you. Bargain your way for a steal at the Petaling Street market. While you are at it, be reminded that the food at Petaling Street is one that has been around for many generations. The Bunn Choon egg tarts for instance have been around since 1893 and are the best egg tarts in town. Just an hour drive away from the heart of KL, make a short trip up the breezy cooling refreshing Genting Highlands. There’s a playground for kids and adults. The theme park is sure to keep the children busy, and the casino to occupy the adults.
Explore, discover and #TranscendYourself with The Performance Series in KL on the 19th November 2017.
Watch TPS 2016 in Review
It’s time to explore and discover new places while on your #TranscendYourself journey.
Thomas Fong, a 35-year-old charming guy known by his circle of friends and colleagues as a shy chap who enjoys running.
When his long time badminton buddy, Christine Chong, invited the dude to join her and her colleagues in the Straits Times Run At The Hub on 28 Sep 14, he agreed without hesitation.
“It was my first race and I was looking forward to run on the track of the new Hub. But for some reasons, I couldn’t keep my eyes off one of Christine’s colleagues at the race.
“It was very difficult to pretend to be cool yet at the same time, the little deer running amok inside,” the account manager conceded with a laugh.
He knew instantly that he found love at first sight.
But it took him another 5 months to find out her name, Evelyn Gueh, from Christine when they took part in another race, the Brooks Marina Run 2015 held on 14 Feb.
“The race happened to coincide on Valentine’s Day and I was determined to get to know Evelyn personally,” the account manager relished on the plan that he hatched.
This time, he took courage to solicit his badminton buddy’s help by forwarding a picture of Evelyn’s name that was drawn on his arm prior to race to test out Evelyn’s reaction.
Like a good romance story unfolding its chapters, his creative tactic won the girl’s admiration, and soon, they were dating each other.
“Thomas being an analytical person has his strength in planning. I supposed that is why he likes running because one needs to have a structured game plan to perform well in a race,” Evelyn giggled while prodding Thomas in the ribs.
“Anyway, when I am with him, I know that I am in good hands. Besides, he is really sweet.”
The couple spent most of their weekends taking part in races with friends followed by a meal or movie.
“One of the best ways to tell a person’s character is by signing up races together and get to know his circle of friends to see if things add up.” the 32-year-old project executive explained.
With their relationship going strong, Thomas decided to up his game plan during last December.
The Wedding Proposal
“Evelyn was expecting a lavish staycation over the long weekend that took me 3 months to plan before Christmas.” said Thomas.
So when he surprised her with specially arranged flowers, balloons, pictures and a diamond ring with the cliché “Will you marry me?” on his on knee, like they said, the rest was history.
Come 6 May, the arc will come full circle when the couple celebrates their affinity in the inaugural Star Wars Run in Singapore, dubbed as the coolest run in Singapore, before their ROM on the following day.
“I want to make this race special and unforgettable for the two of us because we met each other in a race and that day happens to be Thomas’ birthday!” said the bride-to-be excitedly.
Sharing the same passion, the couple hopes to run as long as they can.
But for now, they are looking forward to their ROM as they await eagerly to receive the key to their new flat in 2018.
TEST OF WILL returns for a second edition to determine the Philippine representatives to Southeast Asia’s biggest fitness challenge presented by Under Armour. The fittest Filipinos are expected to slug it out on March 25 and 26, 2017 at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City in a series of physical challenges that will reward the top performers with tickets to the grand finals in Kuala Lumpur on May 6.
Among the challenges awaiting the participants include TRX rows, sandbag toss, one-arm thrusts and a burpee station. All of these must be completed within the prescribed time limit in order to advance further.
Only the top male and top female athlete will get to make the trip to Kuala Lumpur. They will then take on other challengers from Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and host Malaysia for the grand cash prize of USD 2,500.00 and Under Armour merchandise.
Last year, the Philippines did very well in the inaugural Test of Will with female entries Zoe Pond-McPherson and Noelle Wenceslao completing a 1-2 podium finish. Derrick Mercado and Merwin Torres were the country’s male entries.
I’m going places, not as in places places, but literally I’m going places. To the land of Dim Sum! 😍 This is my first race in Hong Kong, my second overseas race, my third marathon, running a distance of 42.195km, my third time in Hong Kong and it’s my fourth Standard Chartered Marathon race.
Tried balloting for the race slot but could not get the slot and was quite disappointed but however I won the race slot through a Facebook contest! At first I only know that there is Standard Chartered Marathon in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Hong Kong but there were more! Such as in Dubai, Mumbai and some other country in the Pacific Region 😍 People attempt the 7 majors maybe I can attempt the “Standard Chartered major”, attempting the Standard Chartered marathons over the world? 😆 Hurhurhur! But running a marathon is really not easy 😂
At first I was thinking to register for half marathon or full marathon? Half marathon also tough run till so shag but no medal? How can? A medal slave like me is very sad thinking that there will be no medal, but full marathon got chance to get a medal, but the cut-off-time is just 6 hours 😱 My first marathon in Standard Chartered 2015 I did 5 hours 50 mins, Sundown Marathon 2016 I did 6 hours 10 minutes so it’s very risky for me 😖 Either I run the half marathon no medal or run the full marathon to “gamble” for the medal or up the sweeper bus so I decided to take the “gamble” and aim for the medal! 😆
This is not an advert for Singapore Airlines 😂 but seriously I really enjoyed the flight, the seat is really comfortable! Too long never sit SQ already, like a shiok 😆 So, on Friday, 2 days before race day I traveled to Hong Kong via Singapore Airlines in the morning, enjoyed the inflight entertainment system by watching Suicide Squad and a few episodes of 2 Broke Girls while covering myself in the comfortable blanket and pillow, sipping Red Wine, Martell VSOP and some cocktail 😆 Seriously we watched to try more but it will be a long day after we touch down at Hong Kong so I better take care of myself and control.
After touch down, went directly to collect race entry pack and luckily there is no queue at all as mostly the local runners collected their race pack the previous weekend. There is a major problem with the T-shirt size to many runners, that many of their local runners complained that they were “forcefully” given a bigger size T-shirt but maybe we are overseas runners so my T-shirt size no problem and I don’t really care about T-shirt because I prefer singlet.
After collecting racepack, went to Victoria Peak and the Ladies Street in Mong Kok. But I decided to go for a run, it was 11 degrees and 11.45pm.
Though I’ve been to Hong Kong twice, many years ago but it’s still a unfamiliar place. But I felt that Hong Kong is a safe place so I did a 5.88km run, exploring Hong Kong at the same time. It’s cold, but maybe legs is all fats so my legs don’t feel cold but my upper body is cold 😂
The next day was a trip of temples visiting. Went to three temples to pray, then I realised I had prayed for many things, but forgot to pray about anything related to running such as getting a PB, weather will be good, or will not get tired etc. I love to run but maybe there is more things than running. When I return to the hotel at the end of the night, I was seriously cursing myself that it was a bad idea to climb up the slopes in the last temple 😭
See the slope! (Photo Credits: How Han) My thighs were aching! After walking about 20km, I can feel the tiredness in both my legs how am I going to do the 42km tomorrow?
On race day I arrived at the venue, its 13 degrees. I was wearing hand gloves and a jacket but put them into bag deposit because it will be wasteful to throw it away once flag off. There’s water stations and baggage deposit is fast, no queue at all as we were given a draw string bag with a tag during the racepack collection so we just deposit anything we want in it. And the 13 degrees is still tahanable. Many runners were in those disposable rain coats and trash bags to keep warm, the big black trash bags where they cut two holes at the side for the hands and one at top for the head, good idea 😆 But I almost tripped on it 😅
After 3km from start, many guy runners just find the side of the road to pee. Very usual scene for marathons. Reminds me of Grey’s Anatomy where by a group of passionate Doctors who needs to for surgery for hours wear diapers so when they do surgery so they don’t need to go toilet 😂 Many runners were in interesting costumes such as a guy was wearing ninja costume, which I see him since the beginning of the run till the end of the run, waving a plastic samurai costume. Hard core sia 😆
The route is very scenic, we passed by tunnels and bridges but the slopes is really a killer. I really like the run, I didn’t listen to music, I didn’t stop and take photos, its like living and enjoying the moment. There were many upslopes, but it also means downslopes. Though I didn’t really do much long distance running but I really must thank the recent sloppy runs I had in Macritchie Reservoir and Peirce Reservoir. Or is it because my legs were already sore from all the climbing and walking from the previous day that I don’t feel my legs is failing me? I was quite amaze that at 21km I get my half marathon PB, 2hrs14minutes! At 32km, I did a PB too, agak about at least 30 minutes faster than my Newton Challenge timing.
Amazingly, I have not start any walking at all yet, only for a few seconds at water points. I know I’m safe, even if I start walking for the rest of the distance I won’t also be sent up to take the sweeper bus. But I’m still feeling quite strong, not very tired so I continued running. I don’t know where do I have the strength to run all these crazy slopes. Total is 900m of elevation, I don’t know what does it mean exactly but I take it as total vertical up I climbed 900m! I thought I have not done enough training but I did well for this run compared to many of my previous races long distance races. Maybe because I have a very minimal expectation for this run that is not to get “sweep”, so I have no stress and did much better than many of my races. I did really poorly for both my half marathons at GEWR and SCMS, I was hoping for PB, ends up both I feel stomach cramps, this and that, finishing in about 3 hours for both runs when I aimed for 2 hrs 20 minutes.
I must say the water points is really good! Every water point is spaced out, it streches to about 100m at least. I think there’s also banana and isotonic and distilled water at every hydration points. I don’t take gels so I didnt take any notice at all. But there is chocolates! The last few km I was enjoying the chocolates so happily and running, it’s Super Shiok and kept me occupied and it’s a good distraction so I won’t keep counting down the distance.
I was going strong and running at constant pace till 36km, I slowed down and started walking. Maybe it’s the mentality that is failing me. I start to feel something weird in my left knee. But I’m a lucky girl because other than sometimes when I run I will trip and fall and hurt myself, I don’t have any injuries like leg pain or anywhere pain. It may just be the lack of long distance run that is causing the feel on my knee. My last longest distance run after last year Sundown Marathon 2016 is Newton Run, running 32km, then a few weeks before I try to run a 30km. That’s all, I’m not hardcore enough to always run long distance.
The medal is so beautiful. I thought I’m going to cry, now I wonder is it the medal that I came for? Or was it simply for the food or I just need a break from Singapore? I was just teary and touched that I did a PB and I’m about 1 hour 30 minutes faster than my Sundown marathon timing a few months back! Unofficial timing is 4 hours 42 minutes! I’m a sub 5 marathoner now! 😱 I must really thank my friends. Was thinking about them during the run. They were always so encouraging, motivating and inspiring me all this time.
Then I was saying about the temple visitings that causes the soreness of my legs, that I was worried for the run but I was told that it may be the temple visitings that I’m blessed a PB 😆
Now it’s one day after race, my leg is ok! I feel great and I don’t waddle like a penguin 😊 Heading for some sight seeing and returning home 😊
February is the month of love and as commercialised as the day may be, many couples are going gaga over the gifts they need to get their other halves and/or the fancy dinners to bring them to.
And we all know how difficult it can be to buy gifts for anyone, more so if they are someone close to you like your girlfriend or wife. While there are loads of stuff to get a woman on this special day of the year, you also need to understand the type of person she is to get her the right present.
So what if your girlfriend/wife is sporty? What kind of gifts will go down well with her? Here are some options for you to consider that will combine sportiness with style.
1. Printed leggings
Every girl needs a pair of pretty sports leggings for her yoga class or even a run. The thing you need to know about women is that we need to look good even when we exercise so a nice pair of sports leggings are perfect. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about size because leggings are technically free sized!
2. Gym bags
It may sound like a gift that wasn’t thought over but think about it (excuse the oxymoron). Getting her a nice, funky gym bag will allow her to carry her sports equipment around in style (which girl doesn’t dig that?), and besides her gym stuff, she can also choose to use it for travelling or carrying her daily necessities around. Genius!
3. Cordless earphones
These are a Godsend for most sports buffs because what’s better than being able to work out without worrying about getting entangled in your earphone cords? A pretty pair will not set you back a lot but will definitely keep your sporty ladylove in a good mood.
4. A pedometer
If your girlfriend/wife is someone who believes in attaining 10,000 steps a day to get the right amount of exercise, then this will be perfect for her. Make sure you get her one that is waterproof too because the cheaper models are usually not.
Only do this if you know her shoe size and the colour she likes! If you feel confident enough to pull this off, she will love you dearly because for one, a good pair of sports sneakers don’t come cheap and two, if they are pretty, you are good. Every sports person needs a good pair of sneakers to get by and even though she may already have a couple, a girl can never have enough shoes.