The Performance Series (TPS) Race Review

 

I love to run & I want to share that love with my kids. The first time my son and daughters asked to run with me, I was ecstatic! I’m not alone in wanting my kids to catch the running fever. Go to almost any local race and you’re sure to find a kids’ fun run or a family run. Or you’ll find a kid from any age group lined up next to you at the starting line.

As my daughters get older, their friends are becoming more important. She has more homework, tuition classes, basketball practice, piano classes etc…craving out a few family run has become our time together.

The Performance Series (TPS) was a great opportunity for me as a parent to bond with my children, for friends to catch up with each other and for couples to spend quality time with one another. TPS had three categories, 21KM Half marathon, 10KM and the 5KM Fun Run.

This time, Hubby and I decided to run with the kiddos the 5KM Fun Run, so as this was a non-competitive run, there was no stress in squeezing all the way to front of the start pen like I always do for other races. My children and I decided to ride on this no-stress approach by just enjoying the route.

The race was really easy to get to and there’s a huge and secure/safe parking lot (The mall’s parking lot) right across from the start line which made it easy to pick up our race packs, get all ready, then put everything back in the car. Syabas to the organisers for hiring extra security/RELAS to keep our cars and belonging safe!

There are usually two ways it goes down after the gun goes off-my children will either proceed to put all their effort and energy into sprinting the first 1KM before they slow down to a walk or they’ll blow past me and I’ll never see them again….after they have crossed the finished line. Either way, it’s always fun to see!

But once we started running, there was no looking back. My son and daughter set the pace, ran the entire thing, and only stopped to walk at the water stations. And running through an early dawn, lit-by-sunrise at this beautiful route in Setia Alam indeed provided the necessary motivation to keep them going.

For the 5KM Fun Run, the water stations were situated perfectly and in accordance to what was stated on the route map, with volunteers working tireless to make sure everyone was hydrated.

For parents who take their children for runs together should keep a few things in perspective, just like me, I set a few rules:-

  1. Know your own child’s limitations
  2. When you sign up for a run, ensure you have read thoroughly the terms and conditions
  3. Encourage them,don’t push them
  4. Let them set and maintain their own pace
  5. Walk when they want to walk and don’t make them feel guilty for walking
  6. Let them run their own race; don’t point out other kids who are faster, farther ahead etc.
  7. Shower them with praise at the finish line

If your kids aren’t overly athletic or haven’t run anything before, these shorter distances are perfect. We weren’t looking to break any land- speed records. We were just looking to have fun and finish. Amazingly my 10 year old son finished the race with the time of  30 minutes and my 12 year old daughter clocked 33 minutes. If you keep that as your goal, FUN AND FINISH, then I believe almost any kid can get out there and run a 5KM (Any adult, too, for that matter)

After the race, there was tons of great snacks for finishers. In addition to the race, one of the best parts of being part of TPS is getting to meet up with people and runners and best of all bonding with my children. If you are looking for a fun and flat 5KM experience in or around Setia Alam, Shah Alam, I would highly recommend this one and yes, I will be back again next year! Kudos to the organisers and sponsors! You guys rock!

Whether you’re an avid runner or desperately clinging to a New Year’s Resolution (weight lost/ 100km milage a month etc), don’t leave the little ones at home.Strap some sneakers on your kids and get them out there, too!

 

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ATM Half Marathon Race Review

ATM = A-wesome  T-terrific M-arvellous 

Always have your end goal in mind and keep focused on it! I won’t lie, during many moments at different races, I’ve asked myself why I put myself through this? What gets me through is the finish line and the feeling you get when you know you’ve done something that most people won’t even want to try……..

I woke up too excited that morning, the day of the ATM HAlf Marathon was finally upon me. We arrived in the nick of time. Parking slowed us down because there were buses loads of runners/ soldiers/trainees  everywhere! So, my hubby told me to start jogging to get to the starting line first while he finds a safe parking spot. Adrenaline was flowing, nervous butterflies were dancing around in my belly.

Standing there at the starting line was an overwhelming experience. There were 11, 000 runners ready to run! It was still dark. The only lights were those at the flag off area and the ones lit up for the course. Hubby was not in sight…Kept my fingers crossed that he will be able to make it on time..My heart was beating. The music was playing, energy was soaring. Some were crying, others were laughing, some were seriously talking out loud a.k.a pasar tani/ pasar pagi and still others were just mentally preparing themselves as well…..10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1………………….AND WE WERE OFF! Oh crap! I turned left and right and there I spotted my hubby zig-zag-ing overtaking runners……..relieved, I moved slowly towards the starting line, like pushing a stalled car, praying it will start.

It was a perfect day, light breeze, just after a heavy down pour but all my thoughts were positive and geared towards moving this machine of a body forward. It was a smooth flag off with plenty of room to manoeuvre.

Well, now you’re boned! You’ve actually got to run this thing or die trying anyway. If you’ve got this far…I’m sorry! Really! I’ve failed to convince you to do otherwise and now you are running some ungodly distance, possibly for some vaguely undefined reason to do with charity or health or running with ATM- woot woot Angkatan Tentera Malaysia…ehemmmmmm….

I was really impressed with the route, eventhough, with the sudden and last minute changes, this route seemed to be a hidden gem in this lovely place called Port Dickson. It was well planned and executed and the scenery was great! The crowds (a.k.a) army/soldiers/trainees, the course, the atmosphere-it is the full package! I would defininetly recommend to all my fellow city runners- This is a “MUST RUN RACE”, you should not miss it! It is also an awesome route to do your PB. It’s flat, fast and furious and there are no stairways to hell…..phewww….

From 1KM to the 5KM, the route led us into a scenic village, I could hear roosters, the sound of the ‘azan’ prayers and my thoughts led me back to my school days, where we had to run a race called ‘merentas desa’ during our sports.

When I started the race, I was ecstatic. (Thoughts included: “This is awesome, I feel great!” and “Why don’t I do marathons all the time?”) But let me assure you, by 14KM or 15KM, those thoughts were long gone…..(Replacement thoughts: “Wow–my freaking body freaking hurts”, and “I would really like to stop, like 5KM ago”.) The best I could do was focus on thinking about how gorgeous it was outside….

Along the way, there were sufficient water stations filled with awesome volunteers who helpfully spilled water and 100Plus on your brand new overpriced running gear..Noooooo seriously…….Thank you, dear volunteers. Be sure to thank them for this, dear runners because I don’t know what would possess somebody to get up at an ungodly hour, travel across town and stand around for hours handing cups to thousands of sweat covered smelly runners! Thank you, Terima Kasih, Nandri, Xie Xie! You guys rock!

Then at 6KM, we ran on a nice flat and fast route, on the Seremban-Port Dickson highway. My original plan was to take a laid back approach to this race and run just for fun. Sometimes, race day is a funny thing. Most runners aren’t competing for first place. They are competing against themselves, either for a better personal time or simply to finish. Life is similar, while it may look like a race against others, the only real competition is yourself!

The route had something for everyone with some crowd lined closed roads, an idyllic rural village section through Port Dicksn. Seriously! Just do it! Ditch the elastic, hair bands, pretty clips and let your hair wild as you run ATM Half Marathon.

After the 9KM, the route brought us to a path just along the seaside, it was a beautiful sight, however we were faced with a slight congestion. Thankfully, the narrow path involved a short stretch. Some runners took the opportunity to stopped for a selfie along this path which featured the sea. It was a nice day, ocean breeze with melodic sound of waves, and yes it brought great feelings from the body to the soul. Then, we reached the 10KM-where all the 21KM runners had to cross the starting line to get to the 2nd loop. While I crossed the 10KM marker, runners for the 10KM category were in positions and were all in their corals on stand by to be flagged off.

Ohhh don’t forget to unplug your headphone and listen to the waves crashing, the birds chirping and the people/villagers playing. How refreshing to run with true awareness of your surroundings. Allowing my body fall into the rhythm of the natural soundtrack.

Then suddenly I heard, happy feet, happy singing, happy chanting sounds….The 10KM runners, along with the army, soldiers and trainees were running in groups..Oh what a marvellous sight! They were tough, they were singing, they were motivating one another. Then my thoughts diverted to Leftenan Adnan.Hmmmmmm…..He was a teacher but he chose to join the army and fight and defend our country Malaysia. He left his home, his parents, wife and kids to sacrifice, to fight, to defend our country- our beloved nation- Malaysia! He was strong and brave and faught until the end as the saying goes ‘ Biar putih tulang, jangan putih hati’. A sense of pride crept inside of me to be able to run side by side with the army, soldiers and trainees. I felt proud and honored to be part of ATM Half Marathon, to be running in honor of  ‘Angkatan Tentera Malaysia.’

A few minutes later, they were out of sight. I was ‘only the lonely’. Then I cruised along the flat ground, keeping my breathing in check and noting who was around me. I didn’t want to run alone and there were a few times I surged ahead simply to stay with a pack of runners.

Then, I reached the main road-the round- about for the second time. Traffic control was tremendously execellent! Arrows and signages let us know we were always on the right track and marshals guided runners in the right direction while directing traffic and a few key intersections.

By the way, I have to say pacers are incredible! I am still feeling good…like surprisingly good. The route was still wet and foggy. It’s still cool, already feel drenched in sweat, but I’m immersed in the atmosphere and just generally happy. Around the 17KM there was a hydration station, volunteers handing them out for the runners to grab…I grabbed one cup of water and one cup of 100Plus, somehow that taste helped me get through..There were times throughout the race when I wanted to cry just because I was so happy! I’m not saying that the whole 21KM was such a breeze that I was on cloud 9 the whole time. What I am saying is that there I was- doing it-really doing it! Running 21KM- A Half Marathon.

My goal was to just finish the race. I was able to keep running, only stopping at aid stations/water breaks. I need to give a shout out and thank the stranger in the army uniform. He doesn’t know he did anything but I was trying my damnest to keep up with him. And I did, for a long time. So, Mr Soldier, thank you keeping me going, for motivating me and helping me not to stop or quit. Even though you have no clue and will probably never see this, you helped me immensely.

After the hydration station, I tried to remind myself I only had 4KM left to do. I do 5KM everyday, no sweat…that didn’t really work. I was already super tired and my feet hurt. But I still kept at it. At about the 18KM, I gave in and walked some more. I walked about 1KM. Maybe a bit more…I wanted to 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 look SO.FAR.AWAY. I can do this…I turned my head to the right, and there I saw my hubby, standing next to my bro-Bufford and his wife Mary (who ran the 10KM race), cheering me on.

JUST GO…FINISH….and finish, I did..I threw my hands up in the air, like I just don’t care, as I crossed the finish…I got my awesome medal and my finisher Tee-Shirt and my legs felt like dead. But I just ran a half marathon…For someone who running does not come easy for, I was (am) unbelievably proud of myself.

After race ended, parts of my body I didn’t know I had started hurting. I felt like I got body slammed by the Hulk and then hit by a truck a.k.a Optimus Prime. When I got home, I showered, drove the kids to Sunday School, had lunch with mum, dad, hubby and kids and napped like my life depended on it. I walked like a penguin for a few days after the race.

I can’t wait to do it again. My favourite part of the race- EVERYTHING!  Overall, the hype, the people, the Army-soldiers-trainees, the crowds and the emotions…”Remember when you thought you couldn’t do this?” I do……..But I just did it and now I feel unstoppable. It was truly a once in a lifetime destination race and eventhough I wasn’t able to “RACE” it, just running it was such a gift!

 

ATM Half Marathon 2017

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There’s always the first time for everything! This coming weekend, I will be going for another running adventure with my better half! The ATM Half Marathon 2017 which will be in held in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan on the 12th November 2017.

It will be an honour and pride to be part of this awesome event. The Malaysia Military Services have a long, proud and ilustrious history in securing the peace, both against threat at home or internationally under the auspices of the United Nations. The Angkatan Tentera Malaysia Half Marathon (ATM Half Marathon) is a brand-new running event in Malaysia aim at bringing the military forces closer to the people it serves- the citizens of Malaysia. Through the ATM Half Marathon, participants can get up close and personal with the different branches of the military services namely Army,Navy and Airforce.

I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to be one the official blogger and to be able to run a 21 KM Half Marathon and share my journey and adventure with my fellow runners. Just imagine, I will have the opportunity to take pictures with members of the elite GGK Commandos, pose a selfie with their rifles and who knows……a PB!

See you there this Sunday 12th November, 2017! For more information, www.atmhalfmarathon.com

The Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House

Ahhh..vegan food. Some people eat it as a lifestyle, some people eat it to stay healthy, some people just lowkey enjoy it! A vegetarian food restaurant with a twist of adventure The Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House.

When I say vegetarian and healthy food…what comes to mind?  Bland, tasteless and only green? Well, if that is your answer, you need to redifine your definition of healthy vegetarian food. Located in the heart of Seremban, Seremban Gateaway, on the second floor, their menu typically consists of raw food, western dishes, smoothies and fashionable desserts and Japanese too!

Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House is a restaurant that will steal your heart for many different reasons whether you are a vegetarian or not!

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If there’s one thing I know about humans, it’s that we love pizza. And just because someone decides to do away with dairy and meat in their diet, doesn’t mean they should have to miss out on one of the tastiest creations known to man! Luckily there are tons of amazing recipes available to vegan pizza lovers the world over-that will satisfy their cravings for what some call the perfect food…….eat up!

In some circles, sushi is synonymous with ‘raw fish’…and clearly not on the menu for vegan or vegetarian diners. Thankfully, Cafe Veggie @ The Muffin House offers a variety of- course veggie spread sure to satisfy anyone’s sushi cravings and delicious California rolls, Volcano rolls, Tempura rolls any many more…..

AVOCADO SALAD

From simple to sumptuous, avocados add flair to any salad recipe. Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House has avocado salad to suit any taste or occasion. A collection of richer, side dish with avocado and creamy dressing and stimulate your taste buds with the flavorful avocado salad.

SEAWEED FRIED RICE

Served with shredded carrots for added texture, this fried rice is earthly, crunchy & savory. With a few simple yet delicious ingredients this dish comes together very easily. It has a unique flavour profile for a fried rice. The flavors in this dish are a traditional Japanese combination and really play off one another well.

ALL DAY BREAKFAST

We are a nation that loves breakfast food. Yet plently of us still skip our morning meal. Why? Because we are too busy! But that excuse will no longer be acceptable -once you order ‘The Friendly Breakfast’ whether you prefer sweet or savory, this dish- from fluffy pancakes to scrambled eggs- for some, it’s sunny-side-up eggs..

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SALTED EGG CHICKEN

This salted egg chicken uses aromatic curry leaves to complement the salted egg yolk. One bite is enough to make you hanker for more. A dish that would satisfy even the most discerning salted egg fun. Juicy ‘chicken’ fried to golden perfection and coated with velvety of golden salted egg cream. The latest trendy dish loved by all veggie lovers!

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EGG MAYO CROISSANT

Greet the morning with a warm croissant sandwich. Delicious egg mayo on a buttery croissant makes a tasty start to your day. It’s only better in a croissant because….a croissant is bigger and it holds more egg mayo! Don’t you think so?

WAFFLE BANANA

Start your morning with a ‘yummy-licious’ waffle with banana topped with warm maple syrup or a dollop of whipped cream/ice cream. Great waffles!

LAKSA NOODLE

If you like spicy and pungent flavors, this vegetarian laksa has your name on it! This vegetarian laksa noodle is amazing. This is the kind of noodle soup I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it contains so many of my favourite ingredients, coconut milk, red curry paste, curry powder and noodles. There’s nothing more appealing than a bowl of bright orange broth and noodles topped with loads of veggies to make me want to dive and devour. MUST. EAT. NOW.

LATTE, MOCHA AND CHOCOLATE

It’s no secret that chocolate and coffee make a fabulous pair. Combined with rich, full bodied espresso with bittersweet mocha sauce and steamed milk, then top it off with sweetened whipped cream….just classic!

Situated in the heart of Seremban, Seremban Gateway. The Veggie Cafe @ The Muffin House serves the food of modern day vegan by proving that vegetarian food can be flavoursome, creative and satisfying with a menu that is varied and imaginative.