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.

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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!

IJM Land Half Marathon 2018

Bigger, Better and bolder!

The IJM Land Half Marathon 2018 is back!

Registration is now open!

Scheduled to be held on 12 August 2018, IJM Land Half Marathon is targeting 9,000 runners to sign up and strongly encourages healthy living and fitness amongst Malaysians and strives to bring communities in Seremban 2 and surrounding vicinities together to appreciate and enjoy a sport that is filled with adventure, speed and simplicity at its finest.

A press conference was held on 30 March 2018 at the S2 Club, Seremban Two. As reflected in their tagline: ‘Run together, Bond stronger’, a speech by Dato’ Hoo Kim See, Senior General Manager (Central Region) said that this event is not just a platform for runners, but to reinforce the community bond among people, bringing friends and family, young and old to enjoy a healthy sport together.

Together with their Platinum sponsor, Mr Manns Goh, CEO of IONMAN SDS (M) Bhd Sdn, Mr Selvarajah, COO, Director of TDK Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Gold sponsor and with their esteemed partners such as MILO, Nestle, Mcdonald, BMW, Mydin S2 and Columbia Asia Hospital and many more officiated the launch together with the guest of honor Mr Ong Kim Hwa, being the oldest runner of IJM Land Half Marathon, aged 84 years- 21km veteran category and along side with me, Chrisy Wong-21km veteran category who has been their official writer and runner for the IJM Land Half Marathon for the past 4 years.

If your skepticism or questioning in your abilities is holding you back from running the IJM Land Half Marathon, I am here to convince you otherwise.

  1. TO SAY YOU DID IT– How great is it going to feel when you cross that finish line, and you can look at your friend, family and yourself, and say, “I did it!”
  2. TO GET THE MEDAL– I mean…..have you seen the IJM Land Half Marathon 2018 medal? The medal you receive for finishing a half marathon is something that you can show off and cherish for the rest of your life.
  3. TO CHECK IT OFF YOUR BUCKET LIST– Everybody has one or more thing(s) that they want to accomplish at some point in their lifetime. If running the IJM Land Half Marathon 2018 isn’t on it, it should be! Why not join in?
  4. BECAUSE YOU CAN– Thomas Jefferson once stated that ‘if we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves’. If you believe that completing a half marathon is impossible, rid yourself of that mindset!
  5. THE PERKS– Not only do you get a flashy medal, but you also get a running t-shirt and once you have completed the 21km half marathon, you will also be rewarded with a finisher t-shirt and other perks that IJM Land Half Marathon has to offer. This race offers food and drinks and snacks and lots of goodies and lucky draw prizes after your race is over along with some live entertainment! Who doesn’t love free stuff?
  6. BECAUSE REALLY……………..WHY NOT? So, after reading all these, why not join the IJM Land Half Marathon? This year, there are a few categories such as the 21km Half Marathon category, 12km category and the 5km Fun Run category. Hurry! Log in now at http://www.ijmlandrun.com