Sunday, October 28, 2012

adidas King of the Road, Singapore Leg


adidas King of the Road (KOTR) is a championship run event held in five countries in Southeast East and Singapore is among the five.  The total distance is 16.8km for this morning run which will be flagged off at Gardens By The Bay. 

Admittedly after the last Sundown Marathon, I was not keen to run but Winnie managed to convince me to participate as she was hoping to use this event to prepare for her year end 21km Stanchart Half Marathon.  She has not been doing any form of serious run in preparation for it and the leg injury from a recent fall put paid to her on-off training schedule.  Owing to all these factors, she decided to opt out at the last moment - what a pity!  Stanchart event is inching close and I am not sure whether she will be ready by then.  "Can't run, walk lah...don't have to give yourself too much pressure lah, Winnie".  I really hope she just go for it, come what may and she will feel fully satisfied with her own accomplishment - trust me.     

Anyway, I set my alarm at 0545hrs this morning and since I will not be picking Winnie at her place, I will take MRT instead.  By 0600 hrs, I was already out of my house and the walk to the station took about ten minutes.  I was joined by many runners at the station.  I alighted at MBS station.  As I was not too sure where exactly the flag off venue, I just followed the crowd and I can't be wrong.  It was already 0700 hrs & clicking and I was still walking to the start line with the rest.  Quite a long walk after exiting the station, actually. 

When I finally arrived at the start line, I can see many runners already in front of me.  Local deejay Rod proudly announced some 12,000 runners from 53 countries will be running this morning.  I tried to move in front if there was any space, knowing too well if I started right behind, I will be blocked by many slow runners.  The flag off started shortly after but as I was not among the early birds, I had to wait for the second wave.  I did not have my watch on me, everything was based on assumption.  I reckoned we had to wait for more than five minutes later before we were flagged off. 

I have not been running very long distance for quite a while, at most 15km and this week, I only did one run at East Coast for about 10km.  I told myself that I will not push too hard, just the usual pace should do.  It was already getting brighter and with the light, the heat.  We covered the first 6km running through MBS and around the city before entering the F1 pit and into the park connector alongside Nicoll Highway.

At the 6km mark, I can see the first runner on the return and at that point, he had already covered 14km - world class pace.  Some of us clapped when he strode past with ease.  He is a young chap from you know where...Africa, of course.  It was a big gap between him and the second runner.  Not very long later, I saw the first female runner and no prize for guessing where she comes from and Africa, of course.  I was still maintaining my pace, no intention to accelerate and I can feel heat in the morning. 

We were running on Nicoll Highway to the direction of Old Airport Road and at 10km mark, we made an U-turn back to the finishing.  I was hoping to catch some familiar faces on the U-turn where runners can see each other on both side.  No chance, I didn't manage to find anyone I know.

At every water station, I will pour the plain water over my head to cool down and 100 plus to quench my thirst.  At 15km, I saw the same lady African runner who was leading the pack earlier but she was lying on the ground and attended by a fellow competitor.  Gosh, the morning heat must taken a toll on her and there, she was lying on the ground waiting for medical help.  What a wasted effort for her, I thought to myself.

With less than one km to the finish, I did not have the fire in my belly to accelerate like I used to but preferred to maintain the usual stride.  When I was about to run past the finishing, I looked up the gun time above which showed 1 hour 42 mins.  I gave a big thumbs-up at the finish for the photo.  By my reckoning, I should have clocked a nett time of 1 hour 35 mins or maybe a little more.

Before heading home, I went to 100 plus and Adidas booths to have nice pictures taken for souvenir.  I even participated in Tiger Air spin-the wheel contest, but only managed to win a small towel.  Good enough, I have something to bring home from this event.  Will I run again next year?  Well, not sure for now leh.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pretender, The Way To Go For Some

I am not a perfect being, I have many flaws but when it comes to 'play act', I will fare badly.  As an imperfect being I am and who am I to comment on somebody's flaw, really?  But I can't help posting my thought on my blog as it has been bothering me for quite a while.  Tell you all already, I am not perfect lor.     

I know this person for good many years but I will not name her (opp, she is a lady...well, what the heck) - for obvious reasons.  To get my story going, let me give her an initial instead.  Okay, I will call her AS (not ASS but AS, the initial).  Why I say AS is a great pretender?  This is the story... 

By the way, we were friends once but not anymore for quite few years.  Admittedly, in my 50 years in life, I have not met anyone who will (without shame) announce to the world that he or she has worked his or her butt out when in actual fact, it is the contrary.  I won't say AS is a bad leader but an exemplary one, far from it?  If she does not think too highly of herself and too lowly of others; if she accepts teamwork is the way to go & grow; if she, as the leader of her team knows how to recognise credits of others and not totally for herself while faults are pointed at others and not herself, the list can go on and on...the joy of working as a formidable team is real, haiz!

I will list two recent incidents which really put me off.  A fellow colleague in her team passed away from a sudden sickness and some of us helped to pass the hat around for the bereaved family.  AS (gracious of her, this part should be real) emailed to thank some of us for helping in our small way or another.  Perhaps, she was in a rush to send this thank you email to some of us, she made a typo error.  She was supposed to type 'deceased or demised colleague', instead she typed 'dismissed colleague'.  Simple mistake and no big deal, right?  I pointed out the typo error to her immediately.  Guess, what was her reply?  She replied she is busy as she has to send out many quotations to clients and she will leave the mistake at that, as she has no time to correct that one word, 'dismissed'.  Hey, she got the time in the world to thank me for pointing out to her and explaining her rather weird reason for not correcting it but didn't have the time to re-send the corrected one.  Does that make any sense to anyone?  No time to eat or even 'shit' (I am bad, the latter is added to up the effect)?  By the way, business continues to reel badly despite the many quotations sent.  The one thing I cannot stomach is that she does not know what is respect to others, especially to the person who has just passed away.  Does she know that those who do not know this deceased person received this supposedly thank you email from her will think he was dismissed from his job and then passed on?  I have no idea whether she knows she was doing a great disservice to her fallen colleague.  When I read her reply, it was beyond words for me to say more.

While her 'busy schedule' continues, but at a drop of a pen, she flew off to a far far place for more than one week with her pal and I cannot say it was for work, for holiday or both.  Anyway, if it was related to work, her job has no link to the few places she visited with her pal but she gladly did it at a drop of her pen.  What do you think what her other colleagues (who are her subordinates, unfortunately) will think?  She is lucky she is a protected species in the organisation, not many will have such luck though.

Why do I want to pen this story knowing she might know I am talking about her?  Am I afraid of a rebuttal?  Simply put, I am not a pretender like her and I really cannot stand the false front she put out.  Lastly, I am laying bare the facts.


Monday, October 08, 2012

Broga Hill Hike With Friends


It was another HTTB event, titled "Hike and Historical Trip Day Trip (Sunrise at Broga Hill + Malacca) organised by Hiker Lillian and SP, the elder of the group. 

The response was so hot that the initial 12 slots were taken up within minutes when it went 'LIVE' on HTTB meetup site and finally, it was increased to 26.  Either Lillian is hot or the trip to Broga Hill is hot, or maybe both are equally hot.  Dora was the one who prompted me about this trip and thanks to her, she did all the follow up for me.  She worked fast (her fingers worked even faster) and she managed to confirm one slot for me without me breaking a sweat - what a lucky fella I am (sweat)!

For S$60 per person, which included coach transfer and a decent peranakan lunch in Malacca (the climb is free though), it is definitely worth everthing I must say.  This was also my first trip organised by Hiker Lillian and I was looking forward to it.

On 6 Sat, Saturday at 2245 hrs, we assembled at Marsiling station for our coach.  I arrived very early, more than an hour before the scheduled coach departure.  CK joined me a while later, he was early too.  Slowly, everyone started to stream in.  I don't know many in the group but there were few familiar faces like Edmund and his ahem, girlfriend (the last time, they are not steady yet but this time, they are on liao), Poon, Jacky and his wife, May, Anna, SP, CK and of course, Dora.  Soon, these new faces become kakis.  Some of these old faces whom I have not met for a while and it was certainly good feeling to re-group for another hike.  

We slept on the coach as we planned to arrive before first light to watch the sunrise at the peak.  Broga Hill is in the border of Selangor state in this small town called Seminyih which is about 40-min drive from KL city.  I have not been to Broga Hill but I did goggle search from some its details, to prepare myself.  I know it is not a tough hike but it is also not a walk in the park affair either.

It was around 0600 hrs when we reached the start of the hike and when SP requested for someone to volunteer as last man, I gamely volunteered.  It was still dark, each of us put on our headlight before the start of the hike.  Even at that early hour and also, it was a weekend, the place was already streaming with many people.  Once all 26 of us were accounted for, we moved off and soon, we joined the other hikers on the way up.  There were some blind hikers (yes, they are completely blind) and they were escorted by able-bodied assistants.  I was covering the back, making sure no one in our group has fallen behind me for safety sake.

Broga Hill stands at some 300 metres above sea level,  it is definitely doable by almost anyone.  A young girl, aged probably five or six was hiking on own but I believe her parents must be somewhere around.  She was not escorted at all.  She is quite a brave little girl, moving up confidently and at ease too but I still do not think it is a good idea to leave this little girl on own to trek especially it was still dark and she was not even equipped with headlight.  Who am I to tell that to her parents, sigh.

Broga Hill may be a hill but there are some steep and rocky paths along the way.  I can see some struggled quite a bit with the climb.  The surge of crowd on the weekend also can 'kill off' some interest.  Some in our group also did not come prepared, not even the basic necessity like the headlight. 

In less than an hour, most of us reached close to the peak.  There are three peaks, which follows one after another.  Some of us gathered at the second last peak.  We were not motivated to go to the third peak as it was packed with people and it was also getting misty.  The view was blinded by the mist, no chance to get any good view at all.

By 0900 hrs, we were at the foot of the hill and soon, we were heading to Malacca town for a short day tour and lunch.  Throughout the journey, I was sleeping away but by my reckoning, it took us less than 3 hours to reach Malacca.  Admittedly, the peranakan lunch was so-so and some of us were already looking forward to try the famous 'chendol' at Jonker street after our lunch.  Dora and I went for our massage while CK, Anna and the rest roamed the Jonker street.  We gathered back at the Red House for our coach to pick us.  I was afraid that we will be caught in a heavy jam on a typical Sunday outing but to my surprise, it was smooth traffic all the way to the Singapore side.  We were dropped at Marsiling Station well before 1900 hrs. 

Thumbs up to Hiker Lillian and SP for a good short trip.  I look forward to another with them.