San Francisco, California: Bay to Breakers 2019

I was out for almost two weeks for a business trip to San Francisco. I’ve loads of experiences I’m excited to write about here on my blog. For now I’ll start with the Bay to Breakers Run which is marketed as the oldest consecutively run footrace in the world (since 1912).

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My cousin booked us a one-night stay at Hilton (we haven’t seen each other in five years). He told me it’s a race where people dress up. Luckily I borrowed a Power Rangers-LOOKING suit from a colleague (thanks Shawn!).

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Several firsts:

  • First race in San Francisco (also: first in California, first in the USA)
  • First time to race while wearing a costume
  • First time to race in sub-18 degree C weather. All my races to date are in Southeast Asia with temps above 27-degrees C.

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I picked out Corral C which is a more conservative time. I was thinking I wouldn’t be finishing the race at a competitive pace since I wanted to take this opportunity to use the race as a way to experience San Francisco by foot.

 

The route

The route passes by the company’s San Francisco office. This was the first time I was seeing the office so YES… i did stop right in front of it.

 

True enough people were in costumes. There were all sorts of traditions like throwing tortillas. Some people were running naked. In this weather? The route took you through neighbourhoods where people were outside their homes having picnics and watching the racers pass by. I spotted people in windows looking out. It had a strong community vibe. Some racers were doing it backwards (it’s also a tradition, apparently).

 

Oh, and I added a few more dollars to race an additional stretch for an additional medal.

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It was a great first day in San Francisco. We were blessed (yes I’ll use that word) to have great weather that morning. Because the previous days were dark and stormy.

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Can’t thank my cousin enough for telling me about this race and for being such an amazing host during my first weekend in SF.

4 Tips for Beginners: Spartan Race Yio Chu Kang Sprint

AROO! Experienced Spartan for a 2nd time earlier. Different venue, different feel! It was in Yio Chu Kang (Ang Mo Kio). Imagine running through a muddy obstacle course with HDBs in the background. Very Singapore! I loved it!

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Muddy. I should’ve worn an older pair of shoes and compression.

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Love this shot of PJ!

Three tips for beginners based on my experience (because there are elite + experienced Spartans I’ve to learn from too)

  1. Don’t wear new shoes when going to a muddy Spartan. Wear your trusty old pair which you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. This also means choosing appropriate race attire. Wear something comfortable. I wore my 2XU compression shorts and a singlet.
  2. Consider wearing gloves. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But gloves helped me with the climbing and grip of things (like the bucket obstacle).
  3. Beginners, perhaps take your time through the course. It’s a SPRINT. But for beginners, I say don’t feel pressured to finish the course as fast as the more experienced athletes on the course. This also means giving way and moving to the side to let others pass you. I think that’s important for sportsmanship.
  4. Smile and help others out. I wouldn’t be able to finish this 20+ obstacle course without the help and encouragement of the people around me. Some challenges require climbing up walls and it was great to hear tips from the people who were good at it. These people have trained and for sharing their knowledge, thank you! I also got to pay it forward and help out the person behind me by suggesting where to grip.

The Spartan Race is a test of strength and endurance. It’s also a test of physical and mental. After two Spartans to date (in the discovery phase), I’ve learned that it demands you train your whole body. Upper and lower body muscle groups. All of it. I can probably see why it’s so addictive for the elite Spartans (in red headbands).

Favourite obstacles (define favourite – lol)

  • Wall climb – all types
  • Sand bag on a muddy hill
  • That wall that’s tilted backward

Areas that I really need to train harder for

  • Atlas
  • Rope climbing
  • Obstacles that rely on upper body strength

I hope before I turn 40 I can accomplish a Spartan Race as an elite racer. Shirtless. 😛

This is not a sponsored post. But I’ll point you to the Spartan SG website to learn more.

Thank you Team UFIT and LinkedIn Wellness. ❤

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Preparation: OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017 (10km)

All set for my fifth Sundown! Started in 2013 in the 10km category. Competed in the 10km category each year except in 2015 (21.1km Half Marathon). Excited!

See here: My experience running Sundown in 2016 and 2014.

Preparation

I had a satisfying result in my land time trials for FDS. Clocking in my LTT “best run ever” at 13 mins 42 seconds (2.8 kilometers). I also raced in a 5km charity run last weekend. I’m psyched to run during our weekly land trainings. Running 10 minutes at high speed on a treadmill is standard when I visit the gym.

Credits

I was planning to cut back on “paid” races this year to focus on weightlifting and paddling. But our company sponsored slots this year. Could not resist that! I am running the OSIM Sundown Marathon 10km thanks to my company’s initiatives in health.

Route

The race route is different this year. Almost in reverse from the previous years. The first part of the race is towards Gardens by the Bay, before turning back towards the F1 Race Pit (where the race starts and concludes), before going up along the Kallang Riverside, and then back down again to the F1 Pit.

Race Route – Video courtesy Garmin

10km Challenge – Map

Cheers!

George

Animals

Running at the zoo.

Bananas for the monkeys.

Doesn’t that sound hilarious? I got invited to join the SIA Engineering Company Fun Run at Singapore Zoo over the weekend. It was just a 5km route… but with sweet adrenaline dripping from last week’s Singapore River Regatta… kinareer ko yung takbo.

Thanks for inviting me!

I was overtaking little kids and trying to get into my pace. I passed by giraffes, monkeys, and maybe tigers but I wasn’t looking lol. I felt that the fun run was less than 5km. But it was “fun” nevertheless… because seeing the sun rise over the resevoir at the back of the zoo was beautiful.

I have noticed that my endurance has improved since I started using the treadmill consistently at the gym every day. I try to get a minimum 15 minutes on a faster speed setting. At the end of 15 minutes I am sweating and my face looks like shit but it’s rewarding.

Because on the dragon boat recently, I noticed my recovery is faster. I have a little more to give when it comes to load and to reach (given the person in front of me is leaning forward). I think this is because of the treadmill. I want to up the speed pa nga WITHOUT FALLING OFF THE MACHINE LIKE SOMEONE I KNOW.

Am I on the right track?

So I’m also trying to view my progress using these machines at the gym that analyze your fat or body composition. The latest one says that my fat percentage is at 16.6%. I want to get that to 12% before Boracay next year… possible? I should shut up and lift.

Boracay 2010 and 2016

Let’s be fun, fierce, fabulous… shall we?

Sundown Marathon 2016 – 10km

I completed my fourth Sundown Marathon last Saturday.

  • My overall time for the 10km: 1:07:25 (Personal Best – 10km Competitive)
    • Sundown 10km in 2013: 01:30:10
    • Sundown 10km in 2014: 01:21:54
    • Sundown 21.1km in 2015: 02:52:40
  • Finished 918th out of 5,150 in my category (Net Time).
  • Finished 693rd out of 2,581 other men in my category.

The race was on 28 May 2016, the same day as the DBS Marina Regatta. I had competed in the 22-crew Premiere Open Category earlier in the day. You can say that I was somewhat drained. But I was determined to hit my personal best in the 10km category.

And VOILA. I actually did!

Before the race. I reached the start pen at 9:50 PM (ten minutes before flag-off). But it was so crowded I didn’t get to start until the 6th or 7th wave (10:25pm). Yikes.

 

Completing the 10km in 1 hour, 7 minutes and 25 seconds. I was going for 10km closer to 1 hour or less… BUT GO FIGURE. LOL. I checked my time every few minutes past the 6km mark. Trying to compute my pace and if I would reach the finish line. I was around the 7km mark when I realised I wouldn’t be finishing in one hour.

The familiarity of it.

Highlights. This was the first 10km competitive race where I did not stop “to walk” unless it was to grab a cup of 100plus or mineral water at the hydration stations. Which, by the way, was quite brief. I would grab a cup from the last table, gulp it down, and then start running again.

KASI GUSTO KO MAKUHA ANG 10KM IN ONE HOUR OR LESS. 😛

Race route. The route was very scenic. Starting at the F1 Pit, leading towards Nicoll Highway before turning back alongside Kallang Riverside Park. Towards Sheares Bridge and around the sides of the F1 Pit again. Next to the Singapore Flyer, then it climbs up onto the Helix Bridge and down the steps along The Shoppes @ Marina Bay. The route goes through the waterfront side of The Shoppes, U-turns back which enables you to run between the illuminated palm trees… then towards Gardens by the Bay in the back (under the skeletal magnificence of the conservatories). U-turn again at the end back towards the Gardens, turns and goes down Gardens by the Bay with the Marina Bay Sands towering over you… U-turn for the finishing kilometers by taking you back onto the bridge back to the F1 Pit. Finish Line. Beautiful, beautiful at night. Some areas were narrow, but the route was worth it.

2013 vs 2016

I told myself this would be one of my last competitive runs since I’d like to focus on weightlifting and dragon boating. But who knows, perhaps I’ll come back for a fifth stab at it in 2017. 🙂

Regatta Race ID + Sundown 10km finisher medal 🙂

 

02:52:40 – 21.1KM Sundown Marathon (Half Marathon)

Official timing is out. I’m happy with my race! It was my fastest 10km (around 1 hour 7 minutes), and without stopping. I fizzled out from 10KM to 16KM before starting to run again towards the end. This was perhaps the most scenic marathon race I’ve ever joined since 2012. This was my third time to join Sundown Marathon (the first time to join Sundown 21.1km) and my second half marathon after Standard Chartered last December.

21km-route

Race Kit for Sundown Marathon 2015

Why do I keep putting myself through this?

I signed up again for the Sundown Marathon and this time it’s for the 21.1 kilometre half marathon portion. Sometimes when I’m entering the race pen I wonder what I have gotten myself into. I hate running. And yet, here I am again in my rubber shoes, shorts, and race singlet.

Some of the stuff I picked up apart from the race singlet

Race kit collection was at Suntec Convention Center. Suntec is like a favourite mall that I never go to. It is so spacious. Wide halls, tall ceilings. Makes you feel like a 9 year-old. But it’s also out of the way. That’s why we don’t go to Suntec much. Dami ko na sinabi.

I made some purchases at the event:

  • Arm Pocket Mega I-40 (fits larger-sized smartphones; this is so hard to find at department stores)
  • Two (2) packets of energy gels (I have never tried energy gels… Like EVER)
  • One (1) shuttle bus ticket back to my neighbuorhood. I don’t want to worry about transpo after my race on July 5.

a timing chip attached to your shoes

The goodie bag consists of your race singlet. Quite notable was the timing chip which no longer is attached to your race bib. It is now attached to your shoes!

fabric is thin! but nice. way better than 2013 and 2014!

Free samples include Kiehl’s and Counterpain. I got free sunblock for filling up an Acuvue race bib.

voucher booklet – a great idea to sort everything

Interesting that instead of 10,000 vouchers scattered in your giant goodie bag… they decided to put it together in a “Voucher Booklet”. How organized.

OSIM, the brand that does those fancy massage chairs, is this year’s title sponsor. I have NO IDEA what that $50 OSIM voucher is for (pictures above). Is that a mechanical Pitcher Plant? A Wine Warmer?

Sundown Marathon 2015 is on July 4/5.

My first Half Marathon at SCMS 2014

I was so scared the day before the race since it was my first time to join the Half Marathon route of Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. I joined the 10KM run in 2012 and 2013.

Why did I sign up for 21.1KM or the half marathon? Mainly because after doing the 10KM two years in a row, it was becoming too familiar. I wanted to push myself further this year.

However, I wasn’t able to train for my first half marathon. While I’d like to believe I’m more physically fit now compared to six months ago (with all the dragon boat newbie trainings), running hasn’t taken off. I also nursed a fever this past week.

I stayed over at a friend’s house in Normanton Park since it’s closer to the HM starting point at Sentosa.

The flag-off was at 6:30AM but we were part of the last wave of participants. The HM route starts off at the entrance of Sentosa, heads towards the beaches from Palawan to Siloso, enters Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios Singapore, exits through RWS back onto the bridge towards VivoCity, climbs up a fly-over and heads over towards Labrador Park MRT before u-turning back towards the city. Runners exit the elevated highway near Maxwell Road before turning in at the CBD at Tanjong Pagar, passing by Lau Pa Sat, then towards the Padang where the finish line was. Wheeew.

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Creating my own running route in downtown Singapore

Jogging in Singapore’s HDB heartlands is relaxing. I jogged around the fringes of rural Yew Tee, the town streets of Yishun, and the vast expanse of Ang Mo Kio-Bishan Park. But I’ve never jogged downtown. Where to change clothes? Where to leave my bag? Everyone who jogs downtown needs to look beautiful and handsome. LOL

I guess the real question is “Why not jog downtown?”. Like what’s stopping me? I can change clothes and leave my bag at my office in Tanjong Pagar. I can tame my mammoth and venture out onto the sidewalks of these towering skyscrapers.

Thanks to RunKepper (both the website and the iPhone app), Google Street View (for double checking routes), and Street Directory SG, I created my own running routes. Two years of recreational jogging in Singapore and I still consider myself a beginner so I created a series of 5-6 kilometer routes.

  • 5KM – Tanjong Pagar to Marina Bay Loop (tried earlier)
  • 5KM – Tanjong Pagar to Singapore River – Clarke Quay Turnaround (next week)
  • 6KM – Tanjong Pagar to Gardens by the Bay Loop (to try by end of November)

My starting point would be at the intersection of Maxwell Road and Shenton Way (near AXA Tower) since my office is a 5-minute walk from that corner. Then for all my mentioned routes above, I skim past the construction sites along Shenton Way heading towards opposite Lau Pa Sat. This leads me near Downtown MRT where I crossover a few blocks to get to Marina Bay.

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When I managed to do my “Tanjong Pagar to Marina Bay Loop” earlier, I was so giddy. Jogging on my own under all these city lights. Office workers still streaming outside of their buildings. By the time I reached Marina Bay at Marina Boulevard, I was once again starstruck by the beauty of it all– Marina Bay Sands, reflections of the city skyline over the water, fellow joggers going about, that feeling of safety.

I jogged towards MBS, then onto the Helix Bridge, past the floating stadium, and Makansutra/Esplanade. I climbed up the steps to get on the bridge connecting to Merlion Park (the new pedestrian bridge is almost done). I noticed the tourist crowds thicken here so better to avoid that area altogether and jog along the sidewalk of Fullerton Road on my way back to Tanjong Pagar.

I may have clocked in at a slow 45-minutes for a 5 kilometer run (I didn’t account for stoplights/pedestrian crossings and tourist hotspots) but I thoroughly enjoyed jogging downtownn. I believe in a race setting I can finish a 5-kilometer in 30-35 minutes (at my current conditioning).

Race Kit: Singapore Airlines Charity Run 2014

Race kit collection was at Kallang Leisure Mall earlier. The race is on November 2 at the F1 Pit. I signed up because I wanted to have a singlet with the Singapore Airlines logo on it. (I am being totally honest!).

The race kit comes with a singlet, race bib, illy Drip Coffee samples, nutri-bar samples, cold gel, vouchers, a tube of Raffles effervescent Vitamin C tablets (not pictured), a big bag of potato chips (less salty, to give cred) and a shoe bag. I like the shoe bag! The kit was supposed to come with a luggage tag but they ran out of stocks. They said they’ll deliver it to our home address.

The winner of the 10KM competitive race will get a business class roundtrip ticket to any destination served by Singapore Airlines. Not saying that if I ran 10KM I would win. My 10KM clocks in at 1 hour 30 minutes which is quite leisurely! If I could choose a destination on business class, I would like to fly Singapore to New York.

I’m excited to get the medal because the lanyard is in the SQ purple sarong livery!

There’s also a best dressed category with an aviation theme. I’d love to dress up as Philippine Airlines!

Or, I’d like to see some runners wearing the SQ uniform… imagine a whole group running in unison. What a great way to fly.

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Disclaimer: My company sponsored my slot for the 5KM non-competitive fun run. Salamat, salamat. 😛