Vietnam Jungle Marathon 2018

Xin Chao! It's evening here in Singapore and my mum, aunties and me had arrived in Singapore after visiting and having fun in Vietnam. I've settled down at home, and I'm excited to write so here I am, typing away. 

Alright, Vietnam Jungle Marathon (VJM) is the little brother of the Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM) held in Sapa. They are both organised by Topas travel. VJM is very new, and only in it's second year. VJM 2018, the second edition, was held in Pu Luong Nature Reserve near Mai Chau in Northern Vietnam.

 Beep beep bib! My auntie and mum struck a little 4D lottery consolation prize with this number 9832 for their expenses in Vietnam. Haha. Lucky lucky!

Beep beep bib! My auntie and mum struck a little 4D lottery consolation prize with this number 9832 for their expenses in Vietnam. Haha. Lucky lucky!

After arriving on the 12th, I stayed overnight at Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel. Old Quarter was an overwhelming place, with many activities going on. After searching awhile for a silver necklace (which I eventually found shops selling it, but I didn't buy it), I decided to just walk without following the map and eventually passed by Dong Xuan market, and ended up at Hoan Kiem lake. The lake was a popular place for the local people to gather for activities, which is similar to Nguyen Hue street in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). At the Old Quarter, I've had the best chicken pho soup in Hanoi. 

 I took an early rest for the night.

After a breakfast of banana pancake which I missed so much (from Ninh Binh family homestay), I packed, and went to the meet-up point by Grab motorbike.

And hello Vietnam coffee <3!

 H-A-P-P-Y! With my, 你有沒有錢 expression.

H-A-P-P-Y! With my, 你有沒有錢 expression.

Arrived at Sumvilla, the venue for racepack collection. The VJM green band which can be seen on my right wrist in the my pictures were new to me. It was the ticket for us for the buses and buffet. The plastic lock on the green band was fascinating and I played with it until it got too tight towards the end of the trip. It can be tightened, but not loosened.

 Sumvilla, the venue for race pack collection.

Sumvilla, the venue for race pack collection.

I registered, and eventually met a nice Malaysian couple whom we help each other with photos. I sat with a Vietnamese lady who was going for 42KM, and a US lady based in Hanoi during the 4.5H ride from Hanoi to Pu Luong. It was nice company, though a bumpy and nauseous ride. We were dispersed upon reaching Pu Luong village to go to our assigned houses. My house was 31, just next to the finishing line. 

I was one of the earliest, and I picked a sleeping spot next to the window, near to the door. The houses seemed to be of the locals, which was prepared to host us for the event. We had a bed, a pillow, a blanket and a mosquito net for 2 nights. I was curious of men entering our sleeping area and asked a lady Linh (who picked a spot opposite of mine) about this and she explained that he may be the owner of the house. Ok, then that make sense for him checking out his house to ensure that the amenities are working. The house was probably a hand made one. Gaps on the flooring allowed me to see through to level one. It was interesting and fun.

Alright, after checking in, dinner and a briefing followed. You can dine in the dark free when there's a blackout. You don't have to pay for dining in the dark in Singapore. Haha.

 Dinnertime! With occasions of dining in the dark.

Dinnertime! With occasions of dining in the dark.

I had calming dinner and an early rest.

We were picked up at 6am by a minibus to go to another village which was our start point. The ride was slow, fast and furious. We eventually reached 15 minutes before flag-off.

 Alright, let's go!

Alright, let's go!

What I remembered about the trails for the 25KM, +1190m cumulative elevation route: I remembered roads, rice paddy villages, uphill climb (crazy), view point (stunning), rice fields (pretty), uphill climb (less crazy), wide roads (relieved), rice fields (relieved and enjoyable), and finishing line (home). 

I've met nice runners whom I shared conversations with, a fellow runner who was kind to share 1 of his pair of trekking poles with me. I accepted the offer when downhill and offered to return before the view point. The trekking pole is with me in Singapore- which means, I did not managed to return the trekking pole. It was a nice gesture, and I appreciate it. The trekking pole had kept my hands busy, engaged my thinking during the journey to judge where should I sink the pole to, and had helped me in coordinating my pace. I've joined the unofficial 'rest group' people who frequently found nice shade places to rest along the trails.

vietnam-jungle-marathon.jpg

I was happy, tired, and relieved.

The finishing line was overwhelming in a pleasant way. There were spectators welcoming the runners back to the village. I headed up to my spot to rest, elevate my legs before settling down to take pictures. I had a little bruise on my left shin and that's about it. I was injury free.

At night when the 42KM and 70KM runners return and during the prize presentation, I looked out of my house in return for the support. Our house on the race day had a celebratory atmosphere which extended till night time when the sweepers of the event came back in the dark and rainy weather. After dinner, it was a blissful sleep. Of course it was.

During the trip back to Hanoi, it rained. It rained in the evening of the race day and continued till the next day. We stopped by a rest station and I enjoyed a delicious bowl of beef instant noodles soup which was so comforting in the cold, rainy day. I discovered a lovely dessert Sua Chua Nep Cam (pulau hitam plus yoghurt) which was perfect for digestion.

Linh and I eventually did a half day tour of Hanoi together. We tried the Cha Ca at Cha Ca Thang Long restaurant. The fish taste like a *Song fish seasoned with tumeric spices. I'm a Teochew and I like to have fish for food! Cha Ca was a nice addition to my palate! (*Song fish is a type of fish used for steamboat in Singapore which my parents loved and ordered occasionally when we were younger but eventually chose the Pomfret because it's children friendly because of less bones).

We shopped together for souvenirs, had fruits along the way, and settled down at a roadside store to have dessert together before sharing a Grab to the airport.

Linh headed back to Saigon, and me to Da Nang by Vietnam Airlines to meet up with my mum and aunties to start another adventure together. Flying with Vietnam Airlines was a pleasant experience. I like the light blue/turquoise traditional Vietnamese dress- Ao Dai, on the female staffs. It was pretty. This national airline of Vietnam provided good service.

Trail experience and views were soul food. 

 Stunning viewpoint, Vietnam Jungle Marathon 2018.

Stunning viewpoint, Vietnam Jungle Marathon 2018.

 A nice photo by the official photographer Sam. This dedicated photographer was testing his flash into the night below our house, beside the finishing line. Here's me demonstrating a trail walk. Haha.

A nice photo by the official photographer Sam. This dedicated photographer was testing his flash into the night below our house, beside the finishing line. Here's me demonstrating a trail walk. Haha.

Alright I've spent some time typing and uploading pictures, I'm hungry and tired so I'm going to have dinner and rest now!


Spartan Sprint Singapore (Sentosa) 2018

24th March

Spartan Race Sprint Singapore was held on a Saturday at Palawan Green, Sentosa. This is my 1st Spartan race of 2018. After Spartan Race in 2015, my obstacle course races had been overseas. It was a hefty registration fee to commit, but my commitment to my goal was stronger so I made a decision, and went with it.

It was a 12.15PM race. The weather was scorching hot. Sentosa on a Saturday afternoon was crowded. The venue was approximately 3 minutes walk from the Beach station and was easy to locate. I swiftly entered the queue for bag deposit, ate my brunch, and got ready at the starting line. Swift, yes swift. We were flagged off at 12.30pm.

The first 500m was on the road beside the beach (to Siloso beach direction). The road was cordoned off properly, and it was a pleasant stretch for warm-up. The road then led to a beach. So running on the beach. That sounds fun I thought. Just that it wasn't as much fun as I thought.

It doesn’t take science to figure out that running on sand is more challenging than running on pavement. Just ask anyone who’s ever been on sand. But science can tell us just how much more challenging it truly is. In 1998, three researchers in Belgium published “Mechanics and energetics of human locomotion on sand,” and their conclusions on beach-related exercise was intriguing: running on the sand takes 1.6 times more energy than running on a hard surface, mainly because: 
— The mechanical work required to get through the sand.
— The inefficiency of the work done by tendons and muscles due to the sand’s unpredictable surface.
-http://running.competitor.com

The last obstacle on the beach was the Rope Climb which I love. Read more about the Rope Climb technique here. I volunteered and authored this article when I was working with a running company.

After climbing up the 11-storey tower which was part of the Fort Siloso skywalk, I'm pretty much warmed up. Though painful, it's a nice plan to include this in the route. I'd have planned this too if I were the organiser. 

For the Olympus and Spear Throw. Almost, almost there! I insist, insist on approaching the obstacle with proper technique and form. Otherwise, burpee, is legit (Ahhh, I hear this very frequently when I work with students. This should be in legit in this context?) Legitaception.

Alright, I paid 60 burpee altogether.

4 obstacles (A frame cargo, Slip wall, Multi-Rig, and Hercules Hoist) were closed due to the rain and lightning risk. Together with 2 other Spartans, we went on the Slip wall after accessing the risk. Towards the finishing line, I was looking for the Fire Jump. This was always the last obstacle of the Spartan Race. Initially thinking that it was removed due to the rain, it was not after asking the cameraman. It was not there in the 1st place. The Fire Jump was not included in this race. That made me sad because I enjoyed jumping and also because of the reason that the Fire Jump was perhaps the most iconic obstacle of the Spartan Race.Even my mum (Chinese speaking) referenced this event as 跳火。Mum: 跳火怎樣?Me: 沒有火。哈哈。

This route led me to places that I've never been before in Sentosa, invited a new unplanned experience- of running in the rain. Being a participant gave me the green light to continue running unless there were safety issues. Running in the rain was so fun! The rained cooled down my body from the scorching hot weather and I had a few fast run intervals in the rain.

Alright, so I collected my medal and and T-shirt (good fit, consistent with the standards from 2015), took pictures, grabbed my bags and search for the washroom to wash up. No Karcher shower area to be found (Okay, wait. They were the sponsors only for Malaysia races). The way was the public way. With the membership card (birthday present from my sister Sarah) that I've transferred from another wallet, I took the tram to Imbiah station, and walked to Adventure Cove. I bathed, and chilled. Now warm, fuzzy and dry after post-workout on a rainy day constitutes to a... Great day!

spartan-medal.jpg

1st Spartan Race, Obstacle Course Race completed in 2018!

Stella's Quote: Once you overcame (obstacle), you'll be empowered. You can now approach (obstacle) with confidence. It's like 'I know I've did it, and I can definitely do it again'. 


Tabata Workout 2018

In this first fitness post of 2018, I'm going to introduce to you (my readers), the Tabata workout.

I was first introduced to Tabata workout by my younger brother Issac when we were doing an evening run on the tracks of Punggol Waterway. We completed our evening workout with 2 sets of Tabata, and I came to like it. The Tabata workout as it is a form of high intensity-interval training (HIIT),  simple to remember, convenient, and fun. No equipment is needed.

HIIT requires you to give your 100% through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short, active recovery periods. This type of training gets your heart rate up, and burn more fats in a shorter time.

Today, I was planning for a workout in the gym when it rained. I remembered the workout, and took it as a great alternative to the gym. 

The Tabata workout is suitable for anyone in good health condition.

You'll require:
1) A minimal space (2m X 2m) at home/ in office/ beach/ anywhere that is safe
2) A stopwatch (Stopwatch function on a watch or handphone will prevail)
3) A determination to start going

1 Set of Tabata Workout consist of:
1) 30 seconds of High Knees, followed by 30 seconds of Rest
2) 30 seconds of Squats, followed by 30 seconds of Rest
3) 30 seconds of Mountain Climbers, followed by 30 seconds of Rest
4) 30 seconds of Planks, followed by 30 seconds of Rest.
Total time required 4 minutes per set.

After 4 minutes of Tabata workout, you'll have completed 4 varying exercises which trains your:
1) Cardio (aerobic) fitness
2) Quadriceps
3) Gluteals
4) Biceps
5) Abdominals

The intensity of the exercises will depend on the athlete attempting the Tabata workout. The only guideline is to stick by the 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds rest per exercise. 

If you're looking to work on your fitness, try out the Tabata workout today!

Stella.


Spartan Race Beast Malaysia (Johor) 2017

9th December

 With my brother Issac.

With my brother Issac.

Spartan Race Beast was 2 weeks after Xterra Nan Trail Run. I signed up for the Sprint, and changed to Beast on race day as I felt rested. I felt ready, and I want to complete my Trifecta, so I've decided to change to the Beast category. We were attended to by nice onsite staffs. Since Spartan Race had combined the Singapore's and Malaysia's event, my brother Issac, who had signed up for the Spartan Race Singapore Trifecta, had to cross the causeway to Johor to attend the event. Our flag off was close to the last wave and only had 4 racers. We huddled together with 2 more racers to recite the Spartan code before we were flagged off. The start of the race was an uphill climb.

The weather was cooling for the entire duration of the race. The skies were grey and at certain time it looked like it was going to rain. Though there was no strong sun, we got a little sunburned.

I love the wide trails, and the distribution of the obstacles. The Bucket Carry up and down the hills was O.O. The Tylorean Traverse distance seemed and felt longer. The Hercules Hoist was still heavy, but much more manageable from the previous Spartan Super at Putrajaya.

This race ain't muddy. The dips in muddy water (River Crossing, Dunk Wall and Swim) was towards the end of the race, and ain't muddy. 

 It's a Yay!

It's a Yay!

 1 2015 medal + 2 2016 medal. The wedges can still be pieced up to an unofficial Trifecta.

1 2015 medal + 2 2016 medal. The wedges can still be pieced up to an unofficial Trifecta.

 Trifecta of 2017. They are pretty.

Trifecta of 2017. They are pretty.

They represent Camaraderie, Endurance, and Perseverance in my own words.

My 6th Spartan Race, 1st Trifecta (2017) for Issac and myself.

I feel glad to my brother's company and support throughout this race. We had fun. Aroo!


Xterra Nan Trail Run, Thailand 2017

25 November

Introduction
Nan is located in the north of Thailand, near to the borders between Thailand and Laos. It was a 10H, 662KM bus ride from Bangkok's Makkasan station (meeting point) to Impress Nan Hotel (designated accommodation). 

Online Information and Support
The thoughtful, prompt, and detailed response from the online support team gave me great confidence to fly over to Bangkok and travel to Nan with my mum to participate in the run. I've enjoyed the pre-race online support.

Safety

 Safety briefing at 6.45am.

Safety briefing at 6.45am.

The 6.45am safety briefing was brief and clear, and was delivered in both Thai and English language. I like the idea of a mandatory verbal briefing. This safety briefing reminded me of the safety briefing that I had to give as a Sports Officer (when I had served with the Singapore Armed Forces), before the commencement of physical fitness training, physical fitness test, and any kind of organised sports. Though mundane and repetitive, the safety briefing gave participating members a last call to sound out if they are unwell. This practice is particularly timely when the brief is given just before the start, when the information is fresh and relevant. With this experience in mind, I appreciated the 6.45am safety briefing.

There were 3 signs to see along the routes: 
1) Orange strip (Official route)
2) Arrows (Right direction)
3) X (Wrong route)

The route markers were clearly demarcated. There were sufficient bright orange strips and arrows to guide us on the correct trail, and X signs were clearly indicated for a wrong trail.

Route marshals were positioned at the route splits for different distances to ensure that we were on the respective routes. The medical team on scrambler bikes and ATV vehicles were alert and present. They frequently asked if I was okay. With these considerations in place, I felt safe.

 Route splits.

Route splits.

The final reading on my Fitbit Ionic was 27.7KM. I felt a little worried when my watch read 26.5KM as I was afraid that I might be on the wrong route. In good faith that I will meet a road marshall/medical personnel soon, I eventually did when I saw a photographer. I smiled for a picture, asked for directions, played with and picked up the cat who was with him. I got the information that I was on the right track, and approximately 10 minutes to the finishing line. I felt relieved after that. This encounter gave me a boost for my last 1.2KM as I felt fuzzy and happy from an oxytoxin surge from looking and playing with the cat.

Security
A small corner for bag deposit. Bags were arranged according the colour allocated to the distance. It was no queue and hassle at all for both the bag deposit and bag collection.

Route

 Route Map.

Route Map.

The 26.5KM category started at 7.05am sharp, after a safety briefing at 6.45am. The weather was cooling in the morning, and turned warm approaching noon. The route was beautiful. The first stretch was alongside the meandering Nan river. I had an arduous climb right from the start of the run. Up and down slopes were aplenty, with the highest altitude at 430M. Running along the village, I've met curious and nice villagers who often waved. I ran on rubber plantations, and saw many beautiful butterflies along the route.

I brought my hand phone with me for 2 reasons. 1) To take pictures of the scenic routes, and 2) To record voice messages to send to my family and friends.

*I hope you enjoy the beautiful sights of the Nan trail route from the gallery attached with this post.

Water Points

 Waterpoint 4.

Waterpoint 4.

Water, isotonic drinks, fruits (banana and watermelon), biscuits, dried raisins and energy gels offered. I tried one in cola, and one in lychee flavour. Cola drinks were offered too. I felt this option was great for Coca Cola lovers for an extra boost of morale.

Design Elements

 Thoughtful design.

Thoughtful design.

The terrain graph was printed on the bib in upside down style. I feel that this bib design was thoughtful. This had helped me tremendously in my planning and motivation. I like the overall design of this event. The route, the spacious event site, photo booths, T-shirt and medal design were great.

 Medal design against the backdrop of a well maintained pool by a dedicated pool staff.

Medal design against the backdrop of a well maintained pool by a dedicated pool staff.

Photographers
Top photography.

 Photo credit:&nbsp;ชีวิตม๋าน้อยกลางป่า on FB.

Photo credit: ชีวิตม๋าน้อยกลางป่า on FB.

Attractions in Nan
Nan has a famous temple named Wat Phumin, with the 'Whispering Lovers' as the most famous of the murals. The mural walls, with elements of yellow and red, glowed warmly under the interior light. 'It is the only temple which was built as if it were on the back of two immense Nagas' -Wikipedia. The night market was formed on the road beside Wat Phumin. There was a carnival when we were there and the whole street was bustling and lively. 

 Nan night market.

Nan night market.

Feelings

 When I was looking for the finishing line.

When I was looking for the finishing line.

I am happy, accomplished, and physically tired. Other than muscle aches especially on my glutes, I'm blister free, injury free, and well. I felt better after having a massage at Umaporn (near Pratunam market, Bangkok). It's my post recovery period now, and I'll focus on my nutrition for the rest of the week.

I felt glad and inspired to have met nice locals, nice staffs, and inspiring strong trail running athletes on this trip. Though we had unpleasant experiences when tuktuk drivers in Bangkok tried to charge us an exorbitant 3X market price of trips, all in all we had a pleasant experience.

I felt touched when my mum and I met with kind people.

On the first occasion, I sought help from a family who was outside Wat Phumin night market enjoying street food. We needed a taxi/motorbike taxi to return back to accommodation then. The young man of the family helped us call and waited with us till we got on the transportation. The mum of the family found 2 motorbike taxis and rode on 1 towards us. We said thank you, took a photo together to remember this moment, and bid this family from Bangkok goodbye.

 Kind family from Bangkok.

Kind family from Bangkok.

On the second occasion, we approached the police (who looked like motorbike taxi drivers with their orange vest), to direct us to a place where we can find transportation. On the contrary to Bangkok, it's difficult to get a taxi/motorbike taxi in Nan. The police approached a few night market vendors and a young man came and said he can bring us to our accommodation. He spoke little English. He told us it was free when we asked him about the charges. My mum and I rode pillion on his motorbike. We wanted to speak, but could not understand each other much. Kindness was his language.

I feel thankful for my mum's company, support, encouragement and love throughout this trip.

 Photo credit: Thailand Trail series, Xterra, AMA events.

Photo credit: Thailand Trail series, Xterra, AMA events.


Great Eastern (GE) Women's Run Singapore 2017

12 November

The GE women's run was the 2nd time I've participated in an all women run after the Nike 5K goddess run which came to Singapore awhile go. The turnout of women was astounding for this run.

The baggage deposit and assembly time for the 10KM run was at 5.30am. The 10KM event was flagged off at 6.30am sharp. Before depositing my bags, I had time to look at Singapore's Marina Bay. The lights were beautiful, and the reflection on the water was clear. It was a calm and quiet time before assembly at the start point.

Into 1KM, I felt the surge of humidity. I pushed the pace on the last leg as I was feeling pumped. It made me remembered my sprinting days where there is one straight direct goal in front of you, and you run as fast as your legs could take you to the finish line. I'm glad I did. The feeling was great.

I am happy with the self-care and effort I've put in today!
The finisher medal was really shiny!

Up next, Nan trail run in Thailand!


Salomon X-Trail Run Singapore 2017

4 November

Salomon X-Trail Run was the 2nd time that I've ran with my younger brother this year after Sundown Marathon Singapore 2017. This was an evening run at 4PM. Due to the setting sun, the run was scorching hot. The first stretch of unshaded areas were a challenge but however, it got better when we went into the shaded stretches. As this was a trail run, we went through several elevated spots and traversed through many unpredictable nature elements. One of the more memorable trail was the pipeline trail as I recalled the vast, grassy, muddy and hilly route.

I'm unembarrassed to say that I'm pretty slow in long distance running. Running long distances is not natural to me, but however, I know it's important for my aerobic fitness and since I'm in the midst of exploring endurance sports, I've decided to try. Still trying! Slowly but surely.

We headed home in a taxi and enjoyed a home cooked dinner prepared by mum. That was a 幸福 feeling to be home to enjoy the warmth of home and reunite with my other family members after a 10KM of workout. 

I'm thankful for my brother's company and completing this 10KM run. My adventure tank is filled and I'm a happy elder sister!

Till next time!


2XU Ultra Aquathlon Singapore 2017

15 October
1.5KM Swim, 10K.5M Run (Standard Distance)

 I completed!

I completed!

The sea waters were cooling. The sun shone brightly during my running leg. I've enjoyed the 2 laps (750M each) of swim with my froggy style, and the 10KM run with a comfortable pace. I like it that there were no loops in the running route.

 After the 1.5KM swim, in the transition area.

After the 1.5KM swim, in the transition area.

Happy to complete!


Spartan Race Super Malaysia (Putrajaya) 2017

9th July

Sunny Sunday. 10.45am race.

 Completed!

Completed!

We took the 11.59pm bus from Singapore (Golden Mile) on Friday, and reached Kuala Lumpur (TBS) at 5.45am on Saturday. It was early. We booked our return ticket at 55RM/ticket, and took a Uber taxi to Everly Putrajaya hotel. Early check-in will require additional 100RM, so we decided to have hotel breakfast at 33RM/person instead, while waiting for our check-in. After breakfast, we headed to Alamanda shopping center for window shopping, and settled on watching the 'Spiderman homecoming' movie at 11am. The show was 2.5h. We were back in hotel to chill and rested at about 2.45pm. We had KFC for dinner at Alamanda shopping center.

Breakfast: Tea, 100+, one Hokkaido cheese tart and a banana. Our start time was 10.30am, but we joined in the 10.45am. The timing was delayed but it was ok for is because we are not in the hurry. I felt my body wasn't at it's best but we managed to complete it. It was difficult. I guess we sort of forget our pain the previous races so we keep on coming back again for the challenge. This time, the obstacles grew longer and harder. The difficult obstacles like spear throw was early in the race. Bucket carry's distance was long but not unexpected as we've experienced the arduous distance from the sprint earlier this year. Sandbag carry consist of a terrain with downslope and upslope coupled with the longest distance yet. Hercules hoist was really heavy. Often a breezier station, this station was shocking that even SB had difficulties. New stations the twister and bender. The twister obstacle was a burpee station for me. The bender was challenging, I felt I could do it so I went ahead. River swim was a little towards the end. As usual, it was a refreshing. Barb wire crawl and the mud hills were early in the race.

Burpee station:
Spear throw
Twister
Olympus
2xMonkey bar
Hercules hoist

What I like about the race: 
Showering stations after race. Food booths.

What I felt could be improved:
Safety. The high obstacles and hercules hoist were all potential for injuries. I think more supervision is needed. For the hercules hoist, rope burn is a serious concern as it is so heavy that a participant might lack go due to muscle fatigue. Also, the drinks of water only. We were looking forward to isotonic drinks on the really hot day.

Some grievances: This race has plenty of tiny stones which made crossing a challenge. Also, when I slide on my back into the mud pond, I hurt my tailbone. What I felt could be improved was putting mats of soft material as a slide.

We had an early dinner at Yoke Heng restaurant, and went to TBS for the bus back to Singapore.

The second Spartan race of 2017, completed!


 

Sundown Marathon Singapore 2017

25th March

First 42.125KM

 A photo together before walking to the start point. In the background shows the Singapore Flyer.

A photo together before walking to the start point. In the background shows the Singapore Flyer.

I remembered that the main sponsor of the first Sundown Marathon was Adidas. I remembered clearly as I like Adidas for it's minimalist design, functionality and style.

This year is Sundown's 10th anniversary. I believe it mattered more to the regulars of Sundown (like my brother, Issac). Although my brother mentioned to me during the run that last year was his final year for a full marathon, he decided to run again this year. 

42.25KM was approximately 17X of 2.4KM distance. I was easily more excited for a 100M sprint. I hesitated for weeks before agreeing to join my brother as a companion for Sundown Marathon 2017. 

The flag off was cool. A countdown with blobs of fire poof-ing out from each side of the fence with each second. The crowd was big and I felt claustrophobic. Singapore had rain earlier in the day and the humidity was extraordinarily high at night. There were pacers, and we tried to be before the yellow balloons till the 15KM mark. I was sad to see them go, but I needed to listen to my body. Being able to keep up with them till 15KM was already a great feat to me.

 The banner says it. We were at 21KM (end of comfort zone).

The banner says it. We were at 21KM (end of comfort zone).

'Psst, psst', representatives of the Salonpas company sprayed the analgesic on my knees upon my request. The knee pain came after the onset of 10KM. I've not encountered this discomfort before. Definitely not one that had started so early, which was 1/4 into the marathon. Ahhh, Salonpas station. When you are in pain, it does not really matter if it works instantaneously. It served more like a psychological relieve. There were 2 Salonpas station throughout the whole marathon. I told myself, 'Step by step, slowly but surely'.

The last 8KM was painful. 1 hour and 45 minutes to go and we have 3KM more. I tried to do active intervals as I wanted to finish before 8 hour, the cut-off time. We completed slightly less than 7 hours.

The feeling of completing a marathon sure feels great, but it certainly hasn't sink in yet as all I can think about is post marathon recovery and if I will be able to walk normally tomorrow. 

My first full marathon (completing with my brother). The longest distance yet. It was crazy and painful. 

 And the sun is up! Sleepy and accomplished!

And the sun is up! Sleepy and accomplished!


Spartan Race Sprint Malaysia (Seminyih) 2017

12th March

 

 


Spartan Race Beast Malaysia (Putrajaya) 2016

9th October

 Jumping over the intense fire pit. Spartan Beast Malaysia '16.

Jumping over the intense fire pit. Spartan Beast Malaysia '16.

The night before the race, we had a good seafood meal at Dengkil seafood restaurant. I remembered for the previous Spartan Super at Klang, we had a good meal at Boston seafood restaurant before race day and it was a good feeling. The morning before the race, we had a light breakfast at Dorsett Putrajaya hotel (a transferred hotel from Everly Putrajaya), packed for the last time, shared a Weider jelly before getting a Uber/Grab to our venue.

We alighted along the main road and walked in to the Nexus international school. Registration was in order. The bag check area were arranged into groups of color. We were in the purple group. The bag check tent was large and in order. We took our Quechua bag with the remaining 3 packs of Weider jelly with plasters and head towards the starting area to warm up. 10.30am (our heat time) was strict, so we waited till then.

The tyrolean traverse obstacle was pretty early in the race, barb wire obstacle in the middle, and monkey bars later in the race. 

Burpee stations: Rope (slippery), traverse wall, 2 monkey bars and spear (only station for Sb).

I felt the safety emphasis was present with staffs/volunteers supervising at almost every station, and the presence of responsive emergency vehicles.

Security in terms of bag check was well organized. The volunteers used cable ties at strategic points to secure multiple bags together, and colored bands to distinct the area of the bags. The use of both colors and numbers were smart.

The race was organized. There's a significant improvement from the Super race in terms of safety, security, staffing and the organizing of the race. Staffing was adequate. The majority of staffs and volunteers was cheerful and friendly. It made a pleasant racing environment.

The organization of the race was great. Obstacles with variety well spread out. The medals, tee-shirt handling (sizing could be improved), drinks distribution and orderly photo booth.

20KM, 30 obstacles. We completed and I'm proud of us.

Felt stretched like it'll never be the same again. Empowered and strong.

Aroo!


Spartan Race Super Malaysia (Klang) 2016

20th March

 Jumping over the intense fire pit. Spartan Super Malaysia '16.

Jumping over the intense fire pit. Spartan Super Malaysia '16.

Malaysia was having the heatwave season during the period of our visit. Klang was hot and hazy. I was glad that the organiser had acknowledged the heatwave impact's on safety and will be monitoring the status. We spend the first night gathering our essential supplies and having a good dinner at Klang's Boston restaurant. The wait for the food was a painful 2 hours for the delicious seafood. The clams were so yummy.

I actually chose the afternoon race so we had ample time to prepare and a good breakfast. We started at 2.15PM, earlier than the scheduled time.

The obstacles were well spread apart. It was muddier, more raw than the urban race in Singapore.

I paid 90 burpees for the monkey bar, spear throw, and the traverse wall, and 30 burpees for SB for the spear throw.

Up next, Spartan Beast Malaysia Oct'16!


Spartan Race Sprint Singapore 2015

15th November

 Spartan Sprint Singapore '15

Spartan Sprint Singapore '15

The feeling of completing the arduous obstacle course together with my loved ones is invaluable. I had space to enjoy the pace when I'm not anxious to compete. I believe the competitive spirit is still within me, but winning has not much meaning as it used to mean anymore. 

I enjoyed the race together with this team so much that after the sprint race, I started researching on the next challenge we could participate in. This time, I wanted us to try it in an overseas terrain. The Malaysia's super race date was near and affordable so I encouraged all of us to sign up for it. But unfortunately due to national duty reasons, Issac have to drop out of the race with us in Malaysia. So SB and myself went to Klang, Malaysia. 

Thank you Issac and SB for their spirit to do the burpees with me when I've had extra.

We've started, and we'll continue to do the race.

 Marina Bay.

Marina Bay.

 Smokey fire pit obstacle. I'm so happy with this team.

Smokey fire pit obstacle. I'm so happy with this team.