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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

Posts tagged running

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.

Almost forgot to post this! My friends and I took part in Jurong Lake Run 2014. It was the first Jurong Lake Run to take place in the evening. The race was my first back in 2012. I missed out in 2013. I registered this year because (a) it takes place in the evening, (b) Jurong Lake is beautiful, and (c) I needed something to keep my mind distracted after dropping my boyfriend at the airport that same day.

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Race kit includes a singlet, race bib with timing device, brochures, flyers, a sample of “Spatone”, and three sample packets of Kiehl’s.

The race had a 2.5km, 6km, and a 10km route. I picked the 10km route since it’s been standard. This was also my third race within two months (after Green Corridor Run 2014 and Sundown Marathon 2014).

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The race was fine. At first I thought it would be enjoyable to run at sunset. Yes, I did get beautiful views of Jurong Lake. But while running I realised that people’s sweat is a tad bit smellier in the late afternoon compared to, let’s say… a morning run. The Sundown Marathon happens around 11PM where temperatures are cooler. They should have given out body spray at the 2km mark haha. So maarte I know.

A group called “Running Shots” apparently took photos of the runners. I look fucking horrible! Why can’t I look like Exhibit A.

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Photos courtesy Running Shots on Facebook… they are made of AWESOME.

It’s been more than a week already and there are no race results yet. I think I clocked in around 1:30-ish if I’m not mistaken. I’m still trying to get 10km in under 1:10:00. (Sigh)

I have no upcoming races. But I’m gearing up for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore in December where I can hopefully try my first Half Marathon (21.xxxx kilometers).

 

The route this year for the 10km run was better. There were less crazy turns. Last year it felt like we all had to squeeze into the park connector (imagine the width of a slightly larger sidewalk).

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Sundown Marathon 2014 race kit entitlements.

Other awesome things this year:

  • Best Singlet (Fabric was awesome; the worst “singlets” are from Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore)
  • Best Color Scheme for a running event (Black-Blue-White)
  • Illuminated Starting Line… like walking through a portal (whaaat, it was a treat)
  • Race route for 10km was better than last year

On top of that, I clocked in at 1:22 for 10km. It’s slow! I’m aware of that. But it’s the first time I ran with more consistency and energy. I think I could have finished faster because it was a tight squeeze at the beginning of the race. I’ve never run with the herd before haha. Last year I started late so it felt like I had the whole street to myself.

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Overall this was the most enjoyable race I’ve joined so far. Even more than the Standard Chartered. I guess seeing the bright city lights gleaming over Marina Bay (or Kallang River) made it magical. I ran several times in May this year (like the Green Corridor Run) so I had plenty of energy. I have a third 10km run in a few weeks at Jurong Lake.

Sundown Marathon Route Maps

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Original 10KM Route Map for Sundown Marathon 2014.

The original 10km route map involved heading towards Lavender. I think this was similar to last year’s route. The organisers changed it due to public demand if I’m not mistaken.

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Revised 10KM Route Map for Sundown Marathon 2014.

The map above was the final 10KM route on May 31, 2014. Flag-off was at 10:30pm. Below is a map of the area that was removed (circled in red). They expanded the route towards the east making for a less curvy run.

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Difference between original and revised 10KM Route Map.

Hopefully next year I can give the 21KM half marathon a try. Below is a map of how it looked like this year. It involves going around Marina Bay (Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, etc.) which makes it more urban. Must be beautiful.

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Below is the 42KM full marathon route map which is similar to the half marathon but involves running along the East Coast. I heard that it started to rain during the wee hours of June 1.

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This was my 2nd year to do the 10KM Sundown Marathon. I’m excited to try the HM next year.

The rest I shall leave in photos:

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N, Suzie and Kuya Adie

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Excited for the race.

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N’s first time to join a competitive race.

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N and I commuted from Bishan. We took the MRT to Promenade.

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The starting pen. My last photo before the race.

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The start and finish of the race is at the F1 Pit near the Singapore Flyer.

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Free moving screening for friends and spectators.

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Intentionally BLURRED out the photobomber behind me lol

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My 10km finisher medal + Race photo with N

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10km finisher. I’ll try the Half Marathon next year.

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Race tent.

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N, Suzie and Kuya Adie post-race.

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Someone’s sleepy at 1 o’clock in the morning.

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With N.

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Food truck!

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Suzie at the Sundown Marathon podium.

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We were waiting for the 10km crowd to clear. It’s hard to grab a cab after the race. So we stayed a bit longer.

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Headed to the taxi stand.

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Thanks Sundown Marathon for the awesome race.

Hitting the pavement again at the Jurong Lake Run 2014 in June. It will be my last 10km run. I’m planning to do the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014 half marathon in December… and several other half marathons in 2015.

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I haven’t been able to travel much lately. I was in Jakarta a few weeks ago for an extended weekend (literally extended due to a cancelled return flight to Singapore on JetStar) but that was all. I didn’t push through with Myanmar and it doesn’t look like I’ll be going to Taiwan or Japan by July. So how do I deal with being flightless this 2014? I run!

I’m not addicted to running (nor have I perfected the correct form). But I’m so eager to live an active lifestyle while in Singapore. I have friends who are so active here so I thought I should be doing something that makes me happy.

Registration

The Green Corridor Run is one of the unique ‘non-gimmicky’ foot races in Singapore. Non-gimmicky because there’s no color, foam, or flashy lights involved. It is for nature-lovers and those who are into trail running.

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This was my sixth time to join a run in Singapore and my first trail run. I paid about SGD 60.00 for the registration. Kind of steep compared to other runs, but this was unique. I selected the 10:00am Wave which is the slowest bunch. I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way haha.

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The length is 10.5 kilometers and it starts at the old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station which was a treat itself for history buffs. I’ll share photos later.

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The race kit collection happened at City Square Mall. The race kit comprised of an event singlet (neon green in color), some vouchers, and two packets of Thai curry paste (which was quite strange!). Collecting wasn’t a hassle. In fact, you only need to provide the NRIC/FIN you used to register.

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Training (somewhat)

I asked S if she wanted to go on a trail run with me at MacRitchie Reservoir on Vesak Day, a holiday in Singapore. She agreed and we hit the beautiful reservoir on a sunny afternoon.

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We were planning to go to the Treetop Walk but it was already closed by the time we got there. We wanted to walk-run-hike the perimeter of MacRitchie Reservoir but we encountered some creepy insects that freaked us out. There was a huge ant (brown to reddish in color according to S) which made S laugh because I freaked out over it. But while we were laughing about that… she saw something that made her SCREAM… this S is a tough girl, so something to make her SCREAM that loud freaked me out. Both of us ran as fast as we could away from whatever she saw… she told me it was a big millipede. #stress #omg #escape

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The MacRitchie trail run was brief. I guess I only ran about 3 kilometers of the overall 8km distance we made. I’ve had a chance to train on pavement at AMK-Bishan Park previously so I guess (I GUESS) I’m ready for the Green Corridor Run.

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Green Corridor Run

Getting on the MRT wearing running shorts and a bright neon green singlet made me feel a bit uncomfortable. If I had broad shoulders or toned legs then why not di ba. But I don’t have broad shoulders 😛 and I have chicken legs.

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I made my way to Tanjong Pagar. Because I recently started working there, I knew how to get around. The old railway station happens to be just a few more meters beyond a hawker corner I recently ate at. I saw groups of runners making their way to the station so I followed them.

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The only sunshine that whole morning quickly disappeared as clouds rolled in. A torrential downpour started and this was threatening to cancel the event. Personally, half the struggle is getting to the venue itself. None of my friends were running. This was my own thing.

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I didn’t get to take much pictures of the old railway station. I tried to imagine the significance it once played in Singapore’s history. This railway connected Tanjong Pagar to Kuala Lumpur. Now, trains only run from Malaysia up until Woodlands if I’m not mistaken.

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The first wave began about 20 or 30 minutes behind schedule. I didn’t mind what time we would start as long as we could still race. They announced we could commence running around 10:40am, 40 minutes after our original schedule. Who cares as long as we can run. 🙂

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It was raining but I didn’t notice a single person who was complaining. I mean, this was a trail run. So this was probably a trail runner’s dream: rain, mud, and gravel.

I managed to run without stopping for only 2 kilometres. Omg lame! 10.5km run and my momentum ended at 2km. My running shoes were soaked. There were raindrops all over my glasses. I ran and walked, taking in the beauty of trail running just steps away from suburban Singapore.

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The latter half of the race the rain worsened and a thunderstorm was happening. I am so scared of lightning. There were about three or four lightning strikes in the distance. One lightning strike was on a field to my left… which made me freak out and want to jog to the next underpass. Swish-splash, my shoes and socks drenched. My lower legs muddied!

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There were several underpasses but the elevation of the trail run was pretty consistent and straightforward. While “training” at MacRitchie, the elevation changed several times.

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Drink stations were available every 2 to 3 kilometres. I noticed clearly marked exit signs perhaps for easy use in emergencies. These exits were placed at areas that were just a stone’s throw away from a paved backroad or landed property (house). An ambulance was parked at one so it felt re-assuring somewhat.

The rain did not stop.

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Finally, the finish line was at Bukit Timah Railway Station. I completed the 10.5km race in 1 hour and 45 minutes… haha, quite slow! But I’m glad I did it. 🙂

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Entitlements? A Finisher’s Medal. The material felt a bit cheap though considering I paid SGD 60.00. 😛

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They served bottled cold water, a green banana, and a glass of 100Plus at the Finish Line. The historic Bukit Timah Railway Station was filled with runners cleaning their shoes and taking selfies.

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My boyfriend surprised me and picked me up. He brought a warm towel, slippers, and a change of clothes. He’s never picked me up from a run before. 🙂

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Thanks Green Corridor Run for the experience!

My next run: Sundown Marathon 2014 (10km) 🙂

I completed my fifth run in Singapore! I logged around 1:03:10 (an hour a 3 minutes+) for an 8 kilometer run. My 10km in December for Standard Chartered 2013 was about 1:40:00++. I think this is my personal best because I spent more time running than walking. My legs also didn’t go sore this time. I felt energised all throughout. Hopefully in the future I’ll be laughing at these puny statistics haha!

Mga takbo ko so far in my nearly 2 years in Singapore:

  • Jurong Lake Run 2012 (6km)… free slot courtesy my company
  • 2012 Standard Chartered Run Singapore (10km)… grabe ‘to, running downtown!
  • 2013 Sundown Marathon Singapore (10km)… mag-isa ako dito, no friends joined
  • 2013 Standard Chartered Run Singapore (10km)… no training at all, kaya naging 1:40:00++
  • MediaCorp Hong Bao Run 2014 (8km)… free slot again, kasama ang mga Pinoy sa company
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Look, I got 8600 as my number.

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Yours truly, with 10% shoulders. Arrrgh!

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My kababayan sa company. Creative producers din sila, different departments.

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The Wolf of Singapore (in compression tights!) + Little Red Riding Hood with oranges and ang paw in the basket. Cute! 🙂

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I’m usually not a “morning person”… so I rarely see views like this.

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The Finishers’ medal.

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People waiting for the announcement of the lucky draw winner. Prize money? SGD 88,888!!!!!

The run was relaxing. Not as crowded syempre as the Standard Chartered run which is the main marathon in Singapore which happens every December. Sasali uli ako this December but undecided pa ako kung kaya ko ang 21km. Hindi ko pipilitin ang 42km na full marathon… that’s for the serious runners! I’d like to try that after five years perhaps after I achieve personal goals with 10km and half marathon 21km.

And I ditched the Kylie Minogue playlist this time. The sounds of downtown Singapore on a slow Sunday morning was something new.

Eto pala yung route for this 8km run:

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The route is similar to the Standard Chartered 10km route, with konting adjustment lang. It is also similar to the Sundown Marathon 10km route.

Thanks MediaCorp for the slot. Nakatipid ako ng SGD 68.00. Isang pair of sneakers din yun. 🙂

With Ang Mo Kio – Bishan Park (River Plains) in close proximity to my block, there shouldn’t be an excuse to go on a quick jog around the neighbourhood. I love the view while there. Earlier I had to stop my jog just to feel the February breeze on my skin. The view was fantastic! A sunset trying to glare over the tropical haze. Lakas maka-switch on ng Singapore Appreciation Mode. By that I mean… appreciating Singapore beyond the tourist areas. This is the heartland.

My goal every year is to be fit. Which I’ve failed repeatedly! I’ve become more down-to-earth with the dreams I set out to achieve (I still dream, yes, even if I’m hitting 30 in a few months)… so instead of wishing and hoping… it is time to just start doing!

I want to finish a 10km race in 1:10 to 1:15 this year. And perhaps next year, even faster. My current 10km is at 1:23 but that is like doing it improperly. I want to do a proper run, the kind where you don’t look like a dying bird while crossing the finish line.

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Earlier I did a test run of my 5km route from my neighbourhood in Bishan to the middle of Ang Mo Kio – Bishan Park (where it meets Marymount Road near the intersection of Ang Mo Kio Ave 1). It was a fun run. I enjoyed seeing other joggers (one athlete guy was shirtless, haha!). I also discovered they have a “Dog Run” section of the park where so many owners brought their pets. Kids were on rollerblades and skateboards. Young and old couples were seated at park benches and enjoying the sunset. Birds chirping. Eto yung ideal park scene sa mga pelikula.

Okay don’t make fun of my jogging playlist!

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You are probably thinking if I was really running and not dancing.

On the way back to my block I discovered that they have started construction on a new nursing home for the elderly. I read that residents had originally rejected the idea of having a nursing home in this area because it used to be a football field and their kids wouldn’t have a place to play anymore. Or that the air flow in this breezy part of the neighbourhood would be blocked.

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Okay I won’t meddle or comment haha. All I can say is that construction is everywhere in super cities like Singapore. I have noticed that there are a lot of elderly in this neighbourhood.

I’m not an expert or barely an experienced runner (kahit sumali na ako sa Standard Chartered twice, 10km category)… but when I run I like to have my phone, EZ Link (Transportation, Basic Expenses Card) or ATM Debit Card tucked in my armband. I also have my keys and about $10 wedged in there somewhere.

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Okay so earlier I managed a 5km run-walk-run-walk at 41 minutes and 43 seconds with an 8:20/km pace. Tama ba?! Haha. I hope I can run at least twice a week and work my way to 30-35 mins for the 5km.

My next run is at the 2014 Sundown Marathon on 31 May. 10km ulit!