Hari Raya Hi-Tea at Royale Chulan, Seremban

Hari Raya Puasa, or the festival of Eid, marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and the start of a new month on the Islamic calendar, Syawal. Hari Raya Puasa is a celebration of victory in completing the fast and the overcoming of personal struggles during the Ramadan, as well as a time of forgiveness and strengthening of bonds amongst family members and relatives.

Feasting is a “must-do” during this festive period, and much effort and time are put into preparing and cooking mouth-watering dishes, such as lontong, ketupat, rendang, curry ayam, sambal goreng, etc. The pestles and mortars, charcoal stoves, pots and pans will all be out in full force—most of the time till the wee hours of the morning! –

So, this year my family and I decided to go to the Royale Chulan, Seremban’s Hari Raya Hi-Tea.

5 Traditional Hari Raya Food you must eat this festive season!

No.1 – Rendang

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It’s everybody’s favourite Raya dish! Rendang is a thick, savoury gravy usually cooked with beef or chicken. It is served either wet or dry.

No.2- Lemang

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Made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, and a sprinkle of salt, lemang usually takes the place of plain rice during the Raya season and it goes hand in hand with Rendang. This special dish is cooked in a hollowed bamboo stick with banana leaves and can take four to five hours of roasting!

No.3- Ketupat

Famously chosen as the symbol of Hari Raya, the ketupat is made of rice boiled in a diamond-shaped pack of handwoven palm lead strips. Once cooked, the ketupat is peeled open cut into slices and served in place of regular steamed rice and with other dishes.

No.4- Serunding

Serunding is essentially a Malaysian version of meat floss! A popular snack for Ramadan and Adilfitri, serunding is made of seasoned meat that’s cooked until dry, a method meant to help keep the meat longer. The meat that are usually used to make serunding are beef and chicken.

No.5- Satay

The yummy-li-cious perfect snack for this occasion. Satay is well-loved all over Southeast Asia. These skewers of grilled meat are usually dipped into crunchy peanut sauce and served with side dishes such as Nasi himpit (rice cakes) and raw cucumbers and sliced shallots. All complement each other.

There were 2 choices of satay, Beef and Chicken. Tasted so good, tender and easy to bite off from the skewer. Grilled to perfection with slight burnt and that added extra ‘kick’ to the already amazing taste of ‘Minangkabau’ spices being used for marinating.

Vegetables

The vegetables tasted good and maintained its freshness and sweetness!

The Salad Bar

-with condiments and dressing! Awesome!

Healthy choices

Kerabu Mangga, Beef Salad, Shrimps, Squid and ulam-ulaman

Ice Kacang

Choose you own favourite fillings, go as you prefer, it’s a buffet concept anyway!

My thoughts:-

I was extremely satisfied with the dishes offered to guests. The price was reasonable and acceptable. Simply put, Worth it! My sis and I agreed that the satay sauce/peanut gravy and the Mee Mamak was the best that we ever had! The gravy tasted so extremely good with the right consistency, not that watery and not too thick. Most importantly, it’s between not spicy and spicy, you get both which is the right combination for all types of customers.

In the midst of all the festivities, the best part about celebrating Hari Raya is the renewing of familial ties and bonds. Spending quality time with loved ones and is  ultimately what truly makes the busyness of the season so meaningful. Selamat Hari Raya to all our Muslims friends! –

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Laguna Phuket International Marathon

The beauty of running is its lack of discrimination. Anyone can participate. Young, old, fast, slow: everyone lines up and runs on the same streets at the same time.

No one tells you that if you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to do a lot more than run.

I felt confident in my training and my abilities as a runner. I run often, and I run strong. As the Laguna Phuket International Marathon crept closer it started to hit me- but the nerves were streaming from everything leading up to getting to the start line. Will I sleep through my alarm? Will I forget my passport? Will the line ups to the porta porties be too long and I will have to run 21KM with a full bladder? LOL, all these were my legitimate thoughts.

Few days before race day, we did a check list such as passports, hotel reservations, flight details and race confirmation only to realized that our names were listed in the full marathon 42.1 KM instead of the 21 KM Half Marathon. Fear, anxiety and panic crept inside of me. We immediately contacted the event/ organiser to informed about the mistakes and they informed us that upon our arrival at the race expo, they will be able to rectify the mistakes.

We took the noon flight and arrived at Phuket International Airport on schedule. We rented a car and drove straight to the race expo only to be told that we were 10 minutes too late! Nothing could be done. They cannot rectify the mistakes. My heart was shattered into pieces. The event organisers tried to justify the situation and informed us that it was alright to just participate in the Half marathon 21 KM, however, we won’t be entitled for the medals, no finisher-tee, no timing chip..hmmmm….

Devastately, we drove to our hotel, showered and had an early dinner in silence. Then hubby made a decision at the eleventh hour to run his first ‘virgin’ full marathon 42.1 KM… I rooted for him! And this is his story:

At the starting line, I felt like everyone else. Nervous, anxious, excited. No months of training, no hundreds of miles run BUT here I was, ready to take on what had always seemed like an impossible challenge.

The gun sounded and I was off. Feeling great. Keeping a steady pace. Enjoying the sights and sounds. This went on for about 10 KM without a hitch. I was on pace to hit my goal and everything felt great. With the rain slowly toning down and my body slowly adapting to the low temperature, I continued my jog and stopped at all the water stations.

People around me were smiling, running, talking, cheering, singing etc. The feeling of running all alone with hundreds of strangers encouraging you and pushing you to keep moving is beyond exhilarating. I couldn’t help but feeling overwhelmed with emotions. I continued to run. I smiled, ran and smiled some more. I ran like it was the only thing that mattered.

I kept putting one foot in front of the other. That is, until around 30 KM. Where I hit the wall. Yes. THAT WALL! The one you always hear about but never understand until it happens. The kind of wall that leaves your body saying, “Hell no”, regardless of how much your mind says, “Yes”.

For me the first time in my history of running, I felt angry. And above all, disappointed in myself. I slowed to barely a jog, and finally a walk, my mind wanted me to push through, to fight the pain, but my body simply couldn’t. I was sore, tired, thirsty, hungry and outright uncomfortable in just about every way you can imagine.

Then my thoughts of my wife and children crossed my mind. Bring back the medal…….Bring back the finisher-tee….I got this! Do it for my wife and kids! Bring home this awesome journey and tell them that I did it! I am a 42.1 KM finisher. I am officially a marathoner!

So, I walked. Then I walked some more. And a little more. I jogged a few steps, and quickly went back to a walk. Hands on hips. Sucking wind. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

35 KM. 36 KM. 37 KM. I passed the KM markers. Slowly, but I passed them. Jogged a few steps further.

38 KM…………39 KM………..My walk had slowed to a crawl. I listened to the other marathoners around me, complaining. Gasping for air. Keeling over in the grass to stretch. Sipping coconuts for energy. I started to doubt if I’d ever cross the finish line, or if the ambulance would eventually come pick up with the rest of the stragglers…LOL

At this point, mental strength took over, physical strength is secondary. At this point, the clock ticks around 6 hours. The rain is long gone and the sun is up and shining brightly. Then I saw the magic number 40 KM. You have no idea how excited I was after seeing the sign, Suddenly out of nowhere the energy just hit me hard.

Every 200 meters I ran felt like forever, it was the last stretch of road before reaching the finishing line. Yes! My feet were alive again, they wanted to cross that line so badly that I started sprinting my last few hundred meters towards the finishing line, and I heard the host calling out my name: Segar Rajoo from Malaysia!!

The moment I sprint passed the finishing line, I felt relieve, I felt freedom and there’d be no more running….Just my RUN-CA-TION in Phuket with my wife. It was no easy task, but I did it! There was that sense of pride and excitement. And that feeling was one of a kind, sensational and somewhat magical!

Long story short. I did it! Clocked 6 hours and 30 minutes. MY first full marathon 42.1 KM- Laguna Phuket International Marathon 2018. It was an unforgettable experience, the whole journey was simply incredible and I urge those who are still contemplating to join a 42.1 KM, JUST DO IT!

I’ll work harder. Do better. Run faster. And get stronger. That’s the thing about marathons (Literally or metaphorically) They smack you in the face, kick you in the ass, make you feel like dying but keep you coming back for more…

Because the biggest rewards in life are the one’s that have to be earned.

Running a marathon isn’t about the miles/KM. It’s about the lifestyle. It’s about giving something your everything, then a little more, even when there’s absolutely nothing left to give!

SCORE Night Edition Race Review

Why I Run? Because I can and it makes me happy! It excites me. I have learned to love running. I’ve been thankful for every mile pounded out on the pavement because of what it has taught me about myself and about life.

We reached Putra Jaya at 7.00pm. It was like a big carnival venue that night. All the runners were rushing in towards the start point from every possible direction. A bird’s eye view of that would have looked like gazillion of colourful streams (of runners) flowing and merging into the sea. (The start point) At the starting line, after the countdown, I ducked down to checked the retie my laces the way you tug the seatbelt before the roller coaster jerks in life. And there was a horn blast and the crowd surged. Ten minutes later, I crossed the line under a blare of music and cheering. Then long slow downhill took us gently away and the sound of cheering and music gave way to the steady rhythm of footfalls and breathing.

The race began and with that we were off, no more time to overthink it (though I suspect I was the last person at risk of overthinking this race today) Flocks of runners started moving forward. Many started by walking, some were running to advance in the start itself. As soon as the crowd started moving, I too started running at an easy pace. The group immediately turned to a chaotic stampede of runners and I didn’t even make it to two kilometres before I lost the pacer. Anyway, now I was part of the running crowd which was scattered all over the road. We were on a bridge, overlooking “Putra Jaya”. It was like a moment out of my dreams. It was a feeling of ‘harapan’ (HOPE) and sheer joy as I was crossing the bridge, overlooking the magnificent view of Putra Jaya. Pure bliss running down every nerve of my body giving goose bumps. That feeling will last forever in a corner of my heart. I felt proud as a Malaysian running in the middle of the night in Putra Jaya- the pride of our nation!

I skipped the first water station due to a massive crowd pushing and shoving for water. Some parts of the route was not brightly lit, had to watch my steps in the dark. At times, we were accompanied by the moonlight and stars.

By the 5KM I had found a steady pace that felt good- a little faster that I had planned but not ridiculously so. I didn’t think about what lay ahead, only step in front of me.

Someone once told me she knew running wasn’t fun because you never see smiling runners. Though I was surrounded by a serious-faced mob, I thought I had probably never been in the midst of such uniform happiness. Our faces were serious, our minds focused but our bodies, every one of them, were smiling. If you are wondering just how it is exactly that a body can smile, you will have to run a half- marathon to find out!!

But just as I was feeling snappy at the top of the hill one, a steady, relentless series of hills in all shapes and sizes followed. I stopped trying to keep track of them. I didn’t acknowledge them. When they came, I looked away and kept repeating my mantra….keeeeeeepppp go…….goooo…going…..!

Unfortunately, the course was very overcrowded, and there were multiple occasions, particularly during the last 5 KM and during the twisty parts of the roads that it became quite hard to find space to just run. Even at the several water/aid stations, volunteers ran out of cups, so we runners had to share bottles of water.

In truth this section was a bit of a trudge, long straight roads a midst tall apartment blocks and cars parked on the roadside….

Well, the half marathon continues to be my nemesis and I do not know why..Each time when I run a half-marathon, half way through the route, I keep asking myself, “Why am I doing this?, Why am I running a 21km?, This will be my last 21KM……I will just stick to a 10KM run..” All these thoughts runs through my head..But trust me, after you crossed that finish line, you would want to do this again, to run a 21KM half-marathon..LOL

Alright, on to my race. The plan was……hmmmmm, I had no big plans, just to finish the race…with this SCORE NIGHT EDITION RUN being a nice flat course…..NOT!!! Turns out, a positive attitude goes a long way. I just kept reminding myself to relax my shoulders, I smiled and had fun with the ups and downs..the hills, not emotions! Markers were placed along the route, however traffic control was a little messy. As far as logistics go, it was probably chaotic! In my opinion, there were too many runners and the space was congested.

The last 3KM was a struggle. On a positive note, I was so touched by all the cheers from passing runners. It made me feel awesome even though I was struggling! I appreciate each and everyone of them and I apologized I did not cheer back, I did in spirit! But I was very focused on keeping one foot in front of the other. This is a huge tease to ALL-THE-HILLS that you have to run to get back at the 18KM to 20KM and to the finish. No matter how you slice and dice it, you are going uphill to get back. (quite lumpy, but not in a torturous way) I hit 19KM, from here I played a run walk game. Run at a fastest pace, walk a bit, run a little, walk a bit. My legs throbbing a little, ankles hurting a little and head aching a little. Though my immediate concern was hunger..LOL

One thing that I have learned through racing in the past is that counting down to the finish is bad way to race, especially in a long race…with that in my mind, I set my body cruise control and settled in for a long flight…

Uh Ohhh…., we’ve got a long uphill stretch and I feel my legs started to cramp, I’m worried because I can already hear the emcee and I don’t want to be the girl with noodle legs at the end that can’t make it to the finish line. It’s time to hedge, I started to walk, I decided that finishing with style is much more important than 5 extra minutes….LOL

I could hear the finish. It was a cruel sensation. My mind was buzzing with the sights of Putra Jaya at night, the experience, pain and what I have achieved.

In summary, I enjoyed the race, not only am I proud of the accomplishment but during the race itself I was actually having fun…The course took us through some beautiful parts of Putra Jaya and I had literally zero expectations for myself so I focused more on the environment than my own performance. The finish chute seemed a bit hidden and to the side so not much glory to run to the end. The recovery zone seemed good with lots of medics giving out massages to sore runners. The medal collection was painless, no lines. The medal was nice and chunky too, I was a bit saddened in regards of the ‘special medal personalized with your name- for free’. Organisers were overwhelmed with the high demand therefore could not provide sufficient assistance and therefore the queue was very very long. However, the organisers apologized for this error and will rectify their mistakes.

We all had them. They are inevitable. A part of life. Sometimes for no reason at all. Nothing to point to or everything to point to. A BAD RUN. We hate it but it’s bound to happen from time to time. The bad runs build our true strength. As in life, when you have tough days, tough experiences, learn how to see the big picture. Bottom line? Learn from the run (Organisers as well as runners)

Stay healthy and there will be future races and for every bad race, there will surely be some great ones!

Race Review KL Possible Run 2018

Life is not just meant to be lived-it’s meant to be experienced. Sure, anyone can go jogging, but the experience in a fun run lies in running together towards a common goal of reaching the finish line.

My favourite part of racing is shockingly, not the running part but the habits form before and after the races that makes me feel like I am part of a tribe of sorts. A tribe of crazy people who wake up at 3.00am to run as fast as I can for a certain distance, all to receive a medal. There’s also the really cool part of donating to charity too!

On, Sunday the 13th May 2018, we woke up early at 3.30am, pinned on a bib, laced up and made our way to Padang Merbok, KL for the KL Possible Run 2018. We reached at 6.00am, parked our car and headed to the start line with hubby and my 3 children. It rained the whole journey from Seremban to KL. We could hear the birds chirping and the darkness soon gave way to light as the sun’s first rays crept in. Flag off for the 10KM was on time, followed by the 5KM Fun Run. It was still drizzling but the rain was not an obstacle! The show must go on! However, I was hoping for some fun and excitement before the 5KM flag off, maybe a warm up Zumba session..hmmmmm..but the organisers went straight ahead with the flag off.

There was a good amount of people of all ages. I love seeing families running together! What a great atmosphere! It was a lovely day, a nice route, the race started with no issues, heading into a very slight incline.

A well organised small scale race. I thought that it was a smooth race with well placed distance markers at each KM, adequate water points for such a short distance race, and enough volunteers stationed at different parts of the race to guide runners along. Once completed, finishers were given a nice, well detailed sturdy medal that say ‘Everyone Can Run’- love the tag line! It was so nice to care more our quality time, family bonding time instead of keeping pace throughout the race.

It was a fun little event, too bad that more people and families didn’t show up but I am hoping that KL Possible Run do it again, the word will get out!

Overall, this is a must do on the calendar. Well organised, lots of great fun for the family. The event was fantastic! Everything about this was great and these sentiments were shared by many running friends, families and people I met on the day.

Overall, I think the Race Director and all who have been involved can be very proud of a well managed, enjoyable and safe event!

 

Race Review Bukit Tembok Cross Country Run 2018

Firstly, I would like to thank Marathon Malaysia, Mr Prakash for giving me the opportunity to run Bukit Tembok Cross Country Run 2018 which was held in Pasir Panjang, Port Dickson on the 15 April 2018.

If you’ve never raced a trail race, you might be missing out. It’s so entirely unpretentious. There runners weren’t out here for bragging rights, and they certainly weren’t out here for a new saucy Facebook picture. No, they were out here for the love of it! I didn’t need to rely on my stubbornness to carry me through to the finish line, the sheer joy of it all was more than I needed.

My hubby a.ka. ‘sole mate’ decided that he wanted to take photographs instead of running this race…….Oh well, I thought….I was gonna be alone in this run……But to my surprised..along the way, I met and I ran along with a bunch of awesome runners- Aisah, Rosdi,Fahmi, Izaja….They became my pacers and I ran with them all the way to the finish line.

Packet pick-up was very easy, since it took place at Pasir Panjang, Port Dickson. The staff there is always friendly and very helpful. They had a list out that had last name and bib number readily available

Race day started pretty easy enough. Parking consisted of us driving over to a nearby field and leaving our vehicle by the road side area, which just about everyone did. There was a registration table and a same-day packet pickup station near the start line. A DJ played motivating music up until the race started. Flag off was delayed- we had a 30 minute Zumba session, which I enjoyed very much. But as for the “hard core” runners, they were already at the starting line ready to start the race.

The race started at 8.20 AM after the national anthem was played. With the start of the race, over 500 participants crossed the line..

Once we hit the actual Trail, the crowd thinned out. But it didn’t feel crowded or even lonely on the course at all. The trail is paved all the way through except for maybe a 10 foot section at the beginning of the course, and bridges of various types are sprinkled the wooded forest sections. It was quite scenic and I could enjoy several moments of running alongside rubber trees and oil palm plantations and over metal or red muddy roads.

There was a water station at around the 2.5 mark and it was well stocked, especially with at least four volunteers working the station. The course was also well marked with red arrows on the path, couple with cones to help make sure no one took a wrong turn. The course also had volunteers interspersed throughout the route to ensure participants didn’t veer off the path or get hurt.

I was mesmerized by the splendour of the place that I didn’t even realized I was coming up on the 7KM – nearly done..My heart was elated, my body was strong, and view was dazzling. I just wanted to keep running. I felt as though I could run forever. I was overcome with a strange sense of melancholy. Everything about this trail run was more than I could have imagined. The spirit of the volunteers was infectious, the authenticity of my fellow runners was disarming. When I reached the finish line, I was given a number….Ohhhhh my goodness! I won number 8! I just ran 8KM Cross Country Run!!

My heart was boiling with joy!

The award ceremony consisted of presenting the overall male and female winners. There were medals and cash for the 1st to 3rd place finishers for each age and gender category. The medals themselves were something special.

All in all, this is a great event, and one that should get a lot more people to run, I look forward to coming back.

SCORE NIGHT RUN 2018

Do you think the Cowardly Lion could have run a marathon? After all, he overcame all kinds of fears and obstacles throughout The Wizard of Oz. And at the end, he was awarded a medal for his bravery! Kind of similar to training and running a marathon. In two weeks time, 5 May 2018, I will once again embark my 21 KM journey at The Night Score Run at PutraJaya.

Am I brave? Brave enough to tackle 21KM Half marathon once again? Strong enough not to bail at the starting line? It takes courage to line up to run a race.

Most runners aren’t competing for first place. They’re competing against themselves, either for a better personal time or simply to finish. Life is similar. While it may look like a race against each other, the only real competition is yourself. Rather than looking over your shoulder to see how everybody else is doing, focus inward to see how you can evolve.

Sometimes many of life’s regrets come when we look back and realized we were so focused on reaching a destination that we forget to appreciate the journey.

We are so busy trying to get to the next stage or reach the next goal that we miss out on the journey. Don’t get me wrong, at every stage in life, we should be growing and moving towards a goal, but unless you stop to appreciate where you are, you will wind up missing the whole experience.

So my dear fellow friends and runners, Lace up and log off! See you at the SCORE NIGHT RUN on the 5 May 2018 at PutraJaya.

Coffee and Dreams Kafe Food Review

Coffee and Dreams Cafe is no stranger to people who stays in Seremban, it is the charm in Seremban until this day. It’s a cozy space with an amiable team that’ll help you kick back and feel at home.

If you are looking for a cup of well-crafted coffee, made with love, look no further. I am delighted to know that there is a place so close that far exceeds any expectations. From the moment you walk up, you’re treated as a friend.

Monster Creamy Chicken Chop

Hands up if you are someone who likes to eat chicken chop. Chicken chops may seem like a cliché, but Coffee and Dreams, hitting harmonious notes, it’s fresh, crunchy batter yielding enjoyable to a juicy, fleshy interior, with potato wedges aplenty.

Your taste buds will thrill to this exciting blend of sweet and sour grilled chicken chop never tasted better or more juicy.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

I loved the flavors of the garlic with the Italian Parsley and cheese, with just a hint of red pepper flakes, who would have thought something so simple could make spaghetti this good.

Juicy Black Pepper Burger

They kept it fairly simple, wrapped with a  bun and the black pepper burger indeed was juicy and yummy-li-cious! It worked out well, there’s a definite hint of black pepper to every bite; it’s just enough to tingle and the flavour is there! It offered a nice smoky flavour……The bread delivered more of a premium, bread-like feel than your typical burger bun. There’s a bit more softness and give it along with a slight-bite-me style! It’s pretty top-notch!

Waffles…..glorious waffles……

Waffle is a batter-or-dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron…waffles…waffles and more waffles…..heaving with your choice of sweet or savoury toppings, which tasted mostly as good as they looked. The waffle was super crisp on the outside, light as a feather inside and so scrumptious! Perfect and fluffy!

Latte Macchiato

A mashup of two traditional coffee shop staples to create a frothy caffeinated drink that’s more milk than anything else (the milk-to-espresso ratio is what differentiates a latte from the macchiato) Too good to resist. Not one, but three enticing flavour-espresso, creamer and fine foam to tempt you…….simply tantalising!

The cafe is well-decorated both indoor and outdoors are perfect for all kinds of social gatherings (be it small groups or couples). The staffs are extremely friendly and are active in recommending their signature dishes.

This spot is for perfect as far as the coziness goes. It does feel as though you are in your own home having a little get together.

 

Race Review Standard Chartered International Marathon Kuala Lumpur

Marathons are for mad people! That’s what I’d always assumed. And I didn’t fit that club until one day, I signed up for my very first half marathon. And Hell-yeah- I am only half insane! LOL-Segar Rajoo, my ‘sole’ mate became my running mentor. My Yoda. He would be the one to picked me up and pulled me along at every setback offering support and advice. It became clear early that to be a runner it wasn’t as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and running, unless you are Kenyan, of course….anyway……

We decided to put up a night in Kuala Lumpur, since we live in Seremban and also to avoid traffic and parking madness. We booked a budget hotel about 1KM away from the race venue (Dataran Merdeka). We had our early dinner (carbs loading with banana and chocolate smoothie) at SOGO Kuala Lumpur. After dinner, we headed back to our hotel, took our shower and hit the sack! Only to be awaken by supernatural happenings! We stayed on the 4th floor, room 404 (hmmmmm..eeewww) Hubby slept like a piece of log. I, however, was awaken by ‘someone’ or ‘something’! Hell-yeah…..at around 1.00am, ‘someone’ or ‘something’ was having a bath in our bathroom. The room was pitch dark and I could only see shadows and the hot steam from the bathroom, however the shower was on. I brushed aside all those crazy, spooky eerie imaginations, thinking maybe a runner from the next door room was awake and was getting ready for his/her Full Marathon but the shower in our bathroom was still on and the water was still running. How could it be? I froze and I just could not move. Being a Christian, I recited as many decades of the holy rosary and the Novenas that I could think of, Somehow in my darkest hours, I managed to fall asleep only to be awaken once again by shortness of breath and a series of cough attack. I checked my garmin watch only to discover that it was 3.00am. I just could not wait to wake up and get out of the room and start my half marathon race.

I put my uneasy feelings aside and substituted them with an optimistic, ready-to-conquer mindset! Once I made my way to my corral (pen-5, if that helps you realize how slow I am) it was ok, stand around and wait. Forget about what had happened last night. Do some lungs and leg swings to warm up my muscles a little. But I was uncomfortable because I was alone. Hubby was in Pen-2, I felt like people were thinking LOL what’s she trying to prove, she is never gonna be able to finish. Which I realized is ridiculous. The running community is so not obnoxious like that. I’ve come to realize that runners are SO supportive and just there for each other.

And then when the gun went off and the first wave was on their way, I think my start was about 10 minutes after the gun start. And there I went trying to remember to keep it slow and easy, not take off (not like there was a lot of room to just take off anyways, 11,000 runners)

The first 5KM of the half marathon went incredibly well despite running along with 11,000 runners- it was the perfect temperature, with no rain or clouds in sight and I was enjoying getting to run on the empty Kuala Lumpur streets and highways with other happy runners!

I saw the 2:30 pacer ahead of me..thinking, ok, I should try to catch up and stay as long as I can. My goal was only to finish under 3 hours. So I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them the whole time. I was able to keep running only stopping at aid stations/water breaks. (The first 2 aid/water stations were a little chaotic and messy, with runners pushing and shoving to get water) However, I need to give a shout and thank the stranger in the cute blue and white polka dot shirt, she does not know she did anything but I was trying my damnest to keep up with her. And I did, for a long time. So stranger, thank you for keeping me going, for motivating me and helping me not to stop……even though you have no clue and will probably never see this, you helped me immensely.

Making it 10KM nonstop was a pretty big deal, as that was the furthest I had ever run without stopping. I was feeling pretty awesome at that point (the so-called “runner’s high” was kicking in), and I wasn’t experiencing any pain or aches in my body. Feeding off of everyone else’s uplifting energy, I was determined to push myself to keep going . I wouldn’t stop until I absolutely needed to.

At around 14KM, I started hurting…or maybe getting tired is the better way to put it. But I went through a checklist in my head, are my shins ok, yeah….side cramps, nope……So I kept going. Remembered my breathing and kept going. I was really tired, mentally and psychically. I was beat! So, I walked a bit, but I tried to keep my speed up a bit, then I realized I could just slow down my running, So I started again, just slower, at this point, I’d lost my blue and while polka dot stranger and the pace group had finally passed..and all I could see was their dust…I was discourage but I wasn’t about to give up yet, I’d come this far. Keep going!

Once I hit 16KM, I tried to remind myself I only had a 5KM left to do. No sweat…I do 5KM daily in the gym, that didn’t really work. I was already super exhausted and my feet hurt (probably because I wore a new pair of Reeboks) But I still kept at it. At about 17KM, I gave in and walked some more… I walked about 1KM or maybe a bit more. I wanted to be able to run to the finish so I was trying to preserve some energy.

And then I saw it, in the distance…the end. It looked So.FAR.AWAY! I can do this….Just go, finish!

And finish I DID! I did not managed to do my PB or a sub-3 but I got a little emotional, crossed the finish, I cried a little (bitter-sweet feelings) I got my hard earned medal and my legs felt like taugeh (Bean sprouts) But I just ran a half marathon. OMG! For someone who running does not come easy for, I was (AM) unbelievably proud of myself!

So I did! I ran Standard Chartered International Marathon Kuala Lumpur. I got my medal and now I want more. It’s been almost a week and now I am back to the gym. I was pretty sore this week the worst of it Monday, obviously! ANd now, I think I’m gonna start training for the next!

No, I don’t think I’ll ever do a full marathon….. KM 21 is a freaking long way…and 42KM? NOOooooo Way! I’d die! I totally admire people who can do those……But you will never know, it’s all in your mind…….

And I’ll do it again…and maybe, just maybe, my goal will be running it just a little faster this time. I can do it.!

Race: The event was organised to the highest level (with 38,000 runners)

Course: A good city route, rarely, what you could call interesting, especially in the wee mornings, no steep climbs but some long tough inclines to test legs, lungs and will power! Overall, a not too tough a course that most runners thoroughly enjoyed. If anyone set a PB on this course, I would be surprised and they should be proud! (Congratulations! My ‘sole’ mate for achieving your Sub-2)

Marshalling and water stations: Excellent and and abundant marshals. There were ample of water stations however, at 4KM and the 8KM abit of a mess and a little chaotic lacked of cups, water was splashing every where, runners were pushing and shoving each other to get water.

OVERALL: I think, to my opinion, the Race Director and all who have been involved can be very proud of a well-managed, enjoyable and safe event! KUDOS and CONGRATULATIONS!

Standard Chartered KL Marathon Pre-jitters

Hmmm…After slacking a little bit these past few weeks, I am definitely back in swing of training. I wouldn’t say I was slacking completely, but it was just a little hard to be as dedicated as I wanted to be with extra teaching classes for my IGCSE students, extra tutoring lessons, coaching and teaching my own kids, being a mommy, a wife, a daughter, a teacher……..Ohhhhhh..

The Standard Chartered International KL Marathon is just a few days away..I am still emotional about the whole thing. This morning, while I was running, every runner talks to her/himself during runs and I had to tell myself to shut up! Just shut up!

I had to shut myself up and move past that self-doubt. I made a choice to run 21 km half marathon and there was no way I was quitting now.  I tried to think of training for SCKL as a gift to myself. I was giving myself the gift of running a sport I actually love.

What I have learned over the years since I started running is this: If I am going to be a better, stronger, more successful runner I need to keep making mistakes. Mistakes (not just in running, but in life too) It’s not about being perfect. It is about experimenting, learning, improving and overcoming.

I like to think that the mistakes I have made not just as a runner, but in life, have made me resilient and want to fight back! Knock me down and I will try to stand back up ( and punch you). In this day and age of chasing perfection as we are bombarded by social media, I say go mess it up! Do it often because it means you are trying! But ultimately make sure you learn from you mistakes!

Well, congratulations on your effort so far…..I would like to wish you good luck and a wonderful ‘Day of celebration’. Running a marathon or a half marathon can be viewed as a threefold process. First is the commitment to enter the race, then after making this sometimes overwhelming decision, you commit yourself to train for the momentous challenge ahead. Finally, you can enjoy the most rewarding and gratifying phase of the marathon, the event itself. With it come endless satisfying memories of course and crossing the finish line!

Have a great race and run well at SCKL 2018- I will be rooting for you!

 

Race Review Shamrock Run 2018

I woke up early on Saturday, 31 March 2018 feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep, the 10km Shamrock Run was the first event to start and we needed to be there at the start line by 7.20am.There was plenty of parking located at the UM, Stadium Arena.

There was great vibes in the air, with lots of excited, runners and walkers ready to discover where the Shamrock Run 2018, new venue and new route would take us.

The race was slightly delayed due to the rain. However, there were 1,500 eager and excited runners waited patiently for the flag off. We had a fun-filled warm up Zumba session (I always looked forward and love this part of the event) then the countdown shortly began after the Irish National Anthem and the ‘Negaraku’ was sung, over 1,500 sweaty bodies began pushing and shoving against each other, creeping into the 4th Annual Shamrock Run Malaysia 2018. My hubby, bounced and stretched, running in place, acting like one of those rodeo bulls trapped in the chutes just before the gates are opened…..LOL (Training for the SCKL 2018, can make a runner do crazy-impossible-hilarious things)

It took only the first kilometer before people started spreading out. That’s when I noticed I didn’t get my update from Endomondo through my mobile. I didn’t press the button! OK, frustration sets in. Yes, I could have stopped and taken my phone out of my arm strap and fiddled with it and got it started ahhhhhh but then it hit me, this is a fun run  and I was suppose to enjoy and have a good time)

I successfully rounded the 2 km without having to put this plan into effect. I was still hanging tough, and I wasn’t the last person in the race…..I knew this because people were still streaming around me from all sides.

The routes were remarkable! From flat road running to stairway to hell…LOL…It was really a cool sight to watched parents and kids running together, babies being pushed in their strollers by their running mummies, runners dressed up looking like green mermaids, macho men running in green sarongs, some were in their green Malay Baju Melayu. Then it started to drizzle, however those old endorphins had kicked in and I was feeling on top of the world. My confidence and ‘runner’s high’ rose exponentially. I wasn’t doing so bad. Fewer runners were passing me, of course, that wasn’t really surprising. We were bound to run out of people sooner or later.

Nevertheless, a group of supporters/cheerleaders along the route made my journey awesome! Thank you “Famemas” running group! Your voices, your cheers brought joy and encouragement to all runners.

Then at the 4 km( I think- Bukit Chinta) I turned a corner and saw the hill looming ahead, taunting me with its knowledge that I could not conquer it. I considered falling to my knees and crawling up, but the race photographer stood at the top, taking pictures of each runner crested the peak. I wondered if someone would ‘tagged’ the photograph of me having a heart attack at the top of that blasted hill (LOL)

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Photography courtesy of ACTIONPIX MALAYSIA

Then I heard, ‘sprint on it! Just a few more meters! Sprint on it! You can do it! Cheers and shouts along the sidelines in my direction. Sprint on it?? Were they trying to kill me?? I wasn’t sure at that point I could crawl in. Blinking the sweat and rain drops from my eyes, somehow I sprinted to the finish line, I smiled for the camera, got my medal, my snacks and goodies. It was a really nice feeling, having the opportunity to start and finish in the stadium. It gives me a great sense of pride and honor to be part of Shamrock Run.

I have nothing but amazing things to say about this race. The course was fun and excellent, the support from friends and spectators were awesome and the staff and volunteers were beyond amazing.

The only thing I wish that could be improved is the signage/distance markers.(Maybe due to the heavy downpour, signages were not visible)

But really, what an epic experience, I will absolutely be back to run the Shamrock Run!