TWINCITY HALF- MARATHON 2020 RACE REVIEW

The half marathon is a running event with a distance of 21,097.5 metres.

The Putrajaya and Cyberjaya race route was not at all flat as most runners would think. Its rolling hills and the occasional up and down the bridges under humid hot weather could take a toll on a runner.

The venue at Persiaran Flora was a long stretch of road, maybe longer than the whole stretch of Dataran Merdeka. It was an appropriate venue to hold that size of an event with various tents (for goodies collection, sponsors’ booth, refreshment, etc) were set-up at both sides of the road. Parking space was ample while many latecomers just parked their vehicles by the roadside of the deserted Cyberjaya. The start for the full marathon was nothing big, just a simple one.

I experienced a whole range of emotions! In the morning I was completely hyper. I felt both nervous and ecstatic at the same time.

Walking to the race took about 5 minutes. We parked at the designated parking area for runners, walked about 5 minutes from the starting point and were greeted with literally hundreds/thousands of people.

You know the drill…wait in line for port-a-potty, do your thing, get in corral and wait. That’s exactly what we did.

Standing there at the starting line was an overwhelming experience. There were 5,000 people ready to run. It was still dark.

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Looking straight ahead all you could see was the “countdown” to the start. The organisers got a band of “Bollywood” drums to kick-start the event. My heart was beating so fast. The music was playing, energy was soaring. Some were crying, others were laughing, some were still “membawang” and still others were just mentally preparing themselves as well!

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1….

And we were off!

I paced myself well and just kept moving.

The first sector was to run around the central district of Cyberjaya’s business hub. Was a little pack but enough to navigate through the runners.

I was also really impressed by how the race directors managed the crowds. Setting up race fencing was a great way to reduce the massive wave of people who would likely have occurred if they hadn’t. The start line was pretty narrow, and shoots you up a short, curved hill in the first quarter-mile. It would have been mayhem of pace failures if they didn’t think smart — and I’m glad they did.

I always aim for the inside to avoid getting boxed in. This time, that meant running right next to moving traffic, some of which was aggressively driving past the race, probably annoyed they had been slowed down. Certain parts of the route were dark and the street lights were not lit. Certain stretches of the lane was pretty dark but was lucky the road was mostly in good conditions. For the elite or fast runners, it was quite dangerous running at this route, only cones were placed by the side. Runners safety were at risk!

There were times throughout the race when I wanted to cry just because I was so happy! I’m not saying that the whole 21 kilometer 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. I did it for me – for the me I am now and for the me that I hope to be better and stronger!  I did it for everyone who could not be out there running. I was so thankful. I felt so blessed. And so when the hills got tough for me, I just fought them right back!

I don’t remember much except running towards the water and then through a few residential streets where one woman in her tutu’s came and over took some runners and yelled “it’s a beautiful day for a run!” Like it was some casual run we were all out for. I laughed. It also felt very crowded around these miles. I tried to conserve my energy and not weave. My time is evident of being held up a little by the crowds.

Hit the 10K right around 55:00 (Signages and markers were barely helpful. It only tells you from every mile marker to go straight, to turn left, turn right.) I was just running and not knowing the distance…not as easy as it sounds when all your energy is going into moving your legs) and was feeling pretty good. The energy was awesome from the crowds.

Around the 15KM there were people standing with bananas, holding them out for us to grab. I decided I better grab one since the saying goes, there is always the first time for everything! I held it in my hand like a baton. I just tasted it. Somehow that taste helped me get through.

Was merged back again with the full marathoners and I think the 12KM runners too. But was lucky it didn’t clog up the running path as the roads were wide enough to cater for everyone. The only thing I missed was the food stations. It was heaven on earth. It made me so hungry…. but I just kept on moving. At that point, I was ready to be done. I started to pick up the pace. I could feel that my knees were going to be an “achin’ unit.” AND THEN…..the roaring and cheering was heard. I knew the end was there. For about the last  700meters I felt as though I was i n the Olympics. There was Red Carpet. A straight shot. A sprint. Thousands of people on both sides of you…..just seconds away – loud music, cheering, speakers – my last all….everything I had….Crossing the TWINCITY HALF MARATHON Finish Line!

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It’s an amazing experience to set off with so many people who all have the same goal. It took me a while adjust to running in a crowd, but the running itself went quite well for most of the race. I found the last 5 kilometres very difficult. There was so much going through my mind. Besides being physically demanding, running a half marathon is also mentally challenging. I kept thinking,   “I can’t go on. I have to stop and walk for a while.”. But when I saw how many people were overtaking me, my inner dialogue changed to  “Run Chrisy, run! Everyone is overtaking you!”  This kind of self-talk is constantly going through your head.  It’s an amazing experience to run with so many people at the same time, but the truth is you have to run all 21 kilometres on your own.

As I sit here and typed this review, I am actually truly amazed at what I have accomplished. I am so thankful for my body. It is pretty freaking amazing. It’s crazy how you can run miles and miles if you put your mind to it. And that’s what I have learned through this whole experience. Long distance running is all mental. If you really really want something, you can do it. We are all capable of so much and I am so glad I was able to see exactly what that looks like for me. The biggest takeaway for me though is that when it comes down to it, mentality is everything. Your body is capable of doing extraordinary things, and you can’t let a negative mindset take hold. Perseverance, belief in yourself, and the fortitude to finish, no matter the distance or day, is all that matter.

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So my advice: If you have any desire whatsoever to run a half or full marathon, do it. Just sign up! That way you have something to work towards and look forward too.

Bringing back the roots of authenticity-Narayana Tea Stall at Sri Sendayan

India is defined by its authentic traditions and food forms part of the rich Indian culture. Here at Narayana Tea Stall, they would like to take you back to their roots and show you the authentic colours of India through their warm hospitality, fresh ingredients and delightful cuisines bursting with flavours. Select your journey from their scrumptious medley of street food from various states of India such as Dahi Puri, Vada Pav, Amritsari Chole with Stuffed Bhatura, Methi Pakoda, and many more.

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There’s something comforting about eating comfort food – ‘Food for the Soul’ they say – as it evokes tender memories of meals prepared by our mothers or even grandmothers.

 In their kitchen, they take simple dishes and transform them into exotic cuisines by adding a touch of finesse to their delicacies prepared by chefs hailing from India. Tantalize your taste buds with our assortment of rustic spices and relish an ethnic fine dining experience like no other at NARAYANA TEA STALL, Sri Sendayan. 

Opening in the newest eating locale called  Narayana Tea Stall, tucked in Sri Sendayan – Seremban’s exclusive and opulent neighbourhood – Narayana Tea Stall is bound to entice your taste buds and create a unique dining experience. The restaurant which boasts authentic Indian cuisine aims to take customers on a culinary journey through one of the of the most colourful sub-continents in the world.

 Ambience

While Narayana Tea Stall saw a relatively quiet opening, word seems to have gotten out in the interim, as I popped in on a weekday at 11am to a full restaurant The interiors are striking with cinematic allusions to Marvels’s famous Heroes, featuring a centrepiece of auspicious tree and soon a water fountain, perhaps….., casting a sentimental feeling and moody glow on the spacious dining room.

The elongated space is divided into a few sections and seats a total of 100 diners. Newly whitewashed walls and deep grey trim temper gleaming white and black tile floors and beautiful overhead lighting. Indian art adorns the walls and twanging strings of traditional and at times modern up beat music set the mood.

The chef, Krishna, who has been with Narayana Tea Stall for many years (branch in S2, Uptown) has many years of experience and has the passion and love for what he has been doing for years.“His cooking is very clean and delicious,” Ravee says. “He keeps an eye on everything and wants the ingredients and preparation to be a certain way.”

The menu is heavy on appetizers and chaat (savory snacks), thali specials (sampler plates), tandoori clay oven specials, and curries and naan (Indian bread) with toppings.

Chicken fritters, or pakoras, are battered with house garbanzo bean flour batter. These are a parent’s answer for the fussy child who has not veered from recognizable Malaysian flavors. The lively herby mint and sweet tamarind dipping sauces and the slivered cucumber garnish add welcoming zing and freshness for palettes wishing for a flavor boost.

Pieces of half chicken, brushed by paprika and baked in a tandoor clay oven, arrives on a platter and is overlaid with curry-hued slices of onion and wedges of lemon . The yogurt- and spice-marinated legs and thighs are buttery and tender, having been given the advantage of deep cuts sliced into the meat that become flavor-catching crevices. Light charring adds smokiness.

Vegetarians have ample choices — potatoes, cauliflower and peas cooked in a tomato-based curry sauce (aloo matar gobi); a combination of ginger, garlic, tomato, spices and coconut milk (mushroom masala), and vegetarian coconut curry. The latter binds together potato, cauliflower, bell peppers, peas, carrots and broccoli in thick, creamy coconut, garlic and ginger white sauce that’s perfect for swiping with the naan.

The plain naan is perfectly adequate on its own, but add in red and green onion and Indian spices or smother it with warm, shimmering pesto and, although it might lose some of its airiness, it’s hard to resist.

Biriyani dishes resemble stir-fry and are dominated by rice. Choose chicken with a confident kick of spice, lamb, prawns or vegetarian. Raiti (yogurt, carrot, cucumber and house-made spice) comes as a condiment and is a refreshing compliment.

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Ms Sobana has been devotedly running her restaurants for a long time. She brings a steady following for filling and fully flavored cuisine and efficient, accommodating service. She also prides herself on her commitment to giving back to her community through charity organizations, school fundraisers, thanksgiving meals etc.

HARIYALI CHICKEN TIKKA

Crispy fried spinach leaves coated with thin batter, mixed with chopped vegetables, different chutneys and drizzled with yoghurt

PANEER TIKKA

Delectable pieces of marinated cottage cheese mixed with spices and pickles and slowly barbequed in a tandoor and skewered with roasted peppers and onions

TANDOORI CHICKEN

Specially marinated chicken with a combination of special Indian herbs and spices, roasted in tandoor

CHICKEN TIKKA

Boneless marinated chicken slow grilled in tandoor and skewered with roasted peppers and onions

The menu, as you might expect, is a sort of greatest hits assemblage of the most popular Indian dishes. The tandoori chicken is bright red and butter-tender, with the meaty heft of the charred flesh balanced out by a tangle of barely cooked sweet, white onions. For a dish that’s often cursed to be dried to a chewy, wood-chip texture by the heat of the clay oven it’s cooked in, Narayana’s version is impressively moist, retaining a slight tanginess from the yogurt that marinated the meat. The saag paneer’s cheese cubes have a nice elastic bounce, the perfect foil to the creamy blanket of pureed spinach and onion that they float in, with a mild spiciness that cuts through the fat, like a dressed-up version of the creamed spinach that used to be de rigueur in every high-class steakhouse. And the butter chicken is impossibly soft, pillowy meat absorbing the pool of creamy, buttery tomato sauce that tastes almost like a smokier penne alla vodka, the perfect accompaniment to their fresh-cooked, crispy-edged naan, whose spongy interior makes the ideal tool for sopping up all these saucy plates.

Narayana Tea Stall is a restaurant that feels like home.

Narayana Tea Stall presents a special breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner for folks, so foodie where are you? Diners at Narayana Tea Stall will demand you to have a plate full of your favourites without missing out on any! Then this weekend, cancel all your appointments and grab a delectable North Indian cuisine!

Narayana Tea Stall, No 230, Sendayan Merchant Square.

For for information, please contact 06-7923684 or http://www.facebook.com/narayateastall.

Business Hour: Weekdays 8.30am to 10.30pm

 weekend & Public holiday 8.30am to 10.45pm